Like any other hard tile, natural stone floors require a solid subfloor before installation. Suspended timber floors should not be an issue as long as they are supported, but an even and level sand and cement screed is preferred. Waterproof plywood fastened to the subfloor at 200mm intervals is usually sufficient, but a professional should be consulted if you’re unsure. Plywood, provided its joints are supported by noggins at 250mm intervals, can be fastened directly to joists to solve the problem of uneven floors.
Tiles require an adhesive to be correctly installed. The thickness of the adhesive bed should be between 5 and 10 millimeters on average. A flexible additive should be used with the glue and grout when installed on a suspended wooden floor or with any underfloor heating.
Buttering the back of the stone before fastening it is a must since it acts as a key. Water must be applied to the tile to increase adhesion if it is too dry. White adhesive or cement slurry with sand/cement semidry should be used when laying pale or thin limestone.
Because of its porous nature, sealing natural stone is usually advised.
The porosity of the stone will determine how much sealer you need to use. Three coats are ideal, with the first one going on before grouting. Repeat with a second and third coat after grouting. After a certain point, the stone will no longer absorb any more sealant. Excessive sealing will create difficult-to-remove stains on the surface. Streaks on the surface can be removed by wiping them down with a dry cloth.
Applying sealers to dried stone ensures the finest possible results. Before beginning to seal the floor, the stone must be entirely dry.
It is recommended to use grout made of cement. Grout color is vital; pale beige or light grey often works best. The grout color should be specified to be as near to the stone’s natural color as possible. If the desired tone cannot be found at a store, a darker color might be blended with white to achieve the desired effect. The process of grouting limestone requires extreme cleanliness so that no residue dries on the stone’s surface. This is significant since acid is typically used to remove grout, and this would erode the limestone.
Joint width is a matter of personal preference. A wider joint (6-10 mm) will produce a more natural appearance than a narrower joint (2-3 mm). We advise you to have the tiler build up several grout samples to approve if you have any doubts about the color.
TENDING AND REPAIRS
After a floor is placed and sealed, there is minimal upkeep necessary. Mopping the floor with either water or a stone cleaner is advised. You must never use a cleanser that contains detergents, as they will remove the floor’s sealer. We recommend using Easycare Lilothin daily.
Even while a sealant will prevent most stains, you should still be careful with oil and acid-based materials. A spill needs to be cleaned up as soon as it is seen. In a fall, an intense stone cleaner can remove the stain.
The floor should be resealed every 5-6 years (wear depending). A tiler is a typical worker for this task.
POLISHING / WAXING
Some stones benefit from having a shine applied to enhance their aesthetic value. There are a few different approaches to this:
Careseal or Multiseal are two examples of lilo thin products that can be used. This can be mopped on to make the floor look shined. Treating the surface every two to three months (depending on wear) is necessary to preserve the finish that these products produce. Some flooring can also be polished or waxed. The previous treatment is less labor-consuming than this one. It is suggested that you hire a tiler to complete this task.
Charles Margetts is the representative of Martin Moore Stone, an expert in the supply, preparation, and installation of floors made of natural stone worldwide.