Busting the myths about natural stone flooring and paving
If you haven’t already realised it, we are passionate about stone and the use of such a beautiful natural material for floor and wall coverings – BUT, there are many myths out there about its capabilities.
There are certain questions we get asked many times by potential clients who are looking for reassurance that natural stone could be (and is) the right choice for their project. So here are the most common mis-held beliefs that we think need clearing up once and for all – we are advocates for the use of natural stone and we want our clients to be safe in the knowledge they are choosing the best option for the project at hand.
Myth: Stone is hard to maintain
Stone flooring, paving and wall tiles are easily maintained with some being so dense they require little sealing or maintenance. Others will need to be treated with sealer when installed to ensure they are resistant to water and staining. Day-to-day cleaning can be carried out with soapy water. Occasional cleaning and resealing with specialist products may also be required but there is a wide range of products available to make this process easy.
Myth: Stone tiles can’t be used with underfloor heating
Thanks to its high heat conductivity and good heat retention, stone is in fact the perfect partner for underfloor heating. A stone tile will warm up quickly and stay warm for longer than most flooring materials. This should result in the heat transferring quickly into the room and that warmth being maintained for quite some time. Equally, during hot weather a stone floor can have a cooling effect.
Myth: Stone tiles and paving are difficult to install
While we always recommend using an experienced tiler or landscaper, installing natural stone is by no means a difficult job. Care should be taken to ensure the correct products are used for the installation – for example we ALWAYS recommend using white adhesive for inside, not grey – but an experienced tiler should be familiar with the dos and don’ts when it comes to fixing natural stone. Equally, for any installer who does want some guidance, we are always happy to help to ensure your tiles or paving look the best they possibly can. We have had many compliments from stone fixers who have enjoyed installing our products thanks to their beauty and characteristics that can only be found in a natural material.
~ Read more: Our advice on installing stone tiles and paving ~
Myth: Stone is always expensive
Purchasing new flooring or paving will be a significant investment for any homeowner, architect, designer or landscaper. However, we feel it doesn’t have to mean you break the bank to achieve an outstanding finished look. While our range of stones does feature reclaimed or hand-finished materials in a higher price bracket, we also offer more economical options for those still keen to use natural stone but perhaps on a smaller budget. Stone flooring and paving should be installed with longevity in mind – this is a material that can last for decades, if not longer, and should mean there is no need to replace it for an extremely long time. Once installed, it will be there for the current homeowner to enjoy but for also many future owners of that property too – therefore making it worth the initial investment at the start.
Myth: Stone floors will scratch and chip easily
As mentioned previously, some stone tiles are very dense making them resistant to scratching and chips. For those that are not quite so hard, care should be taken to ensure, for example, that furniture is not dragged across their surface – but is this not the case for any new flooring? If new wood flooring or decking was installed, the last thing you would want to see would be heavy objects being pulled across them. Inevitably, many flooring materials (especially those that are natural) may well become slightly scratched over time but we believe this is part of the process of creating a home or space that seems lived in and welcoming. In fact, for our aged stone floors, we believe these only get better with time and a bit of wear to help them look like genuine old flags. If a stone tile does become slightly chipped, you can be safe in the knowledge that at least the tile will be the same material the whole way through – unlike some ceramic counterparts which may only feature the surface colour in a thin layer.
Myth: Limestone is not good for use outside
We sometimes hear from prospective clients that they have been told limestone it not as good for outside use as sandstone. However, this is simply not correct. Many limestones are more than suitable for use outside – being resistant to frost and with anti-slip ratings. Many limestones are in fact more dense than some sandstones, making them stronger and more durable. In all honesty, to brand one material type as suitable or unsuitable would not be right – it simply depends on the specific stone being considered and its own individual make-up.
Myth: Stone should not be used for a kitchen floor
As mentioned in many of the answers above, there are so many reasons why this myth is incorrect. We have supplied natural stone tiles for hundreds of kitchens during our time in this industry. Homeowners sometimes worry about using natural stone in a space that is likely to experience high footfall while also being at risk from staining due to spillages. However, thanks to factors such as density and durability, there are numerous materials that can more than cope with what a busy family home can throw at them. We would always advise that any spillages should be cleaned up immediately to avoid staining but this would be the case no matter what material was on the floor.
~ Read more: Our tips for selecting kitchen stone flooring ~
Myth: Stone will be slippery
Not true (depending on the finish)
There are almost endless possibilities when it comes to the finish applied to stone tiles or paving. Some processes are completed by machines and some by hand. Of course, a polished tile would be more likely to be slippery when wet but this is just one type of finish. Each method of finishing will create varying surface texture to meet a range of slip rating standards. High slip resistance means such stones can be used in areas such as saunas and swimming pools, while slightly less slip resistant materials can be used in kitchens and bathrooms. As with many of the questions addressed in this post, the answer quite simply depends on each individual product being considered.
~ Read more: Our guide to natural stone finishes ~
We hope this helps to answer some frequently asked questions regarding the use of stone both inside and outside. Please get in touch to discuss your natural stone and tile needs – we are always happy to answer questions and give advice.