The Benefits of Natural Stone

Stonewhy01We love telling you about the advantages of this product because we know how much you value the true and the genuine in life.

Natural stone is the real deal. Strong, solid and stable to live with (be still our heart), this is the world’s oldest building material. It was the material of choice for Egypt’s pyramids, Grecian temples and splish-splashing in Rome’s ancient baths. (Imagine you in a marble bath in your home!)

Natural stone is beauty solidified. From granite, the hardest, most dense stone, to luxurious marble, from soft limestone to “touch me” travertine, natural stone exudes elegance, transforms your home – speaks to your soul.

Natural stone has a unique personality. Quarried from Mother Earth, natural stone’s “complexion” is impacted by temperature, pressure, minerals and underground springs. Each slab cut from this environment is one-of-a-kind. You’re not imitation. Why should the “face” of your home be?

Natural stone invented variety. You only need to walk a seashore, lakeside or riverbed to experience the variety of stone. Colors, patterns, finishes and textures beyond imagination – all available for the walkways of your home.

Natural stone can be affordable. (Now we’ve really got your attention.) Today’s stone quarrying and processing technology is more efficient than ever before. Automated equipment cuts the stone in thinner slabs for less cost and, being lighter, it’s cheaper to transport. You’re the solid winner.

For the joy of you list lovers, here are ALL THE BENEFITS OF NATURAL STONE FLOOR COVERING:

• Natural stone is genuine, timeless and authentic

• Natural stone embodies beauty and rich character

• Natural stone is singular, exclusive, one-of-a-kind

• Natural stone offers variety, choice, imagination

• Natural stone has become more cost conscious

• Natural stone virtually always adds resale value

• Natural stone is ideal for radiant heat applications

Feel free to call me for more information or to ask a question.

And don’t hesitate to leave a comment here – we’d love to hear from you!

Accommodating Homes

The desire for a lovely home for homeowners and their family is important, but equally important is a home that can accommodate certain requirements.

For people in wheelchairs, there are requirements that can make a home work well. Basic elements such as halls and doorways wide enough to allow for wheelchairs to pass through are a must.  Open floor plans often help provide the space for wheelchairs to maneuver among furniture and architectural elements.

Flooring is also important. The best choice is tile for a number of reasons. First, the smooth surface makes it easy to move through a home in a wheelchair. The sturdy nature of tile also means that it will hold up under some potentially rougher than usual traffic. Finally, it’s one of the easier materials to maintain.

Kitchens and bathrooms require some special consideration. They have to be large enough to handle a wheelchair, include a shower with easy access and toilet that is set higher. A lower sink with space underneath works well, and drawer storage is obviously better than a traditional medicine cabinet.

For a kitchen, upper cabinets are not particularly useful, although most homes include them. Plenty of lower cabinet or open shelf space within reach from a sitting position is critical. Having a prep/work surface at table level will make fixing meals much easier, and a faucet with a pull-out spray helps with cleaning up.

Today’s designers and home suppliers are addressing the needs of people with wheelchairs. If this is a concern for you or a member of your family, let us know if you would like more information.

Bathroom Blogfest 2012: Using Marble in the Bath

We are participating in the 7th annual Bathroom Blogfest! This year’s theme is “Still Coming Out” and it is a great way to bring together bloggers from all over the globe to talk about bathroom designs.  Take a look at who’s participating this year and get the inside scoop on everything bathroom.

There is just something classic about marble in the bathroom. Marble counters and sinks are traditional designs that continue to be popular today.  But there are new ways to use marble in the bathroom in addition to the classics.

Marble tiles can be applied to the floor, walls, and shower stall.  New tile sizes and patterns make this centuries old material feel contemporary.  Laying the tile in a horizontal pattern, rather than a traditional vertical pattern turns these classic tiles into a contemporary style.   Oversize horizontal tiles, like in this bathroom, are another way to put a contemporary twist on marble tiles.

Marble can be polished, honed and tumbled for shiny and matte surfaces.  Honed and tumbled are better choices for flooring as they are not as slick when wet.  Placing a bath mat down can help absorb water and prevent slips.

The tile is a neutral color, which allows a homeowner to have versatile options for the sinks, countertop, and bathroom accessories.  This homeowner chose to keep the bathroom sinks and countertop clean and neutral by choosing white, but they always have the option of adding a pop of color with towels or candles. Another great option for marble tile choices is classic white marble with grey veins.  A mix of white fixtures and marble has a crisp feeling that makes us think of a luxury hotel or spa.

Covering the walls and tub surround in the same marble tile gives this bathroom a uniform look and only adds to the luxurious spa feeling. Using the same material throughout the space makes the room feel even larger.

Even a little marble can make a big impact. A marble counter in the bathroom would take a small amount of stone and could fit most budgets. You could also add a strip of small marble tile for a sink’s backsplash in the bathroom.  It will add detail and interest to your bathroom.

Read more about Bathroom Blogfest 2012 from other writers:

Name Twitter Username Blog Name Blog URL
Susan Abbott susanabbott theIdeaStudio
Laurence Borel blogtillyoudrop blog till you drop
Bill Buyok AventeTile Avente Tile Talk
Jeanne Byington jmbyington The Importance of Earnest Service
Nora DePalma steamtherapy The Mr. Steam SteamTherapy Blog
Mr. Steam noradepalma OR-DP POV
Stacy Garcia kbtribechat kbtribe
Diane Kazan dkazan Public Bathroom Blog
Arpi Nalbandian Arpi_Nalb Avente Tile Talk
Victoria & Shelley Redshaw & Pond scarletopus Scarlet Opus Trends Blog
Sandy Renshaw sandyrenshaw Purple Wren
Bruce D. Sanders rimtailing RIMtailing
Paige Smith none Tile tips from installation professionals
Todd Vendituoli TALV58 Thebuildingblox
Shannon Vogel cyswebsites From the Floors Up
CB Whittemore cbwhittemore Content Talks Business Blog
Irene Williams crossvilleinc Elevate Your Space
Linda Wright skiptotheloo Skip to the Loo!


Unglazed Tile and Pottery Have Rustic Appeal

The pots to the left have the same appeal as the unglazed tile flooring underneath – the simplicity of natural materials minimally-handled to create a space that feels handmade and rustic.

This pottery and tile is not all that different from that found in archeological digs across the world. Clay is available in almost all areas, and it’s easy to dig, form and fire basic containers with it.

Of course, the skill to make pots and tiles requires a sophistication that comes with practice and time. This tile is rough but basically matches in shape, color and thickness. The pots are also similar and are probably thrown. All of them were fired in a professional kiln to make sure they are hard enough to handle everyday use. However, they have that handmade appeal that is unique to these products.

In contrast, the modern standard clay pots that are part of the patio to the right are manufactured quickly and to a clearly-defined standard. Containing the plants they were designed to hold, these clay pots are simple but not handmade in feeling.

Today, you can find ceramic tiles and containers rich in variety and style. Sophisticated glazes and firing methods combine to make your choices almost unlimited. However, sometimes it makes sense to design a space that takes advantage of the simpler beginnings of clay, to highlight where we came from and that beauty is not always about complexity.

Whatever style of tile appeals to you, the best news is that for thousands of years, clay from the ground has been converted to a product that provides us with an edge when building, decorating or making our lives better.

The Drama Of Stone

When you’re gathering ideas for your home, take advantage of local restaurants and hotel lobbies for a chance to see different flooring and colors in person. Often new restaurants and other retail outlets will use the newest surfaces and combinations, and it’s nice to see their choices.

This restaurant really illustrates the drama a stone floor can provide. Although the pattern is simple squares, the variety of color and tone offered makes the floor a highlight in the space.

Do you have a large open format home? Rather than dealing with flooring transitions that can limit your décor options, consider making one flooring choice with enough personality to keep your home interesting for the entire living area.

Every type of stone has some differences, but some tone shifts are more dramatic than others. Talk to one of our salespeople to get a good idea of how much each type of stone varies from one square to another. For example, slate has dramatic shifts in color and texture, but most marble is pretty consistent.

With this mid-tone stone, you can go light or dark with your furniture and window coverings. This would also work with rich colors or metallics. One thing is certain; a floor like this will add drama and interest throughout your home.

Celebrity Floors

IS4086RF-00037423-001Celebrities looking for homes and flooring material generally fall into two categories. There are celebrities who focus on a high-style and expensive approach to their homes, and then the new breed of environmentally conscious celebrities such as Brad Pitt.

Style-focused celebrities look for hard-to-source flooring materials that and may need to be shipped from other countries. Equatorial hardwood floors such as Ebony or Brazilian Mahogany are well known high end floors. Natural stone floors such as Italian marble,  granite or limestone may be chosen for rooms prone to moisture. Handmade one-of-a-kind designer tiles are also options celebrities look for when choosing flooring suitable to their star status. Deep pile expensive handmade natural fiber carpeting is another flooring material used by celebrities.

Eco conscious celebrities look at more sustainable options for the flooring in their homes. They source material that is locally available that can be recycled and from a renewable resource. These celebrities look for rubber, cork or bamboo floors that look exotic yet are well known examples of green flooring materials. Sourcing floors locally is another way to help the environment.  The carpeting used by eco conscious celebrities is usually made from polyester that is spun from recycled PET bottles, or nylon carpeting that is continuously recyclable.

Flooring selected by celebrities varies depending on the style, taste and environmentally responsible attitudes of the individual celebrity!

Tiles from Jerusalem

Jerusalem 1Jerusalem 3
A From the Floors Up reader,  Madina Aryeh submitted these pictures after seeing previous posts on old tile floors. These are from her trip to Jerusalem. Look closely for the amazing detail and character!

Jerusalem 2

Tile Wainscoting – Reader Question


Reader Question:

I was with a friend last night walking through their new house. They are getting ready to install the marble and stone in the bathrooms. They are doing stone wainscot on all walls and then on the floors. She asked me if she should use her baseboard at the bottom of the wall. Hmm. I thought. In doing a little research this morning I see in most bathrooms where there is wall tile and floor tile that no baseboard is used. Is there a right or wrong way?

Imogene – Denver, CO


Great question! There is no right or wrong way, only personal preference and what’s needed for your particular situation. My advice would be to let stone floors meet stone walls and don’t introduce wood into an area that you could keep completely protected from water. If your friend wanted the look, she could do marble base and it would be a win win, but not necessary. Also, it would only slow down the  installation process by adding a trim contractor and a painter into the mix. Note how the picture here shows a clean and smooth transition from the stone wall to the stone floor. Adding base here would only be distracting.

Hope this helps! – Shannon

Travertine Tiles – Guest Post

Today’s post is by Rob Jones, chief blogger and social media coordinator at BuildDirect, an online flooring and building materials firm in Vancouver, Canada. Here, Rob talks about the appeal of travertine tile, treasured and well-used in the Ancient World, and now offering the same imperial qualities to your indoor and outdoor spaces …


Marble and granite are well-known for use in commercial applications. Slate is naturally slip-resistant, and ruggedly beautiful too in various settings, both indoors and out. And even limestone gets a look-in when it comes to patios and foyer spaces in the minds of most consumers looking for a sturdy material in a natural stone surface. Yet, travertine has also been a natural stone workhorse for thousands of years and across many cultures.

Travertine is possibly most associated with the Classical era of Ancient Greece, Palestine, and the Roman Empire, when it was a key building material in building residences, municipal buildings, and even the famous Roman Coliseum. As a result, travertine has taken on something of that history, suggesting a sort of imperial air, and sense of permanence.

The color range of travertine tile offers gray, tan, beige, golden, and brown tones, with variation from tile to tile, which renders a refined-to-rustically-earthy-appeal. Even if there are associations with its use, you’re open to use travertine nearly anywhere, just because of its subtle decorative potential.

But, when it comes to buying and installing travertine as a floor or wall tile, what are your options? What kinds of surfaces and their visual effects are available for you use to transform your space? Let’s take a look at three options that stand as the more popular choices for travertine tile surfaces.

1. Honed and Filled Travertine Tile
With this surface treatment, the natural pores in the travertine, once caused by escaping gasses seeping through when the stone was formed, are filled with color-matched cement. Then, the tiles are polished until smooth. For those who like a refined, more pristine look in a stone surface, honed and filled is the perfect choice if you also want the unique color range of travertine.

2. Brushed and Chisled
Because travertine is known for its classical look, a very popular choice is travertine that has been artificially aged. The surfaces of the tile have been literally brushed, using a wire implement. And the edges of the tile are similarly treated using, you guessed it, a chisel. The effect is a replication of wear over the course of hundreds of years, giving the space in which brushed and chiseled travertine is installed the look of imperial regality.

3. Tumbled
Another way that this worn, imperial look is achieved is what’s called ‘tumbled’ travertine tile. In the travertine tile tumbling process, the tiles are placed in a machine, with gravel and smaller stone fragments, and then shaken. The smaller stones score the surface of the tile, and that aged effect that so many love is produced.

There are of course variations to be found here, with tiles which are only partially filled to gain the best of both worlds when it comes to a smooth tile that shows off the natural pores in the stone. Also, there are multiple tile sizes to consider, which also affects the way the tile will look, from mosaic 1″x1″ tiles, to 24″ x 24″ tile.

But, whatever way the tiles are purchased and installed, the use of travertine surfaces tie your space with a tradition of style that extends back to when civilization itself began. It’s hard to match that kind of longevity.


You can read more about travertine and other natural stone surfaces from BuildDirect on the BuildDirect blog.

Guest Post from Industry Blogger Rob Jones on Transformative Flooring

Today’s post is a guest post from a fellow flooring blogger, Rob Jones. Rob’s posts always keep my interest and I look forward to new contributions from him. I hope you will enjoy this post from Rob as well. Thanks, Rob!

When I began contributing to the BuildDirect blog in 2007, one of the things that I wanted to bring out is the idea that flooring, and indeed all building materials, are more than just products that people shop for and buy. I wanted to get down to the key reason as to why people buy these products, beyond just their practicalities .

Consumers want to buy building materials that will perform well, and for a long time. This is particularly true in this economy, when large expenses like this are more than just a purchase. A flooring project, for instance, is an investment. A durable floor adds lasting value of all kinds, including the value of a home or commercial space. That is understood.

Natural stone tile, like slate, granite, marble, or travertine, brings the look of strength and permanence. Wood flooring like hardwood, bamboo, cork, and laminate flooring brings a unique source of visual warmth and style. And ceramic tile adds unmatched refinement. Beyond the extremely practical benefits, flooring surfaces like this can really activate the potential in any space. They have the potential to transform. And that’s why homeowners seek them out.

Whatever the tastes, whatever the space, I think this is idea of transformation is the overarching reason why people undertake flooring projects, or any other renovation project. They want to build a home, a place they can call their own, matching the reality with the way they’ve envisioned that space in their imaginations. They want to take flooring materials and use them to personalize their spaces, to imbue their homes with something of their own identities.

In this, the choice of flooring is really just a means to an end. And I think as sellers of flooring and other building materials, it’s our job to present the range of surfaces, and materials to match those imaginations, or better yet to feed them. When we source, and then sell, what people are looking for, and sometimes the things that people didn’t know they were looking for, we’re helping consumers bring their ideas to fruition.

This is an exciting prospect, and in this way it kind of feels like we’re not just moving wood and stone back and forth in a supply chain. In a small way, we are collaborators in that process of transformation.


Rob Jones has been in the marketing department at Vancouver BC-based BuildDirect for close to five years as a copywriter, blogger, and social media enthusiast. BuildDirect is an online-only flooring and other building materials company. You can follow BuildDirect and Rob on Twitter @BuildDirect, and join the BuildDirect Facebook page for frequent blog posts and videos about flooring and other building materials.