Natural Stone Flooring
Common natural stone flooring includes slate, marble, limestone, travertine, granite, and sandstone each of which has slightly different properties. Natural stone makes any space feel more luxurious.
“Natural Stone” refers to a number of products quarried from the earth, used over many thousands of years as building materials and decorative enhancements. These products include Granite, Marble, Limestone, Travertine, Slate, Quartzite, Sandstone, Adoquin, Onyx, and others. Most natural stone requires sealing.
Guidelines for the laying and maintenance of natural marble, granite, slate, quartzite, limestone and sandstone tiles
Congratulations on your decision to purchase natural stone floor and wall tiles. Once correctly laid and properly maintained, your natural stone tiles will last a lifetime, and still be a source of pride and joy, long after most synthetic manufactured tiles would require replacement having reached the end of their life span. Besides being more durable than most synthetic tiles, natural stone tiles are not subject to the fickle dictates of fashion as their beauty is timeless.
1) Storage prior to use
All Natural stone tiles should be stored undercover, to prevent soiling. It is also recommended that sufficient tiles are purchased to not only cover the area to be tiled, but also to retain a small quantity of extra reserves for the possible future repairs, as similar matching tiles may not be available in the future due to the depletion of natural reserves of a specific shade/colour.
2) Selection prior to laying
Please check the tonality variation inherent in the natural tiles you have purchased before Actual laying commences by removing a few tiles from several boxes to determine whether a random mix of the natural variations would be preferable to a complete selection where all the tiles are laid out loose prior to fixing to facilitate re-arrangement, to obtain the desired “flow” in terms of veining and/or texture and shade variation.
3.1 Granite tiles : Smaller size “modular” granite tiles are usually calibrated to an even thickness and bevelled on the edges to facilitate installation. Larger sized granite tiles are subject to some thickness variation, since they are not calibrated. Good quality proprietary brand cementitious tile adhesives and grouts should be used, following manufacturers instructions. The methodology would be similar to that used for ceramic tiles, including expansion joints and other technical details. Work cleanly ensuring excess adhesive and grout is cleared off tile surfaces immediately before they dry. Do not use felt tip pens or other water soluble ink pens to mark the backs of tiles. The moisture hydration process of the adhesives cause these inks to be drawn to the surface of the tiles, manifesting in “stains” on the tile surface. While granite tiles are usually manufactured to accurate tolerances with regard to size, which would allow for butt jointing, this method of laying is not recommended and a joint width of 1 mm to 2 mm is advisable to prevent “creeping” (due to minor variations in tile size) and lifting of tiles at later stages due to differences in coefficients of expansion and contraction between the tile and the substrate.
3.2 Marble tiles : All that has been stated above with regard to granite tiles applies to marble tiles as well. However – only two additional points need be noted: Sometimes moisture sensitive in that they could buckle or warp marginally when in contact with the water in cementitious tile adhesives. We suggest you test the sensitivity to water of your batch of Green Marble Tiles by immersing a tile partially in water for an hour. If it is not stable, either use an epoxy adhesive system or test the use of a bonding liquid applied to the back of the tiles, and allowed to dry before laying into a normal cementitious adhesive.
3.3 Slate, Quartzite, Limestone and Sandstone tiles : These natural material tiles are produced by extracting the tile material from the quarry along the natural cleft plain. This results in the thickness of the tiles varying as the natural cleft plains are not consistent. While the tiles are cut to size accurately with a tolerance of +- 1.5 mm, the thickness can vary from +- 6 mm to 18 mm. The tiles are selected into batches of similar thicknesses with variations of +- 4 mm to facilitate laying. These tiles should be laid into a thick bed cementitious powder adhesive to accommodate the variation in thicknesses. Once laid, the top surfaces of the tiles will be perfectly level, with the adhesive accommodating the thickness variations. Prior to grouting, we suggestion the tiles be sealed to prevent the tile absorbing grout which could be difficult to remove. After grouting, the tiles should be cleaned and then re-sealed and it is also recommended when a greater degree of colour enhancement is desired. Joint widths should be 4 mm to 8 mm to accommodate the miner variation in tile sizes. Use proprietary brand floor tile grout following the manufacturers instructions. Certain slates and quartzites (e.g. Glitter Quartzite) do sometimes have a small percentage of tiles in a batch that appear to have a “loose” layer or “loose” particles on the surface. This is quiet normal and this “loose” material should be removed the day after laying, before cleaning and sealing of the tiles, by brushing with a stiff bristle brush or scraping with a paint scraper. No damage will be caused by this. Once the “loose” material is removed, a firmly bonded layer of material will be exposed.
Natural Stone tiles are usually a sizeable investment in any building and it therefore makes good service to maintain them correctly to prevent sometimes irreparable harm, or damage that is costly to repair, when incorrect maintenance techniques are attempted. Please read this section carefully before you attempt any cleaning or maintenance. The correct maintenance procedures are very simple and not expensive.
Installation of a “walk off mat” at building entrances is recommended to arrest the ingress of abrasive dirt underfoot which could cause harm to your natural stone floor and would undoubtedly decrease maintenance requirements.
4.1 Granite tiles : Natural granite tiles are very hard wearing and require minimal maintenance. We suggest the use of a good tile Cleaner on both polished and flamed tiles for routine cleaning.
4.2 Marble tiles : If properly cared for, marble tiles will offer generations of use and look elegant throughout this period. Do not use scouring cleaners, acid based detergents or ammonia based cleaners, or any other type of detergent that could harm natural marble. Mop up any spillages of red wine, vinegar, lemon/orange juice, coke, tomato sauce or any other similar substances as soon as possible.
4.3 Slate, Quartzite, Limestone and Sandstone tiles : These materials, while exceptionally beautiful, are relatively porous, and must therefore be protected from staining and permanent soiling. As a general rule, do not use acids or acid based detergents to clean these natural stones.
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Unit 6, Royalty Power Mall
(Former Sears Building)
167 Minna Jane Drive, Charlottetown
Prince Edward Island