Granite is a natural material of volcanic origin that has gained popularity as a facing material due to its exceptional strength, luster and durability.
Granite flooring adds elegance to the interior. The variety of shades of granite tiles, methods of processing of its surface and texture allows you to create unique mosaic compositions to change the visual volume of the room, its competent zoning and creating a unique style.
Granite floor: pros and cons
Floors of granite have a number of advantages:
Affordability. Since there are deposits of granite in almost any part of the earth’s continental surface, it is easy to buy in any country in the world.
Strength and durability. Due to the fact that a quarter of the granite consists of quartz, its strength is higher than that of marble (more about the differences between granite and marble →). This allows the material to retain its shape and thickness for centuries. Over a hundred years, granite rubs off by only 0.1 mm, and that’s assuming that millions of people will walk on it. The first signs of the material’s aging will not be noticed on the floor before 400 years.
Resistance to temperature fluctuations. The granite floor remains cool at any time of the year and will not spoil from sharp temperature changes, which is especially important for countries with continental and sharply continental climates.
Resistant to direct sunlight. Unlike artificial materials, granite, as a rock of volcanic origin, does not lose color saturation when falling on the floor of direct sunlight.
A unique color palette. Depending on the size of the grains (from 0.1 to 5 mm), granite is coarse-, medium- and fine-grained. The combination of grains of different colors creates a unique natural pattern. Even in a party of the facing granite for the floor, mined in one quarry, you will not find two tiles of identical shade.
Waterproofing. Due to the high resistance to moisture, granite is excellent for facing embankments of natural and artificial reservoirs.
Wide application profile. Granite is used for facing both vertical and horizontal surfaces – from kitchen countertops to terraces of country houses and facades. The material is suitable for both internal and external furnishings.
Ecological compatibility. Due to its natural origin, granite is a natural material, so the floor tiles made of it are not harmful to human health and the environment.
Ease of care. It is enough from time to time to apply liquid wax to the floor of granite and polish it with a felt or other woolen material to a shine.
The disadvantages of granite include:
Relatively high cost. Natural cladding materials always cost more than synthetic ones, and granite is no exception. Granite tiles measuring one meter by one meter can be priced between $40 and $200.
It is difficult to transport because of its heavy weight. To deliver the material to the construction site, you will need a special truck transport. For example: a square meter of granite with a thickness of 25 mm weighs more than 50 kg.
The difference in size, thickness and color shade of the slabs. Because of the natural origin, the characteristics of granite tiles can vary significantly, which complicates the installation process.
How to choose granite for the floor?
Raw facing granite has the form of large pieces of rock of varying size and thickness, from which later sawed rectangular blocks for further processing. Next, these blocks are cut into so-called granite slabs 1.5 meters long and 0.35-1.25 meters wide, which are on sale.
To determine the choice of granite tiles, you should first learn more about the methods of processing. After all, the chosen method depends on the texture and color effects of the material, which is especially important if you plan to put a granite tile in the mosaic style.
Bucharding – a method of processing granite of any grain size with a bouchard – a special grinder, which removes the top layer of material, making it rough and somewhat similar to asphalt. Tiles processed in this way are not slippery and are perfect for tiling stairs and outdoor areas.
Shaving – a method of processing by hand, using a machine with a diamond abrasive. This processing allows you to achieve a smooth matte surface of tiles without a mirror shine, but with the preservation of the natural color of the material. Such tiles are suitable for indoor and outdoor use, as well as for garden paths, etc.
Processing of metal shot gives a granite tile additional decorative and texture. It becomes rougher and can sometimes have elongated shot marks.
Heat treatment with an industrial gas burner makes the tiles less slippery and is a must for stair tiles. Serves as an alternative to boucharding and scraping.
Peculiarities of laying granite tiles
What you should keep in mind:
Before you start laying granite tiles, you need to level the floor surface – make a cement-sand screed.
Since granite is a material of natural origin, tiles from it may have different thickness. Therefore, the height of the floor is leveled with the help of glue or screed solution. And the height value is calculated taking into account the characteristics of the room and the load on the floor.
Also, granite tiles can be different sizes, so it is not recommended to put them seam to seam or diagonally. To create an original drawing of granite, you should lay it back to back.
The bigger the size of granite tiles, the more beautiful the pattern, but the higher the probability that it will break in two under its own weight.
Differences in color shade from tile to tile are possible. To avoid conspicuous color spots on the granite floor, it is better to take out all the granite tiles from their packages beforehand, arrange them by shades and combine them if necessary.
Once the work is complete, the granite floor should be treated in three steps:
- treatment with polish.
Immediately after laying, you will need to go over the granite floor with a grinder with a roughing disc. It will remove the top layer of material, and with it – all the possible chips, cracks and irregularities. After grinding it is necessary to wash the floor with a special detergent for granite and a soft cloth and proceed to polish it.
It is best to polish the granite floor with an angle grinder with felt stone disks lubricated with a special paste. The final stage of processing will be rubbing it with liquid wax to give a mirror shine and create a protective layer against dust and dirt.
Porcelain stoneware is an alternative to granite, which includes high-quality clay fired at high temperature, quartz, feldspar and natural dyes.
Many people prefer porcelain stoneware as a more affordable material. Porcelain tile is more fragile, but at the same time has advantages such as uniform color, the same size and thickness, which makes it much more practical for installation.
What rooms are suitable for granite flooring
Granite floors will fit perfectly into the interior of the bathroom in an apartment or private home, as they are waterproof and can serve to waterproof the room. However, you should remember that natural granite is not tile, it is always cool to the touch, so it is advisable to bring the heating system under the granite floor.
Granite flooring is practical for the kitchen – it is easy to keep clean. The only drawback is that if you drop the dishes, they will shatter because of the high strength of granite.
Granite is also excellent for cladding outdoor terraces and staircases. For the latter, the material is most often used with a rough surface.
The tendency to use natural stone in the floor tiling is returning, and it is understandable – modern man is tired of surrounding plastic, polyethylene, chemical dyes and synthetic materials and wants to get closer to nature.
Granite floors are not only beautiful and environmentally friendly, but also original and very practical interior element. Natural granite does not wear out, is not afraid of temperature changes, water, dirt or chemicals, and will delight your family with its pristine beauty for generations.