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Granite and Marble Flooring

Updated:2009-12-25 16:09:04

Summary: Granite tile and marble flooring are excellent floor materials. They are natural stone products, very durable and stain resistant. Other options for floors include slate and terrazzo. All except for terrazzo are installed like ceramic tile.


DEAR TIM: I'm giving serious consideration to using granite and/or marble as a flooring material in an upcoming building project. Will they both perform equally? How about stain resistance, durability, and care? Are there any natural stone product alternatives that you might recommend? A.C.


DEAR A.C.: I must compliment you on your taste and choice of building materials. Both granite and marble are wonderful flooring materials. These materials have seen explosive growth during the past 5-10 years. Marble sales have increased approximately 400 percent during the past five years.


Believe it or not, during the past ten years, hard stone products have experienced an incredible 2,000 percent growth in sales. There is no doubt that homeowners have discovered the advantages that commercial builders have known for quite some time. Aside from flooring, homeowners are using marble and granite as countertops, back splashes, tub platforms and surrounds, and fireplace surrounds and hearths.


Both marble and granite are natural stone products. Recalling my college days, as a geology undergraduate, marble is a metamorphic rock. Limestone, when subjected to various high temperatures and pressures within the earth, recrystallizes into marble. For years, much of the fine marble used in building was quarried in Italy. However, fine marble is now quarried in Mexico, China, Spain, and the former Soviet Union.


Granite is a fine to coarse grained rock which often contains quartz, feldspar, and mica crystals. It can form as a result of igneous (volcanic) or metamorphic geologic activity. The presence of quartz in granite gives it incredible durability and hardness characteristics. Granite is almost always more durable than marble.


Because granite and marble are natural products, they exhibit a wide range of stain resistance. Marble is more porous than granite. Certain marbles can stain quite readily. Common household liquids such as orange juice, nail polish remover, shampoo, and even water can cause serious stains in certain marbles. Granite, on the other hand, is very stain resistant. Professional installers recommend the use of neutral pH breathable sealers for both marble and granite, once they have been installed. These sealers need to be reapplied on a regular basis, depending upon how much use or foot traffic that the marble or granite is exposed to.


If you choose to use marble for an entrance foyer, it might have to be professionally cleaned and resealed every 12 - 18 months. Marble used in bathrooms and kitchens should be cleaned and resealed every 9 - 12 months.


There are several alternative natural stone products that might interest you as well. Slate and terrazzo make beautiful and durable floors. Terrazzo is very unique. It is made by mixing different colored marble chips with colored cement and / or epoxy. This mixture is honed and polished to a mirror like surface. By using a variety of different colored marble chips, you can create virtually any colored floor or pattern. Terrazzo requires virtually the same care as natural marble flooring.


Slate is a unique flooring material. It is available in shades of green, brown, red, and mottled green. It is very durable, and when sealed it is virtually stain proof.


All of the stone products, except for terrazzo, are installed similar to ceramic tile. They are available in different sizes, commonly 12 x 12 inch squares. Slate often is available in random sizes that fit together in a pattern. The thickness of the materials varies, depending upon what you choose. However, most flooring pieces are either 1/4, 3/8, or 1/2 inch thick. Visit your local stone products center and see the wide variety of products that are available. I'm sure that you will not waste your time.

 

Source:http://www.askthebuilder.com

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