When it comes to choosing a stone surface for your home, it is important to remember all the considerations that come with each individual type of stone, and the influential factors of the intended area in which you plan to install it.
The intended location of the stone will inevitably help determine which type of stone to choose and how to treat it, so it is important to consider all possible factors. Take note of whether you will be having the stone indoors or outside, in a wet or dry area, will it be exposed to spillages and soap scum, will the area be constantly warm, and will it fit in with the current design of its surroundings.
The kitchen area is one surrounded by acidic substances and constant food mess that is subject to regular spillages. Therefore stone for the kitchen is often required to be hardwearing and resistant to absorption of such liquids and substances.
Marble stone is likely to etch with contact to acidic substances, and will erode over time creating an unwanted worn look to your kitchen. Granite is often a better choice for kitchen areas as it is scratch and heat resistant, it does not absorb moisture once sealed, and it is resistant to most harsh chemicals and substances, ultimately keeping the stone in great condition.
Bathroom areas are also surrounded by corrosive chemicals and are subject to the build up of soap scum, dirt and oil deposits, and therefore, these spaces require stone that has a strong resistance to absorption but can also be easily cleaned.
Often it is the smooth surfaces such as limestone, polished marble, or granite that are an ideal choice for bathrooms. The size of the tile is also an important factor, particularly in the areas where drains are located as small tiles can be easily laid, more so than large tiles, when the fall towards the drain is steep.
Outdoor areas are exposed to all elements of weather, pollution and chemical substances from nearby pool areas. Stone in these areas are likely to weather quickly if chosen incorrectly. Most often, sandstone is the best choice as it is hardwearing and slip resistant for those pool spaces.
The structure of your space often determines which stone you choose as factors of the weight of the stone must be compatible with the architectural design of the area. The size, space and height of the structure are also important as these will affect accessibility for maintenance such as polishing, sealing and cleaning. If the structure is very high or is a vertical wall, it may be difficult to maintain its condition.
The stone finish will be determined by the intended purpose of the stone and the type of stone chosen. Marble may be polished to a high gloss whereas sandstone cannot. Marble details in a bathroom have a great look with a high gloss, whereas in outdoor areas, sandstone is better left textured to enhance its slip resistance function. Low sheen finishes are practical for any area with lots of traffic, whereas a high gloss finish is ideal for the alternative traffic space.
Maintenance is an important consideration when choosing a stone for your home. The regular effort to maintain your stone determines the true concrete cost of it. If the correct stone for the right area is chosen along with an appropriate finish, maintenance will be manageable, time efficient, and affordable. If the wrong stone and finish are chosen, maintenance comes with the risk of being costly and ineffective. This often occurs when consumers consider design aspects over practicality and maintenance costs are often neglected in the decision. High gloss finishes may be desired on a certain stone flooring in a communal area with high foot traffic, which will often see the cost of regular polishing or resurfacing increase. These factors must all be considered before making a decision on a stone for your home. Be sure to check with your tile specialist about the stone maintenance requirements, and products needed to keep it in tact in order to finalise an overall cost for the stone.