Tips in Buying Stone Tiles
The Foremost Factors to Consider when Buying Stone Tiles
If you’re out hunting for the best stone tiles for your house, then there are a couple of factors you need to consider before buying. There are a lot of frauds out there who will tell you just about anything to get a buck out of you. So, in order to avoid these cheaters, you need to equip yourself with some valuable information. This way, you can ask the right questions and get the most value for your money.
There are 6 kinds of stone tiles that are readily sold in the market – Slate, Marble, Limestone, Travertine, Granite and Sandstone. Each has unique properties and it is important that you have knowledge of this in order to determine whether it is appropriate for the specific location of your intended use.
When shopping for stone tiles, here are 4 factors you need to consider:
1. Absorption Rating
One of the downfalls of most natural stone tiles is their porous nature. Most stone tiles, such as marble, sandstone, travertine and limestone, are porous in nature. Absorption rating will tell you how porous a tile is. This information is paramount because the more absorbent a tile is, the more susceptible it is to stains and cracking during freezing conditions.
There are 4 levels of absorption: non-vitreous (the highest level of absorption), semi-vitreous, vitreous and impervious (highly resistant to absorption).
Of the 6 stone tiles, sandstone is the most porous tile whilst limestone, travertine and slate are semi-vitreous to vitreous. Granite is the least porous and is relatively waterproof.
Tip: Don’t use highly absorbent tiles in kitchens where tiles are susceptible to food stains and the like. Granite would be a better choice because it is considered to be virtually impervious and highly resistant to stains.
Grade is a system used by retailers to rate the quality of the materials.
- Grade 1 – high quality, uniform materials
- Grade 2 – materials have slight defects such as scratches or chips and may have irregular surfaces
- Grade 3 – the products have major flaws. Tiles are unevenly sized, have slight cracks. Basically, they’re rejects and scraps, but for someone with a creative mind, these are still relatively useful
3. Coefficient of Friction (COF)
This factor is important especially for homes with children or seniors. This is also important when selecting tiles for bathrooms or pool areas. The COF measures how slippery the tile surfaces are. Higher coefficients mean more traction – less slippery. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that flooring material have a minimum of a .6 dryness coefficient.
Because of the stone tiles’ “natural forming process”, they may often contain impurities such as iron. When iron is present, which appears as a bright red or amber-ish hue on the surface, the tile may no longer be suitable for outdoor use. The reason is that when it rains, the iron can oxidize or rust, which will cause the tile to crack and degenerate.
When shopping for stone tiles, always ask your retailers about these 4 factors to consider so that you can screen materials and get the best tiles for your home.