Material Comparison

Comparing Stone and Ceramic Tile

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Tile vs. Stone

Few construction materials can match the elegance of a natural stone floor. It comes in as many colors as you can find, can be cut to any size and shape, and provides excellent durability. Each type of stone has its own unique qualities but as a flooring material, there are still enough commonalities between them to address as a whole.



The appearance of stone flooring varies widely, but is most commonly associated with the five most popular types of stone:

  • Marble
  • Travertine
  • Granite
  • Slate
  • Limestone

This includes any color naturally found in rocks, and a wide array of different textures spanning between the soft grain patterns of marble to the round edges and pitted surface of travertine flooring.


Financial Differences

The cost of installing stone flooring depends on the type of stone you use. While the range varies wildly, it is on average one of the single most expensive flooring options at the time of initial installation. With that said, provided the floor is maintained, most stone flooring will last well over 100 years.

Installing Stone

It costs an average of $35.50 per square foot to install stone flooring:

  • $11-40 per square foot for material, averaging $25.50 per square foot.
  • $5-15 per square foot for installation, averaging $10 per square foot.

Using a 100 square foot area as an example, the initial installation would then cost $3,550.

Installing Tile

For comparison, the initial cost for ceramic tile installation is significantly lower at $17 per square foot, but offers an exceptional look-alike alternative to stone while lasting just as long.

  • $5-15 per square foot for materials, averaging $10 per square foot.
  • $6-8 per square foot for installation, averaging $7 per square foot.

A 100 square foot tile installation would cost about $1,700.

That’s a difference of $1,850 for a 100 square foot room. With ceramic tile, you can enjoy the same benefits as stone flooring while paying less than half the cost.

Maintenance Costs

A daily sweeping and weekly mopping will keep your stone flooring in good condition. Just remember not to use any acidic cleaners, as they will stain the stone.

Over the long term, you will need to regularly seal stone flooring. Stone sealers typically last 1-2 years before reapplication is required, depending on the amount of traffic. Thankfully a $15 quart of stone sealer will cover roughly 500 square feet, meaning you’ll only be paying about $15 every 7.5 years to keep a 100 square foot area of stone adequately sealed.


Health & Safety

Falling on stone flooring hurts; this is the most obvious safety concern for anyone who is considering stone flooring, especially when it is installed in residential homes.

Walking over hard surfaces for extended periods of time has been shown to have painful effects on your body, beginning with your feet. Unless you always wear shock absorbing shoes while walking over the surface, your feet will absorb the impact of every step you take, as opposed to walking over softer surfaces. This ongoing absorption of shock wears down your feet over time. When your feet are in pain, you compensate by adjusting how you walk. This compensation places more stress on the next joint up, the ankle. This continues up to the knees, hips, back, shoulders, and neck.

While not universal, there are types of ceramic tile that are designed to be softer on your feet.


Environmental Sustainability

Natural stone flooring is a respectably sustainable construction material:

  • It comes straight from the earth with no synthetic ingredients.
  • If well cared for, it lasts nearly forever.
  • Improving query efficiency means stone has a lower environmental impact.
  • Stone can be slaved, recycled, and reused.

The only significant environmental drawback to stone flooring is the cost of moving it. Locally sourced stone will always be more environmentally friendly as the externality of shipping heavy material such as stone is quite high.

These benefits match those of ceramic tile, but tile is overall the more cost-effective option.

Extra Resources

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