Your Guide to Natural Stone Flooring Ideas for Your Home

Detailed mosaics exude grace. Rough-hewn pieces accentuate natural-style settings. Whatever you choose, indoor stone flooring offers character to any home.

White hallway, grey tile floor

Stone floors are natural, beautiful, and always stylish. The cool, hard surface is ideal for warm climates and doesn't harbor dust or allergens. Before choosing a specific type of stone, arm yourself with the knowledge to find the best fit for your home.

The amount and size of pores in a stone referred to as porosity, affect its strength and stain resistance. If you're installing stone in a high-traffic area, such as a kitchen, mudroom, or family bath, the natural stone flooring idea best for you is nonporous stone, such as granite or slate. Softer, more porous stones, such as marble, limestone, and travertine, require regular applications of sealants and frequent cleaning to prevent staining and pitting.

Stone Types

You can find natural stone in an incredible range of colors and patterns. As with gemstones, rare colors and patterns cost the most.

Here are some characteristics of the popular varieties:


With hundreds of available varieties, this in-demand stone can be flamed for slip-resistant texture in busy kitchens and bathrooms.


Known for its natural, earthen appearance, limestone is formed from sedimentary materials, such as coral and shells. Unlike some stones, when limestone is cut from the same slab, it has little color variation from tile to tile.

The stone can be sanded perfectly smooth for a soft, refined look or machine-tumbled for a worn look. Consider sealing this porous material every few years if you use limestone in a room where acidic liquids might spill.


This porous stone is a sophisticated choice for formal spaces but is easily scratched. Slabs or tiles come in many colors, based on where they were quarried. Some varieties of marble are harder and more stain-resistant than others. Ask your dealer if the marble you're considering is a good natural stone flooring idea for the use you have in mind.


A rustic classic available in geometric pieces and irregular shapes, slate is usually found in dark gray, soft red, and medium green.


This crystallized, partially metamorphosed limestone is often mistaken for marble.

Stone Tiles

Stone tiles have been used in home interiors for thousands of years. They are made by slicing boulders and slabs of rock into thin squares or rectangles. The appearance of stone varies from tile to tile due to veining, natural imperfections, and even fossils. Color palettes also vary by the type of stone and location of the quarry.


Installing stone tiles is labor-intensive and extremely exacting. Hire a seasoned, dedicated professional to ensure proper installation. A proper substrate, the surface on which the stone tile will be laid, is also critical. With concrete subfloors, installers may opt to apply the mortar directly onto the subfloor and then simply lay the tile. A wood subfloor requires cement backer for support and as a moisture barrier.

Because stone tiles can be thicker than other flooring surfaces, you may need to install a transition strip to connect your new stone floor to the flooring in an adjacent area. Your stone dealer may be able to fabricate a stone transition for you, or you can purchase a ready-made transition made from the same surface as the adjacent floor.


Talk to a stone dealer to find out whether the variety of stone you are considering for your home requires sealing and, if so, how often it should be reapplied. Quality stone sealers fill spaces between the crystals and minerals in stone tiles so they resist water and stains, rather than just covering the surface. Stone floors in low-traffic areas and nonporous stone, such as granite, may not need to be sealed.

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