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    2019 Guide to Natural Stone Tile (Uses, Materials, Costs, & Maintenance)

    By Robert Lewis on May, 23 2019



    We see them all the time in the yards we wish we had and the kitchens of our dreams - the beauty of natural stone can be used in so many places around your home. Its resilience, variety, and durability lend any home the character that lasts a lifetime. On top of the many benefits of natural stone covered in this article, it adds considerable value to any home where it’s installed. Let’s go over everything you need to know about natural stone.




    Areas of Discussion



    What Can You Do With Natural Stone?


    It’s more like what can’t you do with it?!


    Natural stone is an incredibly durable and valuable asset to your home. However, you do get what you pay for (we will be covering that shortly). I say that because it is not typically seen as a quick solution to something nor is it seen as a cheap alternative to something. It’s the real deal.


    So real that it has been used for thousands of years way back to ancient Egyptians among the wealthy and elite. Even back then it was seen as a symbol of status and the same notion is carried to this day where natural stone immediately adds value to any home it’s in!

    You too could have the same amazing countertops the Egyptians had - but wait. There’s more:


    • Backsplash
    • Outdoor walkways
    • Outdoor patio
    • Pool Area
    • Bathroom
    • Countertops
    • Fireplaces
    • Literally Anything!



    How Much Does Natural Stone Cost?


    No matter which of the projects above you have planned, you could expect a price range from about $12 to $20 per square foot.


    Beware the Short Answer!


    I can’t stress enough how much the price can dramatically vary depending on what you’re using it for, how much you need, what type you get, the installation process and the maintenance required for such a great product.


    The versatility of natural stone can be stretched to many areas of the home, refer to the list above. But when you get more specific and intricate with details, the amount of labor goes up. When labor goes up, the price goes up.

    For example, if you want a mosaic pattern on your floor or a backsplash in the kitchen, it requires the stone to be cut individually and specifically for the project which takes up a lot of time. The amount of detail you want would add to the installation costs.


    We are starting to see how many factors go into the final costs of a natural stone purchase, no matter where it goes in the home. At the very least, my goal is to set you up for success with all the information you need to get a better idea on what your final cost might be.


    A Little More About The Materials


    The softer the stone, the more delicate it is.


    The stone is ranked by the Mohs Hardness Scale. It ranks every stone on how hard it is which relates to how susceptible it is to scratching and other damage. Every stone is ranked on a scale of lowest to highest (1-10). You can expect pricing to follow the hardness. The harder a stone, the more expensive. Here are some common stone rankings.



    1. Talc (1.0) - Talc is at the bottom of the list. I just put it here because it is the softest. Period. You would never use it for home remodeling purposes.
    2. Marble (2.2 - 5.5) - Marble is very soft. It starts as Limestone but is then re-crystallized and softened due to intense heat and pressure in the Earth.
    3. Limestone (3.0 - 4.0) - Limestone is formed over millions of years at the bottom of rivers and other bodies of water.
    4. Travertine (3.0 - 5.5) - Travertine is limestone that is formed in hot springs. Because of the heat and water, travertine is naturally pitted with holes that add to its aesthetic.
    5. Slate (6.0) - Slate is a natural mixture of clay, quartz, and shale that is made under intense pressure underground.
    6. Granite (6.6 - 8.5) - Ahh, granite. The thickest, hardest and one of the most popular of the stones used for home remodeling.
    7. Diamond (10) - Because why not? If I’m putting Talc on this list I’m going all out. Fun Fact: The equipment used to mine the stone from quarries often uses the diamond to cut the stones listed above. That’s how hard it is!

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    To put the hardness of stone into perspective, I spoke to an experienced salesperson at one of our local retailers. They told me that a client of theirs is having some issues with the marble floor they just installed because the plastic wheels of a bookcase are leaving scratches on the marble. What was the hardness rating of marble? 2.2 - 5.5. It is very soft and easily scratchable depending on how you use it.




    There are alternatives to natural stone such as porcelain and ceramic options. They average $2-3 cheaper per square foot than natural stone and require less upkeep.


    They require less upkeep because they have a better time handling some of the abrasive materials that natural stone can’t be exposed to.


    Care and Maintenance


    We have reached the most important part of this whole piece. The care and maintenance of natural stone should be factored into your final price. Think of it like this:


    The more daily use the natural stone sees, the more upkeep it needs.


    Many natural stone purchases require annual sealing in order to maintain the warranty. The natural sealer protects the stone from wearing away from abrasive materials like acidic foods, ammonia or bleach.

    Many stones that are popular to use around the home are porous. Because of this, the stone can soak in moisture which can cause cracks to pop up. The pores also make it easy for the stone to stain - so remember to make sure it is sealed properly and taken care of so it can last you a lifetime.


    Going All In, Or Still Looking? This Might Help…


    The goal here is to give you the information you need to familiarize yourself so that you can make the best choice for your needs. This article is our launchpad to use to continue your research and get in touch with the professionals who can walk you through the buying process.


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