Why Does Stone Feel Cold?
Ever wondered why your kitchen floor and countertops always feel cold, no matter how hot it is in the house? Well, as you are by now well aware, we at Stone Surface Specialists are total stone geeks, so let us share with you why your stone floors give your feet frostbite, in our best StoneGeekese….
Stone has what’s called a high thermal conductivity, which is simply a fancypants way of saying that it allows heat to flow through it quickly.
For example, suppose the piece of stone in question is at room temperature, or 70 degrees. Your body likes to keep an average toasty temperature of 98.6F. Since heat energy flows from hot to cold (don’t ask me why it’s that way round, but it explains why my fingers are always freezing in winter!), heat will flow from your body into the stone (“feel the Force, Luke”). Since the thermal conductivity for stone is high, the heat will move quickly through the stone and away from you, similar to how running water flows through a funnel faster than it would through a sponge. The sense of coolness that you feel happens because the heat is flowing out of your body and through the stone.
If you were touching wood instead of stone, the heat flow would be less, since wood doesn’t conduct heat as well, and thus the wood would (no pun intended!) feel warmer than stone.
The same principle is the reason your kitchen floor is cold to walk on, even if it’s not made of anything remotely resembling stone. Kitchen floors are usually coated with a material that has a high thermal conductivity, and your body is always warmer than room temperature (unless you like to do Bikram Yoga at home), so your feet heat (ahem, sorry – pun intended that time!) flows out of you and through the floor.