Choosing the right hard flooring for your space and lifestyle can be tricky. If you love the look of stone, here's what you need to know about the different styles available.
Image: Beswick Stone
Stone flooring is a versatile choice for your home – one of the most durable materials on the market, while also offering a timeless look. From marble to limestone, the variety of stone styles available as flooring can each add their own dimension to an interiors scheme.
Stone is a brilliant design choice for a family home and areas that experience a high amount of traffic as it is really easy to clean and maintain. Stone floors can also help keep the climate cooler in your home, which is an advantage for the summer months.
Get the lowdown from the experts at Beswick Stone on what you need to know about stone flooring before you buy.
Image: Paris Grey limestone tiles, £46.80 per sqm, Beswick Stone
"Natural stone is an investment, but it will last a lifetime and get better with age," explains John Forde, from Beswick Stone. "The beauty of stone is in its natural, unique variations — no two slabs are completely alike and the subtle shifts in tone add depth."
Limestone is a popular choice for kitchens and is available in a range of neutrals to match any scheme. If you're trying to capture a more lived-in look, try an aged limestone where the edges have been rounded. This will inject instant character into a room.
As well as the cooling benefits of natural stone in the summer, it can be used with underfloor heating too for warm feet in the winter.
You will need to seal natural stone to stop the ingress of water and dirt, as it's naturally porous. This should be done with a specialist sealant for your type of stone (likely stocked by your stone supplier), and should be pre-sealed before laying, as well as regularly re-sealed every 3-5 years.
Avoid using household detergents to clean natural stone floors, as this may damage the stone, and invest in a specialist cleaner.
Image: Castile Heavy flagstone, £48 per sqm, Beswick Stone
Large format natural stone (also called flagstones) has been used for centuries in country houses, so why not consider flagstones in a period property? The natural origin of this materials makes it an authentic way to re-instate original character.
"Cotswold-style flagstones are often used where the homeowner wants to create country charm and work beautifully with exposed brick and open beams," explains Beswick Stone's John Forde. "Edges can be 'soft' or 'heavy' tumbled depending on the look you want to achieve, but heavy tumbled edges will give a more rustic finish as used in the country cottage above."
Image: Walls and Floors
Thanks to technological advances in digital printing, porcelain flooring can now be bought in a stone effect that's virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. However, it doesn't require sealing, and can be cleaned with more traditional cleaning products, so if you require the practicality of porcelain, but like the look of real stone, then this could definitely be a good option for you.
Some designs offer a huge variety in printed patterns, so across a whole floor, you'll get little repetition of the same printed tile, however, it doesn't quite capture the absolute uniqueness and texture of the natural stone alternative.
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