Limestone, sandstone and all natural stones are products of nature and no two pieces are exactly alike. Stone may vary in colour, tone and have lines of quartz, fossilisation and other markings. There will also be small variations in all dimensions. The tiles will arrive in much the same order as they came off the saw, which means that shades of colour and particular markings in the stone are liable to be next to each other. You should look at the material to establish its colour and marking characteristics, and should ‘shuffle’ the pieces from different batches before fixing to create a random pattern. Mixing the tiles up will spread these variations naturally over the floor. Any other design details should be agreed before installation.
Stone can be fixed to a suspended floor (with marine plywood or a combination of marine ply and tile backer board) or to a solid concrete sub-floor. Flexible additives to the adhesive and grout are necessary to take up any movement if the stone is being fixed to a suspended wooden floor or over under-floor heating.
The stone is vulnerable until it is fixed, and still vulnerable until it is treated against staining. It may arrive on site wet. This does not prevent it being fixed but it cannot be treated until it is dry.
There are several different ways of fixing flooring. Whether you fix to a normal screed, an anhydrite screed or with an adhesive, we recommend a gap between tiles of between 2 to 3mm depending on personal preference. We do not recommend that the tiles be butted up, as the size of the tiles will inevitably vary slightly.
The edges of the tiles will not have been calibrated and are only sawn - a good fixer will “kill” the edges by rubbing each tile with a diamond pad as it is fixed. This removes the very slight chipping of the edges that was caused by the saw.
Fixing into a screed
Calcium Sulphate or Anhydrite Screeds
Using an Adhesive
There are a number of ways to fix the stone.
Fixing to a screed
Fixing with adhesive to a new concrete screed
Loose laying or placing on Buzon Pods (or similar) adjustable supports
Limestone and marble will create beautiful worktops and we will supply them as fully protected as possible. However, it is impossible to prevent some marking, particularly when the worktop is new. As the stone ages, it will become more difficult to mark as oils will penetrate the stone and provide further protection, and the marks that have been made will fade. If you look after it properly, you will end up with a durable and handsome worktop. But if you are looking for a ‘perfect’ finish, then you should probably consider other materials.
In order to minimise marking wipe off any spills as soon as possible. Highly coloured foods such as curries will leave the most obvious stains, particularly on light-coloured stones. Dark coloured stones are particularly susceptible to ‘water’ marks (which in fact usually come from alcohol).
Choose adhesives and grouts that are both appropriate to the performance needed and will match your stone in colour. When using adhesives and grouts, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations both in terms of using their products and also with regard to which other products are compatible or incompatible.
Good ranges are available from Stonefix and Ardex.
A decoupling membrane allows the stone to move independently of its substrate which will help guard against cracking of the stone. We recommend decoupling membranes Schluter such as DITRA
Stone Age is a specialist supplier of stone products for architectural, exterior and interior use, ranging from flooring to one-off bespoke elements. As a company that has grown organically, we have built up a network of trusted suppliers which allows us to be confident of the quality of the stone that we supply and also that we know where to go to get something a little bit special.