Natural Stone Tiles Fitting Guide

Prior to ordering & installation please ensure the tiles are suitable for the intended application. If not fitting yourself make sure your tiler is familiar with fixing Natural Stone Tiles and that you fully discuss your requirements and expectations. Please read our General Installation Guide prior to ordering and installing your tiles.

A wastage factor should be taken into account for each project prior to ordering. This is normally a minimum of 10%-15% which should allow for cuts and any minor tile imperfections. Minor damage such as edge chipping is often caused in transit, packing or unpacking, and should be expected with natural stone tiles, it is deemed normal practice for these to be used as cuts during the installation process.

Read the instructions on the packaging of Adhesives, and Sealants very carefully. Keep everything meticulously clean and orderly as work progresses.

No complaints regarding the appearance of the product will be accepted by The Stone and Tile Company Ltd once the tiles have been installed and sealed.

Types Of Natural Stone Tiles

Natural Stone tiles come in a wide variety of materials, each with its unique characteristics so understanding the different types of stones available to you will help you make the right choice for fitting.

Marble - Marble is a luxurious and elegant choice for stone tiles, known for its veining and unique patterns. However, marble is a softer stone and more prone to scratching and etching. Marble is most commonly used in lighter traffic areas of the home such as bathrooms. 

Granite - Granite is a highly durable and versatile stone, making it a popular choice for walls and floors. It is less porous than marble and generally requires less frequent sealing. Granite has excellent stain resistance and durability and is suitable for internal areas of the home such as hallways and kitchens.

Travertine - Travertine is a type of limestone that often has its natural pits and voids filled with resin and the surface is honed. Travertine can be used in all internal areas of the home, however in high traffic areas it can require on-going maintenance as the natural voids can wear and it may require re-filling.

Slate - Slate is a dense and durable stone known for its rustic appearance and rich colors. It is less porous than marble and travertine, but still requires sealing to protect against stains and moisture. Slate can be found in a number of finishes, natural riven, brushed and honed. Riven slates being used internally and externally, whereas brushed and honed slates are recommended for internal areas of the home.

Quartzite - From the family of slate, however with a bit of added sparkle as Quartzite has tiny mica deposits which give it a touch of sparkle, commmonly found used for decorative cladding wall tiles.

Limestone - Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is available in various colours and finishes. It is more porous than slate and requires regular sealing to maintain its appearance and durability. Limestone can be used in all areas of the home and garden depending on it’s finish.

Natural Stone Tiles – Suitability

Internal Application:  Natural stones of above 20mm could cause issues with doorways. We recommend you check the particular stones suitability for your chosen area prior to ordering. Selecting samples is a great solution to see if the colour or finish is also suitable for your application.

External Application: Riven or Antique finish stones of 20mm thickness are used externally. Stones with a thickness of 12mm-14mm can be fitted externally, however as it's thinner than a standard slab it will require a solid concrete bed need to be laid prior to fitting. Riven and Antique stones are only recommended for external application as they will provide the correct slip resistance and wear properties for this demanding environment.


Natural Stone Tiles - Selecting Your Surface

Natural stone tiles are a stylish and desirable solution, however you should spend some time looking over the different finishes available to you so you can determine which is right for your project.

Riven - The perfect choice for high traffic areas of the home such as entrance halls, utilities, kitchens and conservatories. Stones in a natural riven finish can provide excellent slip resistance, so perfect for any area of the home where additional slip resistance is required, even outside. Riven stones are very rustic in nature with contrasting depths within the surface of the tile, so not usually recommended for barefoot traffic.

Brushed - Has a unique soft riven surface, which is achieved by gently machining the top of the tile, resulting in a sleeker, contemporary effect that is perfect for all internal areas of the home. You do not lose the beauty and structure of the stone, just the riven areas are more rounded. Perfect for barefoot traffic, so we also recommend this finish open=plan areas with underfloor heating and bathrooms.

Honed - If you are looking for a dramatic floor choice, honed surfaces are flat and smooth to the touch. Honing the surface will open the pattern of the stone and generally cast a distinctive beauty to the stone. Honed surfaces are suitable for all internal areas of the home or commercial project.
Antique. Stones with an antique finish have a number of processes that they go though, where they are brushed and also tumbled with harder stones to give them a worn appearance. Generally used internally, however depending on their manufacturing process, some stones will be suitable for external areas too.


Antique - Stones with an antique finish have a number of processes that they go though, where they are brushed and also tumbled with harder stones to give them a worn appearance. Generally used internally, however depending on their manufacturing process, some stones will be suitable for external areas too.

If you have queries regarding the suitability of a stone, please contact one of our team who will be pleased to advise you prior to purchase.


Grading Your Stone Tiles 

All stone tiles need to be graded prior to installation, this will mean opening all crates or pallets of materials supplied.

Please refer to the nominal dimensions listed for your chosen product as slight variation in size and thickness can occur. If you have selected a modular set please refer to our Modular Sets Fitting Guide for more detailed fitting information.

Once graded select the thicker tiles as these will dictate the floor level and should be installed first. Grading can be easily done by eye and once completed you can commence tiling with the thickest first and ‘bedding up’ your adhesive as required as you work to the edges of your project so to create a flat finish with no raised edges from tile to tile.

Un-calibrated tiles: Are not processed through a machine which means they have a naturally riven surface on both sides of the tile. It is recommended that all tiles should be dry-laid prior to commencing fitting so you can plan the project effectively. 

Calibrated tiles: have the riven surface removed from one side of the tile creating a flatter surface of which to fit. Calibration creates small grooves in the back of the tile, however some riven slates will only have the grooves in areas that were thick enough to pass through the calibration machine, so you will still find small variations of thickness from tile to tile, especially with riven stone which will still require a degree of grading owing to the dimensional tolerance.

Brushed, Honed and Antique stones : are processed through a calibration machine a number of times to create their beautiful, authentic finishes so have flatter machined back with smaller tolerances from tile to tile. 

We suggest referring to the 'specification' section of each product for thickness tolerances prior to ordering as you may require more adhesive when bedding up tiles.


Fitting Natural Stone Tiles


Surface Preparation

Check your substrates suitability for tiling before proceeding. The surface must be properly prepared, suitably level, sound, clean, dry, and free of dust, grease or any loose material. All surfaces must be completely secure without any obvious deflection and capable of carrying the additional load. Please refer to further substrate information on our General Installation Guide.

Underfloor Heating: Natural Stone tiles actually retain heat so you'll find tiling with them an affordable solution and such a great way to add that extra element of luxury.

Adhesive: A cement based tile adhesive is recommended with Natural Stone tiles so you may need to check if your substrate requires sealing prior to fitting.


Dry Laying your stone tiles

Laying out your tiles before fixing will also ensure you get a good mix of colour shades across the area as all natural stones will have a certain degree of natural colour variation. Each of our stones have slight, moderate or highly varied detailed on our website for your reference.

Riven stone: a certain amount of delamination should be expected from slate tiles during and following installation, owing to the layers nature of the stone. During installation any loose flakes should be just broken off. When delamination occurs after instillation, the affected area can be just re-sealed.

Slate tiles should not be installed in areas subject to direct and intense heat, as this may cause extensive delamination.


Tiling should also start from the centre of the room and tiles should be dry laid first to avoid any unsightly cuts and to determine the optimum grout width for your product. All natural stones will have a degree of dimensional tolerance owing to their hand cut nature, so when dry laying you can flex your joints to accommodate any small differences. The rustic nature of natural stones tiles means that these subtle differences in the grout just blend in seamlessly when grouted.

Natural Stone grout joints are to personal taste, we recommend between 6mm-10mm for our Riven Slates, however brushed and honed natural stones can be fitted with a 4mm-8mm grout width.

Please note that joints should be a minimum of 4mm to allow for any dimensional tolerance and movement of the tiles. It is not possible to ‘butt-joint’ stone tiles.



Prepare all your cuts after dry laying and prior to fixing. The design and quality of the cutting tool selected will always determine how successful the cut through the tile will be. We recommend a Wet Tile Saw.


Natural Stone tiles must be solidly bedded; cement-based tile adhesives are the most appropriate for this method. Using a suitable notched trowel apply the adhesive onto the substrate, spreading only enough adhesive that remains workable. Take the flat side of the trowel and smooth over the adhesive to produce a uniform, ridge-free bed.
We also recommend ‘back buttering’ each tile so you achieve a strong bond with whole tile. If fitting riven slates, at this point you can ensure that any areas to the back of the tile that require extra adhesive are filled to create a flat bond.


We recommend using a flexible grout and our Ultra Tile FLEX JOINT grout is suitable for all areas of the home or commercial environment and it’s specifically designed for areas where movement or vibration is likely.

‘Slurry’ grouting with the appropriate colour of Wall & Floor Grout is necessary with unfilled travertine and some limestone in order to fill naturally occurring pits and crevices. Most other stones and finishes including Riven, Brushed, Polished and Honed materials should however be pointed in order to avoid grout residue being left on the surface of the tile.

After fitting your stone we advise grouting a small area at a time, especially with a riven stone as dried grout can be difficult to remove. When removing the grout residue, keep your water clean to avoid further distribution of the grout residue. If you continue to have a cloudy appearance on your tiles we recommend using Grout Stain Remover to finally clean your tiles prior to sealing as this will remove any efflorescence, however do not use on Limestone, marble and other acid sensitive surfaces.

With Acid sensitive stones such as limestone and travertine we would recommend cleaning and sealing your stone prior to grouting as this will aid the removal of the grout.



Sealing Natural Stone Tiles

It is worth noting that stone has been used as a wall and floor covering for centuries and were never sealed and yet still look beautiful today. Although for modern-living and in order to improve stain resistance we would strongly recommend that your natural stone is sealed.

Natural stone is unique, each has distinctive characteristics, natural strength and durability and when treated with the correct care is virtually maintenance free.

Sealants provide resistance to wear and tear and also highly dirt and dust repellent. Without a sealant, spilled wine, coffee, or oil can easily seep into the stone, leaving behind unsightly stains that are difficult to remove. By sealing the tiles, you create a barrier that prevents these substances from penetrating the surface, making cleaning and maintenance much easier.

Some protective treatments will also bring out the natural beauty your slate by enhancing the natural colours, veins and patterns, we recommend you select your most preferred finish and protective requirement before purchasing your sealant. We recommend the most effective sealer for all of our stones, just refer to each product page.

Before sealing commences, we recommend that the stone is cleaned with warm soapy water or Grout Stain Remover (please don't use grout stain remover on acid sensitive surfaces such as Limestone) as this will remove general dirt and dust from the riven areas and pores. It is important to ensure that all areas are clean and dry otherwise dirt and damp will be sealed in.

The recommended sealant should also be applied 24 hours after grouting. Firstly, cleaning all grout residue from the surface of the stone, otherwise the grout will be sealed in.

Please also refer to our in-depth guide How To Seal And Maintain Natural Stone Tiles


  • Using a small sponge roller or lint free cloth, apply thinly and uniformly allowing to penetrate for approximately 15-30 mins before wiping over with a clean dry lint free cloth to remove any excess which may remain on the surface.
  • The surface must retain a natural finish after treatment. Any excess left on the surface could oxidize to form an unsightly gloss varnish.
  • We advise to just apply to an area of 1 sqm at a time.
  • Allow 30-60 minutes before applying a further coat.
  • The sealer will be dry after about 2 hours, but will take a further three days to become fully resistant.
  • The above is a general guide. Please always refer to sealant manufacturers instructions before applying sealant to your stone
  • Sealants provide resistance to wear and tear and also highly dirt and dust repellent. If your stone has been selected for a bathroom environments where water repellency is required you can selected a sealer to provide this additional protection.

Maintaining Natural Stone Tiles

1. Clean spills immediately: Wipe up any spills or stains immediately to prevent them from penetrating the stone and causing damage. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to blot the spill, avoiding any rubbing or scrubbing that can spread the stain.

2. Use pH-neutral cleaners: When cleaning your sealed stone tiles, use pH-neutral stone cleaners that are specifically formulated for natural stone. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the sealant and the stone surface.

3. Avoid abrasive materials: When scrubbing or cleaning the tiles, use a soft-bristle brush or mop to avoid scratching the surface. Avoid abrasive cleaning pads or materials that can damage the sealant and the stone.

4. Protect against heavy furniture: Use furniture pads or coasters under heavy furniture to prevent them from scratching or damaging the sealed stone tiles. Lift and place objects instead of dragging them across the surface.

5. Regularly sweep or vacuum: Regularly sweep or vacuum your sealed stone tiles to remove any dirt, dust, or debris that can scratch the surface. Use a soft brush attachment or a broom with soft bristles to avoid causing any damage.

6. Reapply sealer as needed: Over time, the sealant on your stone tiles may wear off or become less effective. Monitor the condition of the sealant and reapply as needed to maintain optimal protection.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure your stone tiles remain in excellent condition and continue to enhance the beauty of your space.