Natural Stone Tiles Fitting Guide
Prior to ordering & installation please ensure the tiles are suitable for the application. If not fitting yourself make sure your tiler is familiar with fixing Natural Stone and that you fully discuss your requirements and expectations.
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.
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. Slate in a natural riven finish can provide excellent slip resistance, so perfect for any area of the home where additional slip resistance is required. 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 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 for bathroom areas.
- 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 areas of the home or commercial project.
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.
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.
Calibration: Un-calibrated tiles: Are not processed through a machine which means they have a naturally riven surface on both sides of the tile. Calibrated tiles: have the riven surface removed from one side of the tile creating a flatter surface of which to fit. Riven Stones: there may be some slight layers still to the back of the tile after calibration owing the the nature of the riven stone. You will still find small variations of thickness from tile to tile so riven stones will still require a degree of grading owing to the dimensional tolerance. Brushed & Honed 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.
Grading: 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.
Dry Laying: 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 slate: 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.
Planning: 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.
Cutting: 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.
Fixing: 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.
Grouting: 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.
Grouting Process: 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: 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. If your stone has been selected for a bathroom environment or for external areas where water repellency is required you can selected a sealer to provide this additional protection.
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 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.
- 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.
Cleaning and Maintenance: Natural Stone Tiles require little maintenance and will last a lifetime with the correct care. All you will need to do is brush them and mop them weekly with a mild detergent to keep them in perfect condition. We recommend neutral cleaners such as LTP Waxwash or LTP Floorshine as they won’t strip your beautiful sealer and will actually enhance the longevity of your sealer too.
External Application: Natural stones with a thickness of 12mm-14mm can be fitted externally, however as the stone is thinner than a standard slab it will require a solid concrete bed and needs to be fitted as recommended for internal use.