Correct installation of your natural stone tiles and the installation material is of equal importance. This section gives only general information on fixing tiles to walls and floors, as it is impossible to provide a single guide due to the variety of factors which will need to be considered when specifying and selecting the right adhesives, grouts, sealants or other ancillary materials needed for a successful installation for each of our natural stone products.
If you require a quotation for stone tile installation costs then please provide us with any necessary information so that we can provide the correct ancillary products. A competent installer should be used who has experience in installing natural stone tiles together with the ancillaries to be used. The following points should also be noted.
Prior to installation
Stone tiles are packed into crates very tightly, are wet at the point of packing after production and may have residue from the various finishing processes. It is therefore recommended that stone tiles are washed, either with clean water or diluted FilaCleaner and are allowed to dry completely before installation. The tiles will usually assume a lighter shade and colour as they dry. Dry tiles are needed prior to installation so any unusual tones and markings can be placed in less visible areas or used in cuts. Ensure that stone tiles are mixed to provide consistency in distribution of any variation at point of installation. This will require opening all crates or pallets of material supplied. Slight chipping is often noticed when unpacking tiles, and should be expected – it is deemed normal practice for these to be used as cuts during the installation process.
Tiling should start at the centre of the room and tiles should first be dry laid in order to avoid any unsightly cuts and to ascertain the optimum grout joints for the tile.
Uncalibrated stone tiles will need to be graded prior to installation commencing. Thicker tiles will dictate the floor level and should be installed first with thinner tiles being bedded up with an appropriate floor adhesive. Dimensions mentioned are nominal as variation in size and thickness can occur with most Stone & Porcelain.
Surfaces to be tiled to should be flat, level, clean, dry, and free of dust, grease and any loose material and also be free of movement.
Stone & Porcelain tiles must be fixed to solid beds: cement or gypsum-based tile adhesives are the most suited to this type of fixing method. Large format tiles may have to be ‘buttered’ on the back with adhesive in order to ensure complete adhesive coverage.
Tiles should occasionally be lifted during the fixing process to ensure that a full bed of adhesion is being achieved.
Quick setting adhesives are best suited to fixing stone as moisture disperses quicker from the stone.
Light or pale coloured material should be fixed with white adhesives to prevent possible discolouration, leaching and shadowing.
Flexible adhesives, and further sub base preparation is required when the substrate is plywood, under floor and/or under tile heating is present or there is any degree of movement or instability in the substrate.
With un- Stone tiles, the appropriate Large Format Flexible Floor Adhesive should be used to compensate for the variation in tile thickness.
Cement based grouts are most appropriate for stone tile jointing. Stones with a distressed edge and textured surface tend to have grout joints of 6-10mm while smooth honed & polished stones as well as Porcelain tiles can be jointed at approx 3-5mm.
Joints in tiles allow for movement of tiles and should be a minimum of 3mm; it is not possible to ‘butt-joint’ tiles with the exception of certain materials which are designed to be fitted this way.
Width of grout joints should be able to accommodate any variation in the size of tiles.
When fixing a mix of sizes like opus patterns, the grout joint will vary in width due to the layout of the pattern.
Grouting with a slurry mix is required with unfilled Travertine and some Limestone in order to fill naturally occurring pits. Honed, Polished & Porcelain tiles should be pointed in order to avoid access grout residue being left on the surface.
Grout residue left on the surface of the tiles should be cleaned off as part of the grouting process and given a wash with dilute FilaCleaner after grouting but before any further sealing.
Stone tiles should have an initial coat of sealant after fixing but prior to grouting as some stone tiles may absorb pigments from the grout.