Which is better natural stone tiles or porcelain flooring? This is a common question which clients regularly ask. The answer is that each has its own individual characteristics and it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each to work out which is more appropriate for you

Natural Stone Tiles

Advantages

  • Stone floors conduct heat more effectively than porcelain tiles and work better with underfloor heating
  • The process of sealing a stone floor also seals the grout which stops it discolouring
  • Porcelain tiles cannot replicate the warmth and natural detail of stone floors
  • There is a much wider range of aged / antique finishes with stone than porcelain which means it is likely to be the only choice for a traditional property
  • Stone can easily be cut into skirtings and steps meaning it is much easier to obtain complementary pieces to go alongside a stone floor

Disadvantages

  • Stone floors need to be sealed every 5 years – therefore they need more maintenance than porcelain
  • Stone floors are more expensive to install

Porcelain Flooring

Advantages

  • Porcelain tiles are completely maintenance free – no sealing is needed and therefore they are low maintenance
  • Porcelain is less expensive to install because it does not need to be sealed
  • It is easier to get large tiles in porcelain than stone – therefore if you want a large tile contemporary interior you will have a much wider choice
  • As porcelain is man-made there is much more consistency in colour across a floor than with stone

Disadvantages

  • As porcelain floors do not need sealing there is nothing to protect the grout from discolouring
  • Many porcelains do not offer skirting or step sections to go with the floor tiles
  • There are very few porcelain tiles with aged finishes
  • Most porcelain tiles are produced in 1 – 2 sizes only – therefore the choice of sizes is much more limited than with a stone tile

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