Published on November 13th, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans
Solid Facts about Stone Flooring
Stone is a natural, water-resistant flooring product that is excellent for use in kitchens and bathrooms. Although it is not technically a renewable resource, stone is plentiful in supply and does not release harmful man-made chemicals into your home. Stone floors are installed using cement or mortar, a sand, limestone, and water-based adhesive which eliminates the need for man-made chemicals or high-VOC products. Electric floor heaters can be installed for a reasonable price underneath stone to keep cold feet cozy in winter weather, and these can be conveniently put in by the floor installer for a few extra dollars.
The downside of stone is that the excavation process can be very detrimental to the environment, similar to coal or iron mining. Erosion, water pollution, and employee safety concerns are all potential drawbacks to mining.
If you are searching for the greenest flooring, marble and granite are even less ideal options—they are mined from deep inside the earth’s crust using energy intensive processes that release CO2 and other pollutants into the environment.
Softer stones, such as slate and sandstone, are mined closer to the earth’s surface and are easier to excavate. As a bonus, these softer surfaces have less busy patterns, which can make them more aesthetic for large flooring projects. Look for a stone flooring product that is produced locally to minimize pollution in shipping the tiles. Also, avoid products that use man-made plastics and VOC-laden polishes to treat tile surfaces.