Tile Guru Vaults: Working With Natural Stone

So you’re thinking about tiling your home or garden this season, to help bring it up to date, and you’re considering using natural stone? It’s certainly the best way of achieving that sought after natural look in your home, and there are hundreds of fantastic styles to choose from – from marble, slate and granite, through to  Here are a few Q and A’s I’ve answered, regarding natural stone.

Natural travertine tiles

Q. Dear Tile Guru, I’m anxious about cutting my natural stone tiles as I’m worried they might break. Is there a particular method?

A. This is a common concern when it comes to working with natural stone. Cutting natural stone is easy if – like with most things – you have the right tools. In the video below, our friends at Ardex show you how to cut natural stone (as well as how to fix it in place and apply grout). For the cutting part, skip to about 3:05. However, as I always say, if you’re not 100% confident, get a professional in.

Q. Dear Tile Guru, what are the suggested products for sealing natural stone tiles?

A. As you’ve probably heard, natural stone is fairly porous – it absorbs fluid, and can become water damaged. That’s why it’s crucial to seal natural stone – to help protect it. Particularly if it’s being used outdoors or in a bathroom, where it’s going to be exposed to lots of moisture. For polished stone such as marble and granite, I recommend using the LTP MPG Sealer. For tiles with a natural matt finish like travertine, tumbled limestone and marble, the LTP Mattstone would be the suggested product. For natural finish tiles, you also have the chance to enhance the look by using the LTP Colour Intensifier as the primary impregnating sealer to give them a richer and deeper colour.

Q. Dear Tile Guru, how do I seal natural stone tiles?

A. Once you’ve chosen the appropriate sealer for the type of stone you’re using, it’s time to apply it. When your natural stone tiles arrive, because of the nature of the product, they will be very dusty. You’ll need to clean the dust off using some cold water and a sponge, leaving a nice, clean surface to work with. Below, our friends from BAL take you through how to prep natural tiles ready for sealing, and the differences between normal and enhanced sealers:

Q. Dear Tile Guru, should I go for a Natural Stone or Stone Effect? Which is better?

A. There are positives to both choices. An imitation stone effect tile will have a similar look but with less maintenance requirements so may be more practical for a given situation. They may be easier to clean, harder wearing and lighter in weight to make them suitable for walls. But you will never get the same randomness, character and feel of the real thing. When treated correctly, Natural stones can still be extremely hard wearing, practical and easy to clean, but may need a small amount of maintenance to keep it looking in pristine condition. But it will be worth it.

Q. Dear Tile Guru, what is the difference between Granite and Quartz?

A. Granite is 100% pure natural stone, cut to size and highly polished. It is also one of the hardest wearing stones available. The Quartz however is a conglomerate stone tile. This means the quartz starts off as tiny gravel sized pieces that are then bonded and hardened together using a pigmented resin. They are then made to size and polished to give a similar look to polished granite.



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  • simon marley
    simon marley on November 23, 2015 at 7:03 pm
    I recently bought rustic terracotta tiles for W&F. I put four coats of boiled linseed oil on them before laying them. The tiles have turned quite red and have lost the natural terracotta appearance that I was looking for. Can you think of anything that I can do to restore the tiles?
    • Walls and Floors
      Walls and Floors on November 24, 2015 at 8:00 am
      Hello. Thank you for the enquiry you recently posted on our blog. For us to be able to assist you further, are you able to send an image over to me, along with your order number. Linseed Oil will always darken terracotta. Unfortunately this cannot be avoided. However, there is a chance that the Oil may have been over applied which will have darkened the tile more than would normally be expected. This would also leave a slightly tacky feel and/or a gloss looking finish. If you can send the image over, I’ll be able to gauge whether or not this is the case and guide you to the next course of action to try an lighten it. But I should point out if the Oil hasn’t been laid on to thick, altering the colour may not be possible. I Look forward to your reply. You now have the opportunity to rate the customer service you have received today. Please use the icons provided below. Regards, “The Tile Guru” Paul Collins Technical Support Advisor

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