Natural stone tiles must be installed by a qualified tile setter or stone mason with experience in setting limestones, marbles and slates. Since these are natural products, it is essential that the client and the installer use appropriate materials, regarding both the tile and the setting materials, for the specific use, material and application conditions. Stone Tile is pleased to assist in the choice of materials, however, we cannot be held responsible for their use for any particular purpose.
Since each stone is essentially unique with respect to colour, veining, structure, etc., any samples that are submitted are intended to be merely suggestive of the final product. Variations in the colour and structure of the material are due to nature and are thus unavoidable.
For more detailed installation suggestions, please refer to the TTMAC Guidelines.
OPEN ALL CRATES
Although all are our materials are grouped and named by colour and finish, often the range of colour and figuring of a particular product will be somewhat broad. Since tiles are cut from blocks, the colour/veining may be consistent within one crate but vary from crate to crate. Prior to beginning an installation, it is recommended that tiles be selected from several boxes or crates or from different locations within a crate so that the range can be seen. Mix the tiles to obtain the desired effect. Continue to take tiles from the various boxes or crates throughout the job to obtain the desired overall, uniform effect.
Lay out the Area
Most natural stones are either directional (with the grain running in one direction across the tile), figured (with veins and markings running in swirls or a number of directions), or multi-coloured (with sometimes subtle and sometimes dramatic colour variations). Directional tiles may be laid end-to-end, in a parquet pattern or random. Figured and multi-coloured stones should be arranged like an abstract painting, with the owner, designer an installer rearranging the individual tiles, in a sample area, until the desired effect is obtained.
Use the Correct Installation Method
Consult with your mortar/adhesive manufacturer for the correct setting products which are appropriate for the specific stone and site conditions. Never use a dark mortar/thinset for white or light coloured stones, as the mortar may bleed through and stain the surface of the tile. If installing over a wood subfloor, ensure that the area is properly prepared to accept to stone.
Sealing and Maintenance
All natural stone floors must be sealed both before and after grouting. Ensure that the tiles are completely cleaned of all mortar, grout and foreign material prior to sealing. (Some sawcut limestones/travertines may have slight rust staining on the tile surface that is a result of the cutting/manufacturing process. This can be easily removed with a 5%-10% dilute solution of Muriatic acid left on the tile for 10-15 seconds and then neutralized and removed.) When the stone is thoroughly dry, after the mortar is set and the tile cleaned, apply one coat of the appropriate sealer. Allow to dry for 24 hours and then apply the grout, clean again and allow to dry before the final coat of sealer. Follow the sealer manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Penetrating sealers are recommended for all stones and do not alter their natural appearance. A final coat of colour enhancer can be applied to deepen and intensify the natural colour of the stone.
A regular maintenance programme should be established for sealing and cleaning of the material. Neutral pH cleaners can be used for day-to-day maintenance, with more powerful cleaners or poultices for specific stains. The stone should be resealed from 1 to 3 years in commercial applications and 2 to 6 years for residential.
Care and Maintenance
Limestone and slate look beautiful and are very durable when properly protected and maintained. Limestone (including travertine and marble) is more porous than slate and some other stone and, due to this high porosity, it is more susceptible to the absorption of water, oils, grease and dirt. With proper initial installation and sealing, and an ongoing care and maintenance programme, the natural beauty of all stone will endure for generations.
All sealing and maintenance products should be initially tested on an inconspicuous area of the installation to assure suitability with the stone, grout, etc. In all cases, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific product.
Limestone, being porous, can absorb stains from many items including the dye in grouts. To ensure the best possible installation, a first coat of sealer should be applied as a grout release prior to grouting. This will resist grout dye absorption, facilitate grout residue removal (up to 45% faster) and offer stain resistance during the construction process. Depending upon the porosity of the material, 511 Porous Plus or 511 Impregnator are the recommended sealers. The appropriate sealer for most of the denser slates and quartzites is the 511 Impregnator. Follow the sealer manufacturer’s instructions for the proper application procedure.
After grouting, apply a second coat of sealer and allow it to cure. This will complete the sealing of the stone and provide water and stain protection for the grout joint. For very porous stone, a third application may be recommended.
If you are trying to retain the natural look of the stone, we recommend stopping at this point and putting the area into service. This type of finish will require the least amount of maintenance and is recommended for high traffic and food areas for maximum stain and slip resistance.
For sawcut, flamed, tumbled or textured limestones and slates, a colour enhancer may be used. When used in conjunction with Porous Plus or 511 Impregnator, Mira Matte colour enhancer seals and protects while leaving a beautiful, low maintenance, colour enhanced finish. Follow the instructions above for the sealing of the stone and grout. Once dry, apply a coat of the colour enhance as per the instructions. While the enhancer is still slightly wet, buff the surface to remove streaks and application marks. A second application may be carried out if a deeper colour is desired.
Stone must be dry and free of contaminants, including previously applied sealers, dirt and grout residue before proceeding with the sealing process. Remove all existing solvent-based floor coatings and/or waxes with a floor stripper to return the stone to its natural finish. Proceed with the sealing as per a new installation. For heavy duty cleaning (hard water deposits, grout residue, efflorescence, rust and other heavy-duty dirt and grime) use an acid based grout and film remover. Since limestone reacts with acids and surface etching may occur, a small test area must be done to ensure that the desired effect is obtained. The manufacturer’s recommendations should be strictly followed.
For cleaning of stains, Liquid Poultice is a biodegradable, non-acidic, deep cleaner designed to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone to safely lift out mold, mildew, algae, fungus, coffee, tea and other types of foreign matter. For specific stain removal troubleshooting, refer to the Stone Tile Stain Removal Guide for further information.
Although this type of stone surface will not show wear as readily as other materials, it should be kept as clean as possible. Any grit on the surface will tend to scratch and break down the surface pores of the stone faster and hence cause the installation to require more frequent resealing. Whenever possible, light sweeping or vacuuming should be undertaken rather than wet mopping since mopping will tend to leave a residue on the surface.
When sweeping will not clean the surface then light damp mopping will be required. Light cleaning should be carried out using a mild, non-oil based, neutral pH detergent (we recommend Mira Clean #1) and a clean mop. Rinse the mop frequently. Rinse the area with clean water and a thoroughly wrung-out mop after cleaning to eliminate any streaks or residue buildup on the surface. If mop marks or water spots are left on the surface, these may be buffed out using a dry, clean, white floor pad on a floor machine. This pad should only be used for the stone floor areas and only buff those areas affected. Mira Soap can also be used as an alternative for ongoing maintenance. It will clean and protect in one step while adding a slight patina to the finish. No rinsing is required with Mira Soap and it can be used as often as necessary.
In addition, any acid-based foreign material (wine, orange juice, etc.), if allowed to sit on limestone for a prolonged period, may slightly etch the surface. This will be less noticeable on honed, sawcut or textured materials than on polished and can be repaired using a fine grit of emery paper and water to bring back the original lustre. Ensure that the area is then resealed.
If colour enhancement is desired, a light cleaning can be done as needed by using Mira Clean with Mira Matte colour enhancer added to the water. For heavily worn and/or soiled areas remove old Mira Matte with a stripper (Mira Strip) before reapplying.
Depending upon the amount and type of use (residential, commercial, etc.) and the frequency and type of maintenance carried out, all stone surfaces must be resealed periodically. Most commercial installations should be resealed every 1 to 3 years and lighter or residential uses every 3 to 5 years. One indicator that resealing is required is if the installation begins to absorb water or stains. Strip off all existing surface sealers or enhancers, clean any specific stain areas and reseal as per a new installation.
Occasionally a stone may require repair or replacement due to site conditions, installation problems or a hidden fault in the stone. Removal and replacement can be carried out with particular care being taken to match the existing grout and to thoroughly seal the repair after installation. Some crosscut travertines, because of the nature of the stone, have small internal voids that are not visible on the surface of the stone. It is possible that, if a particular point load is placed on the spot, that the stone surface can break into the void. This is not a problem on unfilled travertines. For filled travertine installations, a periodic inspection can be carried out and visible voids can be easily filled on-site. For light traffic uses, a regular unsanded (or sanded for larger voids) grout (colour to match the lighter veining of the stone) mixed with latex additive can be applied with a spatula. A second application may be required if the grout shrinks excessively. Ensure all grout haze is removed and seal the repair. For any high traffic, commercial repair, an epoxy grout should be used.
Natural stone is porous by nature and will stain. Because of this, the stain may sometimes be removed by reversing the staining process. If you re-absorb the stain into a medium, it can be removed from the stone. The typical medium is called a poultice.
Stains should be treated as soon as possible. As time goes by the stain will set and it becomes increasingly difficult to remove it. Attempts to remove stains should not proceed stain determination since using the proper removal technique is important to achieve the desired results.
Test patches should be performed to identify the type of stain and the recommend procedure for removal.
The poultice may be a material (cotton balls, paper towels, etc.) or a powder (Poultice Plus, clays, or diatomaceous earth), which is usually preferred. Mix the powder with distilled water to make a paste-like substance. Mix this paste with the chemical from the chart below. Mix the resulting paste to a consistency similar to peanut butter. This paste can then be applied to the stain to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch, overlapping the edges of the stain by 1 or 2 inches. Cover the area with plastic wrap and secure the edges sealed tight with non-marking tape. The poultice must dry completely (24 to 48 hours) and as it dries, it will pull the stain out of the stone into the paste. If the stain has lessened but not removed completely, reapply as often as required.
Please note that some chemicals that are necessary for stain removal will remove the finish of polished or lightly honed limestones. As a result, re-polishing with abrasives may be necessary.
Typical stains include organic (coffee, tea, tobacco), Inorganic (rust, metal), Biological (mildew, mold, fungus, algae), Oil based (grease, cooking oil, food stains) and Ink (ball point pen, felt pen).
All solutions below are given starting with the gentlest method first. Always test a small area to ensure the desired effect is achieved.
|clean with:||1. Liquid Poultice|
|2. 35% Hydrogen Peroxide poured directly on the stain and add a few drops of ammonia. Leave until bubbling stops.|
|poultice with:||1. Liquid Poultice|
|2. Ammonium Oxalate|
|3. Oxalic Acid|
|poultice with:||1. Ammonia Chloride|
|2. Ammonia Hydroxide|
|biological clean with:||1. Liquid Poultice|
|2. Diluted Ammonia|
|clean with:||1. Miraclean #1|
|2. Liquid Poultice|
|3. Mira Strip|
|5. Household detergent|
|7. Mineral Spirits|
|poultice with:||1. Mineral Spirits|
|2. Methyl Chloride|
|Re-hone the surface with abrasives.|
|Grout & Thin-set|
|Clean with Grout and Concrete Film Remover diluted 5:1 on honed or sawcut surfaces and 2:1 on flamed granite. Do not use on polished surfaces.|
Good quality porcelain is undoubtedly the most maintenance-free flooring material available. There is a broad range of types of porcelain based on the various manufacturing processes, with varying surface textures, glazes and porosity. Surface texture that replicates stone or other textured effects is applied with presses prior to firing of the tile. Production processes that utilize a number of different presses or combinations of presses create the most random and hence natural looking tiles.
Through-body porcelain is manufactured as one monolithic tile without surface glazes or finishes and is characterized by the colour pigments being consistent throughout the body of the tile. Originally, the aesthetic look was limited to speckled, ‘salt & pepper’ effects. More recent developments in the production process have made it possible to mix together various colour pigments so that random swirls and veins of colour, similar to natural effects, can be produced.
Double-pressed porcelain is manufactured with two layers of porcelain pressed together and then fired. The top layer is approximately 1mm thick and is pressed to the base porcelain layer under high pressure. This top layer is comprised of porcelain clays randomly infused with various colour pigments that create an infinite range of colour combinations and patterns and hence can approach the variety of natural stones. This bonded porcelain ‘sandwich’ is then fired.
Another method of creating random colour and shading characteristics is to apply soluble chemical salts to a through-body porcelain bisque prior to firing. Applied using multiple silk screens, spray machines or brushes, the overall aesthetic effect can be quite varied. Suspended in an aqueous solution, these metal salts penetrate into the unfired tile body. After the tile body dries, the tile is fired during which time the metal oxide salts react with the porcelain body resulting in various colours. This type of porcelain is considered unglazed since the salts are not a monolithic glaze.
Recently, the technology for producing glazed porcelain has come into wider use. This is not dissimilar to glazed ceramics in that there is a full colour spectrum available. However, there are many advantages over a glazed ceramic: i) porcelain is a higher quality clay than ceramic, ii) the porcelain particle size is extremely fine, iii) the tile is pressed under very high pressure, iv) porcelain is fired at a higher temperature for a longer period of time. The resulting tile and glaze are harder and more wear-resistant. Glazed porcelain has the lowest surface absorption of all porcelain because of the glass-like vitrified finish to the tile.
Porcelain tile must be installed over sound, level, fully cured concrete, masonry, cement board or other approved surfaces. A premium floor and wall dry-set mortar should be used with a latex additive. Grout line dimensions are an aesthetic consideration but sufficient width should be allowed for proper application of the grout (use sanded grout for floors) and to allow for dimensional tolerances in the tile. Particularly important with respect to light coloured or textured tiles, is to clean the floor after installation with Grout and Concrete Film Remover to ensure that there is no grout residue on the surface of the tile that will attract dirt and stain.
Although high quality porcelain has an absorption rate of less than 0.03%, some porcelains can range, by standard, up to a maximum of 0.05%. These, as well as high-density porcelain with an open grit, anti-slip surface, should be sealed with a good quality penetrating sealer, such as 511 Porous Plus, before and after grouting for ease of maintenance and to ensure a level of stain resistance. Even if the tile need not be sealed, the grout lines may be sealed if a light colour grout is used and ease of maintenance and stain resistance is desired.
To maintain a porcelain installation, reasonably frequent washing is required with clean water and very little good quality neutral or alkaline detergent such as Mira Clean #1. The amount of dirty water left standing on the tile should be minimized. Porcelain tile does not require waxing. Periodic resealing may be recommended.
For heavier cleaning requirements, wash with Porcelain & Ceramic Tile Cleaner or Tri-Sodium Phosphate. Mix 1 cup of powdered TSP to 3 gallons warm water. Wash with a powdered brush scrubber and rinse with a hydro-jet and water. Re-seal the floor if required.
Porcelain may become dull from cleaning with dirty water since, and, over a period of time, water will soak into even extremely low porosity material. In order to restore the tile, apply Grout and Concrete Film Remover, diluted with water at a ratio of 1:5. Apply liberally and allow to stand for a few minutes, agitating with a stiff brush. Wet vacuum to remove the liquid. For cleaning of deep stains, Liquid Poultice should be used. It is a biodegradable, non-acidic, deep cleaner designed to penetrate deep into the pores of the tile to safely lift out mold, mildew, algae, fungus, coffee, tea and other types of foreign matter.
Payment in full is required at time of pickup unless previous arrangements have been made. All materials are to remain the property of Stone Tile until payment in full is received.
All agreements are subject to strikes, delays of carriers, quarry conditions, weather and other conditions beyond the control of Stone Tile.
Stone Tile cannot be held liable in any cause of action resulting from use of any material or product. Stone Tile makes no expressed or implied warranty of suitability for any particular purpose or application.
Since each natural stone tile is unique with respect to colour, veining, structure, etc., any samples submitted are intended to be merely suggestive of the final product. Variations in colour and structure are due to nature and thus unavoidable.
All materials are in good condition at time of pickup or delivery. No claims whatsoever will be considered after material is installed.
Stone Tile will deliver material to the Stone Tile warehouse loading doors on a skid, in a crate or loose. Loading unto or into any vehicle is the responsibility of the customer. If requested, Stone Tile may assist in loading either by hand or with the forklift, however, Stone Tile assumes no responsibility for any damage to, including but not limited to, material, buildings, vehicles or persons caused during or because of the loading of material.
Prices are based on a nominal sizing and a square foot (or 30cmx30cm) unit unless otherwise noted. Tiles are generally considered as their nominal size, which allows for a typical grout joint. Hence a tile specified as 12” (nominal) may, in reality, be 11-13/16 (actual), which allows for a 3/16” grout line.
Thickness may vary from those indicated.
Products, sizes, finishes and materials not listed may be sourced.
Prices and availability may change and must be confirmed at time of order.
All sales are final. Stocked items can be returned under the following conditions:
signed Work or Purchase Order is required
Material will be held for a maximum of 30 days and only with a signed Purchase Order or a 25% deposit.