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Which is best – a stone-effect or the real McCoy?

Very often in life we want the real deal – the authentic product, not the fake. But when it comes to flooring, and practical considerations are thrown in, making a decision can be rather tricky. This is especially true when it comes to the stone v porcelain conundrum. Do you follow your heart, and go for the genuine article, or weigh up the apparent performance benefits offered by a stone-effect?

It used to be a fairly straightforward decision because natural effects weren’t terribly realistic.They tended to have a plastic appearance, with lots of pattern repeats. But nowadays, they’re highly sophisticated and it can sometimes be quite difficult for the untrained eye to spot the difference between a stone and stone effect. As well as stone and marble effects, there are also concrete and cement finishes, as well as woods and metals – all in a fantastic array of colours and textures.

Some of the effects’ benefits make the choice easy. Raw concrete and cement, for example, can be very tricky to install or ‘pour’ into place, so a porcelain tile finish offers a very convenient alternative. Wood effects   have also found their place in bathrooms, where real wood can be unstable and problematic if it becomes wet; like all porcelain finishes, they’re water-resistant and there are lots of great textured finishes which provide good grip too. Tiles are generally lighter and easier to handle, so the installation process is more straight forward – although professional installation is always recommended, especially with large and thin formats. Porcelain doesn’t generally need to be sealed after it’s been laid and, going forward, tiles are very durable and easy to maintain with a broom, vacuum and mop/bucket as necessary.

These various practical features make porcelain a very versatile material that can be used across pretty much every surface.Very large formats look great across expansive floor areas because there are so few grout lines to interrupt flow, and they work equally well when hung on a wall. They can also be used outside, so are a great choice for seamless installation from kitchen/living area, to patio or terrace.

But, if you’re a purest, nothing compares to a real stone floor. Installation may be a little more labour intensive and a degree of TLC will be needed along the way, but real stone, to a certain extent, ‘live and breathes’. It’s incredibly dense and hardwearing; it will stand the test of time and it ages beautifully.There are also an endless amount of materials, formats and finishes to choose from, to suit all interior styles and settings. And, there’s something about a material that’s been hand-finished, the detailing is evident. It has soul. And whilst a stone floors patina will change over time, that’s part of its charm. In my opinion, you simply can’t beat the genuine article – but those porcelain effects have certainly come on leaps and bounds and shouldn’t be ignored!

For ideas and inspiration, visit our showroom or call the shop on 01993 824200.

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