For installing natural stone tiles we would always recommend using an experienced or specialist fixer.
Each type of natural stone has its own characteristics and structure which means the density, thickness and strength can vary widely. How porous a natural stone tile is will also vary between each material. Other considerations to take into account include what base the tiles will be laid on and which adhesive and grouts to use. An experienced fixer will also have the knowledge to ensure each customer’s floor turns out the way they hope – the appearance of natural stone can vary widely depending on whether a colour enhancer or wax is used on the surface. We are happy to recommend natural stone fixers who we believe will get the best out of the quality natural stone floor and wall tiles we supply.
Natural stone tiles are created by cutting through blocks of stone quarried straight from the earth, meaning they are made of the same natural material throughout. Even if they become chipped and when they are finished to look aged, the same colour and texture still exists on the surface.
Most ceramic tiles are made from clay that is shaped and then fired in a very hot kiln. Colours and decorative glazes are added as a top layer, sometimes as a digital print, before the tile is heated again. If they become chipped, this can sometimes result in the surface colour being removed and exposing the underneath layer. Porcelains are also tend to be made from clay but are much more dense and durable, with sharply formed faces. Most carry the colour and pattern throughout the entire thickness of the tile, making them more resistant to wear and chipping.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock mostly composed of fragments of marine organisms. Colours can range from black and blue through to grey, beige and cream. Our limestone tiles come from countries including Portugal, France, Morocco, Vietnam, India and China.
Marble results from the metamorphism of sedimentary rocks which creates an interlocking mosaic of carbonate crystals. Pure white marble is the result of a very pure limestone. The characteristic veining found in many marble tiles is created by the presence of impurities such as clay, silt, sand or iron. Our marble tiles are sourced from countries including Italy, Spain and China.
Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock derived from a shale-type material composed of clay or volcanic ash. Colours vary from black and grey through to purple and green-grey. Our slate range includes tiles from Brazil and Argentina.
Basalt is a dark, fine-grained igneous rock which commonly forms from the rapid cooling of lava flow and is extremely dense, making it a very durable stone. The basalt tiles featured in our collection are from Italy, Vietnam and China.
Sandstone, including England’s popular York stone, is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals and rock grains, most commonly quartz, which have been compacted together. Colours can range from warm beige through to cooler grey. Our sandstone products are sourced from the UK and also India.
While being laid, white adhesive should be ‘buttered’ across the back of the whole tile to avoid any colour bleeding through and creating a patchy look. Avoid using a grey adhesive as this can sometimes create patches on the surface of the tile.
Natural stone tiles should also always be sealed on the surface and around the edges before they are grouted to prevent moisture seeping into the surface and creating picture framing around the edges – some tiles will require more sealant than others depending on how dense they are.
Once they are laid, a colour enhancer or wax can also be used depending on the desired look. General maintenance cleaners, such as those supplied by Lithofin, can then be used to maintain the stone and also prevent or remove staining if necessary.
As a specialist supplier of natural stone floor and wall tiles, we work directly with factories around the world to offer premium hand-crafted antiqued floors for residential and commercial projects. Our range also includes a collection of durable and affordable flagstones as well as marble, basalt and slate tiles. We also source reclaimed materials including York stone and Barr De Montpellier limestone. Our 2,000sqft showroom in Newbury, Berkshire, is operated as an appointment-only facility and allows us to give each customer our undivided attention. We work with both retail and trade customers to find the best natural stone tiles for their interior and exterior projects.
The price of a natural stone tile can depend on a number of factors including how readily available the material is and how easy it is to transport it to the UK. One major factor is how the tiles are finished and whether this is done by a machine or by hand. Some of our flooring collection is made up of aged stones which have been finished by machine, making the production process quicker and more economical. Many of our antiqued stones have been finished using hand tools and traditional techniques to create surfaces and edges on tiles which resemble those that have been laid for many years. Because of the attention to detail paid to this process, it will take longer and therefore cost slightly more.
Natural stone – whether it be limestone, marble, slate, basalt or sandstone – is formed over many years meaning each piece is full of character and history. This also means no two projects finished in stone will be the same thanks to the uniqueness of the natural material. The veining in a marble tile or the faint shell and fossil found in limestone are just some of the characteristics that draw many people to use natural stone rather than a man-made material. Certain stones, including basalt, some limestones and some sandstone, are extremely durable meaning they can be used inside and outside. Natural stone can also be finished in many different ways meaning it can be used in extremely modern as well as very traditional, rustic settings. Most stone tiles can also be used with underfloor heating.
By dedicating our attention to one customer at a time, we are able to ensure they find exactly the right material for their project. We have years of experience in the natural stone industry and are able to share our knowledge better during a one-to-one consultation.