Natural stone tiles have been used in interior design for a long time, many years ago they were the material of choice for castles and other ancient structures. These tiles have become increasingly more popular in the last few years due to their wide availability from tile shops, and their natural ability to withstand wear and tear while retaining their high-end appearance.
Natural stone tiles can be found in homes across the world and offer a very distinctive appearance as each tile is unique, and many possess a wonderful surface texture.
The growth in the UK natural stone tile market shows no signs of slowing down, and because more stone tiles are being cut and produced in Britain than ever before, the availability and cost is coming down every year. This goes some way to explain why natural stone tiling now makes up somewhere in the region of 35% of all tiling jobs. Knowing how to clean, select the right tiles for the right spot, cut, fix, seal and grout these natural products can have an enormous benefit on the type of jobs you can complete, and because the fixing costs for natural stone are about 50% more than ceramic or porcelain, your income can soar!
Types of Natural Stone
Natural stone tiles are made out of naturally occurring materials quarried out of the earth. These days there is an enormously wide variety of different types of natural stone tiles to choose from for both commercial and residential properties, all of which provide a different look and feel. The ability to choose from such a vast selection allows homeowners, business owners, architects, and interior designers to create a unique and high-end look.
Here are some of the commonly used natural stone tiles
Things to consider when fixing natural stone tiles
All natural stone is porous; this means it will absorb any liquids or even moisture that comes in to contact with it. This is obviously not great for everyday use, especially when laid on floors, as it will stain very easily. However, the initial staining risk is actually from the grout you use. As the grout will be a coloured powder mixed with water, if you simply fix your natural stone tiles to the walls or floor and then grout them, the tiles will absorb some of the moisture from the grout, along with the coloured dyes inside it. This results in a very expensive wall or floor of natural stone tiles all stained, and a very unhappy customer! You will never be able to get the stain out either as it has penetrated into the molecular structure of the stone material. Thankfully this situation is entirely avoidable by using an impregnating stone sealer prior to grouting. Not only does this sealer stop the grout from staining the customer’s lovely new tiles, but it also protects them from future staining in everyday life. There are a number of different sealers available, some good and some not so good, however it is important to use the correct type of sealer for the specific stone material you are dealing with.
It is also important to use the correct sized grout joints to match the type of stone tile. For example, slate tiles will need a much larger joint than polished granite or quartz tiles due to their uneven textured edges and surface.
Another thing you may need to deal with is the difference in thicknesses from one batch of the same tiles. These are not man-made tiles manufactured in a factory to small tolerances, they are naturally occurring materials that have been quarried out of the earth. As such, they often come in a wide range of thicknesses. This can be difficult to deal with and leave one tile standing proud of another – on a floor, this can look terrible and even be a trip hazard.
There are of course techniques for overcoming all of these potential problems. Here at Expert Tiling Courses UK, we offer a 1 Day Business Development, Advanced Product Knowledge & Natural Stone Course which will teach you all of these techniques, how to cut and fix each type of natural stone tile, sealing and selecting the correct sealing product, grouting, and even how to set your marketing up to attract these extremely profitable jobs.
Give us a call to discuss which of our fast track courses is most suitable for you and your goals.