Natural Stone / August 23, 2018 / FifineAsselin
Laying your natural stone tiles is a relatively simple process involving the use of tile adhesive to fix the tiles to the surface. Some types of particularly porous tile such as travertine require back-buttering with tile adhesive before theyre laid. This is also important if your tiles have any cracks in the underside since buttering will help to seal the crack and add strength and the process is considered good practise in any situation. Take care when laying natural stone tiles as they can be quite heavy. Take care to minimise unnecessary stretching to reduce the risk of back-strain. You can use a spirit level to help check your tile is level before moving onto the next one and a gentle tap from a small mallet can help to encourage any corners that are too high. Grouting your natural stone tiles after theyve been laid is again a fairly simple process. Do use a mask when mixing your tile grout as it can be a considerably dusty process. Always mix your grout powder with clean cold water and if youre laying your tiles in a bathroom or kitchen you wish to use a tile grout that features anti-bacterial agents to reduce the growth of mould and mildew.
The absorption rate is how porous a material is. The more absorbent a material is the more likely it is to stain as well as how much cracking damage it suffers during freezing conditions. There are four different levels of absorption when it comes to natural tiles. Non-vitreous is the highest absorption and should not be used in any environment that can become damp. Semi-vitreous are less absorbent but will require more maintenance the more liquid is exposed to them. Vitreous is the standard level of absorption and is considered most appropriate to be placed in areas with low to mid indoor or outdoor traffic. Impervious is the most resistant when it comes to the absorptions of liquids and are the easiest to maintain and clean.
Using the edge of a trowel generously fill in the gaps between your tiles (created by using spacers) and smooth it over the surface at a 45 degree angle to the floor. A grout profiling tool can help after youve applied the grout to smooth the fill off and remove any unwanted excess. Caring for your natural stone tiles it an important to remember and before you finish your tiling job you need to seal the tiles to prevent the stone from becoming stained. This seal needs to be applied after tiles have been cleaned and any residual dust adhesive or grout has been removed with a residual remover. After applying and removing the residual remover a seal can then be added to help prevent materials and liquids from entering the pores of the stone and leaving potential marks. This seal needs to be regularly maintained in order to keep the tiles in good condition and can even be added to through the use of enhancing products to bring out the natural grain and contrasts of the stone.