In general, natural stone is the ultimate material to choose if you want to make something last forever – a building, a sculpture, a figurine, your bath, your kitchen top, your floor. Even if you use it only as highlights here and there it will bring the sense of quality and longevity to your home. Since stones are the creation of nature they come in different shades, forms, with different qualities and durability and therefore, you have to choose the best stone according to its application. Good news is that the natural stone tiles that are the most often used for domestic and commercial purposes – marble, granite, slate, travertine and limestone – can be installed almost everywhere and serve you well for quite a long time if properly maintained. However, when it comes to flooring, it is better to choose the best stone for the specific location, which will guarantee you longer and easier exploitation. Bear in mind that natural stone tiles are quite expensive, which however is absolutely justified by their qualities, beauty and durability and if you choose the right stone for your project it will serve you for a lifetime.
Below you can find ideas about the best flooring option for a bathroom, entryway and patio but before that it is good to look at some general features of the natural stones that can guide you in making your decision. The most important feature of natural stone is its absorption ability or in other words how porous each stone is. This quality shows to what extend the material absorbs water and also the more porous the stone is the more susceptible it is to stains and more likely to freeze and crack during bad weather if used outdoors. Of the most popular natural stones, sandstone is the most porous one, while travertine, slate and limestone have medium absorbency rate, marble ranks after them, while granite is considered the most waterproof of all, while at the same time it is also the most durable. The finishing of the stone also makes a difference. Polished tiles absorb less water compared to honed or cleft surfaces but polished stones also tend to scratch easier and become very slippery when wet. Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask the helpful consultants in the shop about information and guidance on which natural stone tiles are the best fit for your floor.
Now, we will suggest some of perhaps the most often used and appropriate stones for different flooring solutions starting from the bathroom.
Marble bathroom floors
We have mentioned on many occasions that marble is the absolute winner when it comes to decorating your bathroom. It brings the sense of luxury and royalty and makes you feel as if you are in a special spa vacation. The example you see is with a free standing bathtub in the middle of the room, which is tiled with marble. It comes from a privately owned Scottish castle - Carlowrie Castle, which has been turned into a hotel and is now quite a popular destination for weddings business and relax. The look can be easily recreated with some of our Carrara Marble tiles. You can use the white polished ones to have the same shiny and glossy atmosphere, however we will recommend the honed marble tiles. As already mentioned, polished marble is quite slippery and also scratches easier, while the honed tiles may not bring the same level of light into the bathroom but will still give it the sophisticated, warm and welcoming look, inviting you to pamper yourself. The marble bathroom floor will definitely stand the test of time especially if you seal and maintain the stone following the manufacturer's instructions.
Slate entryway floors
The entryway is not simply providing access to your house – it is the place that leads to your home and is the first thing that visitors notice. If you want to impress them with the first steps they take we suggest using natural stone. It will give a sense of style while combining both modern and traditional look into one. There is another and more important reason to use natural stone tiles in your entryway – stone lasts forever and the entry is subjected to much traffic, mud, dirt and even harsher weather conditions (in case you leave the door open for a longer period of time). That is why you need a material that can withstand all the pressure, that can be maintained easier, last longer and of course look well. The answer is natural stone and more precisely slate tiles. Slate is perhaps the material that you will find most often. It is a metamorphic rock that splits and can be formed into tiles with ease. It tends to be dark and highly resilient and therefore is the perfect tile for muddy boots, wet umbrellas, sandy shoes. It makes the transition from the external environment to your peaceful retreat very natural and what is even better it not only combines well with other natural stone tiles but slate can be used outdoors as well. The density of the slate tile is very important since denser tiles are more durable and therefore we recommend that you pay a bit more but get the highest quality since the area you will use them for will see a lot of wear and tear throughout the years. Another important advantage of using slate or any other natural stone for your entryway is that it is suitable for hot weather conditions too, since stone stays cool even in warmer conditions and the feeling of your bear feet on it on a hot day is incredible. The Cottage Riven Slate tiles that we offer are perfect for recreating this rustic look at your own house.
Outdoor patios and garden areas look stunning when decorated with natural stone. There are many looks and suggestions and you can pick up the one you prefer. What has caught our eye is the design of this patio provided by ACM Design architects. It is simple but nevertheless makes the right statement and besides looks so cozy. The stone that would best fit this design is limestone since it is ideal to recreate an antique, rustic but also quite dramatic look. Limestone has been used since old times for the construction of many famous buildings such as the Parthenon of Athens or the famous pyramids of Giza, which is a clear sign of its longevity and high quality. Since the stone can be quarried in different places it comes in many shades and colours. Besides you can add different finishes to enhance its qualities. The ultimate advantage of limestone is that it s extremely durable, while some of the advantages is that it is quite heavy and expensive (as most of the quality natural stone tiles, however you can make use of our discounted Minster Stone Antiqued Limestone for this project) so it is better to leave it to a professional to install your patio flooring rather than doing it yourself. You should also keep in mind that limestone is sensitive to acids so never use acidic cleaners on it.
Having said all this, we would like to conclude with a suggestion that can solve your wonderings about choosing the best natural stone for your project. If in doubt, granite is your ultimate solution. It is a waterproof and very strong stone, that can come with different finishing and can be used both indoors and outdoors, as countertops, for tiling floors and walls. It is an excellent flooring for a bath, can resist the heavy traffic and debris in the entryway and is ideal for patios and garden paths. For the bolder ones we also suggest to try a granite bathtub or granite furniture to complement your natural stone-paved patio.