From understanding stone and client compatibility to sense-checking installation to make sure everything runs smoothly, there is plenty of stone and tile advice to share that we have gathered over the last thirty years and counting…
Our collection covers both natural and imitation stone. Let us begin with the natural variety where the true beauty lies in the uniqueness of every piece. Natural stone is perfectly imperfect; variations are to be expected and embraced because no two stones are ever the same.
A sedimentary rock formed during the Jurassic period by deposits of shells collected and compressed from the sea bed over thousands of years.
Limestone not only poses an infinite range of shades from its classic creamy yellow to lesser-seen black but look closely and there will be shell and fossil patterns tracing the surface of every piece of stone.
Marble’s iconic veining is caused by a process called recrystallisation. Its vivid colours depend on which minerals were most prevalent in the area from which it was quarried.
As hard as it is sublimely smooth, marble is a truly beautiful stone with mesmerising markings.
This distinctive red-brown porous clay is a tried and tested strong and durable material that has long been used to construct everything from chimney pots to air bricks, copings, roof tiles and other architectural details. It’s made by sculpting the clay into the form required, which is then dried and heated in an oven.
Another sedimentary rock, sandstone is made up of compacted grains of sand bound together by a secondary mineral such as calcite, clay or silica.
A hardwearing natural stone, sandstone is also frost-resistant with a low-slip rating too, making it ideal for outdoors.
A fine-grained rock derived from an original sedimentary rock that would have been made of clay or volcanic ash.
Slate has naturally occurring undulations that are caused by the way it is split when quarried. They give it instant, individual character.
Travertine is one of the oldest natural stones used for building materials. It is a form of limestone that is deposited by hot mineral springs. This process of formation means it has lots of little holes running through it. These holes are either filled with a resin or cement to give a smoother appearance or left open for a more rustic, natural look. Travertine comes in natural colours such as white, tan, cream, and rust depending on which minerals were present during formation. It can have a concentric or a veined appearance depending on how it is cut.
Porcelain is a manmade tile material made from a mixture of clays and minerals and fired at a very high temperature. It effortlessly takes to different colour glazes, patterns and decorative treatments.
Much like the natural stones that inspired them, porcelain tiles are incredibly hardwearing. They can also be lower in maintenance and upkeep, suiting busy environments.
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. A rectified finish means that the porcelain tile is the same dimension, although there is still a small degree of tolerenace.
A type of cement tile, they get their name because of the encaustic technique that is behind their making. The pattern is inlaid into the body of the tile so that the design and colour remain, even as the tile wears.
Like natural stone, encaustic tiles will age naturally and develop their own patina with time. Considered a ‘living' tile, they will continue to evolve, making them another option that celebrates individuality.
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 be used in wet areas but it is 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.
The same technique is used as encaustic tiles (see above), 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.
Both ceramic and encaustic tiles share a clay base, but ceramic tiles are typically mixed with other minerals such as sand and quartz. They are usually glazed with a base colour and can be then over-printed or handpainted with a pattern.
Their bountiful colours, patterns and decorative finishes such as crackle-glazing which produces a wise and worn look. But one of the main advantages of ceramic tiles is their competitive pricing, making them a reliable option for projects on a budget.
Glass is an object of beauty all by itself, but in tile form can also be transformed by natural or ambient light that produce sparkles, reflections and fascinating changes of colour. Glass tiles are also easy to maintain and non-porous, making them a highly suitable option for bathrooms and sink surrounds.
An ingenious blend of waste and recycled stone made in a carbon-neutral factory, reformed stone tiles comes in a wide spectrum of colours and sizes, and can be used on wall and floors, inside and out. Highly durable and natural in effect, reclaimed stone provides a bridge between the natural beauty of real stone and the bright playfulness of colour.
Granite is an igneous rock made from various minerals and is formed through the process of slow crystallization of magma below the earth’s surface that trap these minerals in its structure. The formation of this material under high heat temperatures generates its hardness and durability while the variety and abundance in the minerals allow distinctive patterns, textures, and crystals to form. The colour choice is vast from off whites, reds, blues, pinks, and greens.