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All about stone and tile

Stone and product types

Stone types

Perfectly Imperfect – the beauty of natural stone means that there will be variations from piece to piece. There is no such things as a “perfect” piece of stone, which is what we love most about the unique nature of our products in this collection.

Granite – GEOLOGY

Granite is an igneous rock comprising mineral grains – primarily quartz and feldspar – that are big enough to distinguish with the human eye.

KEY QUALITY

There’s no such thing as indestructible, but granite is incredibly hard and durable and, even in its natural state, virtually impervious. Its colour and patterns vary through white, pinks and greys. Limestone

Limestone – GEOLOGY

A sedimentary rock mostly formed during the Jurassic period by deposits of shells collecting on the sea-bed and being compressed over time.

KEY QUALITY

Shell and fossil patterns and an infinite range of shades – usually from cream through to yellow, but also encompassing
white and black.

Marble – GEOLOGY

The geological process that produces the prominent veins and quartz in the surface of marble is called recrystallization. The vivid colours vary depending on the prevalent minerals in the area from which it is quarried.

KEY QUALITY

Very hard and very smooth, with myriad colour tones and markings that are beautiful and mesmerising to look at.

Sandstone – GEOLOGY

A sedimentary rock made up of compacted grains of sand, bound together by a secondary mineral such as calcite, clay or silica.

KEY QUALITY

Hard-wearing, frost-resistant and low-slip make it ideal for outdoors.

Slate – GEOLOGY

A fine-grained rock derived from an original sedimentary rock made of clay or volcanic ash.

KEY QUALITY

The natural, slight undulations in the stone (caused by the way it is split when quarried) give it instant character. The dark colour makes it easy to maintain.

Travertine – GEOLOGY

The stone is a crystallized form of calcium carbonate, or limestone, deposited by mineral springs and characterised by
surface pits and holes when first quarried. These are often filled with resin at source, giving the travertine a much smoother and more refined finish.

KEY QUALITY

‘Nature’s masterpiece’, has been a signature stone of Italian architecture from the Romans onwards. Especially when veincut, travertine has a full range of shades and natural pitting that give it a combination of character and sophistication. Perfect for feature walls and chic interiors. Be aware of variation thickness, finish variation and natural blemishes.

Porcelain

Porcelain tiles are made from a mixture of clays and minerals and fired at a very high temperature. This means that they are extremely hard wearing. Tip: Due to the nature of the manufacturing process, porcelain tiles may be subject to a very slight ‘bow’ along the length of larger tiles (this can normally be corrected using a specialist clip system). This slight bowing, which will fall within European Standards (and please be assured that all our tiles are CE compliant), can cause slight ‘lipping’ between one tile and the next. If you wish to minimize the effect of this, we recommend that tiles should be laid square, or staggered by not more than a third of a tile length, rather than laying brick-bond.

Porcelain that is ‘non-rectified’ may vary very slightly in dimension, which means that a slightly wider grout joint needs to be used. NB ‘non-rectified’ porcelain products always carry a calibre code in order that tiles can be grouped together by their finished size.

RECTIFIED FINISH

Each porcelain tile is the same dimension, although there
is still a small degree of tolerance.

Terrazzo

The same technique is used as encaustic tiles (see left), but
ground marble chips are added to the top layer to add extra
durability and visual effect. Please note this product requires sealing as part of the installation process.

Encaustic

Cement tiles differ from ceramic tiles in that the pattern or figure on the surface is a product of different colours of clay, rather than a glazed application. This is called the encaustic technique, where the pattern is inlaid into the body of the tile so that the design and colour remain, even as the tile wears. Cement tiles will age naturally and develop their own patina with time, like natural stones. Cement tiles are suitable for domestic and commercial use floors and walls. Accept imperfections. A major attraction, is their perfect imperfection. Thickness can vary slightly from tile to tile, as can pigment shadings, and patterns may bleed at the edges when they’re compressed, all enhancing their uniqueness. Another reason for their attraction is that they are a ‘living’ tile that changes over time. Encaustic tiles can be used on almost any internal floor or wall surface as long as the sub-base is suitable and prepared for tiling and weight-bearing because these tiles are a little more heavy than the average wall tile. The tiles can we used in wet areas but it’s likely they will fade slightly, especially darker colours and patterns due to the natural pigments used. If the tiles are coated with a thin layer of sealer every one or two years this will reduce, however, it is all part of the natural ageing process. The tiles are not classed as frost resistant so we do not recommend using them in external areas that are exposed to wet and freezing conditions. Please note this product requires sealing as part of the installation process.

Ceramic

These tiles are then glazed with a base colour and can be then over-printed or hand painted with a pattern. Glazed ceramic is suitable for domestic floors (where specified) and walls. Crackle glaze tiles will require sealing.

Glass

Glass has its own beauty, but can also be transformed by the natural or ambient light with sparkles, reflections and
fascinating changes of colour. It’s easy to maintain and non-porous.

Formats, layouts and patterns

You can download our pattern option sheet by clicking on this link Stone Patterns (PDF)

You will notice that, for most of the products in our brochure, we list the formats that we stock or promote as
standard. This is mainly based on what the factories we work with produce as their standard production in order that we can ensure minimum wastage and achieve maximum economy. However, if your project requires something nonstandard, please ask, and we will do what we can to accommodate your needs.

S T A N D A R D  F O R M A T S

Most of our stones are available in square or rectangle formats. Both these formats can be installed in a variety of ways to create different effects that can help add pattern to a room. Speak to one of our team, who can advise on your project.

S E T  W I D T H S  X  R A N D O M  L E N G T H S  O R  F L A G S T O N E S

We pride ourselves on our extensive offering of stones in these formats because it’s the real, traditional flagstone format you will find in historic houses and on pavements nationwide. This format has become so popular over the years, that you now see it in contemporary spaces making it a truly timeless floor. These stones are listed for example as 60 x random x 2.0cm. The ‘60’ refers to the width of the stone and ‘random’ is the length. This means the lengths of the stone will vary from short, to square, to rectangle, to give a free-length look. Some stones are available in more than one width, such as 40-50-60 x random. This is the same concept but with variation in widths as well as length. Please note – the lengths of the stones will vary from product to product based on what the factory is able to produce. Our stone consultants can advise you on this for each product.

P A T T E R N S

Many of our products are also supplied in ‘patterns’, such as ‘Dutch’ or ‘French’ that consist of predetermined combinations of set-size formats for ease of installation, especially when a less formal look is desired. This means you can lay your stone floor to these patterns without the waste associated with cutting uniform flagstones to appropriate sizes on site. These patterns vary in scale, but overall give the same random look. It is the method of production of the stone that tends to control the pattern available from product to product.

M E S H  B A C K E D  S H E E T S A N D  O T H E R  M O D U L E S

Smaller format stones and mosaics tend to come pre-assembled on a fibre-glass mesh-backing from the
factory. This is often done by hand for ease of installation and the same applies for larger decorative patterns,
such as Mansion Weave that is supplied loose. However, there is still an ‘art’ needed that is required from your installer to ensure the finished result is to the prescribed standard.

S L A B S F O R B E S P O K E

Our bespoke stamp highlights the products that have complementary large format slabs available, for creating bespoke items such as vanity tops, staircases and other decorative features. These are complementary and not always an exact match in colour, tone, finish and texture to the chosen tile option.

Glossary of finishes

Please note these descriptions are only a guide because every stone is unique and reacts to the finishing process differently.

Natural Stones

A R T I S A N  A G E D ™

This finish sits between honed and Distressed™. The edges of the stone are lightly chipped by hand to give the elegantly aged look of a floor you might find in an entrance hall rather than a working kitchen, for example.

A R T I S A N  A N C I E N T ™

A finish that is unique to Artisans of Devizes and one that is really effective on only a select handful of our stones. Each stone is very heavily hammered under immense pressure. This results in the surface and the edges of the stone ‘erupting’. The stone is then smoothed back down, resulting in an authentic,
centuries-old appearance.

A R T I S A N  A N T I Q U E D ™

Our flagship finish developed some 25 years ago to replicate the qualities of time-worn original and reclaimed flagstones. We hand grind and hone the surface and the edges of the stone to give it an unevenness. The overall effect of this finish will vary from stone type to stone type depending on the natural make up of material.

A R T I S A N  D I S T R E S S E D ™

The edges of the stone are chipped by hand and cushioned using diamond grinding pads. This process gives a timeworn appearance to the stone that is more refined than our seasoned finish.

E T C H E D

The face of the stone is sand-blasted to make for a low-slip finish; perfect for external and wet areas. The process gives a ‘bleached’ look that gives it a more contemporary appearance. An etched finish is often used internally and can be used to create a seamless look from inside to outdoors.

HANDMADE

Refers to our terracotta collection, where raw clay is worked into moulds by hand, left to dry and baked.

HONED

The sawn surface of the stone is planed by machine using high-pressure diamond pads to create a smooth face. Depending on its hardness, the surface will be left with a satin or more matt finish. The edges are diamond-sawn and typically contain imperfections. Once grouted, these imperfections blend into the stone for a truly natural effect.

P O L I S H E D

As its name suggests this finish gives the stone a more glossy appearance. It is a slight advance on a honed finish which processes the stone with finer grade diamond pads to close in the surface of the stone so much that it will reflect light. A polished finish tends to work better on harder and more compact stones such as marble. The edges are diamond-sawn and typically contain imperfections. Once grouted, these imperfections blend into the stone for a truly natural effect.

R E C L A I M E D

Genuinely reclaimed products, often more than 100 years old. Each tile varies and requires a little more attention on site.

R I V E N  O R  R O C K F A C E

A riven finish is naturally split along the strata of the stone to create an authentic surface that will vary from stone to stone. There is normally a high variation in thickness with riven stones (unless they are calibrated at source). In order to achieve a relatively even surface, you can use the adhesive bed to reduce this variation. Riven stone tends to disguise the wear and tear of everyday family life.

S A T I N O

The stone undergoes a high-pressure process which brushes the surface, uncovering its natural character and adding an extra dimension to the product. Edges are usually straight with a little rounding.

SAWN

As its name suggest this is a raw finish left by the cutting process of the stone, normally used on external stones for its low slip properties.

S E A S O N E D

Heavily tumbled edges and a textured surface, which is either naturallyoccurring or applied to give the stone a rugged, flagstone effect.

T U M B L E D

The stones are individually placed in a jumbo rotating vat, which is full of pebbles, to create naturally soft, round edges – much like pebbles on a beach. Great for replicating a ‘lived in’ look that is not too rustic.

T U M B L E D  A N D  E T C H E D

This is an extra etching process that is applied to tumbled stone to increase slip resistance. The stone undergoes a washing process that etches the surface, to improve it so that it retains its natural warmth and colour.

V E L V E T

The stone is first etched producing a ‘bleached’ look and then undergoes a satino process which gives it a tactile, velvety feel. This finish works effectively in both traditional and modern interiors.

V I N T A G E D

The edges of the stone are fettered by machine, while the surface is either honed or satino finished, producing a simple yet charming, cost-effective finish.

WEATHERED

The result of an intensive process where the edges of the stone are chipped, exposing an open-grain surface. A weathered finish authentically replicates the appearance of ancient flagstones.

WORN

This is a smoothing process that is applied to riven stone by hand or machine. The process grinds down to the natural undulations of the surface and creates the effect of old flagstones.

Porcelain & Ceramic

MATT

Low sheen with some texture or graining. Varies depending on tile.

S A T I N

Low sheen and smooth to touch. Varies depending on tile.

G L O S S

Highly polished, either by mechanical polishing (normally porcelain) or by glazing. Some glazes are designed with a crackle effect and require sealing.

T E X T U R E D

Very matt with some relief to the surface.

Flooring suitability

Suitability guide

To help you select the appropriate product for specific applications, we’ve given a broad indication of suitability in
terms of its durability on each product page. This is what the terms we have used mean:

DOMESTIC

A typical family home.

DOMESTIC / LIGHT COMMERCIAL

A family home through to a small restaurant or shop, for example, with medium foot-fall.

COMMERCIAL

A busy hotel foyer or office reception area.

HEAVY  COMMERCIAL

A shopping mall or airport.

EXTERIOR

Gardens, patios and pool surrounds.

PAVING  SUITABILITY

Please use our paving suitabilities as guidelines. Slip risk must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. For further
assistance please speak to a store consultant.

Slip resistance

All of these floor products have the required slip resistance for normal dry conditions in domestic environments. However, if you believe that your requirements may vary from this in any way, we would strongly advise you to speak to our sales team for further advice and information.

 

Interior Stone & Tile installation guidelines

We recommend that you employ a proven professional for installation, but here are some brief guidelines that you can consider for internal installation.

ON RECEIPT OF YOUR ORDER

When you receive your order, check that you have all your tiles and that they are in good condition. These are 100% natural or hand-crafted products and so there will, of course, be some variations in colour tone and natural character that make them unique and beautiful. We recommend that you ‘shuffle’ tiles from different boxes/crates so that you have a uniform effect across the entirety of the new surface.

A FEW RECOMMENDATIONS

Please note: These are very general guidelines and not definitive instructions. The issuer of these guidelines cannot be held responsible for installation. It is always recommended that a qualified and professional tiler should take responsibility for the installation of all stone and tile products.
• Prior to installation you should store your tiles in a dry place.
• Do not install tiles during very hot weather.
• Avoid direct sunlight on to the tiles during installation (prior to sealing the tiles).
• Never use acids or undiluted alkaline solutions to clean tiles.
• If cleaning between each process is required use a pH neutral cleaner such as our STONE ESSENTIALS All Clean.
• Always ensure that surfaces are properly sealed before grouting.
• Use mats at entrance/exit areas where grit may enter the house.
• Do not cover newly installed surfaces with non- breathable membranes such as self-adhesive plastic sheeting, Correx or plywood sheets. If surfaces need to be covered after installation, use a good-quality decorator’s sheet or a thin specialist protective card instead.

PRIOR TO INSTALLATION

Both sides of the tile should be wiped clean of any dust before installation and
the top surface should be wiped again after installation and before grouting takes place. You must create a flat, level and stable surface – preferably of concrete – on to which the tiles can be laid. If you do this on a timber surface, the floor will need overlaying with a suitable tile backerboard such as NoMorePly (www.nomoreply.net). You can also use this product to tile on to timber-framed walls. If you are tiling on to walls in wet areas, we recommend you fully tank (waterproof) the walls with a specific tanking system such as Schülter tanking system or similar. If you are tiling on to an underfloor, heated screed the floor will need priming and overlaying with a movement decoupling membrane such as our Stone Essentials Isomat or Schluter – Ditra. This will help prevent any shrinkage or cracking that may occur in the screed being transferred through to the tiles. The tiles can be cut using a diamond blade – ideally a water-cooled machine. Some glass and ceramic tiles can be cut with a scribe and break type cutter. If you are using an angle grinder, constantly spraying with water while cutting will help to prevent chipped edges.

INSTALLATION

Use a good-quality, flexible, white, tile-adhesive and carefully follow any instructions on the manufacturer’s label. Ensure 100% coverage of each tile with adhesive, and remove excess adhesive with a damp cloth before it hardens. Level the tiles using hand pressure only. Using a mallet or rubber hammer could cause cracking.

PREPARING YOUR TILE SURFACE BEFORE SEALING AND GROUTING

(natural stone, encaustic, terrazzo and terracotta)

Clean and condition the surface using a diluted solution of alkaline cleaner such as STONE ESSENTIALS Deep Clean (diluted 1:10 with water). This will help ensure that any dust, dirt and grime that may have accumulated during the installation process is removed. A properly cleaned and prepared surface will improve the efficiency of the sealer.

SEALING YOUR TILES, IF REQUIRED

(natural stone, encaustic, terrazzo, crackle glaze and terracotta)

Once your tiles are installed you will need to use an impregnating sealant for protection against fading and staining, such as Stone Essentials Stain Block (or for crackle glaze tiles a crackle glaze sealant). This should be applied after they have been installed (and cleaned using Stone Essentials Deep Clean or similar) but prior to grouting, in accordance with the product label. You should apply a second coat after grouting. You could also choose to apply a surface finish (normally to more rustic products) such as Stone Essentials Stone Shield or Wax polish as this will offer further protection and give an attractive patina, although in non-wet areas only. This would be applied after grouting once fully dry (around seven days depending on humidity). Please refer to our guide throughout this directory for recommendations on sealing products.

GROUTING

We recommend using lighter coloured grouts for most products in particular natural stone, encaustic and terrazzo
tiles, rather than black or bright coloured as these can cause staining in the natural pores of the tiles.
• Ensure you have selected a grout product that is suitable for use with the chosen tile material and desired joint width.
• Don’t use masking tape on the tiles as this can cause marking.
• Ensure that you wipe away any excess grout from the tiles before the grout dries.
• Once grout is installed and fully dried, wash your new tile floor with a neutral detergent such as STONE ESSENTIALS All Clean.
• Do not leave water to sit on the surface.
• Follow the grout manufacturer’s installations carefully.

FINISHING AFTER GROUTING IF REQUIRED
(natural stone, encaustic, terrazzo and terracotta)

Natural finish: Apply a final coat of impregnating sealer making sure to cover the grout joints as well.

Satin finish: Further to the above you can also choose to apply a surface wax such as STONE ESSENTIALS Stone
Shield or STONE ESSENTIALS Wax Polish. This will offer further protection and give an attractive patina (cement tiles, rustic tumbled stones and some matt porcelains in non-wet areas only). For crackle glaze apply a second coat of crackle glaze sealant.

MAINTENANCE

As long as you select the right type of tile for the job and your lifestyle, caring for your floors and walls doesn’t have to be a chore. Here are a few essential steps. Firstly, keep floors as free as possible of loose dust and grit with regular vacuuming or sweeping. This will greatly reduce the ‘sandpaper’ effect of dirt getting compacted into the surface and joints. Then, we recommend washing the floor – firstly, to remove the dirt that a vacuum won’t pick up, and secondly
for hygiene. We strongly recommend that you use specialist cleaning products. The harsh, acidic supermarket products will ‘bruise’ your tiles and erode protective sealants. Ideally, use a product that is PH neutral, bio-degradable and environmentally friendly. We recommend our Stone Essentials All Clean product. Using the correct specialist cleaning product will greatly reduce the frequency of more intensive cleans and reseals. General wear of the surface from foot traffic over the years exposes capillaries, or tiny cracks. Over time these can accumulate dirt and grime. Therefore, we recommend a more intensive clean every 3–4 years, with a heavy-duty product that will dissolve ingrained dirt and grease. A common misconception is that every natural stone floor needs resealing every few years, but it is true for the more porous stones. You can normally tell if a stone does need resealing by wetting the stone and leaving for around five minutes before wiping off. If the water leaves a mark by darkening the stone this will mean the stone is becoming more porous. If you do decide to reseal your stone, you should first give it an intensive clean with a product that penetrates the surface. You may, however, decide your floor doesn’t need resealing but could do with being refreshed. Applying a surface refreshing product every 4–6 weeks will help with this. We strongly recommend you do not use bleach- based cleaners, washing-up liquids, strong degreasing detergents, or anything that contains natural acids or alkaline. Avoid non-specialised supermarket cleaning products. Avoid using steam cleaners – they may clean some surfaces, but the hot steam can remove the sealer and repeated use will ‘spall’ and damage the surface.

A RECOMMENDED REGIME WITH STONE ESSENTIALS ANCILLARIES

Our Stone Essentials range covers all the bases for a cleaning and maintenance regime that will maintain your tile floor in excellent condition.

ROUTING CLEANING

All Clean is the Stone Essentials product for your routine cleaning. It’s suitable to use as an antibacterial detergent and can be used weekly or even daily as long as you dilute it as per the instructions on the bottle.

INTENSIVE AND SPOT CLEANING

For a really deep clean, we recommend Stone Essentials Deep Clean, heavy-duty cleaner which uses a combination of
effective solvents and cleaning agents to dissolve ingrained dirt, grease, heavy soiling and many other problematic stains. The less you dilute it, the stronger the solution – but you must carefully follow the instructions on the bottle.

Paving installation guidelines

These are brief guidelines for working with natural stones and man-made paving. This general guidance does not imply any guarantee by Artisans of Devizes. We always recommend that a qualified and professional installer should take responsibility for the specification and installation of all stone and tile products. Current and appropriate industry standards and codes of practice s hould be observed in all instances. However, if you do decide to install the stone or tiles yourself, we strongly recommend that you do plenty of research into materials and methods, and seek the best advice on how to carry out the installation.

1 . WHEN YOU TAKE DELIVERY OF YOUR ORDER

Check that you have all your slabs and that they’re in good condition. Remember, with natural or handcrafted products there will always be some variations in colour tone, veining, surface texture and natural characteristics. Tip: Keep the tiles on a level, stable surface, stored vertically to avoid any risk of cracking.

2 . B E FOR E YOU I N S TA L L

Tips:
• Wipe both sides of the tile clean with a sponge and clean water before installation to remove dust. This will ensure good adhesion.
• Don’t install slabs in freezing or cold conditions.
• Give yourself a dry run by laying your slabs or tiles as they will eventually be laid. This enables you to check you have the correct number and size of slabs and colour blending.
• When installing a flagstone, it is important to ensure it is laid the right way up (one way to identify the top, is to look at the sides of the slab – which usually taper inwards, so that the top is slightly wider than the underside). If in doubt it’s always best to ask a stone expert.
• With natural stones, randomly select and mix tiles from the different boxes or crates you receive to ensure a tonal blend across the entirety of the new surface and avoid any colour banding.

3 GENERAL PREPARATION

The golden rule is: tiles must always be ‘solid bedded’ – in other words, avoid any cavities underneath the material.
The bed should support the full slab, not just the corners or in dots/dabs. Do not ‘spot’ bed as this can cause ‘through
bed staining’ and will weaken the integrity of the paving. (Please note that precise standards, falls, bed thicknesses
and other specifications may vary dependent on the actual application. You should always refer to appropriate and current standards and codes of practice.)

Cutting tiles

Tiles can be cut using a diamond tipped blade – ideally a water-cooled machine for the cleanest cutting. There are
different blades for natural stone and for porcelain so it’s important to have the correct one.

Levelling your tiles

Thin tiles (up to 1cm) should be levelled using hand pressure only. A rubber mallet hammer can be used for thicker, more robust slabs.

4 SUBSTRATE PREPARATION AND INSTALLING THE TILES

There are several different methods of installation for external paving. The two most common methods are:

Option 1
If the external works are a continuation of the internal tiling – lay a structural concrete screed, to the appropriate current standards, with the required sub-base. Ensure that adequate falls, cross falls and intersections are accurately created in the screed to fine tolerances, for good levels of drainage. The tiles can then be installed using a flexible thick-bed floor tile adhesive (suitable for external use) following the same tiling standards as internal flooring.
A 10mm notched trowel will provide a 5mm finished adhesive-bed thickness. Leave 6mm wide expansion joints in accordance with current BSEN requirements and at changes of plane. You should fill these joints with exterior grade mastic, matched to the grout/joint colouration.

Option 2
If you are laying external works as ‘slab paving’ rather than tiling – the appropriate sub-base should be laid and
well compacted. For good stability this is usually an even 10cm-thick, compacted layer of type 1 granular aggregate (40mm to dust). For most domestic applications a sub-base of 10cm should be sufficient. However, the paving design must be based on ground conditions as well as type and frequency of anticipated loads. As previously described, falls, cross-falls and intersections must be carefully formed. You should incorporate a minimum fall of 1.25% (1 in 80) and crossfall of 2.5% (1 in 40) in the sub-layer construction to provide adequate surface-water run-off. Use a ratio between 4:1 and 6:1 of sharp sand, cement and plasticiser (to BSEN requirements). Prepare a base of mortar beneath the slabs – normally around 30-50mm thick.

To improve adhesion, apply/backbutter a slurry coat of tile adhesive or a slurry primer/paste of SBR with cement
to the underside of the flagstones/tiles prior to bedding. Carefully lower each slab onto the mortar bed and beware of any drips or splashes from the primer. Use spacers to guide your joint widths and use a rubber mallet to carefully tap it down into the mortar bed until it is at the correct level. Check there are no high spots or hollows so that there is complete contact between the primercoated base and the mortar. You should also check against the string-lines to make sure each flag is level and aligned. Make any adjustments now before the mortar becomes too stiff. Wipe down the paving once again in case any primer or mortar has touched the face of the flags. Required falls must be carefully formed, and expansion joints should be created using an outdoor grade jointing material. This should be suitable for your chosen slabs and may differ between natural stone and porcelain. Finally, cordon off the freshly-paved
area, avoiding any foot traffic for at least 24-36 hours.

5 GROUTING

We recommend using lighter coloured grouts for most products, rather than black or bright coloured as these can cause staining in the natural pores of the tiles. Whichever grout or pointing material you choose must be appropriate for internal or external use, and suitable for the selected joint width. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and remove excess grout from the tiles before the grout dries. Butt jointing of tiles is not recommended.

6 SEALING

Natural stone used externally does not have to be sealed and so sealing is a personal choice but usually recommended.
If you decide to seal your stone, an important factor to consider is whether the sealer is breathable because it may trap mobile salts in solution beneath the surface. Efflorescence can develop, and the unbreathable sealer prevents salts
from exiting through the sealed surface. The build-up of the salts can result in a hard-to-remove stain and often causes disruption and breakdown of the surface itself. If you use a breathable sealant, the paved area can usually be sealed
immediately after installation, but always check with the product manufacturer. If you decide to use a sealer on your natural stone, test the product on a small, discreet area first, to make sure you are happy with the result.
Clean the tiles first A properly cleaned and prepared surface improves the efficiency of the sealer. Therefore, clean and condition the surface using a diluted solution of alkaline cleaner such as STONE ESSENTIALS Deep Clean (diluted 1:10 with water). This helps to ensure that dust, dirt and grime are removed. Tip: You should never use acids or undiluted alkaline solutions to clean tiles.

7 AFTER COMPLETION

We recommend regular maintenance and cleaning of your new paved area to keep it looking its best.
There are various cleaners available – some specialise in dealing with specific types of stains (such as oil or tannins) and others are more general. We recommend you brush your paved area regularly as well as cleaning it from time to time. Use a soft bristled brush when sweeping your paved area, as tougher wire brushes could scratch the stone. Brushing the stone is the safest option for keeping the stone clean. Using water with a neutral pH soap or detergent should be sufficient for routine maintenance. Pressure washers should be used with great care to avoid damaging the surface of the stone and the mortar joints. Always check the instructions on the product before using it to clean your natural stone and test a small, discreet area of paving first to make sure you are happy with the result.
Tips:
• Never use acids or undiluted alkaline solutions to clean tiles.
• Don’t cover newly-installed surfaces with nonbreathable membranes such as self-adhesive plastic sheeting, Correx or plywood sheets.
• Be aware of surrounding materials that could leach tannins onto the newly installed surface.

Maintenance

MAINTENANCE

As long as you select the right type of tile for the job and your lifestyle, caring for your floors and walls doesn’t have to be
a chore. Here are a few essential steps. Firstly, keep floors as free as possible of loose dust and grit with regular vacuuming or sweeping. This will greatly reduce the ‘sandpaper’ effect of dirt getting compacted into the surface and joints. Then, we recommend washing the floor – firstly, to remove the dirt that a vacuum won’t pick up, and secondly for hygiene. We strongly recommend that you use specialist cleaning products. The harsh, acidic supermarket products will ‘bruise’ your tiles and erode protective sealants. Ideally, use a product that is PH neutral, bio-degradable and environmentally friendly. We recommend our Stone Essentials All Clean product. Using the correct specialist cleaning product will greatly reduce the frequency of more intensive cleans and reseals. General wear of the surface from foot traffic over the years exposes capillaries, or tiny cracks. Over time these can accumulate dirt and grime. Therefore, we recommend a more intensive clean every 3–4 years, with a heavy-duty product that will dissolve ingrained dirt and grease. A common misconception is that every natural stone floor needs resealing every few years, but it is true for the more porous stones. You can normally tell if a stone does need resealing by wetting the stone and leaving for around five minutes before wiping off. If the water leaves a mark by darkening the stone this will mean the stone is becoming more porous. If you do decide to reseal your stone, you should first give it an intensive clean with a product that penetrates the surface. You may, however, decide your floor doesn’t need resealing but could do with being refreshed. Applying a surface refreshing product every 4–6 weeks will help with this. We strongly recommend you do not use bleach- based cleaners, washing-up liquids, strong degreasing detergents, or anything that contains natural acids or alkaline. Avoid non-specialised supermarket cleaning products. Avoid using steam cleaners – they may clean some surfaces, but the hot steam can remove the sealer and repeated use will ‘spall’ and damage the surface.

A  RECOMMENDED  REGIME WITH  STONE ESSENTIALS ANCILLARIES

Our Stone Essentials range covers all the bases for a cleaning and maintenance regime that will maintain your tile floor in excellent condition.

ROUTINE CLEANING

All Clean is the Stone Essentials product for your routine cleaning. It’s suitable to use as an antibacterial detergent and
can be used weekly or even daily as long as you dilute it as per the instructions on the bottle.

INTENSIVE AND SPOT CLEANING

For a really deep clean, we recommend Stone Essentials Deep Clean, heavy-duty cleaner which uses a combination of
effective solvents and cleaning agents to dissolve ingrained dirt, grease, heavy soiling and many other problematic
stains. The less you dilute it, the stronger the solution – but you must carefully follow the instructions on the bottle.