EXPERIENCED TILERS IN BATH AND BRISTOL
As an experienced tiler in the Bath and Bristol area, I realised there was a distinct lack of information for the consumer, so I decided to create some guides to help people decide the type of tile they had selected was correct. Below you can read a brief outline of the guide, and download the guide in full, please contact me if you feel that the information you require is missing.
Natural Stone Tiling Guide
This as a guide for learning about and choosing natural stone tiles.
Stone has become more popular in recent years as a means of tiling the surfaces of walls and floors in many domestic homes. The reason for this is mainly due to improved mining and processing of the stones quarried and mined from around the world, leading to it becoming affordable as an alternative to ceramic, porcelain or otherwise manufactured tiles.
What few people not directly within the “stone industry” understand is that it cannot be treated (or mistreated as the case may be) as standard ceramic tiles. It in fact requires better surface preparation, adhesives designed and tested for tiling with natural stone, careful cutting and preparation during tiling, and the application of selected cleaning and sealing agents to bring out and allow the maintenance of its natural beauty.
This document aims to provide essential information on some of the widely used (for tiling) stone types to ensure that you choose the right stone, and understand its benefits and limitations. Each of the main stone types is examined below, and includes advice on maintaining it.
Victorian style quarry tiles guide
Victorian Floors – Geometric floor tiles were originally used to ornament medieval places of worship and homes of the ruling classes. Early in the reign of Queen Victoria this style of floor tiling became fashionable and classic designs were copied in buildings around the British Empire.
The tiles are constructed from clay, and fired in furnaces to harden (similar to pottery making). This process means that there is not a guarantee that all the tiles are identical in size or shade (of each colour) and the sizes may vary by up to 2mm.
All the tiles are vitrified (hard fired) but unglazed (not waterproof and quite porous).
Customers having new tiles laid need to understand that this type of tile will not have perfect edges, may show evidence of shade variations when tiles of the same colour are used, and that the width of spaces between the tiles are varied to accommodate size differences.
Natural travertine stone tiles care
Travertine – the soft coloured tones of travertine and its marbled veins have led to a massive popularity in using this stone to decorate many buildings over the last 2 millennia.
It is a sedimentary rock (formed by the deposit of materials on the earth’s surface) that is a form of limestone. However, where limestone is formed from marine deposits in the sea, travertine is formed on land in mineral springs. The purest forms of travertine are actually white in colour, but are most commonly found in the soft brown tones due to impurities present during formation.
The Romans most famously used travertine extensively for construction of temples aqueducts, and coliseums. However the material is characteristically pitted with holes that are normally filled either using a resin (typically by stone processing plants preparing the stone for tiling) or with cement based grout (usually by tile installers when fixing stone to walls and floors). Travertine is also calcium based and therefore vulnerable to acid exposure requiring cleaning with pH neutral cleaners and sealing to protect from staining after installation.
Caring for Slate Tiles
A metamorphic rock that is foliated (an additional fabric of sediment) and derived from shale type sedimentary rocks, typically of clay and volcanic ash. Slate occurs in a variety of colours, but is frequently found coloured grey. Slate deposits can be found across the world, and in recent years, massive slate deposits have been quarried to provide a ready source of cheap slate for construction. In the UK there are extensive deposits of slate which are in a wide variety of colours including yellow, green and purple.
It is currently very popular as a floor tile, but efflorescence (a process of water loss that crystallises a salt onto the surface) can be a A problem, and it is extremely slippery when wet. The stone is also naturally “soft” and is susceptible to abrasive damage, and can be damaged by acid based cleaning solutions.