How to Choose Natural Stone Tiles for Your Home

As the name suggests, natural stone is naturally found in the mountains. Some common types of natural stones are travertine, granite, limestone, marble, and slate. Each of these types has its own specific characteristics. You should be aware of these traits before you decide to get natural stone tiles installed in your home. Natural stones tiles can be used for walls and flooring as well. However, here are the questions that you should be asking your dealer about tiles made from natural stone.

natural-stone-tiles
Natural Stone Tiles

What is the absorption rating?

Absorption rating refers to the absorption quality of the tiles. Non-vitreous tiles are extremely porous, and so these are susceptible to easy damage. They shouldn’t be used in high-moisture areas. Semi-vitreous tiles are a little less porous than non-vitreous, but they are still a complete no-no for bathrooms and similar areas. Vitreous tiles are the most common kind of tiles that are found in the market. They are ideal for indoor applications in homes. Impervious tiles are the easiest to maintain as they hardly absorb any liquid. You will usually find these tiles in commercial establishments such as shopping malls.

In terms of material, natural stone made from sandstone are the most porous, while those made from granite are the least porous of all.

What is the grade of the tiles?

Tiles are graded according to their size, shape, color, and any deformities that they might have. For instance, large tiles made from a single stone that have almost no deformities will be graded as 1. Those in smaller sizes with slight chips or inconsistency in color will be graded 2. While those with highly visible cracks or chips will be graded 3. Grade 3 natural stone tiles are ideal for accent work, or if you want to impart your place a rustic ambience. For floor or walls though, you want to stick to grade 1 or grade 2 tiles only.

What is the friction coefficient of the tile?

If you are getting natural stone tiles installed in your bathroom or similar potentially dangerous areas, it should have a high coefficient of friction. Higher the coefficient of friction is, less slippery will be the tile.

What is the oxidation rate?

Natural stone tiles have traces of iron in them, which over time can oxidize, especially when used outdoors. When buying tiles, you need to ask the dealer about the usual rate of oxidation for the concerned tile. If the tile has high quantities of iron in it, it is not suitable for outdoor use. You can usually estimate the suitability from the indoor and outdoor rating of the tiles. Search for the varieties of natural stones for your home, to get out standing look of indoor and outdoor places today.

How to care for natural stone tiles?

Most natural stone tiles do not need a whole lot of maintenance. Regular mopping and occasional cleaning with a mild cleaning agent should get the job done. However, unless you have granite tiles that are largely non-porous, you would need to reseal the tiles every year or so. Otherwise, water will seep right through the tiles and will quickly damage them. You can tell if your tiles need resealing or not by dropping some water on them. If tiny droplets of water remain on the tile, it does not require resealing.

If the water runs right through it, it is time to get a tile sealant from your local hardware store. Sealing the tiles is not a tough job. Get a sealant from the market, and apply it around the edges of the tile. You just need to make sure that the tiles are completely dry before you do so, otherwise the sealant wouldn’t stick.

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