So now you know the looks you like but you can't avoid the technical side which will undoubtedly narrow down or pinpoint your stone choice. Follow our advice here...
How do you like your stone?
As well as the many types and uses for stone you also have to decide which style to have and know the following disclaimers…
Tumbled V’s Architectural
Tumbled stone is nearly always matt for a more natural look but is also tumbled or aged on the edges so that there are no sharp sides or corners. This style usually suits rustic, pretty or exotic looking spaces. Think country cottage or romantic roman baths. Most often, tumbled materials are limestones and marbles for floors and walls
Architectural stone is the opposite and has straight 90 degree corners and a perfectly smooth surface, often polished. This style of tile works best in sleeker, contemporary homes in granites, limestones, slates and marbles on floors, walls and for work surfaces.
Polished V’s Honed
Polished is again better suited to city or modern dwellings and can be had in all of the materials we’ve looked at including the Quartzites and Terrazzos. Again, be very careful if you’re considering polished for your floors.
Honed stone is suited to all properties that require a subtler and calmer vibe and for people who prefer a more naturalistic look. Smooth or pitted, the feel of stone on your hands and feet (especially when heated) is sensual and grounding for the user creating more relaxed interior spaces.
Your tiler will know to use a special stone adhesive but he’ll want to know what grout colours you want. Don’t be stumped, here’s what we recommend.
Always go for the closest colour match to the stone or light grey for creams and browns and mid to dark grey for slates, marbles and granites.
Also insure that the installer seals the stone, especially if it’s unpolished. This means a thin coat of stone sealant or wax being applied to protect the surface. This barrier does wear away after time so when your stone shows signs of aging, usually after 5+ years, you should clean and re-coat the tiles to keep them looking new forever.
The Small Print
Finally, care and cleaning for your newly installed stone will mean that you can no longer use harsh products such as Cif and bleach. These will destroy the stone over time. Instead opt for cleaners made specifically for stone or go to your nearest health food store and buy gentle, natural cleaners and sanitising sprays.
Next, invest in some good quality chopping boards as you’ll cause irreparable damage to the great swathes of beautiful stone you’ve just bought . Wooden boards are great as they have inherent antibacterial properties and is a natural contrast to the stone or grab a matching, smaller slab of the stone worktop and it will sit camouflaged on the worksurface for you to cut away on.
A note on sustainability: I believe that it’s important to ask about a stone’s origins. Natural is great but it’s appeal is tarnished if it’s a rarer stone that’s been depleted over time or if it’s air miles are alarmingly high, for example a lot of stone comes from China and South America. Where possible opt for British or at least European.
In conclusion, where your budget permits go for the real thing. There’s something for everyone you’re eschewing plastic and bringing the outside in which is always a winner in my opinion.
One of London's Best Interiors Bloggers (Ideal Home magazine), The Open Plan Interior Design, London produces contemporary interiors for homes and business' and this very useful home interiors blog