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Natural Stone vs. Porcelain Tile

When it comes to kitchens or bathrooms, you know that you want a hard, durable surface. You want something that can withstand water and something that’s tough. Usually, that brings you down to two choices: natural stone like marble, travertine or slate or a ceramic or porcelain tile. They both fit the bill with a variety of beautiful looks for any space, but which is right for your home? The answer depends.

Natural stone will always be popular precisely because it’s natural stone. It’s a product that carries a certain cache with it, since it spent several thousand years becoming just this beautiful. There will always be a place for real stone.

However, natural stone is porous. It absorbs any liquid spilled onto it in a flash, which can lead to staining. In order to reduce that risk, all stone floors are treated with a penetrating sealer to repel liquids and prevent brittleness. Depending on type and frequency of use the floor sees, sealer needs to be reapplied, which creates ongoing costs.

On the other hand, ceramic and porcelain tile are made from clays baked at high temperatures and usually glazed. That glaze keeps the clay from soaking up liquids and stains like natural stone does. Because the glaze is baked on during the manufacturing process, it does not get absorbed into the tile and serves as a strong coating against spills. The other big thing that gets people’s attention with ceramic tile is the price. Because it is a manufactured product, it costs significantly less than its stone counterparts, making it an attractive and affordable option.

Many people come to us and tell us they want natural stone floors. Often they opt for a less expensive ceramic or porcelain tile that almost exactly mimics the look of stone. Slate in particular can be successfully reproduced in tile to the point that it’s difficult to tell the ceramic from the stone. Other people simply prefer the natural look and richness of natural stone. With proper maintenance and periodic sealing, stone tile floors will last for decades and remain a cherished part of your home. It all boils down to your preferences and your needs.

Whatever you’re looking for, we can help you find the best floor for your Indianapolis home. We’ll bring samples directly to you and let you decide what best fits your lifestyle and your budget. Contact us to schedule your free in-home consultation.