floors and terraces from natural and artificial stone

Opinion: stone for flooring and terraces


One of the most suitable natural stone types for indoor and outdoor flooring is granite. It is non-slip, less absorbent, and more resistant to wear and tear than many other stones. Additionally, granite is resistant to atmospheric effects and temperature fluctuations. Solid and long-lasting granite floors and pavements are indispensable in public places where surfaces are constantly exposed to abrasion and wear.


We can sometimes see granite in unusual, truly amazing colors and patterns. However, exceptional granite floors will cost several times more than those laid from usual (and cheaper) granite variants, whose colors may be somewhat dull and boring. Since the exotic appearance of granite does not affect its quality and hardness, there's no need to worry if one can only afford the economical option. Granite hardness is more determined by its lightness or darkness. The darker the color of granite, the harder it is, and vice versa. So ordinary dark-toned granite floors will be just as good as dark ones with exotic patterns.


Luxurious floors can be paved with quartzite. The hardness, durability, and resistance of quartzite are comparable to granite, so it can also be used outdoors. Unfortunately, using quartzite to pave outdoor terraces is a luxury for many. Quartzite patterns are impressive, but so is the price. The budget for such floors must be significant. A much more economical option is a terrace made of black or gray basalt. Like granite, a basalt terrace will be long-lasting, resistant to temperature changes, less prone to wear, and most importantly, non-slip, as basalt is naturally non-slip. The surfaces of other natural stones can also be made non-slip by special treatment.


A very popular stone for indoor flooring is marble, although it is twice as soft, fragile, and more water absorbent than granite. To understand why it is used so widely, it is enough to look at those elegant marble colors and classical patterns. Marble floors at home are an exceptional luxury detail, but at the same time they require a lot of care and attention. It's better to walk on marble with soft slippers rather than shoes, and liquids spilled on marble floors need to be wiped off as quickly as possible. Marble is sensitive to acids, which etch its calcite particles. A drop of vinegar or accidentally mashed berry on marble floors can change the stone's color and cause stains.


As you already understand, marble flooring is better suited indoors than outdoors, especially in Northern climates. Marble is less resistant to extreme weather conditions than granite, and atmospheric pollution and acidic precipitation leave traces on it. To make marble floors less absorbent and less prone to staining, they need to be impregnated, just like any other natural stone floors. The difference is just that some stones need to be impregnated more often than others.


Don't worry - impregnating stone is a simple procedure. All you need to do is buy a stone impregnator, rub it into the floors, and let it dry. Impregnators penetrate the pores of the stone and remain there, preventing other liquids from soaking in. The stone becomes less prone to wear and staining. Over time, the impregnator washes away and evaporates, so the procedure needs to be repeated. Stone floors can be professionally impregnated, renewed, and cleaned by stone care specialists.


Similar to marble but even more fragile and softer are onyx floors. Onyx floors are quite rarely laid and almost exclusively found in luxurious homes and other spaces. While the view is impressive, such a choice is certainly not practical if you'll be walking on the floors rather than just looking at them. However, everything is possible - even the perfect appearance of onyx floors can be maintained with proper care. Lighting can be installed under onyx floors, so when turned on, the entire floor area will illuminate like a fairy tale. Some onyx slabs are more translucent than others, some are more wavy and have more veins. These natural drawings in onyx help create a unique night illumination.


Two more types of stone widely used in southern countries for indoor flooring and outdoor terraces are sandstone and travertine. These stones vary in hardness and porosity, which most often often depend on the place of origin. The surface of travertine and sandstone, like that of basalt, is naturally non-slip. In warmer climates, travertine and sandstone can confidently be used for paving outdoor terraces, but in northern countries, they may not be suitable. These stones are more sensitive to atmospheric effects and temperature fluctuations than granite or basalt.


An excellent alternative to natural stone floors is floors made of artificial stone. Such floors do not need to be impregnated, they are easy to clean and maintain even in high traffic areas. Floors covered with large-format sintered stone (also called ultra-compact surface), engineered quartz, ceramic and porcelain slabs are much lighter than natural stone floors because artificial stone slabs are thinner. You can save not only a great deal of the transportation and installation costs, but also a couple of centimetres of room height space. Due to their thinness and lightness, artificial stone slabs are very convenient when laying floors in multi-story buildings. They are also easier to install in small spaces than bulkier natural stone slabs.


The hardest and most wear-resistant artificial stone material capable of withstanding maximum human traffic is sintered stone. Floors indoors can be covered with sheets of sintered stone as thin as 6 mm. Sintered stone in thicker slabs can also be used outdoors as it is resistant to temperature and moisture fluctuations. All types of artificial stone are non-porous, so liquids spilled on sintered stone, ceramic, or porcelain floors will not be absorbed, making them easy to wipe from the surface. High-quality artificial stone floors can be hard to distinguish from real stone floors just by looking at them, so you can confidently consider this relatively light-weight and often cheaper option.

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