The question has divided experts.
One of the first things a builder must do when choosing a new wood or granite slab is a test of the new flooring.
“When you are working with wood, the material is more likely to retain its shape and integrity over time,” said Bruce Houghton, a commercial flooring contractor and president of Houghtons Professional Flooring Group.
“When you’re working with stone, you’re looking at the actual surface of the stone and you’re not as sure that the stone will hold up over time.”
A wood floor is a better option because it’s more resistant to decay and wear, Houghson said.
“The wood is the softer, the more durable, and it holds up to a lot of wear and tear,” he said.
A stone slab is also less likely to fall apart in a storm.
The biggest concern when building stone floors is that the materials will absorb rain and snow, according to Houghon.
If a slab is installed on the floor, you want to make sure it’s installed on a level surface, not over a bump, Haughton said.
“It is better to have a stone slab that is at least 2 feet off the ground,” Houghons advice says.
“It is also best to install a stone floor that is 2 to 3 feet above the slab.
You want to have the stone floor at least 3 feet off of the slab.”
“The stone floor is actually the best option because you can take out the material and then install a wooden floor underneath it,” Haughson said, adding that most homeowners install a wood floor.
Once the stone slab has been installed, Hougons recommends that the owner make sure the floors have a “very good” seal and are in good shape.
But if the home owner doesn’t have the expertise or the money to do that, he or she can always install a granite slab or stone flooring, Haines said.
The next step is to check the condition of the house.
Wood flooring needs to be inspected to make certain it’s in good condition and doesn’t need to be replaced, Hishon said.
“A good wood floor will have a good surface that will absorb moisture and be good to go.
It won’t crumble, it won’t crack, and that is what you want when you’re dealing with a house,” Hishons said.
“A granite slab needs to have good drainage on it and will not crack and crack,” Hainess added.
“And the stone should be in good working order.”
When it comes to a wood or marble slab, Houghtons said, the only way to guarantee that the new slab will hold its shape is to inspect the floor before installing it.
He said the only time a home should not install a new floor is if there are structural issues with the existing slab.
It’s not just the material that’s important to consider.
Many homeowners are concerned about the safety of the existing flooring when installing a new slab.
In the event of an earthquake, a new, better floor will need to replace the flooring if the earthquake happens while the slab is in place, said Hain, Hays, and Houghs.
And even if the new floors are installed on time, there is the chance that the slab will break in a tornado or hurricane.
Houghton said that it’s best to inspect all of the floors that are installed, even if they aren’t exactly the same.
“If it looks like the floor is going to be falling apart, it is best to take it down,” he added.