The correct installation of your selected stone tiles is most important, just as important as your selection. In this section, we provide general information for the installation of natural stone products. There are many factors that need to be considered when drawing up your installation tasks. This is most important in areas such as adhesives, grouts, sealants and other types of materials that may be needed during installation.

Prior To Installation. Read More

  • Natural stone tiles are often packed very firmly into crates to avoid damage on shipment. They are also become damp during manufacture and contain residue due to some finishing operations. Therefore, it is recommended that the tiles be washed and allowed to dry completely before each stage of installation. Damp stone tends to darken and will become lighter as they dry out.
  • It is also most important that tiles are entirely dried out before installation is commenced as infrequent tonal markings become more prominent, thus, allowing them to be placed in a less visible area or used for cuts. Make sure that all stone tile types are spread evenly to avoid concentration of the same variation in surface natural markings. To avoid this one should open all crates to check and ensure this even spread.
  • Some natural stone tiles have either a mesh backing or a plastic cover on their face (e.g. mosaic tiles) These are intended to hold these pieces in place during shipment and installation. Do not over handle as this can lead to dislodgement of the mosaic pieces.
  • Some slight damage can occur (. e.g. Edge Chipping) during packing and unpacking crates. This is normal and expected. Tiles found like this are generally used for any tile cutting that is required during installation.
  • When tiling is commenced, you should start from the centre of the laying area. It is recommended that you lay tiles first before commencing using adhesives. This way, you can determine if there are concentrations of variations, unsightly cuts and grout. This is most important if you have mixed sizes or design variations.
  • Some tiles come uncalibrated (rustic appearance, raised surfaces different thicknesses) therefore they need to be sorted before you commence installation. Thicker tiles will determine the floor level and should be the first to be installed. Thinner tiles should then be installed and raised to the correct level using an applicable large format adhesive.
  • All tile sizes as advertised are nominal, some minor variations occur in most stone.
  • All surfaces that tiles are being laid on should be flat, level, clean, dry, grease-free, clear of loose material and be dust free. The surfaces should be as free of movement as possible, especially if laying on wooden floors.
  • You should discuss your tiling needs in detail with your tile installer and make sure they are familiar with the types of stone tiles being laid. It is important that your tile installer understands your final expectations.
  • During tile laying the lighting should be as close as possible to the lighting being used at the completion of your natural stone tiles.

Using Adhesive. Read More

  • It is essential that all natural stone tiles are solidly laid with full coverage of the tile adhesive. The correct adhesives for stone tiles either cement or gypsum based adhesives. With some travertine or large format tiles the back of the tiles may have to be completely covered with adhesive before laying. It is always best to get the advice of your tile supplier specialist when purchasing your tiles.
  • It is important that the tiles be occasionally lifted during installation. This is to make sure that compaction and full adhesion is accomplished.
  • The quicker the adhesives set the better. This ensures moisture is quickly dispersed from the stone. Quick setting adhesives help to stop reactions that moisture retention cause. Check with your stone supplier about quick setting adhesives.
  • If you need to have longer adhesive setting times that allow minor adjustment of stone tiles you can use standard setting adhesives. This may be important for smaller tiles.
  • Some tiles need the use of specific adhesives to ensure problem free fixing; please speak to one of our specialists to get the best advice for your individual installation.
  • Some lighter stone tiles may need to be laid with a light adhesive to stop any discolouration. It is possible for alkaline mortar to bleed into or react with minerals within the stone. It may also be necessary to stop shadowing showing through by using a light-coloured grout.
  • There may be a need for a more flexible adhesive and more preparation of certain substrates. These are plywood, on top of existing floor-glazed tiles, where underfloor or under tile heating is present. Movement (especially in wood floors) should be checked for the need of a flexible adhesive.

Grout & Silicone. Read More

  • There is always movement once stone tiles are laid, this necessitates the need for a grout joint between the tiles. Grout joints should be a minimum of 3mm to allow for the movement of tiles. Do not butt join tiles unless they are specially manufactured to allow for this. Some split-faced products allow this but once again you should discuss this requirement with your tile supplier.
  • Some stone tiles such as those with a textured surface usually have grout gaps of 6 – 10mm. Smoother polished or honed tiles can have gaps between 3 and 5mm. the gap width should be sufficient to accommodate any variation in the tile sizes.
  • When different sized tiles are being laid, like French pattern, the gaps may change due to the different sizes and the layout in the pattern.
  • All grout come in a variety of colours. You should choose the colour best suited to your stone tile purchase. It is also possible that this may have a bearing on the adhesive colour needed. For example, if using a grey adhesive and a light coloured grout the adhesive may show through the grout.
  • Some stone tiles may require a specific kind of grout, you should contact us for advice. For larger grout gaps you require a more coarse grout, and for smaller grout joints you require a finer grout.
  • You should wait a minimum of 12 hours for adhesive to dry before grouting your tiles. You should also ensure that there has been no building dust accumulated over this time before applying. TIP – if you seal your stone prior to grouting it makes life easier as grout can be effortlessly cleaned off the surface of the stone.
  • Make sure that any grout residue is removed from the surface of the tiles during grouting. It is suggested that you perform a wash with diluted Environex stone cleaner after grouting and before any sealing of the tile surface. Grout left on the surface of stone tiles can be very difficult to remove if left.
  • To seal joints in bathroom shower trays and baths 4 in 1 Silicone cleaner should be used and can be supplied in various colours. The same should be used to seal junctions of walls and wall and floors.
  • Stone tiles should be treated with an initial coat of sealant after being laid and before the grouting process begins. This is to avoid them absorbing pigments from certain types of grout containing cement.
  • Grout that is densely pigmented may cause some efflorescence because the salts that hold in the pigmentation are released during drying.

Interior Substrates. Read More

It is important that the correct preparation of your substrate is sorted before any stone tile installation is underway. Correct preparation is essential in preventing any problems occurring after the installation is completed. All substrates be they wall or floor should be clean, flat, level, free from movement and anything that may be detrimental to adhesion should be removed. Identifying the substrate is necessary to get the correct information and advice on what is needed for your particular stone tile installation. This is even more necessary for split face or large format stone because of the weighting factor of the substrate they are applied too.

  • Floors – Sand and Cement Screed.
    ♦ This type of screed is an excellent substrate. If installing a new screed of this type, it needs to cure for a week for every 25mm of depth. Ensure you discuss this with your contractor and/or stone tile supplier for definite times.
  • Floors – Under Floor Heating Screed.
    ♦  Generally, this is a water pipe based system and should be screeded with suitable material for use with natural stone floors. It should be installed with a minimum screed depth of 65mm covering all the pipes and in accordand to Australian standards.
    font-size: 10pt;”>   Once the screed has cured heating should slowly be raised up to the operating temperature at a rate of 5°C per day. When the operating temperature has been reached, it should be left at this level for 2 to 3 days, then be allowed to cool down to room temperature. During the stone installation process the room temperature should be set at 15°C.
      After the stone tiles have been completely installed the heating should be switched off and left off for a minimum of 14 days. After this time the temperature can be once again raised to room temperature at 5°C per day. Room temperature should not exceed 40°C. Discuss with your heating supplier for more advice on this subject.
  • Floors – Timber.
    ♦  Most wooden floors are subject to some movement most of the time deriving from the solidness of the underfloor structure. This can occur whether it is natural wood or manufactured derivatives (chipboard, plywood, etc) and is due to load, temperature and humidity. Because of the rigidity of stone tiles, they are not able to absorb all the stresses caused by this movement. This can make the tiles crack or break away from their adhesive. Measures must be made to ensure that the substrate (wood) is resistant this movement and expansion caused by moisture.
    ♦  Wood substrates cannot have stone tiles installed directly onto them and should have 18mm exterior grade WBP plywood or equivalent laid onto the wooden floor. Before installation the plywood should be allowed to acclimatize for several days in the room it is going to be installed. It should then be sealed on the back, edges and the face using neat Prime Bond or equivalent. Joints between the sheets should be staggered with a gap of 1 – 2 mm between them. The sheets should be screwed down with countersunk screws at 300mm apart along and across and 150mm spacing along the edges of the sheets. If the plywood is to be laid directly onto the floor joists, then a greater plywood thickness should be used.
    ♦  If the area to be covered is going to be subject to constant wetting then water resistant or waterproof boards should be used.There is an easy way to check floor bounce in a floor. Fill up a glass or bowl until you see a meniscus dome on the surface. Walk around the floor then check to see if any water has spilt. If this occurs, then more floor preparation needs to be done.
  • Floors – Existing Tiles.
    ♦  To prepare the surface all loose tiles should be removed and a suitable degreasing agent used to comprehensively clean the remaining tiles to make ready for your new stone tile installation.
    ♦  If the tiles are glazed they should be covered with a slurry coat to provide a key for the final adhesive. This slurry can be made up with 2 parts of any adhesive or floor levelling compound to 1 part priming agent. This can be simply brushed on and allowed to dry. (About one hour). Unglazed tiles or natural stone need no action apart from being thoroughly cleaned.
  • Walls – Sand & Cement Render.
    ♦  Render is a good base for installing stone tiles up to a thickness of 15mm. Average weight for these thickness tiles is about 36 kg per m2 although you should always check this weight. This will allow a maximum height of 3.6 metres to be covered. You need to use a suitable wall adhesive. If you want to use 20mm thick stone tiles (weight is aprox. 50kg per m2) then you will need to reinforce the render with stainless steel expanded steel lathing or similar. If you have just installed the render, then you should allow a minimum of 14 day before attempting to install your stone tiles.
  • Walls – Plasterboard.
    ♦  Plasterboard in its raw state can manage most 10 to 12mm thick stone tiles. Before installation the plasterboard should be sealed with a coating of Prime Bond or equivalent mixed 1:4 parts water. After it has dried the tiles can then be installed with a suitable wall tile adhesive. This type of substrate should be avoided in areas subjected to constant wetting.
  • Walls – Using Sheets/boards.
    ♦  In wet areas or when greater strength is required to mount stone tiles you need to use backer boards/sheets. Those generally available are cement based, fibreglass, reinforced or extruded polystyrene and can be either water resistant or waterproof. They come in varying thicknesses allowing for different load bearing characteristics. After they have been screwed to walls they offer load bearing ranges of 40 to 50kgs per m2 which is usually more than adequate for stone tiles up to 15mm thick. If needed there are boards/sheets that allow for greater weights than this, you should contact the manufacture of these to understand their load bearing capabilities.
  • Walls – Plywood.
    ♦  If intending to install stone tiles on plywood walls you should use 18mm exterior grade WBP plywood, this should be sealed on all sides and faces with Prime Bond prior to being fixed. This should be fixed with vertical and horizontal wooden supports at 300mm centres and screwed firmly at 150mm centres at all joints and edges, this is generally capable of taking =30kg/m² approx.
    ♦  If installing in areas subjected to constant wetting it is best to use a suitable tile backer board/sheet.
  • Additional Considerations – Exterior Substrates.
    ♦   Ground preparation, depending upon the use of the area you want to install Stone pavers or Cobbles need the correct substrate. The use will also determine the amount of work required to prepare this substrate.
    ♦  To start with you must ensure the ground is prepared so that the stone tiles or cobbles end up when installed at least 150mm below the damp proof course of your building. There also needs to be a gradient of at least 1 in 60 away from the building to provide water fall off away from the build. Failure to do this may have ramifications to your build foundations.
    ♦  In order to stabilise the ground, you should lay at least 100mm of crushed rock and then a 30 to 40mm sand bed should be compressed with a vibrating compactor. Before installing your pavers, a row of pavers should be installed around the perimeter of the area they are to be installed. These should be bedded into mortar to provide an anchor point to prevent the rest of the pavers spreading. The rest of the pavers can then be bedded into a semi-dry 4 to 1 sand and cement mixture.
    ♦  You should be aware of the porosity and shade of any stone you are laying. If you are using a pale stone, they should not be laid with a wet mix as pigments in the cement may bleed into the stone.
    ♦  A correctly prepared exterior substrate will support all exterior stone tiles no matter what their thickness is.
    ♦  After installation, the grout gaps can be filled with sand which you are able to just brush into the dry joints.
    ♦  This information is given for stone pavers 25mm or over. If you want to use thinner tiles they must be laid on a concrete slab using adhesive and grout the same as all the internal applications. Please feel free to contact us to check the suitability of materials for use externally.

Membranes And Floor Drains. Read More

  • If planning to install stone tiles in a wet room the substrate must be stable and watertight against moisture before installation begins.
  • You should consider what type of stone tiles you would like to use in wet areas. The different natural stones are made up of many different minerals, all of which react differently to moisture. This is one reason a stone like marble is a predominantly used product in bathrooms because of it is highly resistant to moisture. You will find that other stones as they age some colour change may occur. You should be aware of this when selecting a stone product. Talk to us about the best stones for wet areas.
  • You should be aware that all stone tiles will not create a waterproof external barrier. All tiled areas that may be subjected ingress should have a stable, waterproof substrate installed before any installation is started. This prevents damage to the background structure of the installation. This is accomplished using waterproofing membranes, sealant adhesives and proper drainage systems.
  • Water resistant adhesives, grouts and substrate materials should always be used in wet areas. The use of substrate materials, which are affected and damaged by long exposure to moisture, should not in any circumstances be used.
  • Drainage in wet rooms is important and fall should be assimilated into the substrate to create a drainage path in the floor.

Summary. Read More

Our range of natural stone tiles and pavers has been extensively researched over the years to ensure their best compatibility and performance and their intended applications. We are regarded as leaders within our industry. All our prices are checked to ensure they are competitive in the marketplace. We are happy to give you a no obligation quotation for any of our stone products. If you have any special considerations or needs for your natural stone requirement, then please feel free to contact us so that we can advise and offer the correct advice and products for the situation.
All advice and instructions, while they are the results of studies and trials carried out are provided for informative purposes only.

All advice and instructions, while they are the results of studies and trials carried out are provided for informative purposes only.