NATURAL STONE FLOORING IN ORANGE COUNTY, CA

At TS Carpet & Design Center, you will find an amazing selection of natural stone flooring possibilities. Stone floors are natural, beautiful, and will not go out of style. Stone offers a sense of permanence and character that surpasses any other flooring material. The naturally cool, hard surface is ideal for our usually-warm California climate and does not harbor dust or allergens. However, before choosing a specific type of stone, arm yourself with knowledge to find the just-right material for your lifestyle and purpose.
The amount and size of pores in a stone (its porosity) affect its strength and stain resistance. If you are considering installation in a high-traffic area such as an entryway, a kitchen, or a family bathroom, you’ll want to choose a hard, dense, nonporous stone such as granite or slate. The softer, more porous stones such as marble, limestone, and travertine require frequent cleaning and regular applications of sealants to prevent staining and pitting. Polished material like marble can scratch easily; some stones are also very brittle and may tend to chip.
However, each piece of stone is a unique creation of the earth – your natural stone floor will be unique - one of a kind. Stone slabs or tiles are natural, nonpolluting, and eco-friendly. You can find an incredible range of colors and patterns and, as with gemstones, rare colors and patterns cost the most. Do your research to be sure that you understand the characteristics of the material you are contemplating – is it the right material for your application?

STONE CHOICES

GRANITE – With a myriad of available varieties, this in-demand stone can be “flamed” for a slip-resistant texture, making it a good choice for busy kitchens or bathrooms. Granite is an igneous rock formed under extreme pressure, making it one of the hardest flooring materials. It’s virtually impervious to staining – resistant to acids found in foods and cleaning products. Its density makes it nearly scratchproof. Granite is beautiful with a very distinct look; it’s not a solid color and often has veins running through it. However, because granite is very hard and unforgiving, the subflooring must be completely level and have the strength to support its heaviness. If the floor has bumps or even tiny valleys, granite tiles will crack easily.
SLATE – This is a metamorphic rock that was formed in layers, so it easily splits into thin sheets that are cut into tiles. This rustic classic with its duller and slightly uneven look is available in geometric pieces and irregular shapes. Color-wise, slate tends toward blends of dark green, gray, and brown. The denser the slate, the less likely it is to chip or flake in a process called “spalling.” Slate floor tiles can be left with their naturally rough surfaces or honed smooth. The rougher, un-honed surfaces offer good traction for entryways, sunrooms, patios, and kitchens – a perfect choice if slip-resistant flooring matters to you. A bit of spalling is common in un-honed slate and, of course, denser slates are the more costly. Overall, slate is more stain resistant than other stone choices, takes water well, and is highly durable.
LIMESTONE – Known for its natural, earthen appearance, limestone is formed from sedimentary materials such as coral and shells. Because of its granular composition, limestone varies in degrees of hardness. It is lightweight and rich in color. Unlike some stones, when limestone is cut from the same slab, it has very little color variation from title to tile. Limestone can be machine-tumbled for a worn look or it can be sanded for a soothing, refined look. If you choose to use limestone in a room where acidic liquids might spill, consider sealing this porous material every year. Being somewhat harder than its cousin, travertine, it will stand up better to everyday use over time. With proper maintenance, limestone tile performs well in high-traffic areas. And - because of its striking grain patterns - limestone can even resemble wood planks when it is cut into long, narrow tiles!
MARBLE - Formed from metamorphic rock as a result of tremendous heat and pressure, marble is known for its characteristically large veins, for its soft grain patterns, and its creamy colors that range from white to red to green to black. Hue and pattern are determined by the quarry site. But keep in mind that marble is one of nature’s softer rocks and, therefore, prone to scratching and staining. However, some varieties of marble are harder and more stain-resistant than others. Marble can be impregnated with a silicone-based material to prevent scratches or damage from acidic cleaning products. Like all natural stones, marble must have a protective sealant applied before use, and it must be maintained and reapplied regularly for full protection. Spills should be cleaned up immediately to avoid potential damage. Marble is often polished to a high sheen that shows off its subtle beauty, but this finish makes it slippery when wet, so it isn’t the best choice for kitchen or bathroom floors unless used judiciously. Honed marble has a more textured surface and could be used for floors in kitchens or baths – but you’ll surrender the dynamic color of polished marble. Always a sophisticated choice for formal spaces and, used properly, marble can give your bathroom area the feel of a luxurious spa. Though requiring some special care, marble is prized for its classic elegance. You may be ready to enjoy the royal ambiance offered by this ancient stone.
TRAVERTINE – This crystallized, partially metamorphosed limestone is often mistaken for marble if it is polished. It is a porous stone with natural holes from formation. Reminiscent of ancient Roman baths due to its characteristically “spongy” texture, its holes can be filled or left natural but, as with all porous stones, it must be sealed and maintained appropriately. Due to its porosity, it reacts quickly to acidic substances so proper maintenance is a must. Though this sedimentary rock is one of the softer varieties of stone flooring, it is still durable enough for most applications. The beige, ivory, or rust colored stone will develop a soft, mellow patina over time. The “antique-looking” tumbled (unpolished) travertine - characterized by its pits, holes, and rounded edges – is a favorite with many designers.

SO – WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT STONE FLOORING?

Few building materials match the beauty of a natural stone floor. With its no-two-pieces-look-alike character and its durability, stone flooring has been a favorite of homeowners for millennia. At TS Carpet & Design Center, our capable designers can help you as you consider the right stone for your project:
  • What room are you considering? Will there be high traffic? Do you have pets? Is it an area where spills are likely? The answers to these questions will help you determine the density and the porosity – impervious, vitreous, semi-vitreous, non-vitreous - of the stone you should use in a given area. Realize, too, that polished materials absorb less water than honed or cleft surfaces.
  • Know whether the stone you’re considering requires sealing and, if so, how often the sealer should be reapplied. Quality sealers fill spaces between the crystals and minerals in stone tiles so that they resist water and stains – they do not just cover the surface. To protect your floor, we suggest picking a holiday – like New Year’s or Valentine’s Day - and seal your stone on or near that special day every year to keep your floor looking beautiful and new for years to come.
  • Are you installing on a concrete or wood subfloor? Either situation requires a professional installer such as the ones at TS. A seasoned, dedicated, experienced professional is a must, as stone installation is labor-intensive and extremely exacting. On a concrete subfloor, our installer may opt to apply the mortar directly onto the subfloor before laying the tile – but a wood subfloor requires cement backer for support and as a moisture barrier.
  • Because stone tile floors can be thicker/higher than adjacent flooring surfaces, you may need to install a transition strip to connect the two. Our fabricators are able to craft a stone transition for you or you might purchase a ready-made transition made from the same surface as your adjacent floor. This is a design decision that our TS design specialists can help you with.
  • How slippery is your stone? Are you installing it in a room that will have moisture/spills? Is it a high-traffic area? How much traction is right for your flooring application?
  • Is a mosaic accent appropriate for your project? Stone medallions add a pop of decorative detail to any tile design. Such an embellishment can transform a conservative design into something ornate. Depending on the look you’re going for, you can use them sparingly or consistently within your space.
Stone tile will bring the colors and texture of nature into your home and will add a quality and warmth to a room that’s not possible with any other material. It’s super durable, so is an excellent choice in heavy traffic areas – entries, hallways, kitchens, baths – and you can use the same stone throughout to extend your living space and to create a natural flow into your patio or garden – bringing the indoors out. The design experts at TS Carpet & Design Center in Placentia, California are eagerly waiting to assist you with your natural stone flooring project. Come see us today!