Understanding Natural Stone

LIMESTONE, MARBLE AND TRAVERTINE.

In our showroom in wellington, somerset. We have noticed an increase in customers wanting to know the ins and outs of these natural stones and the process in how they are made and what the different finishes before being sealed really mean.

Limestone

Olive Flagstone

Olive Limestone Flagstone

Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite and the consolidation of sediments, and other organic matter. Each limestone exhibits its own characteristic colours and markings, and can vary in density. Some limestones also have a similar appearance to marble and can often lead to mis-classification.

Some degree of edge chipping should be expected along with occasional surface pitting, fossilized shells, fissures, mineral striations and resin fill.

Limestone is an acid-sensitive material and so care should be taken to use the correct products when cleaning.

Marble 

Marble

Marble is defined as Limestone which has been subjected to metamorphism.

When limestone is exposed to high temperatures and pressures, Marble forms under such conditions because the calcite forming the limestone recrystallises forming a denser rock consisting of roughly equigranular calcite crystals.

This process leads to a dense, closed surface although some material may have slight open veining or surface pitting. Marble is a very dense stone that readily lends itself to a polish but is also available in Honed and tumbled finishes.

Travertine 

 

 

Travertine It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot spring or in a limestone cave. In the latter, it can form stalactites, stalagmites, and other speleothems. It is frequently used in Italy and elsewhere as a building material.

After cutting the travertine is either filled with a colour matched filler or resin, or left unfilled and form voids.

Generally voids are only left unfilled in tumbled or brushed finished, where these voids are filled during the grouting process. Although filling the voids gives a smoother surface, through general usage some small areas of fill may dislodge or previously unexposed holes may become visible. This is not unusual and the holes should be re-filled with a suitable filler or grout.

There are three grades of Travertine, so keep this in mind when buying online.

Grade 1 or Premium Grade, Grade 2 or Standard and Grade 3 or commercial.

For more information on this see this post.

Travertine tiles may requite additional adhesive to be applied to the rear of the tile in order to fill any larger voids.

Limestone, Marble and Travertine are all porous and require sealing. Different methods of sealing can achieve different looks.

We recommend cleaning, sealing and maintaining with LTP Products, and the link here will help you identify what surface you have, what finish you would like to achieve and what sealers you will need.

Cleaning tips for natural stone wall and floor tiles

When is intensive stone or deep cleaning required?

  • As an important stage in the installation process of wall and floor tiles.
  • Where poorly maintained natural stone floor tiles need a top up seal.
  • When restoring natural stone wall or floor tiles.
  • For routine cleaning of unsealed external patios and paved areas.

Why would newly installed wall or floor tiles require intensive cleaning?

Keeping natural stone wall and floor tiles scrupulously clean before and during the fixing process, is vitally important.

Intensive cleaning of stone floors and walls before application of the correct protective sealing product will make sure the result does not disappoint. Installing stone flooring and worktops by nature creates grit, dirt and adhesive residues. Ensuring that a vacuum is used (being careful not to scratch the surface) to remove loose dirt from your new stone floor or worktop will not address stains and residue marks.

Simply washing stone flooring in water will not be effective in removing ingrained marks or adhesive. Using standard household cleaning products that often contain bleach is likely to damage the surface of your newly installed natural stone floor or wall. You should make sure that the correct cleaning product is used for the natural stone material being installed. Need more information about surfaces? Visit our identify your surface selector.

Sealing of Natural Stone guide can be downloaded here: LTP application guide.

Sealing of polished Natural stone can be downloaded here: LTP application guide.

The different finishes available as described above are explained in more detail here;

Honed- A smooth but not polished finish to the face of the stone, edges are either straight or bevelled which gives a contemporary yet classic look. Formed by the surface of the stone being ground to a smooth, flat, consistent surface.  For normally shiny stones such as granite or marble, the polish or shine has been removed leaving a matte (unpolished) surface.

Polished- A highly reflective, gloss finish to the surface of the stone with either straight or bevelled edges. Formed when honed limestone is further worked by polishing pads to create a reflective, glass like sheen.

Tumbled- A method of ageing stone, in which the tiles are “tumbled” to give them a rounded, antique edge-finish. On certain stones this may also leave the surface more open and slightly textured.

Brushed- A method of finishing stone which gives a slight surface texture and can give a subtle softened edge. The effect of brushing and the edge finish can differ depending on the type of stone. Created by working the surface to a patina that softly texturises the stone.

Please note that this information is offered as general guidance only and without guarantee. Your specific circumstances may need an alternative approach. In case of doubt, any process should be tried out in an inconspicuous area before general application.

 

 

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Why Do I Need To Seal My Floor Or Wall Tiles?

Here at Wellington Tile we quite often get asked, why do i need to seal natural stone?  Natural stone like Terracotta, Slate, Polished Porcelain & Quarry Tiles ect.

Well its because they are Naturally porous, and if left unsealed every piece of dirt and grime will be absorbed by your natural stone, giving you a really big clean up job, to prevent this from happening we would definitely recommend sealing them.

 There are essentially three aims when sealing a tile.

  • Stain Prevention
  • Surface Protection
  • Surface Enhancement

It is not always possible or indeed necessary to achieve all the aims, however stain prevention tends to be the overriding aim.

To achieve these aims there is the choice of two types of sealers

These will either be spirit based or water based.

These two types of sealers can be used independently or together depending on the type of surface being sealed and depending on the type of finish required:

Essentially there are three types of finish:

The first two are achieved with impregnating sealers, and the third with Surface sealers

 Impregnating Sealers:

Unsealed, most natural tiles are absorbent to some degree or other, just  pour a tea

Natural stone protected with LTP Mattstone

spoon of water on to an unsealed tile and observe how quickly the water is absorbed. English Limestone, Sandstone, Marble  and Terracotta tend to be the most absorbent and denser surfaces such as Granite and basalt? Much less absorbent, Travertine and Slate sit somewhere in the middle.

Full bodied Porcelain and Quarry Tiles may seem highly vitrified, but they can still be absorbent. On the whole the cheaper the tile here, the more absorbent it is likely to be..

 Tiles have small pin-holes and open fissures as part of its natural texture. This texture will tend to accumulate grit and stains as part of the natural wearing process and unless they are impregnated will cause the floor to stain.of water on to an unsealed tile and

An impregnating sealer will have a carrier, often white spirit and a sealer within it. Once absorbed the carrier evaporates leaving the sealer in situ protecting the tile just below the surface

Depending on the porosity of the tile, a second or third coat of sealer may be needed.

In some cases a secondary seal is required to protect the surface of the tile, or to give the surface a gloss or satin finish.

Impregnating sealers are absorbed into the tile sealing it just below the surface, they tend not to alter the characteristic of the tile and whilst they offer mechanical strength to a tile and in some cases ..colour enhancement.., they will not offer surface protection.

 Surface sealers

 To achieve surface protection and a different finish to the tile , a surface sealer is used, these will provide the tile with a gloss or satin finish. In this case clearly the natural look of the tile is being altered.

As a general rule surface sealers tend to be water based, rather than spirit based and

Apply LTP Glaze Protector

depending on the nature of the surface being sealed can be used on their own or in conjunction with an impregnating sealer.

 

Advantages and disadvantages of Spirit Based & Water Based Sealers

Spirit based and water based sealers now perform equally well provided you purchase a water based sealer rather than a water based water repellent.

In our experience whilst water based impregnating sealers are becoming more widely used for environmental reasons, spirit based sealers are still much more popular for the simple reason: they are easier to apply.  Spirit is a better carrier than water, so spirit based sealers transport the sealer deeper into a tile.

However, as with paints the trend is away from solvent/spirit based products to waterbased sealers.

Another reason for considering waterbased sealers is they have much less odour than spirit based sealers.

External Use:  Swimmimg Pool surrounds: Wet Rooms:

In most circumstances impregnating sealers will be breathable allowing use in wet area’s and outside.

This is not always the case with surface sealers:

Whether they are polyurethane varnishes or waterbased;  surface sealers are not breathable and should not be specified for wet area’s or externally.

And finally

 Everything above applies to grout joints as well as tiles. So remember to seal the grouting as well to achieve a perfect durable finish for your tiled surface with LTP Grout & Tile Protector.

LTP 600ml Grout & Tile Protector Aerosol

 

A Collection Of Images From Finished Projects.

TERRACOTTA
Terracotta Hand made 30x30

Terracotta Hand made 30×30

Terracotta Hand made 30x30

Terracotta Hand made 30×30

 

DSCN2173

 

TRAVERTINE/LIMESTONE

Dinning Room Floor 3 SAMSUNG TECHWIN DIGIMAX-340 Around Swimming Pool 2 Wet Room Walls & Floors 1 wet room 1 Kitchen Diner Floor 1

Olive Flagstone

Olive Limestone Flagstone

SLATE

DSC_1415

Brazilian Black Slate

Brazilian Black Slate

Rustic Multi Slate

Rustic Multi Slate

Rustic Multi Slate

Rustic Multi Slate

Rustic Multi Slate

Rustic Multi Slate

GLAZED WALL & FLOOR TILES

DSCN2286

Oxida

Oxida

Bronzea

Bronzea

canamia secoyva (1) IMG_20140319_200115

 

DSC_1413 DSC_1392 DSC_1390 DSC_1388

 

For More Images Please Visit Our Facebook Page Wellington-Tile-Company Or Our Twitter Page @Wellytile

What Colour Grout Should I Use?

Deciding what grout colour to use is purely a personal preference, but there are a few hints and advice we have accumulated over the years, on how to achieve the look your after.

BronziaBronzia

 

 

 

 

The above images show the effects of different grout colours, the picture on the left has a very light grout colour and frames the tiles. Whereas the image on the right has grout more to the colour of the tiles and so blends in with the tiles. Grouting is an important part of the decision process. 

If you wish for the tiles to stand out and be “framed” then go for a contrasting colour, but be careful as sometimes all you will see is the grout and not the other way around, try with some grout swatches first, or have a look in our showroom, as we have nearly all the tiles on display with grouting to show the different choices available.


jose sempra 15x30

 

 

 

 

Another important aspect of tiling is choice of grout size, often wrong grout width choice can ruin the look of a tiled area. Have a go with a few tiles on the floor, put a 3mm joint between them and have a look, keep going until you find the space you prefer the most.

In our showroom you will see many displays of tiles with various grout widths and our fully trained staff will be more than willing to advice you on the correct choice to give you your required look.

Or call us on 01823 667242 

Alternatively visit Our website www.wellingtontile-online.co.uk

HOW DO I LAY STONE FLOOR TILES, PORCELAIN OR CERAMIC FLOOR TILES?

 

DT DISPLAY final look

Customers in our showroom often ask “Can I tile myself or do I need to employ a tiler?” 

If you have time, patience & some DIY skills then tiling is a job which can be done by the customer.need to employ a tiler?”

Listed below are some helpful hints to DIY tile fitting.

Planning and preparation is key.

First make sure you know your floor substrate and the correct preparation required prior to tiling.

All surfaces, including existing tiles, must be clean, firm, dry, free from dust, dirt, oil and grease, and strong enough to support the weight of the tiles and the adhesive. When tiling on to timber floors the surface should be prepared to provide a rigid and secure base without any deflection.

Some Questions to ask

Q:What is my floor substrate?

A: Useful link: (www.tiles.org/help) 

Q:Is it suitable to tile straight on to?

A: Most substrates can be tiled onto but will need different preparations (www.tiles.co.uk/help)

Q:Can I tile on top of existing tiles?

A: Yes provided they are soundly fitted to the floor and you prepare the (surface correctly

Q:Can I have underfloor heating under tiles?

A: Underfloor heating system are available to go under most floor surfaces for further details email: info@wellingtontile.co.uk

 

Q:How many square metres do I require?

A: By measuring the room dimensions and sending them to Info@wellingontile.co.uk we will calculate your requirements and will include a suggested 10% cutting allowance or try our tile calculator

Q:Will I need expansion joints?

A:normally around the edge of the room it is good practice. (www.uofcts.org

Q:What tools will I need

A: Notched Trowel, Grout Float, Hydro Sponge, Spacers,  Cutter, and for natural stone tiles additional: Cleaning & sealing kits 

Now you are ready make sure you have the correct tiles,tools, adhesive and grout ready for your job.

Laying

Find the centre point of the room and section into quarters.

Work one quarter at a time, if possible lay your tiles out without adhesive first to check the finished effect and to arrange the cuts at the edge of the room.

You would normally lay from different boxes to avoid shade variation rather than one box at a time.

Spread the adhesive evenly using a notch trowel or spreader. Laying Adhesive still(08-01-2014 15-12) JPEGPlace the tile in position, giving it a slight twist to bed in to the adhesive. Continue laying your tiles leaving a grout joint of your choice (NEVER butt joint). 

Helpful tip: spread a thin layer of adhesive on the back of the tiles as well to achieve perfect bond.


Check from time to time that your tiles are level (by using a spirit level) and that there are no hollows under the tiles.

Lay the quarters until all that is left are the cuts around the Tiling still 2 (08-01-2014 14-54) JPEGedges of the room.

Clean the tiles regularly to avoid adhesive remaining on the tiles and remove excess adhesive in the joints.

It is recommend to leave the tiles for 24 hours before cutting and laying the edge tiles.


Grouting

Allow the adhesive to dry (cure) before grouting.

If the tiles require sealing such as natural stone, terracottapolished porcelain & slate then applying 1st coat of sealer before grouting- this not only helps ensure the grout does not stain the tile, but it also helps with the cleaning of the excess grout.

Grouting still 2 (08-01-2014 15-01) JPEG

Using your grout float apply enough grout as you can effectively work with.

Press the grout into the joints (in a diagonal direction) to an even level with the tile. Remove the excess from the tile with the grout float.

Washing Grout Still (08-01-2014 15-23) JPEG

Wait for the grout to stiffen then using a damp sponge work across the joints being careful not to drag the grout out of the joints. Clean as you work checking the grout joints are full and smoothly finished.

Useful link (www.tile.org.uk/joints) 

Leave for the entire floor to cure. Grout residue (hazing) can be removed with LTP Grout St Remover (on the appropriate tiles).

 

The foregoing advice, whilst given in good faith and from experience gained in various installation situations is for guidance purposes only. If in doubt at any stage of floor laying, experiment before proceeding further or seek further advice. Neither the supplier nor the manufacturers will be liable for any dissatisfaction resulting from these instructions nor will they in any circumstances accept responsibility for any damaged or incorrect tiles once they have been fixed.

 

 

Why should I choose Wall Tiles?

What are the benefits of kitchen and bathroom wall tiles?

Why use tiles?

Not withstanding the main reason for choosing a wall tile is obviously for design purposes, wall tiles have many practical benifits. They are easy to maintain and their wipe free properties make them extremely hygienic. When it comes to bathrooms and shower areas they protect from leaks and splashes. Correct maintenance can also help protect against mould which will occur in damper areas, and if you use a grout protector and the correct cleaning products, tiles will look fresher for longer.

Popular materials are ceramic and porcelain wall tiles but other materials are available such as natural stone and glass tiles. Floor tiles are often chosen ie when installing a wet room floor tiles are often used both on the floor and the wall. Wall tiles can also be an added investment and can add value to your home, lasting much longer than wallpaper and paints.

Travertine Wet Room Wall & FloorAqua Glass Wall Tiles

Many homeowners are installing splash backs behind the cooker not only to protect the walls but  they are also a great option to add colour and make a feature. Generally the area between the work surface and wall units are also tiled, completing the look.

Natural Stone Mosaic

Finally, kitchen and bathroom wall tiles look great and the choices are endless- wall tiles come in a variety of sizes, colours, finishes and styles. You can use large format wall tiles which will make a small area appear more spacious or smaller mosaic wall tiles.

The choice is yours and remember wall tiles can be used effectively throughout the house, not just in kitchens & bathrooms!

For help and advice on choosing the perfect kitchen and bathroom wall tiles, please visit our showroom in Wellington, phone us on 01823 667242 or email at info@wellingtontile.co.uk .

Website www.wellingtontile-online.co.uk