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Natural Stone Provides Instant Upgrade for Flooring

By Jodi Paper

Natural Stone Flooring

With such a wide variety from which to choose, natural stone is a natural choice when it comes to flooring. Whether in the home, office, building lobby, or public facility such as a museum or shopping mall, there really is no better option for one's design. With natural stone, there is something for everyone. And what once was only considered for use in upscale kitchens and bathrooms, or for commercial spaces, natural stone is beginning to be viewed as a limitless, sturdy, practical and quality option for any type of interior flooring application.

The types of natural stone that work in flooring applications range from granite and slate to travertine, sandstone and limestone. And among each type of stone there exists numerous varieties, making for endless options.

The interior stone at Maryville Municipal utilizes Tennessee Light Rose, Tennessee Dark Rose and Champlain Black border.
The interior stone at Maryville Municipal utilizes Tennessee Light Rose, Tennessee Dark Rose and Champlain Black border.

Matte & Muted

"Natural stone provides a flexibility of design, durability of material and the look of quality" said Dan Shannon, a partner and principal architect at Moed de Armas & Shannon. "We are able to achieve our design goal because of the material."

Durability for the Ages

Perhaps the ultimate space, the epitome of the beauty, durability and strength of natural stone flooring is the recent renovation of Grand Central Station Terminal in New York. Originally constructed between 1903 and 1910, the renovation of the space was completed in 1998.

Tennessee marble dates back to the 1800's, when it was first extracted. Several varieties of the material exist, including a range of colors from a blushing pink (Tennessee Pink) to a burgundy (Tennessee Dark Rose) to a chocolate brown (Tennessee Cedar). And while the beauty of the stone (and many other natural stones) is undeniable, Gawet stressed, "It is wise to dig deeper than aesthetics when considering a flooring material. "Unlike wood or carpet, with stone there are so many advantages of durability and easier maintenance."

Compared to man-made materials, natural stone is a choice product. "Natural stone has a beautiful and rich look that can't be duplicated in man-made materials," Gawet added.

The 'Feel Good' Flooring

Tom Stobie, president of Owen Sound Ledgerock Limited, agrees with Gawet. The company quarries and manufactures dolomite, a sedimentary stone that has a flurry pattern when cut. Consisting of earthy tones such as taupes, grays, browns and blacks, dolomite is a layered stone that has become popular in residential projects.

"For years, granites and marbles were popular," Stobie said. "But with beiges, taupes and browns, you get a warmer feel and a little bit of a range of colors in tiles, making for a very attractive floor."

Natural stone can creates a seamless, flowing design from horizontal to vertical surfaces. Here Algonquin honed limestone was used for the walls, while Eramosa limestone was used for the flooring material.
Natural stone can creates a seamless, flowing design from horizontal to vertical surfaces. Here Algonquin honed limestone was used for the walls, while Eramosa limestone was used for the flooring material.

While Stobie stated that most materials have their advantages and disadvantages, when it comes to all-around quality, natural stone is the winner. "Natural stone is better than ceramics, in flexibility, in size. Designers and architects can design and mix sizes to generate custom patterns in floors," he said.

Ultimately, every stone is different, offering varying strengths and quality. "There are so many choices available ? color, texture, finish, pattern, cut ? it can be overwhelming," Gawet said. "So have fun with it, but do your homework."

One more advantage of natural stone flooring not to be overlooked is the "green" issue. "Using natural stone, you are building in a way more environmentally conscious," Buster added. "You are likely using less energy and creating less pollution."

Gawet felt similarly about natural stone: "Using natural stone is a great way to feel good about any building project."

natural stone flooring

(article from Building Stone Magazine)