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General Installation Tips For Natural Stone Tiles

Tiling Tip #1:

Always check that the substrates and walls are suitable to withstand the additional weight of stone tiles. We always recommend replacing plaster board walls with a cement based tile backer board such as Hardi Backer or No More Ply. A rough guide to approximate weight limits per m2 for wall tiling is as follows:

  • Plaster skim - 20kg
  • Direct to plaster board without skim – 32kg
  • Cement tile backer boards (mechanically fixed) – 100kg

Note: British Tiling Standards no longer consider plywood to be a suitable material to tile directly onto

Tiling Tip #2:

It is essential when installing stone tiles, they are picked randomly from the crate and carefully checked before fixing. If you have several crates / boxes, pick from them all intermittently to ensure a good mix of colour / tone is achieved.

Tiling Tip #3:

Before fixing onto a full bed of adhesive, applied to the floor, it is advisable to skim the back of the tiles with a thin coating of the adhesive using the flat side of the trowel. This is often referred to as Buttering the back of the tile. This is helps over all adhesion, helps prevent shadowing on the surface of the tile as well as filling any cavities in the stone. This is especially essential when installing travertine tiles.

Tiling Tip #4:

When installing tiles onto a solid substrate such as concrete or power floated screeds we advise the use of crack matting / de-coupling membrane to ensure no cracks can form in the tiles due to movement in the substrate.

Tiling Tip #5:

Natural stone tiles require the use of a suitable adhesive to fix them. We recommend always using a white coloured, cement based flexible, powdered adhesive. Standard grey adhesive can stain many lighter coloured stones and ready mixed acrylic adhesives are usually not suitable for adhering to stone.

Tiling Tip #6:

Do not dot and dab the adhesive (a big blob in each corner and one in the middle) Stone tiles must be installed onto a solid bed of adhesive using a notched trowel. British standards state that a minimum of 70% coverage of the tile must be achieved

Tiling Tip #7:

Always test a small area first when applying the grout and allow it to dry over night to ensure you are happy with the final colour before grouting the whole job. The same applies for the sealer.

Tiling Tip #8:

All natural stone tiles require the application of a chemical sealer during the installation process. This is a very simple process but be aware there are different sealers for different stones. We can advise and supply the correct sealers for all our stones. As a rule of thumb we usually recommend 2 – 3 coats are applied before grouting as well as a final coat after grouting. Always ensure you have given the installed stone a thorough wash before sealing using a chemical stone cleaner such as LTP Grimex or Lithofin Power Clean and allow to dry before applying any sealers.

Tiling Tip #9:

General Maintenance – avoid using standard abrasive multipurpose cleaners, these are usually very acidic or alkaline and ware away the sealer too quickly. Use either washing up liquid in warm water or specific stone cleaners such as LTP Waxwash or Lithofin MN Wash & Clean. Avoid using steam cleaners/mops.

Important: Please note that although we can provide general advice for all our products it is the sole responsibility of the installer to ensure the correct method is used for each individual job.

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