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Often when we are asked about the pros and cons of natural stone, the focus is on your home. But for businesses too, using natural stone can really add that je ne sais quoi. It might be using marble to add a hint of luxury or a slate hearth to give a rustic look. Just like with a domestic setting, there’s a few important considerations to make before you install natural stone in your restaurant, shop or hotel.

What is the ‘look’ I am trying to achieve?

Five-star hotels will often boast huge stretches of marble floor that catch the eye as soon as you walk in. There is no doubt that marble is a luxury product and it immediately tells your customers that you are a high-end establishment. If this is important to your business, then there really is no alternative. Just like in a home that has been created with aesthetic beauty in mind.

For those looking to add a hint of luxury without the expense, marble vanity tops and sinks can also be an option. Remember that marble will always require extra care and in a commercial setting this is even more important.

Stone can also be used to create a cosy, rustic look. For example, using a riven slate floor in a countryside pub or a natural finish limestone floor. In this case, the up keep is usually less of a concern. However, floors in a commercial setting will see more footfall than in a home. Carefully choosing the finish can make having a natural stone floor practical as well as beautiful.

How will this weather with time?

Highly polished floors are beautiful but can present a number of potential issues in a commercial setting. Not only can polished floors become slippery very easily but they will dull very quickly with heavy footfall. It is often advisable to consider a more honed finish in a busy restaurant, hotel or shop. When properly maintained, this will be easier to keep a more homogenous finish. Heavy traffic lanes are probably not a feature that you were aiming for.

It is also important to think about the furniture that is in place too. Large, immovable furniture or rugs, can sometimes cover large sections of stone. If you are looking to move the furniture on a regular basis then this can leave parts of the stone that have different levels of wear. Making these considerations from the beginning means that you can plan for professional restoration of your stone as part of a refit.

Who will be maintaining the stone?

Maintaining the natural stone in a commercial setting is even more important than in your home. If the natural stone floor or worktop is a real feature of your shop, restaurant or pub then it is important to keep it looking at its best. We are always happy to share our Athena Aftercare guide with all of our top tips for caring for all natural stone surfaces. Using the correct products and methods from day one can really ensure the longevity of your natural stone.

The Crown and Anchor in Ham did exactly this when, one year after laying their new limestone floor they decided to lift a few rugs for a deep clean. The stunning floor added a rustic look to the country pub, but the owners were keen to keep this floor looking as beautiful as it did when it was first laid. By investing in a maintenance programme, we are able to keep the floor protected and ensure that even with heavy footfall it will look at its best all year round.

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