July 31, 2002

Ask any question, share your knowledge, or offer your services!


Q 2319: I am trying to decide whether it would be a good idea to put a travertine floor throughout my home, including the kitchen and baths. I am worried about staining and scratching (we have a pet). Any info would be helpful. Debbie, July 27,
R1: Dear Debbie: If you have in mind polished travertine, you do NOT want it in your kitchen. If the travertine you're considering has a hone-finish, then it would be OK. You can get my free maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar. Treasure them; you'll be glad you did! Maurizio, USA
Q 2294: My husband and I are considering our flooring options for our foyer, kitchen and bath area. We found travertine tiles we liked that are honed and filled. After reading all the info. on your site, I am second guessing myself on the Travertine. Is it a good material? Sounds like a lot of people have trouble with cracks, swirls, etc. Do the filled parts of the stone come out over time or is there something we can do to prevent that from happening? 
I read in several sections that you do not recommend sealing Travertine. How do you keep it clean?? I am a neat freak! Also, I have an 80 lb. boxer dog. Will he scratch it every time he races to the front door??? Help. Kari, July 25,
R1: Dear Kari: I personally love honed and filled travertine! Yes, travertine is quite a dense material, but considering that A) when honed its pores are slightly more open than when polished, and that b) is going to be installed in a kitchen, I would seal it (in the kitchen, that is). You do understand, of course, that sealing won't help a bit with your cleaning chores. Maurizio, USA

Q 2289: I was interested in having our house floors done in marble, however we were informed that marble is very delicate and not recommended for home use. Please help with any advice that might be helpful to us. Thank you! Rojas, July 24,

R2: It depends upon your lifestyle and the type and finish of the stone you are interested in. Marble floors can be a delight or a disaster, depending upon your choice of stone and the traffic. To quote a very OLD friend of mine (Maurizio), "You don't buy marble, you adopt it." Mike, USA
R1: Dear Rojas: Polished marble can indeed be a wonderful material to floor a residence, but it has to be selected with a grain of salt. Let me give you two cases scenario: 
A) An older couple has a shiny marble floor in their Foyer and formal living room. The kids are out of the house, they have no pets and no social life to speak of. They never use the front door, because they come in from the garage all the time. Twenty years down the line, that floor is still brand-new. 
b) That very couple decide to sell the house and retire to Arizona. The new owners of the house have three very active kids, two big dogs and throw a party every other week, and use the services of a cleaning service that doesn't know the first thing about cleaning  natural stone! That same floor that remained new for twenty years will look like a war-zone
within the next six months!! 
Now, you consider where your situation sits and draw your own conclusions. What's for sure is that knowing in advance about proper maintenance and preservation procedure will help a great deal.  Maurizio, USA
Q 2255: I am considering putting Travertine tile on my kitchen floor (and dining room and living room). I like the look of the pores/holes left natural- I don't plan on filling them w/grout/cement. That said, how does one clean out the inevitable food and dirt particles that get in the holes? Is a steam cleaner ok to use? Or should I grout the holes in, or risk losing my sanity? Thanks, Mindy, July 18,
R2: Dear Mindy: Yes, you can clean the holes with steam from time to time. The question is: "How can you possibly avoid to fill the holes while grouting the gap in between the tiles?" Maurizio, USA
R1: I am a marble restoration professional. I do not know the habits of your family, but if you plan on installing unfilled travertine flooring, count on blood-stained floors if the family runs around bare-footed. Secondly, a steam cleaner will probably do quite well in removing the crud from the floors and the blood stains, but the high pressure will damage the travertine and will probably cause collateral damage to adjoining walls, etc. Anyone with a water hose has experienced unexpected "blow-back" when directing the water-jet into a small orifice. For a floor installation, I STRONGLY recommend that you install filled travertine, Mike, USA.
Dear Mike: While I can appreciate the ... fervor transpiring from your answer (I use a lot of that "stuff" myself!), I would consider the blood issue a little bit too ... theatrical! In my day I installed at least a couple of dozens of unfilled travertine floors back in my original country (all "grind-in-place". That's the only possible method of installation, if one wants to keep the
travertine unfilled), most of them in beach houses where people do walk on their floors barefoot. I never heard of anybody wearing off their feet soles to the point of bleeding!! What's more, I do believe that if people begin to feel uncomfortable walking barefoot on their floor, they would start using some sort of foot was before they get to the point of bleeding! I know I would, wouldn't you!
As far as the steam cleaning issue is concerned, it is not necessary using a high-pressure machine. Just a regular household steam cleaner will do the job without damaging the stone, or create collateral damages.
No, really, the true problem -- considering the way stone floors are installed in this country -- is that's just about impossible not to fill the holes while grouting the floor. The only way to avoid that would be to either go into a "grind-in-place" installation (not many contractors can do that -- or even know about that, for that matter!), or skip the grouting altogether. The latter, however, it's a practice that I'm strongly against, especially in an indoor installation.
I do like your style, Mike, and the pride detectable in your announcement that you're a stone restoration professional. As you probably know, I'm in the stone restoration business myself. We'd love to see more of your contribution to this wonderful site in the future. Ciao, Maurizio.
A 2137: To know in sequence which is the most recommended five (5) types of granite or marble for flooring of residential apartment? I like also to know the local price in L.E. of each type (supply and install), Wael, June 29.
R1: Dear Wael: What you ask for does not exist. "Granite" is sturdier than marble and easier to maintain (providing that you choose the right one!) Marble is generally considered more beautiful (although, of course, beauty is in the eyes of the beholders!) and a lot of people are happy with it. It much depends in which rooms of your apartment you intend to install the stone, the intensity of traffic they will be subject to, and how good a care you'll be taking of it.  Maurizio, USA
A 2053: Please explain the difference between travertine vs marble and how each will perform on my floor. As well as ability to clean. Rick, June 13,
R1: Dear Rick: Your first question has been already answered a couple of thousand times in this very site. Scroll down, man, scroll down!! :-) About your second question, they perform the same.  Maurizio, USA
A 2009: Maurizio.. I know you are the expert, and I have enjoyed reading and have learned a lot from your advice and the advice of others on this invaluable web site! 
It is really one of the most wide-ranging and informative I have come across on any topic.
What I don't understand is the general obsession with some kind of Holy Grail of absolute perfection in the surfaces of what is a natural product (as you point out so often). I will never forget the sight of the glorious floors of Santa Maria in Trastevere or San Marco in Venice. 
They have withstood in some cases more than 1500 years of foot traffic. Do they show wear? Yes, but consider what have they undergone compared to an average household (or even commercial) stone application. besides Saracens ;-). Also, the average retail space or the average modern apartment. or office building probably gets re-done within 10 to 50 years, anyway... these spaces themselves don't last that long! What, really, is the amount of babying needed for these stones? I am sure that installers need to respond to the expectations of their generally-speaking well-off and finicky clients, and I'm sure people selling the stone don't want to advertise any potential drawbacks to their material.... but is it reasonable or necessary to expect these materials to be maintained completely scratch- and stain-free with a mirror surface at all times?!?!?
If so, they should just forget marble or granite and buy one of those glass-like Engineered stones. 
This is a long-winded prelude in the defense of Adrienne, the lady with the mosaic tile floor of stone and glass... She is going to enjoy that artwork for a very long time, and hopefully the generation after her will appreciate it, too. Of course, she should worry about correct installation.. but the overall effect should a heck of a lot more important than whether you can maintain a perfectly consistent polish between adjoining materials, no? Cynthia, June 3,
R1: Dear Cynthia: Yes. Maurizio, USA  PS: by the way, if you want a polished floor as maintenance free as they come, engineered stone is not "your man" (it's close, but is not as tough as certain hard "granites").
A 2001: I am looking into stone to place in my condo. I am debating with myself. I like  travertines esp unfilled. Is this harder to clean later and how is it to walk on barefoot. I have never seen a whole floor do. Is there any advantages to the filled/ honed. Thanks. . Thanks, Dave, June 2,
R1: Dear Dave: The difference between unfilled and filled travertine is that -- when unfilled -- its natural holes will collect soil and become very dark. If you like that, it's quite an enjoyable stone, and you wouldn't be feeling a thing while walking on it barefoot. Maurizio, USA
A 1994: Is cross cut Travertine a good material for a kitchen floor? I have two Labradors and a swimming pool adjacent to my kitchen. Would this present maintenance problems for Travertine? Frank, USA,  May 31, Reply
R1: Dear Frank: If you keep it with a low-hone finish and don't expect it to look "new" for a long time, then it's quite an enjoyable material. I would have it sealed with a good quality impregnator/sealer designed for low to medium porosity stone. Maurizio, USA
A 1967: I want a smooth surface black slate floor in the entry and kitchen of my new home (I think!). A local dealer suggested merely installing normal riven slate floor tiles upside down so the smooth surface shows. You have to look very closely at the back of his tiles to see the fine curved lines left by whatever tool did cut them. Is this what I should do? Or should I find honed slate and about what percent more might that cost? Thank you. Meg, May 26,
R3: I made a 6 by 10 foot kitchen floor with Vermont red and green slate - upside down as you describe. I'm an amateur - it was my 4th floor job. It was a concrete floor with a certain amount of paint in it that wouldn't come off. I used acrylic type thin set cement (Home Depot) to lay them and a white sanded grout with some powdered green marble in it as an accent.
It was my intention from the beginning to sand the floor perfectly flat with a big hand belt sander (the type normally used on wood). And that's what I did - after the 3/8 grout lines had hardened. So the grout and slate are all one perfectly flat sheet. Then I honed it by hand using a wet carborundum stone. So then it was really slick and beautiful - and feels great with bare feet.
but - it would not be good without the sanding and honing. The slate has sharp edges. Also it is impossible to get the slates exactly the same height. The bottoms are rough slate - so you have to adjust the height of every edge of each slate - to plus or minus 1/16 inch. This is a very tedious adjustment - using a straight edge. And 1/16 inch would be too irregular a floor - unless it was sanded as I did.
It's beautiful - but its not worth it. And without sanding, it would be too rough. Tom, Wyndmoor, PA.
R2: Meg, Try to get hold of buckingham Virginia. They have a beautiful honed black slate. If you turn the other one upside down, you will see some of the saw marks especially if the material is sealed. Cost wise it may be a little more but definitely worth the look. Mikki, Honolulu. 
R1: You're right, Meg: "You think". Think again!! You do NOT want honed slate in your entryway and kitchen. They will scratch like crazy and drive you crazy in the process!!
If you could get hold of some black stone from Madras (India) you'd have a winner! Maurizio, USA

A 1877:We are thinking of laying limestone throughout the ground floor of an old listed building in the UK. The regulations do not allow the laying of a vapour barrier under the stone since the Are there any good products that can protect the floor from staining etc without making it impermeable to water? Alternatively, are there any stones that can be used instead of limestone that will have a similar rustic look but which do not require sealing?, Fern, May 15.

R3: Try a marble that is honed or tumbled. Regards, Steven, USA
R2: Hi! I'm a stone floor fitter based in Somerset UK, try Lithofin MN stain stop. I always use it on limestone, travertine & slate, It has a natural matt finish and good sealing properties. And easily available from most tile shops Ask around cos' it's expensive. Andy
R1: Dear Fern: If the floor is directly on the ground and a vapor barrier is not allowed by law, then no natural stone is suitable for the job. Maurizio, USA
A 1832:We are considering Travertine and Crema Marfil, and we are trying to decide which one is the best choice for use in an area comprising: foyer, dining room, kitchen and family room. Our preference is to keep the flooring uniform throughout the house. Which one is the best choice for all these areas? Robert, May 14.
R2: Dear Robert: Either one. However, with both stones, you'd better forget the uniform 
flooring throughout the house thing. You do NOT want either one of those two stones (at least in their polished form) in your kitchen and family room. Too much maintenance. Maurizio, USA
R1: You don't give enough information to make a decision. Try thinking in these terms. If you use marble or travertine in the kitchen area, it will be subject to intense use and possible etching.
I would suggest you look in terms of honed or tumbled large format marble if that aesthetic suits you. With travertine I would suggest no more than a honed finish as well. because travertine is filled, you should be prepared for potential refilling as the floor wears. Now, if you accept these guidelines you then must make it a priority to learn how to clean and care for the floors. For that Maurizio has established good guidelines and products to work with. Regards, Steven, USA
A 1754: I purchase from Expo, India 's 16 x 16 slate. Out of a box of 5 you may get two that were useable. The contractor would cut or pick up a tile of slate it would break in splinters. I am asking myself what will happen to it after walking on it for a period of time? It is being sealed twice, once before the grouting and once afterwards, since it is dull looking I will use a solvent-base polishing wax . Anyone had the above experience and what happen after walking on it for a period of time? The old castles I visited this year in Spain and Portugal, slate floors looked heavy polish, but look nice. I thought slate would last a life time, but the above experience makes me wonder. I am still in the process of installation. Theodora, April 24.
R2: It sounds as if the boxes were handled roughly at some point. Generally most products are not fragile once they have have been properly set. Regards, Steven, USA
R1: Hello Theodora -- I have set a lot of slate floors and they do last forever. I have notices some lots are as you said a bit unstable, never stack slate flat , always keep the boxes on end or you will increase the number of damaged pieces. In the last 80 sq ft room I did there was only two broken pieces of slate.
Once the slate is set it will not have the same problem and my experience has shown that slate only looks better with time. I did a best Western lobby six years ago and not one tile has come up. The traffic on that floor has polished it very nicely and it will surely outlive the rest of the building. The Tile Guy, USA.
A 1716: I am renovating a 3rd floor apartment which is 25 years old. I need advice on which stone to use for flooring- Granite or marble? Further specific variety which can withstand heavy usage and will not develop cracks. I have noticed in our office that the granite flooring laid 4 years ago seems to have developed cracks along veins. Kalpana. April 16.
R2: Dear Kalpana: If you've been reading this site for a little while you should know by now
that "granite" - if chosen intelligently: (See the "lemon juice test" on the side bar)- requires less maintenance and lasts longer than marble. On the other hand, generally speaking marble is considered more attractive and, providing that is take properly care of, will be a joy to have in the house. In regard to the crack in the granite tiles at your office, that is only due to poor installation. 
Maurizio, USA
R1: It may be that the substrate is too flexible for the application of marble or granite. Have someone who is experienced in the application of the products come over and advise you.
Regards, Steven, USA
A 1619: Is travertine suitable for an entrance and kitchen? What cleaning does it require? How does the maintenance that travertine require compare to porcelain tile? How does travertine age? What should I watch for when selecting travertine (grade, etc.) I love the beauty of travertine and I do not want a polished natural stone floor. Thank you. bObbY, March 30,
R2: Travertine is very good material. The Italian and Turkish are the hardest but we also sell lots of Mexican travertine used in kitchen floors as well as 'whole house' and outdoors including stairs, patios, pool surrounds, coping, etc. 
A good stone soap, natural oil based, preferably a solid at room temperature , will protect the fill and the stone. Use commercial neutral cleaners in between moppings of stone soap. Alex, USA
R1: Travertine is fine for the entrance hall. In the kitchen in a honed state I would let it be done. Compared to porcelain, travertine will develop a patina and age. Cleaning travertine (honed and filled) requires either a damp mopping or a good formula stone cleaner. You can put a sealer on it to help make cleaning easier after the installation is complete. Look at multiple pieces of the travertine and look for material stability as well as stability in the fill. Regards, Steven, USA 
A 1565: Maurizio, What kind of flooring do you recommend for a kitchen? We were thinking of hardwood at one point and travertine at another point. Now we're considering regular tile. We would like the kitchen floor to be relatively maintenance free but look nice. Weni, March 20.
R2: Dear Weni: You don't buy stone, you adopt it! If you're not ready for this, then tiles are "your man"! Porcelain are my favorite (are solid, through and through). What's more, if you like the look of travertine (or marble), there are porcelain tiles that reproduce it incredibly close. Check them out at your local tile distributor!, Maurizio, USA
R1: Maintenance free? None of them. For low maintenance, glazed ceramic or hardwood. Steven, USA
A 1551: We are building a log cabin in the northern part of lower Michigan. Someone told us about the un gauged slate flooring, we have never heard of such flooring. Would you please clue us in on just exactly this is and would it be good choice for a foyer floor. K.W. March 18.  
R1: Unguaged means that the thickness can vary. To do this product you need to mud set it. This could make the finish floor much thicker than a guaged product. Steven, USA,
A 1558: Recently, I came across Marble Agglomerate tile that I liked for my flooring in Kitchen and family area (all one room, ~400sq.ft). The name of the one I liked is Perlato Royale. I know it's a mix of marble chips and resin. Sounds good but is it good enough for flooring in terms of taking care, high traffic area, sealing etc? does it need anything special for installation? I have vinyl floor right now. Another question: For my granite counter top I liked Uba Tuba and Emperador dark. Which is better? I haven't done lemon test yet but would trust your advice. Do you have any names to refer to us. I am in SF bay area. Thank you very much, Smita, March 20.
R2: Dear Smita: For starters, the only Perlato Royal I know of is not manmade, but it's a natural stone (compact limestone traded as marble) coming form Sicily, Italy. It's definitely a big NO-NO in a kitchen, like all marbles and travertine. If it is a conglomerate marble (with the same name) if would be just as bad. 
both "granites" you mention are very good choices. Neither one needs to be sealed. Maurizio, USA
R1: The agglomerate marble is OK. It will depend on the traffic and care and maintenance you provide. As to the kitchen, Emperador Dark is a Spanish braccited marble and not appropriate for a kitchen. Ipso facto Ubatuba is the winner. Regards, Steven, USA  
A 1329: Rahul We are building our house in bangalore, India and are looking for light colored granites. I saw your on and appreciated the information. So, I appreciate if you point me to some granite stores and suggest accordingly. I liked light colors (as in Marbles), but do not want to go for those, since they are tough to maintain. So decided to go for granites, so looking for some expert advice. Sampath, Jan 15.
R1: Dear Mr. Sampat: Thanks for your appreciation. The answers of your questions depends on: 1. What is the usage of granite / where all u are putting it? 2. What is your budget (rate as well as quantity)? You can get granite from Rs 35 to Rs 250 per sq ft. 3. The personal preference of shades. As u have mentioned light shade, u can have shades like Imperial White, Kashmir White, Shiva Gold, Raw Silk to name a few. best wishes, Rahul, India
A 1323: We plan to install wooden floors in our study and formal living room. Need to know what to look for upon purchasing this wood. Would like a durable wood. Give a reference for this information if it is not available with you. Maintenance, durability, thickness and quality of each product. Need flooring for entry, great room, kitchen and bathrooms. building a home we plan on living in for 15 - 20 years. I also need information regarding limestone, travertine, marble, granite, and ceramic tile. Cindy, Jan 14. Contact
R1: Dear Cindy: I don't know the first thing about wood, sorry. About the other materials in relation to the applications you listed, I would suggest marble or travertine for your bathroom (providing that you learn how to maintain them properly!) and, maybe for your entrance way. "Granite" would be very good, too for both applications, providing that -- especially for the bathroom -- you choose the right "granite" (see my lemon juice). It all depends on how you like one material over the other one. Generally speaking, (the right) "granite" is less demanding from a maintenance point of view than marble, although it still requires specialty cleaning products. For your kitchen, marble, travertine and limestone are out of the question (actually, limestone is out of the question just about in any area of the house, if you ask me). In the kitchen you can choose (the right) "granite", Maurizio, USA,
A 1310: We are building our house in Delhi, India. of 6000 sq ft constructed area, of which 1/3 rd area is drawing room and family lounge. Our architect has advised to get for 1/3rd area Italian and for others some Indian marble. Our family has a sophisticated and modern taste. Kindly advise some better option for flooring, keeping in consideration our geographical location. Shall using other than marble will be advisable. Sanjay, India, Jan 9,
R2: Dear Sanjay: I'm fortunate enough to know your country (even if only a little bit. I've visited it 4 times). What I've got to realize is that the so-called Italian marble is quite in demand. Last time I was there, In Mumbai, I visited a distributor of "Italian marble". I honestly never saw so many slabs of marble coming from Italy, in one place, in my entire life! And I was told that that guy was not the biggest in town!! What I've got to realize is that most of the "Italian marbles" were, in fact, originating from other countries, such as Spain, Greece, France, etc., although the brand "Made in Italy" was all over them. That's usual: Italy is the largest processor and distributor of marble and granite in the entire world, but they wouldn't be as nearly as large if they had to process exclusively Italian stones. So they buy blocks from just about every single corner of the planet, make it into slabs and tiles, and off they go with the "Italian marble"! but it really doesn't matter. What it does matter is that I also got to realize (at least back then, 1996) that in India there are not specialty products available for the proper maintenance of marble (Italian, or otherwise) and other stones. The need -- although real -- is not perceived, therefore no local manufacturers is motivated enough to set up a production of such types of products (assuming that they have the technical know-how, to begin with). Foreign manufacturers have little chances (if any) to sell their products on your market, because their final retail price would be just about ridiculously prohibitive, considering the "fancy" Indian custom duties applied to all types of imports. All this considered, unless things have changed dramatcally in the past 5 years, I have some reluctance at advising you to install polished marble in your new home. Make sure that there are proper specialty cleaning and preservation products for stone available in Delhi (cleaning and preservation products, I said, mind you. Sealers, you wouldn't need them much, if at all), before you make your final decision. Maurizio
R1: Dear Mr. Sanjay, I am a chemical engineer specialising in Stone Care and have done some of the most interesting institutions and houses in India. I have had a good international exposure and are currently doing extensive stone care and selection work for the Hyatt resort in Goa . The arch. has suggested you with Marble as the main option with the variation that you use the expensive variety for the drawing room and family lounge and Indian marble for the other living areas. My advice is that Stone as a flooring is ideal but certain area like bathrooms and kitchens SHOULD NOT have stone flooring or wall cladding specially in India. The porosity of the stone can be sealed using epoxy sealers or impregnating sealers bUT stones also absorb smell. Marble is a major culprit. The marble in kitchen and Toilets would absorb odours' and oils. I can suggest various options and with reasoning and methods of application. The suggestions would be more valid if I had the drawings which clearly show the floor area and use. You may mail the same to me. Arun, India
A 1297: I have decided on a stone floor in my daylight basement. Main reason, other than I like the idea, is some moisture coming through the concrete slab. There is not a lot of water - no puddles, but enough moisture and general coolness to promote mildew under the carpet. There is a lot of stone out there and the way some of it is marketed makes it a little difficult to be confident about the product. I have three kids and five dogs so there is a lot of traffic to deal with. I have no problem with sealing the stone and doing that periodically, but I'm going to need a durable stone that doesn't want to stain. I am thinking slate or granite, feeling that marble is too soft, limestone is too porous, and I don't know much about the zillion other types out there. I also think I would like to have a polished finish, and I am leaning toward granite. Can somebody tell me if I am on the right track, and other than wanting a dense, non-porous stone, is there a particular type of granite or slate that I should be looking for? If I am way off base here, let me know. Rocks are a lot more complicated than I figured on. Kyle, Jan 3.
R5: Dear Kyle: All rocks are porous to some extent. Granite generally has the lowest porosity and is most suitable for your basement. Aesthetically, you may need to choose a stone that does not unacceptably change color when wet (try wetting the stone in the shop). More importantly is the method used to fix the stone. An epoxy based thin-set adhesive is probably the best choice but with water about there is still the chance of efflorescence appearing on your stone that not only will detract from the appearance but may cause some minor damage to the stone such as micro-pitting resulting in loss of polish. Jim, Australia,
R4: Kyle.. you probably want to deal with the moisture problem before putting any material down. A stone floor would continue to wick up the water coming through your slab, so it wouldn't really fix your problem. JVC, USA,
R3: Kyle, You are below grade and that would present complications for a natural stone floor. Messy stuff like sub efflorescense and stones not staying down. I think that you should put the funds into stopping the moisture from coming in and letting your slab dry out. If this is too much $$ then you have no choice but polishing the slab of concrete and maybe acid etch it. Steven, USA,
R2: Dear Kile: If you care about my opinion you are totally off base. Stone, no matter which one, is totally out of the question. You have a situation of moisture that, for what I can understand, can't be helped. Carpet gets wet and develops mold and mildew. You use stone (granite or whatever), you're going to have nothing but trouble due to the migration of the moisture through the core of the stone. In fact, no matter how dense it is, stone has always a certain degree of absorbency, especially on the side that was not polished. by being soaked continuously, it will most likely spall and, eventually, rot. The grout will develop efflorescence, too. It's not a possibility, it's a given. Sealing? If will only worsen the situation by giving you the false impression -- for a few weeks at best -- that you have the situation under control. Porcelain (not ceramic) tiles (not polished. Unlike stone, when polished porcelain is more porous than its unpolished counterpart) could, maybe (and just a big MAYbE), represent a solution, but the problem of the grout bleeding will remain unscathed. Very definitely, you'd have to have installed a waterproofing membrane of sorts, over the cement slab, before installing anything; and keep your fingers crossed after that. Maurizio, USA,
R1: I can understand your problem. I feel you can use either of the stones i.e. marble, granite or Sandstone. I will recommend that you use granite bUT NOT POLISHED. Flamed granite is an ideal stone and if installed after sealing the base for preventing moisture ingression from the substrate and a penetrating sealer at the top the stone should last practically for years and will be ideal for kids and pets. A slippery stone floor is not recommended especially for pets as their paws are not designed for slippery floors and over long exposure to such floors they develop deformity in their legs. If you can provide us your address and area maybe we can suggest a supplier/contractor in your area. Arun, India,
If you gone through my suggestion carefully, we had FIRST proposed sealing of the stone from the bACK preferably by epoxy to prevent ingression of moisture from the substrate. The top sealing is totally optional depending on the type of stone, finish use as desired. We NEVER recommend UNSEALED stone on moist substrates and any stone on such a substrate and sealed from the top is a total disaster. Arun, India,
A 1234: I am building a "barn" home in North Carolina and would like any and all info you can provide for use for kitchen / bath flooring. Dec 3.
R1: You can't. Get a professional. Unless you're willing to accept their high maintenance requirements, stay away from calcite-based stones, such as limestone, marble (tumbled marble is all right, though), travertine, etc. For all the rest you should go to a showroom and see what you like.Maurizio, USA
A 1188: Need information on anti-slip granite treatment. Anb, Russia, Nov 14.
R2:  You can either flame or bush hammer the surface. This will give the stone a whole new look. There are some products that can be used as sealer coatings that can decrease slipping. Steven, USA,
R1: The only anti-slip treatment for polished granite worth considering is to make it ... unpolished! Mechanic lly honing it won't do much good, because it's still too smooth and it will become very slippery when wet. Honing by chemical (etching) is the way to go. Not easy to do, but it works and it's permanent. On dark colored granites, along the with shine you will lose depth of color, but you can restore that by applying a good-quality color enhancer. Maurizio, USA,
A 1146: I am looking at the feasibility of laying limestone tiles throughout my home and I was wondering about maintenance, upkeep, etc. How easily does limestone stain as I am wanting to put it in the kitchen, laundry, bathrooms and also outside on the patios. Maree, USA, Oct 18,
R3: Dear Maree: You like aggravations, don't you! To begin with, by saying limestone you're saying absolutely nothing (or too much. It depends from which angle you look a the matter!). Too many types out there (and counting!), with too many variations in their physical and chemical characteristics (porosity, reactivity ot moisture migration, copmpatibility with certain setting materials, etc. through a long list). All that said, whatever it is the limestone that you have in mind (please, don't tell me how your dealer calls it. Most of the times it's a made-up name that means nothing!), you do NOT want it outdoors, period. As far as I am concerned, I wouldn't want it in my kitchen, either! but it's just me: my wife and I do a lot of cooking!! Generally speaking, for I what I said before, limestone is always a gamble. As a contractor, I decline installation jobs of limestone, unless I am totally familiar with a particular type. but then again, I don't go to Atlantic City or Las Vegas, either! Hoping that everything goes all right, you want to make sure that the floor is sealed properly. That wouldn't fix the problems inherent to most limestone, but it will at least help prevent staining. I would like to use this response to bring up an issue. Most customers look into limestone because is not as shiny as marble. In other words, they love the dull look of limestone. Nothing wrong with that, mind you. What it is wrong is thinking that only limestone can give you that particular look. I've installed a number of marble floors, ground them in place, then finished the job with a flat finish. Those floors have the same look of a limestone floor, without the gamble attached to it. ,Maurizio, USA,
R2: For the most part, limestone is a relatively soft and porous stone. That is not to say that limestone will not make a good flooring material. Quite the contrary. Limestone has been used for centuries for floors. However, there will be maintenance involved, including using a good sealer, and reapplying on a regular basis. Also, if you have several options to choose from, pick the hardest, most compact stone you can. All stones ware (erode) over time, particularly in high traffic areas, so harder, dense.material is the best choice. On a personal note, I like the feel and appearance of limestone, and plan on using it for the floor in a new building I am about to build for myself. JVC, USA,
R1: Do you realize that what you are considering is akin to contemplating the feasibility of continuing nightmares and infinite misery. I have many a tale to tell but I won't start for fear of running out of megs. I'm sure that my friend Maurizio will put it succinctly. Having said that you might genuinely desire (without being facetious) the Middle-Eastern natural look - using thicker tiles, not affixing them with any degree of permanence, not sealing the stone, accepting any staining or discoloration that might occur, brushing the dust off daily, and replacing slabs from time to time. It does have some benefits but why not consider a fine-grained beige coloured granite with a bright-etched or sand-blasted finish (e.g. brisbane beige, from the good place down-under). (Dr.) Hans, Australia,
A 1139: Hello, I live in London. I am buying tiles for my mom in the Carribean, but I am so confused because all the tiles are so pretty. I was wondering if u could help me. She wants tile for her front room, kitchen, bathroom & bedroom. Do you use the same tiles for every thing? Can I use different tiles for the kitchen and bathroom? Can you tell me how they sell tiles? Are they really expensive or are they affordable? I was also wondering if you could help me choose a counter top for the kitchen and the floor also? Thanks, Karen. UK, Oct 12,
R1: I can not address your specific aesthetic requirements but will answer about cost. Granite, Porcelain, Slate, Ceramic, and Marble tiles are wonderful floors that can add to any surrounding. It can be very easy to maintain when you understand the properties of the floor you select. Proper installation makes the floor, as compared to others, very inexpensive. I arrive at this conclusion by when you look at how long it lasts and how beautiful it is. As to countertops I like granite. Imagine that! Steven, USA,
A 1123: Hi! I need your expertise advice on what to use for my bathroom, floor and walls. I do not want to use ceramic tiles as it gets mildew, would prefer granite or marble, something with which I wouldn't have to do a lot of maintaining and no mildew, which is good? Is there anything else you can inform me about? Please help.
Thank you.  Hurry please I don't have much time. Shahida, USA, Oct 5.

R5: Improperly sealed (impregnated) and maintained grout is normally the problem when mildew is a concern, in most cases. A granite installation would also have grout. both of these surface types, ceramic and granite, would be appropriate for this application. Porcelain ceramic tiles are the most dense and least likely to absorb and promote mildew. Most granites would be suitable for the application as well. As both materials are extremely durable and easy to maintain, they still require protection and routine maintenance. bob, USA,  
R4: The choice of ceramic tile or natural stone does not seem to be the most salient point first. Please check to see if you can increase the ventilation to the area. Try using a squeegee (a device that pulls water off surfaces) after the shower is used. Use epoxy grouts rather than regular grouts. The question of the surface has to with its absorptive properties. If it a ceramic or porcelain, use a non-vitreous tile with absorption of less than .5%. Check the stone you want. Different stones have different absorption levels. Steven, USA,
R3: Dear Shahida: Allow me to say that you seem a little ... confused. Since when the formation of mildew is linked to a particular material? You only have mildew under extreme humid conditions, or under extreme unclean conditions, regardless of whether the lining of a bathroom is ceramic, porcelain or natural stone. All too many times, within a shower enclosure, it turns out that the formation of mildew is due to the fact that some of the grout or caulk came off and the situation was not addressed properly. Water finds its way behind the tile and under the floor, and, by evaporation, it works its way through the grout lines, thus producing mildew.
As far as easiness of maintenance is concerned, this is my classification of materials available, starting for the easier to maintain, to the most demanding: Porcelain or ceramic -- Granite ---------------------------------------------------- Marble. Maurizio,
R2: Mildew is promoted by the presence of high humidity and excess moisture. If you are experiencing mildew on glazed ceramic tiles you will experience the same problem with stone because the surface of stone tiles are more porous than glazed tiles..  The only benefit with a material like granite would be the variable pattern and colours of most granites would tend to disguise the presence of mildew. What ever material you choose, I suggest the regular application of a biocide (spray-on) such as an ammonium product on the tile surface to inhibit the growth of any mildew or mould. Regards, Jim, Australia,
R1: Hi, My first choice would be Granite, second Marble. but the choices of granite are limited, because of color structure. Marble on the other hand is more warm classy but more maintenance. Granite no maintenance. I don't know if I helped you but I tried. Pini, USA,
A 1116: Does Saturnia stone come in different grades, and what is the appropriate grade for residential use? Thank you so very much for taking the time to answer this. Sincerely, Miss Dorothy, USA, Oct 1.
R2: Dear Dorothy: As I had the opportunity to say in one my past answers, there's no official grading in any stone, although I feel very strongly that there ought to be. Maurizio, USA,
R1: Saturnia refers to an area in Italy where the travertine by the name Saturnia was extracted. Rumor has it that ruins were discovered and that quarry is no longer in production. On a business perspective an individual licensed the name of Saturnia  in the US so he can call what ever he wants Saturnia. Lastly there is not grades to travertine that I am aware of. Regards, Steven, USA,
I ask the question about grading because we just had a Saturnia floor installed and there seems to be excessive filling on many of the tiles.  We have had a Saturnia floor before and none of the tiles in the old floor were filled to the degree that the tiles in the new floor are.  Some tiles appear to be 1/4 to 1/3 fill.  Were we just lucky with our previous floor? Dorothy, USA, Oct 4,
Yes at different times during the quarry there were varying degrees surface voids. Plus the popularity of the stone dramatically increased in the 1990's that meaning, more was being extracted and sold. Still with its range I hope you  find it a beautiful floor. Steven, USA,  
Q 1029: Wish to install stone floor in existing home. Concrete base. Fair amount of traffic.  Which stone type is best, how do I get started, where do I purchase stone?  Poor ventilation in installation area - is that a health problem? All suggestions appreciated from this novice. Francine, USA, July 6.  
R1: Dear Francine: What kind of stone do you have in mind? Flagstone-type, stone tiles? Poor ventilation in the installation area should not be a health problem: setting materials are water-based (unless you chose an epoxy-based setting material). Oh by the way, having a clue about what you're doing would help a lot, too! Maurizio. USA Contact