You may not have the resources to have a professional company to come into your home and clean and polish the natural stone flooring. But they may prove to be the most economically responsible decision to a problem of having natural materials on the floor. Natural stone as an ‘organic’ feel to a home, particularly if it is married with natural or stained wood accents and wall coverings like burlap.
Travertine Natural Stone
There are different types of stone material used. Travertine is a type of limestone that has formed around mineral spring deposits. As a flooring is usually cut into tiles and comes in a variety of earth tones. Travertine is porous that can be treated with sealants or left natural.
Marble is a metamorphic rock created under heat and pressure. It is recrystallized carbonate material, being created from the mineral’s calcite or dolomite. The marble is the stone of choice for the ancients. How many classical Greek or Roman ruins have survived the centuries made from this material? Usually cut into tiles marble is found gracing bathroom walls and floor as well as living rooms. It is a timeless and elegant material. Marble is a limestone product.
Limestone is a sedimentary material composed primarily of calcium carbonate in the form of the mineral calcite. It is formed in marine environments by shells, coral, algal and fecal debris. Limestone and travertine are porous materials. Limestone is also a historical material used as far back as the pyramids of Egypt. Available in slabs and tiles it is a material finding a lot of uses. Is one of the most affordable of stone flooring. Cons limestone is soft, even a vacuum brush can leave marks on limestone. Even dry mopping or brooms can scratch limestone. Sealing is imperative right after installation. Sealing is good for 2 to 5 years and will keep out staining fluids like the dyes in soft drinks and natural coloring in grape and other fruit juices.
Slate is a metamorphic material consisting mostly of volcanic ash. Slate not only finds itself on our floors but is a popular roofing material as well. Natural slate flooring is well ‘natural’. One of the strongest of the natural stone flooring materials and is resistant to cracking, scratching, chipping and breaking. It can be sealed against staining and can if properly maintained last for decades. Slat is very good in bathrooms and kitchens. Slate flooring accommodates heavy traffic. It is, however, more expensive of the natural flooring materials. It is difficult lay and cut and the substrate must be firm without any flexing. Slate is heavy, something to consider if contemplating usage on upper floors. The supporting structure may need reinforcement to support the additional weight. Slate requires being sealed with a penetrating sealer and a barrier sealer for a protective surface. May require re-application up to once a year.
Granite is an igneous rock and has been a popular material for construction for like ‘forever’ and is still considered as such today. Granite slabs a popular countertop treatment and is found on the floor usually cut into tiles. Granite is an exceptionally durable material. Granite has outlasted even ceramic tiles. It is good around water, impenetrable to liquids it protects subflooring. Allergies? Granite is a hypoallergenic material and can reduce the symptoms of allergy sufferers. Of course, this depends on your cleaning routine. A daily sweep and a once a week mopping is a good way to improve the environment for asthma sufferers. Like slate granite is heavy, the same precautions for upper flooring must be considered. A 300 square foot kitchen floor weighs about 3,840 pounds. It is heavy and difficult to install.
Flagstone is a generic flat stone, cut regular or irregular shapes and used for outdoor pavers, on slabs and walkways, patios, interior flooring and for fences and roofing. The sedimentary rock splits along their bedding planes. Usually sandstone composed of quartz and felspar. Traditional flagstone paving uses the irregular natural appearing stone. It is cool to the touch, great in the southwest around pools. Both cement and adobe-based mortars are used. Adobe is considered the most attractive but is considerably less durable demanding reapplication on a regular basis. A porous material, flagstone, will require sealing to keep it from breaking and staining. A moisture barrier is required in bathroom insulation as water will penetrate flagstone. Flagstone is a highly durable material. Sealing after installation and annually after that. It can be mopped, microfiber mops are best, with only water. Mild detergents can be used occasionally but abrasive and aggressive detergents should be avoided. The finish, either the ‘wet’ high polished look or matte finish will determine how often it needs refinishing.