Ceramic and porcelain tile manufacturers spend huge amounts of money on research and development to create tiles that mimic stone’s natural beauty, and they have developed some extraordinarily good replicas. However genuine natural stone provides many superior benefits.
Two pieces of natural stone are never the same. The variations in colouring, veining, and mineralogy that only occur in nature make natural stone truly unique.
Man-made replications will have a repeating pattern – the higher the quality of tile, the less frequently the pattern will repeat, but they will eventually repeat and are never truly unique.
Basically, with natural stone, you can change your mind.
A stone surface could be installed as a matt finish, but if you so desire it is possible to change it to a satin or a highly polished finish (depending on the type of stone, and the level of gloss it can hold). Likewise a gloss finish can be taken back to a honed or matt look, should that be required. And these changes can be made as many times as you like.
By comparison, porcelain tiles are manufactured with a specific finish, and a change of mind would require an entirely new surface installation.
In the Western World most of us like to keep our stone and tiles clean and smooth, but with natural stone you do also have the option to let it age naturally. It’s what they do in many parts of Europe – allow the stone to age and wear, with traffic marking and surface staining becoming part of the charm.
However should the olde world charm wear thin, natural stone does allow you to recover the surface back to a new condition. As such, the original investment in natural stone can be repaid many times.
In many circumstances, the use of natural stone can add a real feeling of warmth. This natural warmth is unusual, almost inexplicable, and it just can’t be replicated by manmade tiles.