This guide to granite flooring ideas includes the pros and cons, floor finishes, design options, types of tiles & slabs, cost, and granite floor cleaning tips.
Natural stone flooring has always been regarded as a high class material because of its distinct beauty and elegance. Granite is one of the most durable construction materials among these stones.
More commonly used as a countertop for kitchens, granite can also be used as flooring for any type of space. Granite is the perfect choice if you want a good investment that is attractive, long lasting and strong.
Below, we give you our very own guide on granite flooring. Read on to know more about their greatest qualities, weaknesses, cost and learn tips on how you can keep them looking their best.
What Is Granite Flooring?
Granite is a type of igneous rock that is formed when magma crystallizes slowly under the ground. It is mainly composed of minerals like quartz and feldspar which gives it a grainy appearance. Other minerals can also be found in granite and these elements contribute to its unique pattern of metallic flecks and specks.
Granite flooring is granite that is processed and smoothed out to become slabs or tiles for interior and exterior applications.
Pros And Cons of Granite Tile Flooring
Although granite flooring has some drawbacks, the benefits outweigh its weaknesses. Here are some of the best qualities that granite flooring has to offer:
Pros of Granite Flooring
• Granite is exceptionally durable and long lasting – Granite’s impressive durability makes it an excellent option as a flooring material. Granite flooring can outlast other popular materials including natural stone like marble and slate.
• Granite is extremely beautiful – Granite’s distinct natural beauty is one of the main reasons people are drawn to it as a flooring material. Each slab of granite is unique and possesses a diverse pattern and design. Some slabs show metallic flecks that sparkle as light hits it, and when used as a flooring material, it gives a space a heightened visual effect.
• Granite is scratch resistant – Granite is one of the hardest natural stones which makes it less vulnerable to scratches, heavy foot traffic and wear and tear.
• Granite is hypoallergenic – Unlike carpet flooring, granite does not harbor allergens and is suitable for people with allergies.
• Granite comes in a wide variety of colors and options – Granite comes in a wide range of patterns and colors like white, black, beige, brown, blue, and red. Because of the numerous granite colors and options available, you can choose the perfect granite that matches your personal taste and your home’s existing style.
• Granite is resistant to stains – It is also resistant to stains, spilled liquids and even some acidic substances.
• Granite makes a great option for wet areas – When properly sealed, granite flooring is very resistant to moisture and is suitable for use in bathrooms and kitchens.
• Granite is an excellent insulator – Granite flooring provides good thermal insulation and is well-suited for radiant in-floor heating.
• Granite is easy to maintain – Simple sweeping and occasional mopping is all you need to keep granite floors looking their best.
• Granite adds real estate value to your home – Potential buyers are more drawn to natural stone flooring and in addition increases the resale value of your home. Granite flooring proves to be an excellent investment.
Cons of Granite Flooring
• Granite is quite difficult to install and may require professional services – The heavy weight of granite makes it somewhat difficult to install. Most of the time, installation would require more than one person to finish the job.
• Granite needs to be sealed and resealed periodically – Although easy to clean on a day to day basis, granite requires periodic sealing to protect it from moisture. Sealing needs to be done on an annual basis and this translates to additional costs in terms of maintenance.
Granite Designs Used for Flooring
One of the best things granite flooring has to offer is high customizability. Whether you use slabs or tiles, granite flooring can be laid out in different designs and patterns, depending on the look you want to achieve.
The most common granite flooring design is the square set pattern or grid pattern. This granite flooring design makes use of tiles that are set in a square with corners. This layout is the easiest to install because it requires the least number of cuts.
It also costs less in terms of labor. You can use this granite flooring design if you want a simple or seamless design, especially if you are only using one granite color. However, if you want to add more visual interest, you can experiment with the design by incorporating strips, adding an accent or using two or more granite colors to produce color blocking.
Granite flooring designs can also include geometric shapes and other customized motifs. This creates a more dynamic look for a space.
This also provides a great way to add a focal point in your flooring. Suppliers can incorporate any shape or design into your granite flooring using custom cuts of the stone. Although more tedious to produce and install, the resulting look is truly unique and interesting.
Granite Tiles for Floors
Granite tiles are pre- cut square or rectangular pieces of granite obtained by processing small blocks of the stone. The most popular granite tiles are from India and China and are not only used for flooring but also for wall finishes and countertops as well.
Standard Sizes. The standard sizes for granite tiles are 30×30 centimeters , 60×60 centimeters, 120 x120 centimeters, 60 x 120 centimeters, although you can have custom cuts of 30x 60 centimeters from some manufacturers. You can also ask suppliers to make other custom sizes based on your requirements.
Standard Thickness. Granite tiles are available in standard thicknesses of 3/8, ½ and even ¾ inches. The thicker the tiles are, the stronger they are, the better the quality and longer the lifespan, however it is more expensive. Thicker tiles are suitable for heavy loads and high traffic areas.
Applications. Small size granite tiles such as 30 x 30 centimeters and 30×60 centimeters are good for small areas like bathrooms, bigger types of floor tiles are more suitable for large spaces like living rooms.
Finishes. Granite floor tiles are available in different finishes namely polished, honed, flamed, leathered and bush hammered.
Polished granite floor tiles are those that have a glossy sheen.
Honed granite finish has a non reflective feel. See examples of honed granite here.
It is ground down smooth to produce a matte finish that creates a softer feel than polished granite tiles.
Leathered finish has a soft sheen that is less reflective than polished granite. The textured appearance of leathered granite offers subtle dimple like impressions which is made by running diamond tipped brushes on the granite’s surface.
Flamed finish has a coarser texture and rougher appearance. This is made by firing the stone at extreme temperatures causing the surface to break.
Bush hammered finish also has a rough texture — almost similar to the stone’s natural coarse texture. Compared to flamed finish, bush hammered granite has deep pockets and ridges.
Popular Granite Tile Colors. There are hundreds of granite colors and patterns you can choose from, but the most popular ones used for tiles include Black Galaxy, Absolute Black, Black Marquino, Tan Brown, Steel Gray, Rajasthan Black and Red Multi.
Granite Slab for Flooring
Another alternative to granite tiles are granite slabs. You can use granite slabs for flooring but they can be very challenging to install in any setting. Because of their size and heavy weight, granite slabs are much harder to handle.
However, as a flooring material, they are considered to be one of the most durable options. When properly installed, granite slab flooring is long lasting, can withstand fires and other forces of nature.
Granite slabs can be cut to size and are considered a more premium material than granite tiles. The average price for granite slabs range from $80 to $150 per square foot for the material. The labor cost is also a bit more expensive because of the complexity of the process.
Granite slabs for flooring are typically thicker than tile forms. A slab piece can range from ¾ inch to 3 inches thick. You may visit our granite slab size guide for more information.
In terms of installation, the slab is placed on top of 2 to 3 inches thick deck mud, depending on how uneven the granite slab is. So in total, the estimated thickness of granite slab floors will be about 4 to 5 inches when finished.
When installing granite slabs for flooring, make sure that the surface is primed well with a slurry so the deck mud can adhere properly. Although there will be no grout lines, there will be expansion joints in between the slabs to allow for movement. The gaps or spaces in between the granite slab flooring can be filled with caulk or epoxy to create a more seamless look.
Cost of Granite as Flooring Material
The cost of granite flooring costs around $2.50 to $5.00 per square foot for the tile form. Expect to pay more for high end granite at $6 to $15 or more per square foot.
Installation of granite flooring costs more than other flooring materials and runs anywhere between $3 to $6 per square foot for the labor alone. So in total, installed granite is roughly around $6 to $20 per square foot depending on a number of factors. Larger than average granite tiles tend to cost more because they are harder to handle and install.
Other factors which affect the cost of granite include the grade of the granite,color of the granite, complexity of the project, size of the space, etc.
Factors That Affect The Cost Of Granite
Grade – Granite flooring comes in three grades namely, low grade, mid grade and high grade granite.
• Low Grade Granite – Also known as “level 1 granite”, low grade granite is entry level granite and is typically pre fabricated with a thickness of 3/8 inches. Because it is lightweight, low grade granite is the easiest to install and costs less in terms of labor. However, it needs a reliable substrate to reinforce its strength and stability. Low grade granite typically costs $2 to $6 per square foot.
• Mid Grade Granite – Considered as “level 2 granite”, mid grade granite is thicker at ¾ inches and offers more durability. They cost $5 to $15 per square foot.
• High Grade Granite – Considered level 3 and above, high grade granite is the finest and has the best quality. The thickness of high grade granite starts at ¾ inches but can double depending on the requirement.
It is exceptionally durable and comes in a variety of patterns, colors and unique designs. High grade granite is the most expensive type of granite and costs around $15 to $40 per square foot.
Custom Borders – If you want to add custom borders and inlays to your granite flooring, it will raise the total cost of your project. For a 10×10 square foot area, a custom border will cost an average of $200 to $600 depending on the design and materials used. The more complex the design is, the higher the cost.
Special Colors and Designs – Special and more exotic colors of granite cost more at $10 to $40 per square foot. Examples of special and rare granite colors include blue, red and purple granite.
The most expensive type of granite is blue granite like Azul Aran, Blue Bahia and Van Gogh Granite. They are in the high end range because of the rarity and highly desirable looks.
Van Gogh granite costs a whopping $300 to $400 per square foot and features a breathtaking pattern of swirls of deep blue, green, white and gold.
Finish – Granite flooring comes in several types of finishes, including polished, honed, brushed and flamed. Most people would think that polished granite is more expensive than other finishes because of the grinding process, however, honed granite has the highest price point because of its availability.
Floor Pattern or Layout – Granite flooring in tile form may be installed in a straight or diagonal pattern, depending on your taste. Straight tile patterns are easier to install thus cost less in terms of labor and materials.
Whereas, diagonal patterns raise the costs higher because they are more complex to install and require trimming diagonal tiles at 45 degree edges.
Size of the Area – The biggest cost factor in granite flooring is the size of the space. The bigger the space, the more materials and labor it requires.
How To Care For Granite Tile Floors
Although granite flooring is extremely durable, it can lose its luster after some time due to daily wear and tear. The key to keeping them looking good is to clean them regularly using the right products and the right methods. Below are some of our practical tips in cleaning granite floors.
• Sweep or dust on a daily basis to keep dirt, pet dander, dust and other debris from building up on your granite floor.
• Vacuum regularly to remove any dirt stuck in between granite tiles.
• Always use warm water and a soft mop or cloth. Make sure to wipe with a dry cloth to remove any excess water from mopping.
• Mop at least once to twice a week. Use a damp, well wrung cloth or mop to clean granite floors weekly.
Monthly Deep Cleaning
• Deep clean on a monthly basis. Even with daily cleaning, dirt can still build up over time, especially in high traffic areas, so you need to deep clean granite floors at least once a month to keep them looking their best. Use a homemade solution of baking soda mixed with warm water or a ready made natural stone cleanser.
• Apply sealer and reapply periodically. Granite, being a natural stone, needs to be sealed as a flooring material because it is susceptible to moisture damage. Make sure that upon installation, apply a penetrative sealer and reapply it once every year to give it added protection and a glossy shine.
• Check for cracks and chips – Regular checks need to be done on granite flooring to examine it from cracks and chips. For granite tiles, make sure that the grout is intact. If you see any damage, make sure to repair it immediately and do not wait for the flooring to crack.
What to Avoid and Tips
• Avoid using abrasives like a steel wool brush, scouring pad , rough sponge or scrubber to clean granite flooring because they can leave permanent scratch marks.
• Wipe spills immediately with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. Prevention is key to keeping any flooring from looking its best. Although it’s not as porous as other natural stone surfaces like marble liquids like red wine, soda or coffee can leave permanent stains on granite floors when left too long on its surface.
• Use cleaners that are recommended for granite floors.
• To minimize the risk of future marks and damage, use a protector under plant pots to prevent water stains.
• Do not use vinegar, bleach, hydrogen peroxide and glass cleaner to clean granite flooring stains. These substances can eventually weaken the sealant and may dull granite over time.
• Steer away from products that contain dye because the dye can transfer to the stone.
How to Clean Granite Slab Floors
Cleaning granite floors is easy and all you need are simple tools and materials to keep them looking their best on a daily basis.
Things You’ll Need
• Warm water
• Mild detergent or dishwashing soap
• Natural Stone Cleaner
• Soft cotton cloth or microfiber cloth
• Soft bristle broom, vacuum or dry dust mop
Steps in Cleaning Granite Floors (Regular Maintenance)
1. Sweep to remove dust, dirt and debris. Clean and clear the granite floor of any dust using a vacuum, soft bristle broom or dry dust mop.
2. Prepare a cleaning solution. In a bucket, mix some warm water with a mild detergent. You can use 3 to 4 drops of dishwashing soap with a gallon of water.
3. Mop the floor in sections. Dampen a soft cloth or mop with your chosen cleaning solution and make sure to wring out the mop to remove any excess water. Mop the floor gently.
4. Rinse the floor. Fill another with some clean water. Grab another soft cloth and soak it in the bucket and squeeze out any excess moisture.
Wipe the floor to remove any soap residue. Liquid soap can leave behind a thin layer of residue and over time, this layer gets thick enough to dull the surface of granite floors, so make sure to rinse them well.
5. Dry the floor. Polish dry the floors with a microfiber cloth. Make sure to cover all the spaces. Do not leave the floor to air dry because watermarks may form.
Best Granite Cleaners
You can find ready made granite floor cleaning solutions in local hardwares and home depots, but alternatively you can make one at home using common household items. Below are some of the best granite floor cleaners you can use in keeping your floors looking new, shiny and hygienic.
• Best Homemade Granite Cleaning Solution – The most recommended granite cleaning solution is simple and super easy to make. All you need is to mix mild dish soap with warm water.
You can also use this to clean spills that cannot be removed by water alone. This solution works best in cleaning granite floors, but they can’t help in keeping them shiny and polished.
• Granite Floor Polisher – Mix ¼ cup of baking soda and 3 cups of water or 1 cup of rubbing alcohol and 3 cups of warm water with a few drops of PH balanced soap. Apply it with a soft cloth, wipe clean and polish your floors with a dry microfiber cloth.
• Stone Cleaning Products – A suitable disinfectant cleaner that is sodium-hypochlorite based can be used to keep granite floors hygienic. Example of which is Domex Floor Cleaner®. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label before use.
• pH Neutral Cleaner – pH neutral cleaners also work best for granite floors because they leave behind a streak free finish that allows the natural sheen of the granite to shine through. One of the best pH neutral cleaners in the market is Simple Green Multi-Surface Floor Care®.
• Stain Cleaner – Mix some baking soda and warm water to create a paste and apply on the stain.
How to Clean Granite Stains
There are several cleaning products you can use to remove stains in granite floors, some of which you can even make at home.
Things You’ll Need
• Warm water
• Mild detergent or dishwashing soap
• Baking Soda
• Soft cotton cloth or microfiber cloth
Steps in Cleaning Granite Floor Stains
1. Prepare a stain remover. Make a stain remover by mixing baking soda with a little bit of water. The consistency should be paste-like.
2. Apply the paste on the stained area and cover it with a plastic wrap. Tape down the edges so it doesn’t get removed.
3. Leave the paste to dry overnight. In some cases, you might need to leave the paste covered for a couple of days especially in an active household.
4. Clean the paste. Dampen a soft cloth with some water and rub the stained spot in straight lines. Do not scrub in circular motion and do not use a scrubber.
5. Buff the area. Once the stain is removed, gently wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth. Make sure to wipe until the area is fully dried.
Check out our granite kitchen countertops pros and cons guide for more related article.