The Pros and Cons of Granite Floor Tiles

Granite Flooring
Photo Credit: Alexandra Lehmann

Few types of stone offer the grandeur and character of granite. With so many color variations and finishes available, this stone fits well in traditional and contemporary homes as well as rustic decor schemes. While it’s certainly not the cheapest flooring material around, it’s exceptionally durable and will reward you with its beauty for as long as you own your home.

Pros: Appearance and Durability

Granite Floor Tile Samples
© nd700 / Adobe Stock

Granite flooring is available in a wide variety of styles, so you can easily find flooring tiles that suite your preferences. As one of the hardest flooring stones out there, granite easily resists wear.

Available in a Range of Styles

Shades of black, grey, brown, pink, blue, and green are all among your choices for granite flooring. Whatever your decor style or color palette preference, you’ll be able to find a suitable shade.

Use just one color for a traditional look or combine colors in a pattern or random arrangement to liven up your home with something fresh and modern. Even if you stick with a single color, the natural color and pattern variations in granite mean your floor will still be unique from any other. The sparkling quartz that makes up much of this stone gives it even more personality.

You also have several options for finishes including polished for a shiny surface, honed for a matte surface or flamed for muted colors and a time-worn look. For a little more texture with an overall smooth surface, consider a brushed finish. If you prefer a more pronounced texture, antique and brush-hammered finishes will deliver.

Highly Durable

With just a little basic care, a granite floor will last a lifetime. Harder than marble or travertine, granite resists scratches and cracking. It’s an excellent choice for high-traffic areas, even in homes with active kids or large dogs. Because the colors resist fading in sunlight, granite retains its beauty even when used outdoors as patio flooring.

To help your granite floor stand up to wear, moisture, and stains, and to maintain its luster, you might need to apply a sealer periodically. If your floor requires sealing, the ideal schedule depends on the type of floor you have and how much use it gets, although once every four years is the average.

Keep in mind your floor’s color and finish also affect its durability to a certain extent. For example, darker colors show scratches more readily, and honed granite is more prone to staining and etching than polished granite.

Comfortably Cooling

Like other stones, granite conducts heat well. When you stand on it, it draws heat away from your body, which is a major plus in a hot climate. By keeping your feet cool, it makes your whole body feel cooler. A granite floor gives kids a comfortable a place to play and pets a refreshing place to rest.

Cons: Pricey and Difficult to Install

Granite Quarry
A Granite Quarry in Vermont
© vermontalm / Adobe Stock

Due to both the cost of the stone itself and the difficulty of installing it, a granite floor comes with an impressive price tag. Even if the cost is within your budget, there are a few attributes of this stone that might mean it’s still not a good fit for your needs.

High Cost

Granite is one of the most expensive flooring stones on the market. In fact, even marble generally costs less. While you can find cheap granite flooring at home improvement stores, this is usually lower grade stone that lacks the beauty and durability of higher grades.

When you’re pricing granite flooring, consider which grade you want.

  • Commercial grade – The cheapest granite flooring available, this grade offers only simple, plain coloring with noticeable faults. It’s usually cut quite thin, meaning it requires reinforcement. Some of the very cheapest in this grade are composites of granite and resin.
  • Standard grade – This grade has some type of fault and minor irregularities in thickness and cut.
  • Premium grade – Flooring tiles of this grade come with uniform thickness and flawlessly cut edges. This is where you’ll find less common colors in more complex, eye-catching patterns.

For the greatest character and durability, look for premium grade granite and expect to pay at least $10 to $15 per sq. ft., with exotic colors running as high as $40 per sq. ft.

Difficult to Install

Installing a granite floor is not a do-it-yourself job if you want optimal results. Before laying the tiles, your installer must make sure the floor is perfectly level. An uneven floor can cause the tiles to crack. The weight of the stone makes the tiles hard to handle, so it takes skill to lay them correctly. Lower-grade granite takes even more work because the uneven edges of the tiles make it difficult to use spacers. Given how hard granite is, it’s a challenge to cut, which adds to the workload if your installer needs to cut sections to fit irregular spaces.

Not Suitable for Every Home

Granite is a particularly heavy stone, so before you decide to use it, make sure your floor can support its weight. Polished granite is slippery, especially when it’s wet, so it’s not the safest choice in a household with elderly adults or small children. If you plan to use it in the kitchen or bath, you’ll want to put down rugs with rubber backings or non-slip pads to reduce the risk of falls.

In a moderate or cold climate, a granite floor’s cooling effect might not be so comfortable. While granite is safe to use with underfloor radiant heating, it doesn’t conduct heat well enough to be highly efficient, and it’s prone to cracking due to temperature changes.

If you’re looking for flooring that will bring a sense of stately elegance to your home for decades to come, granite is an excellent choice. While it costs more up front than most other flooring options, it will pay you back in beauty, longevity, and increased property value. If you live in a cold climate or you need a low-cost flooring option, however, another type of flooring might meet your needs better.

Posted on Categories Flooring