Which one is best for health – marble, granite, or vitrified tiles?
Updated: Oct 17, 2022
When it comes to floor tiling options, there are three clear choices – marble, granite, and tiles. The flooring is the most important aspect of any room. When it comes to home design especially the tiles everyone has their own opinion. Let’s look at this objectively here.
Each of these flooring options has its own unique characteristics and varies on price points as well.
Marble is the classic choice for flooring. Nothing screams luxury like a marble floor. Marble is a natural stone and is created by the transformation of sedimentary rocks under intense heat and pressure. With different minerals being infused into the marble during this process, various patterns and attractive colors are formed.
Granite is also a natural stone, albeit with different properties as compared to marble. An igneous rock that is made up of the minerals, feldspar, and quartz, granite is harder than marble, owing to the hardness of the two minerals it is made up of. Quartzite is a type of granite available that is made up mostly of quartz. Colour variations in granite appear as flecks throughout the stone.
Vitrified tiles are entirely man-made, and are a much more economical option when compared to marble and granite. Vitrified tiles are made by using hydraulics to pressure clay and other minerals to get a vitreous or glassy surface. Tiles are available in different sizes and in a multitude of colors and can mimic their natural counterparts to an extent that it is difficult to make out the difference.
How do you choose between the three?
Aesthetics: Each has varying degrees of hardness, durability, porosity, and liquid resistance. These characteristics also come into play to a large extent while choosing what kind of flooring is best suited to a home. The type of flooring chosen can also affect the aesthetics of the space, with larger and lighter colored floors making the space look larger and airier while smaller and darker ones make it look a little more cramped in comparison. This does not mean that small tiles or contrasting marble cannot be used to create a unique look.
Health benefits: Another important factor that comes into play is the health-related effects of the flooring chosen. While this may not seem a big deal, it becomes very important in the long run as we spend the majority of our time in our homes. A home is a place to relax and unwind, and the type of floor installed in this space being a cause of concern for health reasons is something that has to be looked into.
Air quality: The first of these factors is the air quality in the space. Vitrified tiles are generally finished with chemicals and are also used during the manufacturing process for various reasons, including coloring and designing the tile. Over the long run, these chemicals may start breaking down and as with any molecule, be a part of the air we breathe. In this case, natural stone options have a clear edge over vitrified tiles, as there is significantly lesser use of chemicals during polishing and installation. While granite is considered the best of the lot, marble is also not far behind as the amount of chemicals used is negligible.
Temperature regulation: The right kind of flooring can regulate the air temperatures inside a home. Depending on where the home is, the flooring can make a marked difference. Marble is known to keep temperatures down and not absorb much heat. Vitrified tiles on the other hand are known to be cold. No one wants to get off their bed on a cold winter morning and have their legs going cold any more than they already are. Granite also tends to keep cool for the most part of the year, making them an ideal choice for hot weather countries like India.
Effect on body: Vitrified tiles are generally not recommended for a very important reason: the very hardness that makes them a durable option becomes a problem when it comes to the health of your lower limbs. They are unyielding to an extent that even doctors recommend against using them. Tiles are known to cause pain in the foot, knees, and joints over time and this is owing to their cold and hard nature. When it comes to this, natural stone is a clear choice over tiles as they rate way lower on the MOHs scale in terms of hardness, marble being the best choice with ratings ranging from 3-5, while granite has slightly higher hardness ratings that go up to 7.
Porosity: Porosity is the final characteristic of the flooring that comes into play when looking at the health benefits of the floor. Marble tends to be highly porous, but regular maintenance with a sealant can remove this to a large extent. Granite is very dense and non-porous, hence making this also a good choice. Tiles are extremely non-porous, but unfortunately, the grout is not. The grout in between tiles accumulates dirt and germs over time and can prove to be very difficult to clean. The best way to get this fully clean is to remove and reinstall the grout, which can be a highly labor-intensive process. Granite and marble have very thin joints, hence easier to keep clean and free of germs.
Whatever the choice of flooring, it is a good idea to keep in mind the health concerns and benefits each type of flooring offers for the betterment of your most loved ones – friends and family. While each of them has its own pros and cons in regards to health, one may be more suitable for a home as compared to the other. Make the right decision based on the information you have at hand, and the best floor is what works for you to make your house into your own home.
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