Natural stone floors add an air of luxury to any home. While stone flooring has long been only available to the privileged and elite, newer technologies have streamlined the labor required to process stone, making it a more affordable option for average homeowners.
The benefits of natural stone flooring are not only aesthetic but practical as well. Stone floors increase a home's resale value, they're durable, and unlike other types of flooring, natural stone improves with age.
Since natural stone is – well, natural, and not manufactured – each slab is unique. Stone is merely rocking until it's cut from the earth and sent to a quarry. There, the rock is cut into blocks and then further cut into slabs. From the quarry, the slabs go to a fabricator to be cut, shaped, and polished.
If you're considering natural stone floors, familiarize yourself with the basics before you begin shopping. Standard tile sizes are 12" x 12", 13" x 13", 16" x 16" and 18" x 18". While the range of tile sizes may be somewhat limited, there is a wide variety of materials and colors to choose from.
Marble is a crystallized limestone and most often recognized by a vein pattern in a color that contrasts the base. Marble has a legendary elegance that conjures memories of ancient buildings and statues. Marble is more porous than granite and susceptible to staining, therefore it's not the best choice for kitchens or wet areas.