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How to Choose Natural Stone Tiles

For many homeowners, adding a bit of luxury to the style of a room is simply a matter of installing a gorgeous natural stone floor. This could mean marble, slate, limestone, granite, travertine, or sandstone - all of which are stunning options. It is important, however, to pay close attention to the differing properties in each type of stone tile before making a solid decision on one (no pun intended). Here are just a few things to watch out for:

Indoor vs. Outdoor Tiles

Not every stone tile is suited for the outdoors. For instance, some kinds of tiles have very smooth surfaces with little friction, which means they will become dangerously slick if exposed to water. Other tiles susceptible to dirt stains, sun bleaching, rusting due to oxidation, and cracking. Make sure if you plan on laying down a stone floor outdoors your tiles can handle the elements!


All natural stone is porous, but just how porous depends on the type of stone you choose. This affects how absorbent your tiles will be, which will determine whether or not those tiles will be a good fit for the room you have them intended for. Sandstone, for instance, is very porous, and would be an unwise match for a bathroom. Granite is one of the least porous materials, which is why it is so popular in kitchens.

When shopping for tile, take a look at the absorption rating. We've listed them below from most porous to least.

  1. Non-vitreous

  2. Semi-vitreous

  3. Vitreous

  4. Impervious


As we mentioned earlier, some kinds of stone tile are extremely smooth and can prove to be a hazard in areas that are exposed to liquid. In turn, there are other types of stone that have a rough surface that, while not great for walking on in bare feet, will give your floor a more earthy look and are better suited to prevent slipping. You could predict just how smooth/rough each of these would be based on their coefficient of friction. Pay close attention to this number when buying stone flooring!

Happy Flooring!

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