How To Shop For Stone
By Anne Higuera, Home Builder
Deciding to use stone and choosing the kind to use are more complicated than just picking a finish you like. Because stone is a natural material, its appearance, durability and production can vary from one quarry to another, and from one batch to another, causing problems (or in some cases, providing benefits) you might not have anticipated.
Here are nine questions you should consider before buying stone.
1. How thick does it need to be? Floor and wall tiles for interiors are usually ⅜ inch thick, while countertop slabs are typically 2 centimeters (¾ inch) or 3 centimeters (1¼ inches) thick. Exterior stone pavers could be 1½ inches or thicker.
Differences in counter and paver thicknesses can usually be accommodated if planned for in advance. It’s also not unusual to add a laminated edge to the front of a 2-centimeter counter to make it appear thicker. Tile for floors, however, can be tricky, particularly if you want your floor to flow to adjacent rooms without a transition. The best practice is to select floor tile early in the process and choose a material with consistent thickness.
We opened a box of specified slate tile on a project and discovered that each piece was a different thickness, with some well over ½ inch, making them higher than the adjacent wood floors even without thinset below. The clients opted to send it all back and ended up selecting a ceramic tile with similar colors but very consistent thickness.