They are good alternatives
Many Andhra stones cost much less compared to marble and granite, yet provide durable floor finish.
Popularity as a phenomenon is important not only in films or politics, but even in building materials. Shops promote what sells more, and what sells more dominates the market. Markets tend to keep greater stock of such popular items and manage to sell cheap because of sale volumes. An alternative material, possibly equally good, would find it difficult to break into this circle, with lesser demand or low sale volumes; hence higher price or supply problems. Flooring has been a witness to such trends of domination, where a small number of options bag a large number of projects.
Andhra Pradesh is home to varieties of construction stones, including Tandoor, Bethamcherla, Shahbad, Cudappah and such others, which make excellent floors. Most of them derive their name from the place of origin, and today are transported across South India as orders come in. In principle, these Andhra stones cost much less compared to marble and granite, yet provide strong and durable floor finish. All of them come in small sizes, take good polish, have narrow joints, stay fresh even in shelf life and provide varied colour options.
Tandoor is among the more commonly used stones, with a grey or greenish colour. It commonly comes in 2 ft. x 2 ft. size, and slight size variations are possible. The slabs are laid on the sub-floor made of mortar and semi-dry mix of cement and sand, to a perfect level, followed by machine polishing. They never appear overshining, hence maintain a natural feel even after polishing, going well with buildings built with natural materials.
Tandoor is a hard material, hence popularly used in public buildings and houses alike. It is prone for scratch marks by sharp objects, but can be used in all conditions including kitchens and outdoors. Being impervious, if the outdoor floor gathers water, the only way to clean would be with dry mopping. So, better ensure good rain protection.
Bethamcherla is a marble look-alike stone slab, hence popularly nicknamed as Bethamcherla marble. The material comes mainly in golden brown and buff grey colours, though a few colour variations are also available. Being more of tiles, popularly in 10”x10” size, there would be many joint lines visible. The stone tends to be thicker even as floor slab, up to 2 inch thick, where prior floor level calculations become important. Because of the thickness, the edges need to be cut at an angle, to achieve a narrow joint. No two adjacent stones will look exactly alike, unlike marble; hence the floor gets a beautiful pattern. Especially the slabs with golden shade appear every rich when laid across a large area. Recently, special machine-cut thinner floor slabs have also been available. If it is beneficial, the owners can call one agency for both supply and laying, reducing inter-agency problems.
It is amazing to see the range of stones within stones – at least to have a studied choice.