How to Select a Granite, Marble or Limestone Tile Floor

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A natural stone floor makes a statement in any home. Granite, marble and limestone all have specific characteristics that can make them desirable. Stone is a natural product, with natural variation that can be pleasing to the eye. Stone tiles can also appear sleek and elegant or rustic and worn depending on how they have been manufactured.
While stone tiles can be used anywhere in the home, selecting the right stone tile for a specific area can take some consideration.

Things You'll Need

  • Color samples from the room where the tiles will be installed.
  • Consider the finish and color you want the stone tile to bring to the room. Granite tiles are most often polished, with bright colors and clean edges. Marble tiles can be polished, honed or tumbled and have veins moving through their surface. Limestone tiles are often too soft to polish, and are honed or tumbled for a softer look. Limestone also has fewer colors, with more neutrals than granite or marble.

  • Narrow down your stone choices to a color and finish family, such as polished green marble and granite or tumbled beige marble and limestone. Look at samples of the tiles with colors taken from the room where they will be installed, including wall color, cabinetry colors or countertop colors. Look for a stone tile that complements, but doesn't compete with other materials in the room.

  • Consider the use of the area where you are installing the tiles. Granite is the most durable stone and will hold up well in high traffic areas, but can be slippery when wet. Limestone is extremely soft and can stain in kitchens, but a tumbled limestone will hide wear and tear better than a polished marble. Marble is harder than limestone, but softer than granite; it can work well in a number of areas, provided it is not subject to too much moisture.

  • Ask what the hardness rating is for the stones you are considering. Some limestones may be harder than some marbles; the mineral makeup of each stone will affect how hard or soft it is. Crema Luna limestone is much more durable than Crema Marfil marble. Narrow your choices to two or three, one from each category and ask for the hardness ratings of each stone to make an informed decision.

  • Take home samples from your top choices and look at them in the space. Place the tiles where they can be seen in all lights and move them to see them with various other materials in the room. Choose the stone that complements the room, your lifestyle and the your taste.

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