Kitchen floor tiles - limestone vs marble vs slate vs porcelain? Tumbled or honed?!

(41 Posts)
amazonianwoman Tue 26-Nov-13 15:55:28

I need to order kitchen floor tiles ASAP and can't make a decision with so much choice available.

I've been to Mandarin Stone and they tried to steer me towards tumbled limestone. It's beautiful but most of it seemed too rustic for my 1930s house... As much as I'd love to, we aren't living in a French farmhouse.

The kitchen will be a hand painted shaker, Martin Moore lookalike with a cream range. The run of units on either side of the range will have a honed granite worktop (not quite black, Nero something) and will probably be painted a very pale neutral colour.

The island has a teak worktop - I'm thinking of painting the island a greenish grey sort of colour. Not a definite green though.

I'd planned fairly pale kitchen tiles - not grey but not beige and not totally plain as we have a dog.

I've read a few horror stories about limestone staining (wine, ketchup, dog vomit!) - how hardy is it when it's sealed and how often would I need to reseal? Does anything exist which isn't as tumbled as tumbled but not as clean cut and bathroomy as honed?!

Or is slate more hardwearing? I'm trying to find a lighter slate.

Or should I just go with porcelain? Can anyone recommend any natural looking porcelain tiles?

Thanks in anticipation, I hate choosing tiles!!

Eastwickwitch Tue 26-Nov-13 16:40:36

I asked the same question here & was gently steered away from limestone.
There are some lovely big porcelain tiles that look like limestone but without the upkeep.
Fired Earth is a good place to start for inspiration.

amazonianwoman Tue 26-Nov-13 21:05:35

Thanks, that's one strike against limestone grin

Anyone else?

MuddyWellyNelly Tue 26-Nov-13 21:13:37

Friends who have slate regret it, cold on their feet, hard to keep looking clean, and anything you drop will definitely break.

TerrysNo2 Tue 26-Nov-13 21:17:17

We just got http://www.toppstiles.co.uk/tprod41888/section1179/zamora-grey-wall-and-floor-tile-60x60.html?utm_source=google-shopping&gclid=CInoqNivg7sCFSTmwgodjggAcw [these from Topps Tiles]] and they are lovely, I'm very pleased with them.

TerrysNo2 Tue 26-Nov-13 21:17:40

Dammit, link try again grin

TerrysNo2 Tue 26-Nov-13 21:18:44

by the way, they aren't a very dark grey, we have a big kitchen but its not got lots of natural light and they go very well in here.

adagio Tue 26-Nov-13 21:33:35

I have honed limestone from Mandarin, it's been down over 5 years (to give some context) and we are in a 1936 bay fronted house.

The lounges/hall are classic (original) herringbone parquet in beech, the hall is oak; all re-finished in Osma oil. We needed a floor to butt up to that without looking crap, the original floors are rather concave and the kitchen diner was dug out and relaid with UFH so perfectly level.

Kitchen is walnut with black counters, like you, I ruled out slate as too dark.

Pro's:
I was pleasantly surprised with how well the limestone hides muck - it has enough natural variation to hold it's own (prior to having it I was nervously anticipating a daily mopping).
Sealant means the grout has been sealed too, so has held up better than light grout on porcelain (which wouldn't be sealed as the tiles are pre sealed) would have
Fila satin wax smells lush, when I do it (we are now on the second pack, it lasted ages/I don't do it often, see cons - may have helped protect if I used more often..)

Cons
Acid based stuff can etch the limestone, for example squeeze a lemon for cooking, make sure you wipe any over squirt pronto. If you drop tomato based stuff, again clear up. if its a short time (under an hour), it will just make a sort of 'matte' blob, visible in certain light. For example, baby vs spaghetti hoops left a few nice matte polo shapes last week hmm Under the table though so not so bad.
If you clean up straight away, its fine
Even if you don't, it just sort of blends and looks natural (well, blobs do, polo shapes less so)
Need to use suitable cleaner - once the Fila one ran out I have just been using any safe one - so pledge or flash for natural floors, old fashioned star drops. I used normal flash once and it dried with terrible marks/water stains - never again.

Reseal: Um yeh is on the to do list… perhaps if I had got round to it I wouldn't have had the spaghetti hoops problem? I shall bump it up the list.

Overall, I still prefer the natural look to porcelain, and I like the honed finish. I would lay again in another (old) house, if we ever move (unlikely).

Apols for length!

greyvix Tue 26-Nov-13 22:10:49

We have quite a pitted travertine. It looks rustic, and doesn't show the dirt, but it is hard to clean. It has too many holes, and the grouting now needs resealing. Stone is fine, but go for a flattish surface that can be easily cleaned.
It looks nicer than porcelain in my opinion.

Stoneinwelly Tue 26-Nov-13 22:28:48

I have a v.pale French limestone ( and a green/grey island with iroko top!)
And it looks really nice- I think so anyway.
It's been down ten years and still looks good so I would say go for it.
My only advise would be seal it properly WITH LITHOFIN,much cheaper online, and worth every penny don't use HG although this is a brilliant cleaner for it.
I assume you are having underfloor heating. That's a must too.

amazonianwoman Tue 26-Nov-13 22:28:52

Thanks all, most helpful smile

Adagio - I don't suppose you can remember which honed stone you have? Ours will also butt up to solid oak flooring finished in Osmo oil.

I'm not actually too worried about food spills being left for too long - DCs are 9 and 6 and the dog usually snaffles anything pretty quickly, apart from onions and lettuce hmm I'd have to train him to like lemon juice. I do like the idea of the grout being sealed, our existing grout is vile. Can you steam clean limestone or would that shorten the lifespan of the sealant?

Hmm, had just talked myself out of limestone, now just as undecided as ever!

crumpet Tue 26-Nov-13 22:38:08

These highland flag tiles might be what you need - warm but with a hint of grey. I put them in my last house and they were beautiful.

http://www.marlboroughtiles.com/porcelain-tiles/highland-flags.html

crumpet Tue 26-Nov-13 22:38:43

www.marlboroughtiles.com/porcelain-tiles/highland-flags.html

Hopefully with working link

wetaugust Tue 26-Nov-13 22:49:33

I had a painted ivory Shaker installed last week. It has oak effect worktops.

I went for cream coloured walls (Dulux Natural Calico) with Dulux Satinwood Once Brilliant White woodwork.

The floor is tiled - steel grey 33x33cm porcelain tiles. The grey works very well with the cream. It's not a huge kitchen so the tile size is proportionate for the size of the room.

It has a venetian blind, which should have been cream but turned out to be a light greyish, white, which just happens to echo the flooring rather well.

I discounted the rustic look as I live in a modern house. I went more for 'cook's itchen' in classic cream.

wetaugust Tue 26-Nov-13 22:51:46

The grey colour in the Higland Flags link posted by crumpet is the grey colour that I used.

fossil971 Tue 26-Nov-13 22:55:50

I was going to suggest Marlborough tiles too - out of our price range but they looked beautiful in the shop and really natural.

amazonianwoman Wed 27-Nov-13 00:17:32

I like those Marlborough tiles thanks! Any idea how much they are??

MrsFlorrick Wed 27-Nov-13 01:03:33

Rustic ie tumbled is best. I hear you about not living in a French farm house but

Wine, acidic substances and things like beetroot ketchup etc can stain. Even if you seal with a top sealant like Dry Treat.

Vomit whether dog or human will burn holes in stone - almost any stone as stomach acid is hydrochloric acid. Even if you wipe and wash immediately and the stone is sealed you will get a small etched patch.

On rustic stone this isn't noticeable.

I know this as I have limestone in two bathrooms. One is in fact Mandarin Stones Dijon Tumbled. It's beautiful and no I don't live in an ancient roman villa but it still looks amazing.

The other is a honed stoned which has chipped edge and is rustic. It's Jerusalem grey gold (not Manderin but they have a Ramon grey which is similar).

And yes we have had wee and vomit in the both bathrooms on the floor. You can't tell because its rustic.

I'm clearly crazy so I have honed bianco carrara marble as worktops in my kitchen. It's beautiful and being honed it hides the etching fairly well.

The most amazing things can etch stone. Did you know celariac was acidic? Well my marble worktop can attest to this.

Mandarin stone have stunning products. I do recommend them. I have also spoken to their head office about some tiles for another part of my house. They gave great advice

They are only steering you towards a rustic tile because their experience tells them that in a kitchen it will look good the longest.

I can see your vision you describe with your kitchen. And I can see where you're going with the honed stone. I love honed stone.

If you choose honed, just be aware of spills and what you drop on it.

As much as I love stone, I have oak 200mm wide plank in my kitchen diner. It's brushed and oiled and rustic for precisely the same reason. Very finely finished oak flooring would look battered quickly in a kitchen but a rustic one just looks settled in.

It's lucky that I live in a very old house where it suits the house well.

Why don't you have another visit to Mandarin stone and have another look. Or better still google photos of kitchens with limestone flooring. Perhaps you will see "your kitchen" with both styles of flooring?

MrsFlorrick Wed 27-Nov-13 01:08:26

Oh and porcelain tiles for a kitchen. No no. Very bad.

The first time you drop and smash a plate/mug/sauce pan on it, the top
Layer of the tile comes of and cracks and you are left with the bottom (unglazed, uncoloured, unfinished) bit of the tile and ugly cracking.

If you chip a bit of a limestone tile it looks the same all the way through so its hard to tell particularly if its rustic style. Ditto wood flooring.

adagio Wed 27-Nov-13 04:55:20

We have the 'Classic' flax limestone in rectangles (400x300ish) laid in a brick pattern

www.mandarinstone.com/product/_/48/flax-honed-limestone-tile/?cid=11

Budget was an issue, hence classic range (they have such beautiful products, I could spend a fortune)

I'll try and put a photo on my profile for you - the baby won't sleep anyway!

adagio Wed 27-Nov-13 05:12:46

ok, photos up; if you want any others (or better quality) PM me. I had an excellent tile fitter called Marshall who I got the details for from Mandarin. I can dig out his details if you like, I seem to recall he was based Hereford ish maybe nearer Monmouth but travelled to do our job (Cardiff).

He also recommended / used Lithofin sealer.

amazonianwoman Wed 27-Nov-13 11:10:06

Thanks everyone again.

MrsFlorrick - Dijon tumbled is the one I'm considering. I might just order it because I can't face going back and being overwhelmed by all the choice again! We have rustic/character oak too in the family room but I'd been warned off using that in a kitchen by the builder and joiner.

wetaugust Wed 27-Nov-13 12:30:09

*The first time you drop and smash a plate/mug/sauce pan on it, the top
Layer of the tile comes of and cracks and you are left with the bottom (unglazed, uncoloured, unfinished) bit of the tile and ugly cracking. *

That's nonsense. Properly laid porcelain tiles are much tougher than any pot or pan you're lkely to drop on them.

Ceramic tiles behave as you've described but ceramic tiles should not be used in a kitchen as they are not strong and the terracota backing can deteriorate if repeatedly allowed to get wet.

MrsFlorrick Wed 27-Nov-13 12:47:52

Amazonian. PM me and I will email you a photo of my bathroom floor.

It's Dijon tumbled and laid in a Roman Opus pattern.
I also have the Dijon tumbled on the shower walls but the small 20x10 (I think) laid in brick fashion.

And re porcelain tiles. Try dropping the lid of a Le Crueset cast iron pan on it and its toast! It will smash the tile.
Given the OP is having a Martin Moore style kitchen with a range cooker, I expect the OP will have a few cast iron pots and pans too.

fossil971 Wed 27-Nov-13 13:20:28

<slight hijack> Can I just say I live in terror of someone dropping a cast iron pan in my Ikea ceramic sink? Would it be OTT to buy a spare one and keep it in the garage just in case, given rumours of Ikea overhauling their kitchen range?

I would agree with the overall opinion that a "rustic" finish on anything is more forgiving of wear and tear though.

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