Natural stone tile is one of the most beautiful tile materials around. They give warmth and beauty to a home and go with virtually any type of decor. Natural stones tiles are also eco-friendly, which makes them perfect for those who are concerned about the environment.

There are many types of natural stone, including marble, slate, granite, travertine, limestone and sandstone.

Each stone has its own unique properties, so make sure to research the specific material you choose to make the best decision.

Natural stone is very sturdy and durable, are well insulated and can be a great option for homeowners with kids or pets.

However, there are several things you need to consider before deciding on stone tile for your home. Just because you love the beauty and eco-friendly properties, doesn’t always make it the best fit for you or your family.

With any remodeling choice, it’s important to weigh the pros, cons, installation and maintenance requirements before you can make an informed choice that will make you happy long term.




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Cons of Stone Tile

There are several cons of stone tile, which many people are unaware of. The high cost of purchase is one of them. .

Some of the other issues with stone tile is the material itself. Some of them can be easily scratched or chipped, can flake off or can be brittle.

If or when damage does occur, it can often be difficult to fix.

Stone tile is also a porous material, which means that it can easily be stained if not regularly sealed. This means that it’s more high maintenance than other tile materials.

Stone Tile Installation

Installation of stone tile can also be tricky. It’s one of the heaviest stones, meaning that if your subfloor is not completely level, you can find that you tile may snap or break.

There are some other installation issues to consider when deciding on stone tile. Be aware that there’s a big difference between installing stone tile and ceramic tile specifically over wood framing.

Unfortunately, most people think stone tile products can be installed over a wood-framed floor in the same way as is ceramic and porcelain tile. This is completely untrue and will many times lead to a very costly replacement.

This is because tiles made from natural stone don’t have the same strength as ceramic tiles and they require a floor system that’s twice as stiff as what is required for ceramic floor tile.

The 2015 TCNA Handbook has only one approved method for the installation of natural stone tile over wood framing with backer board. Make sure you look into the requirements before you get started on stone tile installation.

Stone tile floor structures must be twice as stiff as ceramic tile.

Factors to Consider in Stone Tile Purchases

Here are a few of the factors you should consider in the purchase of an individual style of stone tile.


marble-foyer - Stone tile

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Stone Tile Grade:

Some retailers use a grading system to rate the quality of materials. This can refer to the size, shape, and thickness of the tile, as well as it’s surface condition. Here are the three grade levels and what they mean:

  • Grade 1 – high quality, uniform materials.
  • Grade 2 – materials with minor defects, such as chips, scratches, or irregular surfaces.
  • Grade 3 – major flaws in size, shape, surface, or chipping, making them appropriate only as accent pieces, or in certain rustic decorative applications.

Absorption Rating:

This refers to how porous a material is. The more absorbent it is, the more easily it can be stained or cracked under freezing temperatures. Sandstone being the most porous and granite being the least, which is basically waterproof as long as it’s sealed. Here are the absorption ratings:

  • Non-vitreous:  highest absorption level. Not great for damp environments.
  • Semi-vitreous: Less absorbent, but the more liquid they’re exposed to, the more maintenance they need.
  • Vitreous: Standard absorption level. Appropriate for low to mid traffic indoor and outdoor areas.
  • Impervious: Resistant to the absorption and easy to maintain. Great for high traffic areas.
  • Polished materials also absorb less water than honed or matte surfaces.​
slate-bathroom - stone tile

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Coefficient of Friction

This measures how slippery various materials are. The higher the coefficient, the more traction a tile will have. This is really important in potentially wet areas like kitchens or bathrooms.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Rating

Some stone tile options are better for outdoor areas than others.

Non-vitreous materials can be stained through dirt and acid rain, or cracked if they freeze and expand. Chose something with a higher coefficient to avoid slipping in weather conditions.


Natural stone materials are formed beneath the earth. Sometimes iron is present in these materials, which can show up as bright red and amber specs in the surface of the stone. The problem in an outdoor environment is that those traces of iron can oxidize, or rust.

Now that you know everything to consider before purchasing stone tile for your home, I hope you feel confident enough to make the best decision for you and your home!