Planning and Designing a Natural Stone Floor

Sara Miller
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Natural stone is a time-tested option a remodel or building project. There's a reason you see this type of flooring installed everywhere: Its veratility, range of options, durability, and polished "look" make it a popular option that stands the test of time.

Whether you choose to hire a professional installer or make it your next DIY project, the choice is up to you. Still, you need to consider the following points when planning and designing your natural stone tile floor.

Your Material Options

The range of material options you have at your fingertips are virtually endless. Limestone, granite, travertine, and marble are a few of the many natural stone options you have to work with. Here are details of each:

Limestone: This sedimentary stone consist of organic material like sediments and shells. Most limestone is natural colored and porous (unless treated). 

Granite: Granite is formed from quartz, feldspar, and mica which are fuzed together by a natural heating and cooling process. Granite can come in many colors and can be fabricated to many textures.

Marble: This type of stone is formed through calcium carbonate deposits. Marble has the appearance of a changed its structure to a crystalline, sugary texture. It is generally white or whitish, sometimes translucent, with ornate veining.

Travertine: Travertine is a heated form of limestone. Travertine is available in natural hues, but with abundant finishes.

The Orientation, Size, and Layout

Once you have selected the right natural stone tiling material, now it's time to nail down the look you're going after. Larger tiles will take less time and expertise to install, whereas smaller tiles will take longer to install, but can create intricate patterns and a mosaic look.  With most natural stone tiles, you'll also need to choose from a range of shapes: rectangle, square, octagon, or smaller mosaic tiles. 

Installation Process

Prepping the subfloor: Properly treat the subfloor (flooring under the main surface). If your subfloor is cement, then the natural stone tile can be applied directly to the subfloor. If your subfloor is wood you will most likely need to apply a cement board before installing your natural stone. NEVER install natural stone flooring over untreated wood, carpet, or old tile flooring. Doing so could cause damage to the stone flooring and can leave your home susceptible to mold and mildew. Many installers go a step further by treating the subfloor with a waterproof sealant before installing the new floor.

Measure before cutting: Measure the room before purchasing any tile. Examine the tiles for blemishes and consider how you want your floor to look. Whether your plan on installing a stone floor with an intricate design, or a simple tiled look you will mostly likely need to cut some tiles. Understand which tiles need to be cut and where they will be placed before making a single cut. 

Trim and doors: Consider every part of your install. You will need to remove any trim and baseboards before installing your floor. Measure the thickness of the tile floors and be sure your doors will be able to swing freely before you install any tiles.

They day of installation: Whether you are installing your own floor or hiring a professional, it’s best to plan and be prepared. Make sure the area is free of hazardous or dangerous materials. Also make sure any walkways are free of debris and clutter so whoever is installing the floor can easily get in and out of the room. On the day of the install, make sure your home is well ventilated.

When installing your natural stone floor, the more planning you do the fewer mistakes you will make and the sooner you will enjoy your gorgeous new floor.