Choosing a Hard Natural Stone Flooring

Jim Williams
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Buying Guides

Natural stone flooring is known for its beauty and uniqueness. People are drawn to this type of flooring material because it is naturally occuring, making no two slabs of stone exactly alike. Still, in order for this to be a practical material in most homes, it needs to be durable. When choosing a natural stone flooring material compare granite, marble, sandstone, and travertine. Let's explore:


Granite is toughest and densest of all natural stones - only second to diamonds. Formed from compacted quartz and feldspar, granite is durable and scratch/stain resistant, making it a perfect choice for your kitchen or bathroom floor. Granite comes in multiple finishes and sizes so it can be used in virtually any room of your house, from foyers and libraries to kitchens and bathrooms. Granite can emulate many of the same hues as marble and often contains swirls of browns, reds, and grays. 


Another similar looking stone to granite is marble. Dating back to ancient Greece, this natural stone has been widely popular throughout the centuries because of its elegant and polished look. Once considered only available to the rich and famous, today this natural stone is accessible to most home and business owners. Marble is composed of a crystallized limestone and comes in many different color and cuts. Its widely known for its prominent veining pattern of swirls and patches with a contrasting color. Colors can range from rich reds to subtle shades of off-white.


As the name suggests, sandstone has a gritty, sandy appearance. Sandstone is a popular choice and is used in many interior applications. Houzz notes that "the wild color variations of other stones aren't as prevalent with sandstone and it's easier to find consistent tones with this material." Still, sandstone is popular because of its strength and neutral coloring.


A member of the limestone family, Travertine shares a common appearance and also has similar characteristics such as being soft and porous. This natural stone has a fibrous exists varieties of sand, cream, tan, white, and cream, and can come polished or textured (unfinished). The Romans mined deposits of travertine for building temples, monuments, bath complexes, and amphitheaters such as the Colosseum, while modern use is found in the world-famous Willis Tower in Chicago. Travertine is one of the most frequently used stones in modern architecture and is considered luxury building item.

Consideration Points

Factor your budget and how much material you will need in order to choose between these two magnificent stone flooring options. If you are on a limited budget but still want the overall look of a natural stone, choose an agglomerate (manufactured stone). This type of flooring material consists of natural stone elements mixed in a bonding material. Porcelain and ceramic tile are both classified as a manufactured stone.