Before You Buy Stone Flooring
What To Know To Avoid Surprises With The Project
You’ve done your home work on stone work. You understand the basic categories. You can imagine the feel of cool brushed sandstone under your feet as you walk through the breakfast room to the flamed granite in the kitchen. Stone flooring is perfect for the way you live.
It’s important, then, to make sure that you understand what makes stone flooring distinctive so that you won’t be surprised or disappointed. The World Home Flooring Association (wfca.org) offers these tips:
No Two Stone Floors Are Alike. Ever.
You can’t have a stone floor exactly like Cousin Martha’s. You just can’t. And that’s the beauty of it. Every piece of stone is unique in the truest sense of the word — it is one of a kind.
That means that the samples at your retailers won’t be exactly like the flooring you have installed. The colors and mineral veining will vary. These differences make it impossible for you to hand-select your flooring. You are going for an overall look, not a perfect match. This is all part of the personality of your stone floor.
Additionally, no natural stone tile will have a perfectly smooth surface. There is always a possibility that small chips or pits may show up and be more evident in certain kinds of lighting.
Natural stone also varies in hardness. Make sure to match the flooring with the kind of activities that will be taking place on it. For example, soft, porous stone flooring is inappropriate for a high traffic area. Consult your retailer.
Once you’ve chosen your style of stone flooring, you then need to think about what goes between the stones.
Cementing the Relationship
Grout is like the icing on your igneous cake. It comes in different colors and textures and can match, contrast or coordinate with your stone floor.
Grout doesn’t have to make a statement. Select a grout that is close in color to the stone for subtlety. A contrasting grout color will make the grout lines more visible and will emphasize the grid. Non-sanded grout is used with finer, more highly polished flooring. Sanded grout might be used with tumbled stone or even slate for a rustic appearance.
Grout colors used in your home can vary somewhat from the sample viewed at the retailer. A slightly different temperature or humidity can also cause minor color shifts.
Also, trivial differences in color can occur from one room to the other. The tile setter will determine the exact layout, type of grout, and grout joint widths at the time of installation.
Seal the Stone
Most stone floors can benefit from sealing. It’s another one of those things that needs to be done by a professional. The requirements of each type of stone differ, so consult your retailer to be sure. Sealing your natural stone flooring makes it less porous, more stain resistant and protects the stone’s original beauty.
Once your flooring is installed, it’s important to maintain all caulked areas to guard against water damage.
Stone Cold Cash
“Cost per square foot” is just one component of the overall price tag for new stone flooring. Ask your retailer to calculate the total cost of your floor-covering project. Here’s what may be included beyond the cost of the stone itself:
Furniture removal/replacement. Some retailers or installers may charge to remove (and then replace) furniture in the room.
Demolition/disposal of old floor covering. Unless your home is brand new, there’s probably an old floor covering that is going to need to be removed and properly disposed of.
Sub-floor preparation. Depending on its condition (after removal of the old floor covering), your subfloor may need to be prepped for stone flooring installation.
Product delivery. Delivering your flooring may not be included in the “cost per square foot” price.
Installation. There will most likely be a “cost per square foot” to install your new stone flooring.
Materials to complete the installation. Additional materials may be required to properly install your stone flooring.
Financing. Many retailers offer financing as an option of payment. Be sure to check the interest rate, minimum payment due and any finance charges if you choose to pay your purchase off over time.
Ask your retailer and/or consult the manufacturer’s warranty and care guide for directions on cleaning and maintenance.
Courtesy of the World Home Flooring Association