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The factors in purchasing natural stone

The absorption rating refers to how porous a material is. The more absorbent it is, the more sensitive it will be to stains, as well as cracking damage when exposed to freezing conditions.

Rate of absorption

The absorption rating refers to how porous a material is. The more absorbent it is, the more sensitive it will be to stains, as well as cracking damage when exposed to freezing conditions. Natural stones have great differences in their absorption rates, with sandstone being the most porous to granite, which is virtually waterproof even when left unsealed. Absorption rate is classified according the following terms:


Non-vitreous: This means the highest absorption level. In most cases, non-vitreous tiles should not be used in any humid environment.

Semi-vitreous: While these tiles are less absorbent, the more humidity and liquid they are exposed to, the more maintenance they will need.

Vitreous: This term is used for the standard absorption level for flooring tiles and these materials are generally considered proper for low to mid traffic indoor and outdoor usages.

Impervious: These materials are resistant to the absorption of liquids so will be easier to take care and maintain. They are often used in high traffic commercial applications.

Generally, sandstone is the most porous natural stone material. Limestone, travertine, and slate have medium absorption level, while granite is considered waterproof.



Polished materials also absorb less humidity and water than honed or cleft surfaces. ​



Retailers use a grading system to rate the quality of the materials. This can refer to the shape, size, and thickness of the tile. Almost all grading systems have three levels of quality.


Grade 1: it refers to high quality, uniform materials.

Grade 2: these consists of materials with minor defects, such as scratches, chips, or irregular surfaces.

Grade 3: these materials have big flaws in size, surface, shape, or chipping, making them appropriate only as accent pieces, or in certain rustic decorative applications.





Coefficient of Friction

This shows how slippery various materials are. The higher coefficient means higher traction a tile. This number is especially important in humid environments such as kitchens and bathrooms, as well as high traffic commercial areas.


Indoor rating vs. Outdoor Rating

Some natural stone flooring materials are more appropriate to outdoor applications than others. Many of the factors above determine whether a material should be used in an open air environment or not.



Non-vitreous materials will be subject to staining through dirt and acid rain, as well as cracking when absorbed materials freeze and expand. Stones which have a low coefficient of friction will pose a slipping hazard during rain and snow storms.



Natural stones are formed in the earth over millions of years, and often contain a range of other elements. Sometimes these materials contain iron, which can manifest as bright red and amber colors on the surface of the stone. The problem in an outdoor environment is that iron can oxidize. This process is known as rusting. This can cause the entire tile to gets weak over time. ​


Advantages of Using Natural Stone

There are many practical and aesthetic reasons why natural stone can be a good choice:


Every piece of stone is a creation of the earth, making every flooring application unique. Every floor is entirely one of a kind.

The natural and mountain-born qualities of these stones can help to give living spaces an eternal and direct connection to the natural world, unlike any other material.

While there are some discussions about the ecological impact of mining and transporting stone materials, the tiles themselves are natural, eco-friendly, nonpolluting pieces. Buying stones which were acquired locally can cut down on the environmental impact of transport.



Disadvantages of Using Natural Stone Flooring

There are also some disadvantages of using natural stone:


Except granite and some slate, natural stone is porous and needs to be treated with a sealing agent periodically to protect its surface.

Some polished materials like marble can be scratched easily.

Some stones are also very brittle and will chip easily.

When buying natural stone flooring materials, it is necessary to do your research and understand the characteristics of the products you are going to buy. Find out whether it is suitable for your specific application and how much maintenance it will require. Ask your retailer some questions, and understand the material as much as you can.

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