Durability and expected life span
Different floorings are worn out in different rates over time. Earthenware used as flooring occasionally requires re-polishing and their surface quality rapidly disappear. In contrast, stone
floorings are beautifully eroded and may last for centuries; there are numerous historical exemplars which demonstrate it.
National Association of Home Builders estimates the life span of natural stone
, especially granite, marble
about 100 years, if appropriately maintained.
Although, stone flooring lasts until the end of building life period, but its life span do not end by the end of building life.
High durability of natural stone makes it an ideal material for rehabilitation and reuse in various applications. This capability not only causes saving in installation costs, but also decreases environmental costs.
Repair and Maintenance Natural stone
, in contrast to other floorings or earthenware tile
, has no uniform color and design and due to this capability the scratches and spots produced on the stone are hardly distinguishable and fade in the design and color of stone and surface polishing makes deep scratches and damages less visible, as well.
Stone is repaired easily by polishing operation and, as a result, it will have larger life span than other materials. Polishing capability of stone flooring associated with its high durability means less need for repair and maintenance.
However, stone floorings used in crowded areas are eventually blurred due to travelling and dust accumulation and require scheduled cleansing. In order to prevent entering of corrosive particles to the building, it is recommended to use a mat before your house entrance.
To clean stone floorings better, you may apply chemical solutions and when you need to have flooring with more luster, you may produce such a surface by re-polishing.
Stone installation (flooring) cost
Relatively high costs of stone flooring implementation cause that some designers turn from choosing stone as flooring and seek other alternatives. But, one can see that natural stone is economically cost-saving considering large life span and less maintenance need.
The study of total costs, by the order of North American Tile Association, showed that, although the installation cost of high quality stone
, such as Iranian marble
, are 21 and 12.50 US$/ft2, respectively (in contrast to 10 US$/ft2 cost for installation of other products), but the annual maintenance costs of the stone is lower than other floorings. In fact, the maintenance costs of other floorings are two times more than the stone flooring.
The stone maintenance cost is proportionate to its expected life span and, considering its economical and physical advantages, it is an excellent option for travelled areas.
Yet, positive properties of natural stone are not limited to the above ones. In fact, there exists another advantage for natural stone: keeping air health in closed spaces with stone floorings.
Air quality of building inside
Some flooring are not suitable for use in closed spaces due to formation of dust, allergenic materials and volatile organic compounds, and causes air pollution inside a building. Dust and allergenic materials can originate respiratory, dermal and ophthalmic problems.
The impacts of breathing volatile organic compounds range from headache to respiratory irritation and some of them are characterized as carcinogenic.
Volatile organic compounds, which are originated from floorings, are frequently related to the materials used in manufacturing, installation and repair or maintenance of flooring rather than the flooring itself. Such products include binders as well as chemical lusters such as poly-urethane for timbered wood.
Using natural stone prevents from accumulation of fine particles and emission of volatile organic compounds. Dust and allergenic materials do not accumulate on stone surface, especially, when scheduled cleansing is done.
The stone flooring cleansing may be done using a mild soapy solution (non-acidic) and water, and to achieve a lustrous surface, the stone surface should be polished. The stone itself lacks any volatile organic compounds.
Even mortar or groutrequired for stone installation cause no air quality lossinside a building. Stone priming often is done using materials enriched with organic compounds and mostly are used forprotection against scratches and spots. But other alternatives with lower volatile organic compounds are available and are used less.
Summary Natural stone
has numerous relative advantages to other alternative floorings, such as minimum maintenance cost; long life span;capability of recovery and reuse; and the most important is that if priming is done using low volatile organic compounds materials, natural stone flooring causes no air quality loss inside buildings. These properties make the natural stone become a reasonable option for covering of highly travelled areas.