Limestone vs porcelain floor tiles – which should you choose?


A common question we’re asked here at Stoneworth Warehouse is which is better – limestone floor tiles or porcelain floor tiles? Unfortunately, we can never give a totally straight forward answer because we consider both materials to be exceptional and we recognise that they have different purposes and properties that make one more suitable for some people and situations than the other one.

We have written this brief guide outlining and comparing the pros and cons of limestone tiles and porcelain tiles in order to help make the right decision for you.

Limestone Pros and Cons
When installed correctly, limestone looks stunning. It is a naturally occurring rock which has traditionally been used as a building and construction material due to its durability and tough nature.

It occurs in several natural shades, tones and textures which is what makes it such a beautiful and suitable flooring tile. Installing limestone floor requires quite a lot of care and maintenance but its aesthetic appeal definitely makes it worth the while. Aftercare is important for limestone so keeping on top of sealing is vital for avoiding stains. If sealed properly, you can get a fair few years out of the first sealing application.

Limestone Pros
Limestone adds warmth to a floor whereas porcelain does not and can seem slightly sterile in comparison. Stone in general makes for fantastic flooring material whether you choose to use it for a new build or a renovation.

Limestone is an incredibly versatile stone flooring option mainly because it is relatively soft which means that it can quite easily be cut into bricks, slabs and planks. Along with this, limestone flooring is incredibly attractive and if sealed properly, offers a sturdy, long lasting and durable, non-slip surface for your home.

Renowned for it’s timeless, rustic and earthly look, limestone is one of our most popular stones. Limestone is also known for its soothing quality for the skin which makes it great for walking barefoot on and if cared for properly, this flooring may well outlive its property whilst giving a lasting and classic piece of architecture and interior design to your home.

Limestone Cons
Some of the features that make limestone such a pleasure to work with is what also what creates some of its drawbacks when used as floor tiling. Limestone can be susceptible to erosion and is a fairly porous rock which is why it’s so important to maintain it properly and seal it regularly (every few years).

As a result, it is not necessarily best suited to high-traffic areas such as an office entrance or busy public building. If it is sealed properly, erosion should not be a problem. It’s also very important to only use pH neutral cleaning solutions rather than citrus based compounds or vinegar.

Porcelain Pros and Cons
Porcelain tiles are created from slabs of clay which are fired, glazed and then fired again and extra materials are added to make the slabs more heat resistant and more robust which turns them into great, durable floor and wall covering. Porcelain is harder than stone which makes it quite difficult to cut as well as being harder to polish.

Unlike limestone, it is a man-made product which means that it can come in a variety of different colours and textures, making it easier to tailor to one’s taste. Particularly in America, porcelain is becoming one of the most popular tiles around due to its high quality and although it has in the past only really been used for things like airports, because of its design versatility, it is quickly climbing the ranks in residential popularity too.

Porcelain Pros
Porcelain is very non-porous and won’t even absorb red wine if it was left there overnight which means it is great for your kitchen or other busy floors. Similarly, another huge advantage of porcelain tiles is that they are extremely durable as they are naturally resistant to fire, frost, moisture and stains.

This resilience makes the tiles perfect for floors in bathrooms, spas, mudrooms or kitchens. It’s also a very versatile tile and thus can be used as walling, flooring, countertops or even ceiling covering.

Porcelain is also very hygienic as it is resistant to bacteria and other germs which makes it very easy to clean.

Porcelain Cons
Installing porcelain is certainly not for beginners so it requires quite a bit of research and time set aside. Porcelain is cool to the touch unlike limestone and can be cold when the weather turns chilly although can easily be countered by rugs.

With regards to maintenance, Porcelain needs to have its grout sealed in order to keep it looking clean. This will wear away and therefore it must be resealed or it will begin to stain.

We hope that this objective guide has helped anyone who is on the fence or unsure on which sort of tile material to purchase. For any other advice, help or queries please don’t hesitate to contact us – we’d love to hear from you!