Real stone has been an ever popular flooring solution for centuries. It is versatile, hard wearing and with natural imperfections, markings and colours, can bring an unparalleled level of individuality and style to an interior.
The Perfect Finish
The finish you go for will very much influence the overall look and performance of your stone floor. Honed finishes are smooth and ideal for contemporary settings, while riven tiles hide a multitude of stains and will mask any DIY laying errors well. If you opt for an antiqued or weathered finish – which look fabulous in period settings and conversions – be aware that dirt can easily become ingrained in the pits and cracks, and it will shred a sponge mop to pieces.
The Inside Outside Trend
Stone flooring not only looks great inside — it can be the perfect paving material for exterior spaces too. With sliding, bi-fold and patio doors a huge favourite with many at present, forming a seamless link between inside and out, it makes sense to highlight the link between the two spaces by carrying the same stone flooring out from living areas to a terrace beyond. Slate, limestone, sandstone, granite and even marble can be suitable for both interior and exterior applications.
Sloane Parquet limestone flooring from Artisans of Devizes costs £82/m²
Getting Your Order Right
Stone is a wholly natural product and as such is not uniform, with colours varying widely from batch to batch, even from the same quarry. All of this means that it is important to order enough stone to complete the job in one batch — this reduces the risk of mismatched stone.
It also makes sense to order more than you need, not only to account for any wastage that might occur, but also in case you need to replace any sections of the floor down the line and want the new stone to match the existing.
The ‘Nature’ large-format black slate-effect flooring from Tile Mountain, actually made from porcelain, does not require sealing and is incredibly durable. Each tile is created using ink-jet technology to enable a realistic natural look, with every tile having a unique appearance. Prices start at £34.99/m²
Slate is hugely popular for floors, as it is hard-wearing, low-maintenance and available in a huge range of colours and finishes.
Pros: It’s one of the more affordable stones, starting from around £20/m².
Cons: Very cheap, poor-quality slates damage easily.
Limestone is the perfect choice for contemporary and traditional homes alike, and offers a timeless, light and airy quality.
Pros: It looks fabulous as large-format tiles, is naturally warm underfoot and gives a neutral background.
Cons: Very light shades show up dirt easily, so consider a more rustic product if you have children or pets. Prices start from at least £35/m².
Travertine has a more rustic appearance and is a good option for those looking for a cheaper alternative to limestone.
Pros: It has a lower price tag than limestone, starting from around £16/m².
Cons: It’s a fair bit softer than limestone however and it is hard to keep a good shine with this stone.
Sandstone is warm and easy to live with, lending a lovely raw beauty.
Pros: It’s hard-wearing and slightly more unusual than stones such as limestone and slate.
Cons: There’s less colour variations than other stones and it’s more expensive too; prices start at around £48/m².
Marble flooring is luxurious and available in some stunning patterns and colours, making a real statement in the home.
Pros: It’s very resilient and full of character.
Cons: Marble stains easily — acids such as lemon juice, etc. mark it easily, which can be an issue in kitchens. Better quality marble flooring starts at around the £40/m² mark.
Granite is super resilient and repels water and stains with ease. It’s perfect for contemporary settings and costs from £30/m²
Pros: It’s one of the hardest stones out there, with a beautiful shine and colour variations.
Cons: However, it’s cold underfoot and very unforgiving if you happen to have butter fingers.