Three Questions To Ask When Deciding Which Natural Stone Flooring To Purchase

Posted on: 18 January 2018

Natural stone is a beautiful flooring option that can add value to your home. However, there are so many options available, it can be challenging choosing the right stone for your needs and preferences. Here are three questions to ask yourself and other deciders contributing to the process that may help you narrow down your choices.

Where Will It Be Installed?

Possibly one of the first questions you need to decide on is where the natural stone will be installed. Not all stones are appropriate for use in every area of your home. For instance, natural stone with a high polish are not great for outdoor use, particularly if you live in an area where you get lots of rain and snow. Polished stone has low traction when wet, which increases the risk of people slipping and falling when walking on the surface. This type of stone is best used indoors and in areas that will have infrequent contact with water (e.g. dining rooms and even kitchens).

Along this same line, you also need to consider what will be placed on top of or near the stone. For instance, brick and flagstone pavers absorb and retain heat, so they can become very hot when place in areas directly in the sun or near firepits and fireplaces (sometimes up to 150 degrees on a 90-degree day). You're probably better off using limestone or sandstone in light shades in these areas that do a better job of reflecting and shedding heat.

How Much Traffic Will the Floor See?

Another issue to consider is how much traffic the stone flooring will see. If you want to place natural stone in high-traffic areas, such as entryways or decks, then you'll want to use a hardy stone such as granite or sandstone. In addition to better withstanding the physical stress of being tread upon, these stones will retain their color longer, so you won't have to spend money on a regular basis restoring the material to its original glory.

However, be sure to also factor in other things that may frequently be running across the floor, such as wheelchairs, strollers, and other mobility devices. The hardness of the wheels may scratch or damage the stone more severely than feet and shoes, resulting in the area wearing out faster than normal.

Alternatively, the stone may have a negative impact on the longevity of assistive devices that move over it or make those devices more difficult to use, particularly with certain finishes. For instance, a clefted finish results in an uneven surface that may catch a walker the wrong way and cause the person using it to trip and fall.

Spend time observing how your family uses high-traffic areas in your home and select that stone and finish that looks great while also keeping everyone safe.

What Is Your Money and Time Budget?

A third, and extremely important, issue you must consider is your money and time budget. Natural stone is durable and long-lasting, but it is more expensive than porcelain tile, vinyl and other flooring options. Additionally, some types of stone cost more than others because they're harder to retrieve and process. Thus, it's important to calculate how much you can afford to spend and only look at stone pavers in your price range.

Additionally, stone does require some maintenance on a regular basis. Specifically, it needs to be sealed yearly to help keep out moisture that will damage it over time. The process of sealing it is fairly straightforward, but does require you to spend time doing it. If you would rather not perform this maintenance yourself, then you'll need to budget in the cost of having a professional do it for you.

For more help choosing the best natural stone pavers for your home, contact a local retailer.