Stone is an elegant finishing material that evokes a sense of permanence and makes an excellent dressing material for floors, walls, and kitchens. With the right selection, placement, and care, stone can be an everlasting addition to a home’s interior finishing.
Materials are a key selling point in every boutique home improvement franchise, and having a broad array of natural stone materials would impress even the most exacting of homeowners looking for a refined product that was both beautifully ornate and remarkably resilient.
Stone is one of the oldest and most versatile finishing materials in interior design. For millennia, fine stone has adorned the floors and walls of resplendent public and private buildings, a tradition that continues to have a following even today.
An enduring material, stone is noted not only for its strength and resistance to decay but also for its unique natural beauty and texture. From the smooth yet grainy surface of limestone to the unique streaked patterns of varieties of marble, stone provides an aesthetic that is at once formal yet organic, with an appeal that is unmatched by its man-made alternatives.
A Diverse Material
Natural stone (also known as “dimension stone”) is a building and decorating material derived from naturally occurring rocks that are quarried from the Earth. For interiors, these are typically hewn into blocks, tiles, or panels, which make them easier to use as a veneer.
Despite being categorized as a single entity, there is no one common chemical composition that could be described as “stone.” Each type of rock used in construction and decorating has a different texture, grain, and pattern, along with key surface features that determine the type of environment it can work well in. Some types of stone are softer than others and may chip or break easily.
Most stone used in interior design is vitreous—that is, they have a solid, smooth surface when polished and resists the absorption of water. More porous (non-vitreous and semi-vitreous) stone, meanwhile, is vulnerable both to water damage and staining from acidic or colorful substances if not cleaned up quickly.
Cleaning is a complex matter for stone and one that can work to a designer’s advantage. One of the key advantages of stone is that it is hypoallergenic. Without any loose fibers or nooks and crannies to accumulate dust and debris, stone floors remain remarkably easy to clean of all particulate matter. This makes it an excellent type of flooring for households with members who have allergies.
“Stone cold” is both a blessing and a curse for stone floors. Natural stone is ideal for the floors of homes in warmer climes, where the cool temperature of the floor is appreciated.
Finally, stone has an organic surface texture that is unique to each block and tile. These patterns do not repeat, creating a visually striking effect unmatched by anything artificial. This elegant asymmetry works both in traditional and in modern contemporary interiors.
Stone Care and Selection
Despite its reputation for permanence, stone still has weaknesses. Especially soft types of stone can easily be chipped or broken by misplaced weights or gradually lose their luster and dissolve through exposure to acids. Stone would also need to be carefully sealed and polished to maintain its sheen and resist water damage.
Skilled salespersons can guide homeowners in selecting the appropriate type of stone that would work for their purposes. They can recommend specific types of stone to work in a specific room and often present some of the many varied types of the ideal type of stone to mix and match. Moreover, they can also describe some of the most effective ways to care for the stone surfaces to ensure that they last for more than a lifetime.