One of the best products for areas of your home which require a hard-wearing and attractive flooring material is any tile which is made of a natural substance. Stone tiles fit the bill in this respect. They come in various types, a multitude of colours and will last a lifetime provided they are laid correctly and looked after.
Natural stone tiles are now easier to find than they ever have been. You can buy new tiles from most DIY or specialist tile stores or you can even use recycled tiles from buildings and homes which have undergone a reclamation process. These types of tiles are more expensive than the usual clay or ceramic, but the impact and look of them is certainly worth the extra outlay.
One drawback of natural stone tiles is that they can be rather cold to the touch. This is great in warm countries where stone tiles are very popular throughout the home. But in the UK you may prefer to limit tiles to parts of the house where warmth is least important and where durability is the main priority. Underfloor heating can be used under stone tiles for these areas and the stone tiles will hold the heat well.
This very heavy stone is very popular as a work surface, but can be used as a floor tile. It comes in a range of colours and is extremely hard wearing. Any scratches can be buffed out making it perfect for high traffic areas. It is less textured than some other stones and may be quite slippery in wet areas.
Marble is great for entrance halls, but is not suitable for bathrooms or kitchens as the stone is porous. It will stain easily and will also scratch. It comes in many colours and is made from a type of crystallised limestone.
This stone is made from sand which has been compressed. It is cheaper than some other forms of floor tile and is very low maintenance. It is uniform in shape and therefore easy to lay.
This stone is slightly softer than others and once again is not good for high traffic areas. It requires a sealant to prevent staining and it will need to have this topped up regularly to keep it looking pristine.
With more texture than other tiles, slate is perfect more most parts of the home. It looks better when wet and will not absorb water or stains. It is still a good idea to apply a sealant even though dirt does not tend to show up on this tile.
Most stone tiling, whether on the floor or walls should be sealed carefully before use and particularly before grouting. Grout will stain the tile and this cannot be removed easily. In some cases you should apply an anti-slip treatment. This will permanently alter the surface of the tile, but without destroying the look of it.