Buying stone floor tiles

honed marble stone floor

honed marble stone floor

Buying Stone Floor Tiles

  • Natural stone has been used in flooring for centuries. Commonly older properties used stone that was locally quarried because it was hard wearing and practical. Today we choose stone more for aesthetic qualities of beauty colour and feel. There is now a far wider choice imported from around the world.

Choosing your stone

  • Type – there are many types of stone each with different mineral compositions and structure. If you are not familiar with these differences we strongly advise you to ask us for more information so that we can help you make the right choice for the area to be fixed.
  • Colour – within stone types there are many different colours to choose from. Being a natural product quarried from the hills consideration should be given for natural variances in tone and colour within a type. Often stones within a type will vary considerably from box to box, pallet to pallet and batch to batch. Fixed properly this characteristic is what defines natural stone when compared to man made products. See the notes below about installation to avoid the problem of varying colour across a floor.
  • Size – there are many size formats but not all tiles come in all formats. The look of a floor can be altered very effectively by how the tiles are fixed, for instance fitted square or brick bond or on the diagonal. Generally the larger the tile format the thicker the tile needs to be to avoid breakage. Some stones require greater thickness because they are fragile.
  • Weight – natural stone is generally heavier than ceramic tiles. Consideration should be given to the load bearing capacity of the floor onto which stone is to be fixed. As a broad rule you can calculate weight as 30kg/m2 for each 1cm thickness of tile but the total weight of a floor will also depend on the thickness of adhesive used. So for a 2cm thick tile the weight will be approximately 60kg/m2 plus the adhesive. If in any doubt about your floor strength seek professional advice.

Delivery and handling

  • All orders will be delivered on a large lorry so it is important that any information you have with regards to restricted access are advised prior to the delivery. The load will be placed, at the driver’s discretion, to the nearest safest point to the delivery address. This would usually mean roadside pavement or road itself. It is not possible for the driver to use his pump pallet truck on hardcore and gravel driveways so please be aware that you should make arrangements to accept the load where this is the case. The delivery driver cannot help handle the goods.
  • When unpacking stone, care should be taken not to damage the tiles. Often the stones will be tightly packed and the spacers may need to be carefully removed. Stone should be stored vertically on its edge but on a surface that will avoid chipping the edge, old carpet or timber is good.
  • All orders must be examined for shortages and damage on delivery. Any problems should be notified in writing within 48 hours.
  • If collecting the goods from our yard, goods must be checked before loading. Goods collected are transported at the individual’s own risk.
  • Installation of the goods is viewed as acceptance of the goods supplied. No claims after this stage can be accepted.

Before installation

  • Stones are often packed very tightly and are wet from the process of cutting. They may not have had time to dry out until they are unpacked again. As the stone dries out it will often lighten in colour. It is advisable to let the tiles dry so that a clear picture of the tonal variation within a batch can be seen prior to fixing. This way any unusual markings can be identified and used as cuts or put in a place less visible.
  • When working with the tiles the installer should always ensure the batch is mixed up to ensure an even distribution of the inherent colour variation within the batch. So they should pick from a number of boxes at the same time, or if working from pallets then pick from a number of pallets at the same time.
  • Minor damage such as edge chipping is often caused in the packing and unpacking of tiles but it is quite normal practice for these tiles to be used either as cuts or in areas not sensitive to this look.
  • Uncalibrated tiles should be sorted by the installer so that the thickest tile governs the finished height of the floor
  • Dimensions listed in the quotation are nominal as slight variations in the size and thickness can occur as with most natural materials.

Treatment of Stone

  • All natural stones are porous and therefore we recommend treatment to help protect and maintain the stone finish.
  • We recommend that most tiles be fixed (but not grouted) clean and dry prior to any treatment. An exception would be unfilled travertine which by it’s nature requires cement grout to be slurried into the holes and sealing this type of stone before this process would inhibit the cement taking hold.
  • When treating stone always read the label of the product and apply as instructed. It is strongly advised that a sample tile is treated as it would be when fitted so that you can inspect the effect to check if that particular treatment gives the look desired.
  • It is recommended that stone be treated once before grouting and at least once thereafter. The first treatment can prevent “picture framing” where grout soaks into the stone, causing discolouration around the edges of the tile. Additional treatments should be carried out after grouting. Apply until the stone does not accept any more. It is important not to let any treatment puddle as this can lead to a shine left on the stone that is not always desirable. This can be avoided by wiping the treatment into the stone with a suitable lint free cloth. Always allow each treatment to dry out before applying the next unless specified differently by the manufacturer.
  • Please note that there are many types of sealants and treatments. These can alter the finished look of the stone from matt to satin to shiny. It is important your fixer knows what to apply.
  • All installations require some kind of maintenance. This will vary according to stone type and location. Heavily trafficked areas will require reapplication of treatments from time to time. Abrasive cleaners should always be avoided as they can remove the sealant. Never use bleach or acid cleaning products.
  • All treatments are a help to prevent problems but they have their limitations. Carboniferous stones are particularly susceptible to marking from acids and so spills of wine and acidic foods should be wiped up immediately.
  • Some stones are softer than others, for instance limestone is softer than granite, so care should be taken when moving furniture so as to prevent scratches.