Granite flooring is made from one of the most durable natural stone materials in existence. While stones like marble, travertine, and slate match the beauty of granite, if you want a lasting solution, granite flooring is a good choice. Granite floor tiles, pavers, and slab are popular flooring choices both indoors and outdoors.
Natural stone floors are beautiful and long-lasting, but they also increase your home’s resale value. According to Realtor.com, buyers are willing to pay more when they see luxury natural stone like granite flooring.
Granite Flooring Basics
Granite flooring has similar qualities to other natural stone flooring materials like marble. It also has unique qualities that make it one of the best choices for natural stone flooring.
What is Granite?
Granite is a coarse-grained igneous rock that is made up of quartz and feldspar. Most granite is white, pink, or gray, though there are multiple other color variations. It is also a hard and tough rock. Its color and strength have been prized and used in building projects and decoration for thousands of years.
Granite Flooring Types
Granite flooring comes in several varieties: granite tiles, granite pavers, and granite slab flooring. Most people use granite flooring tiles or pavers as they are easy to handle and less expensive.
- Granite Tiles – Granite tiles range in color and thickness. You can find granite tiles in earth tones of all varieties and mixtures including pink, brown, green, blue, black, brown, yellow, and orange. Granite tiles come in different thicknesses including 3/8″, 1/2″, and 3/4″. The thicker the tile, the stronger it is. Homeowners use granite tile floor indoors and outdoors, though the grade will vary for each.
- Granite Pavers – Granite pavers are used in outdoor environments. They are thicker than granite tiles at 1 1/2″ and have less variation in color. Granite pavers have a rough surface texture.
- Granite Slab Flooring – A large piece of granite is known as a slab. Slabs range in size and thickness. The thickness of a slab is anywhere from 3/4″ to 3″. People use granite slab flooring outdoors and indoors. This is the least popular flooring option because they are heavy, difficult to install, and expensive.
Granite Flooring Tile Finishes
There are four main finishes available for granite floor tiles: polished, honed, flamed, and brushed.
- Polished Granite Tile – Polished granite tile has a high shine with a reflective and glossy surface. This finish highlights the unique patterns and colors of granite the best. Polished granite flooring is also the most slippery surface when wet.
- Honed Granite Tile – Honed granite tiles have a matte finish that is flat/non-reflective. This finish dulls the surface of the granite, so the colors and pattern are not as distinct. This finish is an excellent choice for high traffic areas as it is not slippery and it is durable.
- Flamed Granite Tile – Manufacturers use a high powered flame to create a textured surface on flamed granite tiles. This finish is popular in outdoor installations as the texture creates a slip resistant surface. This works well on a patio near a pool. Flaming opens the grain of the granite, so it is important to use a good sealer to keep it stain resistant.
- Brushed Granite Tile – Brushed granite has a texture, but it is a softer look than the other textured finishes. It has no hard ridges, but soft ridges and edges. This is another finish that is popular outdoors or in bathrooms because of its slip-resistance.
Grades of Granite Flooring
There are three main grades of granite flooring. These grades are based on the thickness of the granite and the common or unique color choices and pattern varieties of the granite tile.
- Entry-Grade Granite – This is also known as commercial or builder’s grade granite. It is the thinnest granite tile at 3/8″. It is the most standard color and pattern of granite available. This granite needs a plywood subfloor for backing. Some of the least expensive of these varieties are granite and resin combinations. Inspect this level granite as some slabs will have imperfections.
- Mid-Grade Granite – This is also known as standard level granite. It is 3/4″ thick and has more unique color options and patterns. This grade will have some minor faults and irregularities in cut and size.
- High-Grade Granite – This granite also has a designation of premium. It is 3/4″ or more thick. It offers many unique color and pattern options. High-grade granite has a uniform thickness and no flaws.
Granite is porous natural stone which is a weakness in its overall resiliency. The porousness varies according to distinct granite types and compositions. Thus, it is important to seal all granite with a natural stone sealer. Maintain the sealer by reapplication on a regular basis.
The durability of granite flooring, backsplashes, and countertops is one reason they are so popular and have such a wide application in both residential or commercial use. Granite is resistant to scratches, cracks, and heat. Apply sealer to keep granite resistant to staining.
Granite flooring works well in heavy foot traffic areas of your house, both inside and outside. If you maintain your floors, they will last a lifetime.
Granite Flooring Maintenance
Granite floor tile is straightforward to maintain. Apply a sealer around once a year, although you can extend this if your floors are used less often. Check the seal by dropping a small quarter size drop of water on your tile. If the water absorbs into the tile, you need to reseal. If, after several hours, the drop is there, your sealer is still strong.
Clean the floors before you seal them. Next, apply an impregnating natural stone sealer with a spray bottle. Spray a three foot section and then buff with a lint-free cloth. Repeat for the whole floor. Let it cure for 24 hours. Never leave wet sealer on the floor as it will create a haze.
Check your floor for cracks, chips, or holes. Fill these with a clear filler to avoid further damage.
How to Clean Granite Floors
Sweep or dry mop granite floors at least every other day to avoid the build-up of dust and debris. Mop indoor granite tile at least once a week with a neutral natural stone cleaner. Never use a cleaner with acid as this destroys the finish on granite tile. Do not leave standing water on the granite tile. Instead, use a wrung out mop to maintain the finish on your floors.
Some experts recommend polishing your granite floor if it is looking dull. This can make your floor slippery, so polish your floors less often.
Location for Use
Granite flooring is used in both indoor and outdoor applications. Indoors, granite flooring is popular in kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways. Outdoor tile and pavers are used on patios, gardens, and porches.
The look and feel of the distinct surface finishes mean that they work best in certain locations. The elegant finish of polished granite tile works well in entryways and kitchens. Honed tiles do not have as elegant a finish, but their slip resistance means that they are great in bathroom applications.
Granite tile can be installed by both professionals and DIYers, though specialized knowledge and tools are required. Before you start your project, make sure that you have all the tools you need to cut and shape your tile. Also, decide if you need to lay a subfloor.
The subfloor must be level as the tile and grout can crack over time if they are on an uneven surface. Be sure to order around 10% more tiles than you need from the same lot to cover any breakage and future repairs.
Granite Flooring Price
Builder’s grade indoor granite tiles cost $2-$6 per square foot. Mid-grade granite tile costs $5-$15 per square foot. Premium granite tile costs up to $15-$40 per square foot. On average, granite tile installation labor costs between $35-$45 per hour.
Granite Flooring: Pros and Cons
Granite makes a good flooring for many reasons. In order to make an informed decision, it is important to consider all the pros and cons of granite floor tiles.
- Durability – Long-wearing flooring that will last for years with proper maintenance.
- Real Estate Value – Natural stone flooring will increase your home’s appeal and real estate value.
- Appearance – There are many color and pattern options of granite tile.
- Cost – The average granite has a higher price than other natural stone floors like slate and travertine, but it is less expensive than marble. It is similar in price to limestone flooring.
- Feel – A granite tile floor is cold underfoot, and polished granite tile flooring is slippery.
- Maintenance – You must seal granite floors on a regular basis so that is stays resistant to moisture.
Granite Flooring Designs
Granite flooring has wide applications and styles. We have gathered some projects to inspire you for your next remodel.
Granite Tile Flooring
ODS Architecture used granite tiles for both the floor and the fireplace plinth in this contemporary living room in San Francisco. They blended the sleek granite tile with a warmer material like wood for a design with more depth and texture.
Rustic Outdoor Granite Slabs
Anderson Landscape used varied granite slabs to create this rustic walkway. They buried the stones in the ground and filled the middle with small gravel to complete the rustic look.
Bathroom with Matched Granite Slabs
Contour Interior Design uses three Agata granite slabs to create the dramatic backdrop for the bathtub in this contemporary bathroom.
Outdoor Granite Stone Pavers
To create a more regular stone floor, use granite pavers. Melissa MacDonald varied the floor design with pavers of different sizes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What are granite garage floors?
A granite garage floor is not true granite. Rather, it is an epoxy paint finish with flecks so that the floor has the effect of granite.
What is the best granite for my flooring project?
To choose the best granite for your project, consider your budget and the look you want. While commercial grade granite is the cheapest, it does not have much color variation. It is also not free of imperfections. Mid-grade granite is the best value if you want some color variation and if you want a reliable level of quality.
Where can I find granite flooring near me?
You can find granite tile countertops and flooring at home improvement centers like Home Depot and Lowes. Online retailers and local tile shops will have more selection and more expertise.
Granite flooring is one of the most durable materials that you can buy. It is not an ideal option for everyone as it is price prohibitive for some. To others, to have an easy maintenance floor with the longevity and the beauty of granite is worth the initial investment.