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Product Comparison: Tile vs. Stone

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2010

Tile or stone? That's the question facing a lot of home builders and owners who are trying to decide what look they want on their new floor. There are pros and cons for each, so let's see if we can help you decide between tile and stone.

Why tile?

Tile is manufactured and that means consistency. Consistency in color, exterior dimension, and thickness. Stone is cut from larger stones. That means that there can be real color variation from one batch to another. Or, more to the point, if you buy travertine from one source but need more pieces, or you need to match colors, you may have a challenge on your hand.

Stone requires more skill in the installation since pieces can vary a little in thickness. This can be addressed by increasing the amount of mortar where needed to build it up, which means this is a job for a pro, not an enthusiastic DIYer.

A through-color tile can be polished and refinished. Although this is not possible for surface ceramics, its good to know.

Tiles other than stone are available in ceramic, in porcelain, and even in glass. This means a selection in choices limited only by the imagination of the maker.

Ceramic tile is generally the least expensive to purchase, as well as to install. We all have budgets. It is also the least expensive to have installed by professionals and the easiest of this type of flooring to do yourself. Porcelain would be next in line, followed by stone as the most expensive.

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Why stone?

Stone is the standard by which all other ceramic and porcelain floors are measured. Its simply the finest product available and the longest-lived.

Stone tiles are mostly mass-produced, now cut by diamond tools to a uniform thickness, at least where appropriate. Slate would be an exception to this due to its natural tendencies.

Stone doesnt show wear as easily as ceramic, as the glazing on ceramic tiles can become scratched or pitted. Stone can also be reground and refinished in place to look like brand new.

Stone floors typically add more resale value to your home than do ceramic. As solid hardwood floors are a selling point over manufactured hardwood, so stone carries greater weight than does any other type of tile flooring.

Stone is naturally inconsistent in color, shape and thickness. This can be very appealing when artfully applied.

Stone can chip or crack like ceramic, but because the color goes all the way through, it wont be as noticeable.

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