There are many flooring materials available in the market but nothing is more elegant compared to natural stone tiles. There are different types of stone flooring such as limestone, sandstone, slate, granite, travertine and marble. There are also stone tiles that are manufactured using synthetic such as grey stone tiles which is as close to a natural stone there is but cheaper.
When shopping for natural stone tiles, there are a number of things to consider such as absorption rating, grade, coefficient of friction, indoor versus outdoor rating and oxidation. Absorption rating indicates how porous the specific material is. The higher the absorption rating, the easier for the stone to get stained, cracked and damaged especially during freezing temperature. For natural stones, the most absorbent is sandstone while granite is the least absorbent.
Natural stones are graded based on the quality of the material. This can be based on the surface condition, thickness, size or shape. The highest quality is given the Grade 1 rating while Grade 3 materials are considered to have major imperfections like chipping.
The coefficient of friction indicates how slippery the stone material is. A higher coefficient of friction means the better traction while the opposite means a more slippery material. This is an important consideration for tiles that are to be installed in moist environments like the kitchen and bathroom. Depending on the country, there is a specific dryness coefficient required for flooring materials to avoid accidents.
There are natural stone floorings that can be used outdoors while others are only meant indoors. Materials prone to staining and damage should not be used outdoors as well as stone tiles that have poor coefficient of friction.
Oxidation should be taken into account for natural stones because there is the possibility of rusting. Therefore, materials with high traces of iron should be avoided in open air environment as it can degenerate as time passes by.
While it is good to have natural stone tiles, some homeowners prefer synthetic grey stone tiles because they are generally non-porous and requires less maintenance compared to majority of natural stone materials. They are also more durable and less susceptible to chipping.