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Using Wickes Natural Stone Flooring Products

For centuries natural stone products had been the only choice when laying a floor. However these became less popular and comparatively expensive with the introduction of mass produced linoleum, carpet and ceramic flooring. Wickes now has a comprehensive range of natural flooring that is competitively priced and is long lasting and hardwearing. This leaflet provides details on how to lay these products and most importantly how to maintain them.There are four different types of stone in the range: Granite, Marble, Limestone and Slate.

FLOOR PREPARATION

It is important that concrete floors are completely cured and dry. Natural stone should not be laid on “green” or wet concrete or screeds. There should be a damp proof membrane below the surface to prevent rising damp. Since the floor tile adhesive can be applied as a thin bed or a thick bed, the floor does not have to be perfectly smooth although this is preferable.If the internal concrete is very uneven or it is damaged use our floor levelling compound to make it smooth.

Suspended wooden floors can be successfully tiled but you must be sure that they are sufficiently strong to carry the very considerable extra weight of tiles, that they are rigid and that the area below the floorboards is well ventilated. If the floor is weak and shows any sign of movement you must strengthen it. Use a sheet material such as our exterior grade plywood building up to a minimum 18mm thick covering screwing it into place at no more than 200mm centres. It is absolutely essential that a suspended timber floor is made 100% rigid. Any movement will first cause the grout to break, allowing moisture ingress and, subsequently, the tiles will break or lift. Check that the subfloor is strong enough to take the extra load and seek professional advice if in any doubt.

GENERAL INFORMATION ON FLOOR TILING

Tiling commences in the corner of the room furthest from the door but as with wall tiling you cannot rely upon existing wall corners to be square or walls to be straight so again battening must be used to provide the starting point. Using a measure and a chalked string line mark the centre line of the room from the door end to the far end. Find and mark the centre of this line. Loose lay tiles complete with spaces from the centre point alongside the line to the far wall. Fix a straight batten to the floor at 90° to the line of tiles where the edge of the last whole tile is. Fig 1. Loose lay further tiles towards the corner of the room and fix another batten at 90° to the first alongside the last whole tile. Fig 2. Check that the corner produced is exactly square, and that the positioning of neither line of tiles will result in narrow tiles having to be cut to fill in around the perimeter once the battening has been removed.

Tiling commences on the prepared corner following the instructions on the adhesive.

Important: Tile adhesive setting times are quoted for ideal conditions and is intended only as a guide. Where temperatures are low, the air is damp, thick tiles are used or the substrate is of low porosity, setting times will be increased, sometimes greatly.

Any inward opening door will have to be removed and reduced in height to open again over the tiles. Natural Floor Tiles are very hard material and therefore should be cut using a Wickes Wet

 

Tile Cutter with diamond blade.‘Loose’ floor coverings such as vinyl sheeting should be completely removed. Any covering like old ceramic tiles must be thoroughly scrubbed clean and all traces of old polish removed. Bare wood or ply covered floors should be primed with Floor Tile Primer and Admixture before tiling commences. Usage instructions are on the container.

GRANITE TILES

Wickes Granite tiles are extremely durable and are suitable for internal applications Granite tiles are a product of nature –size, shade and surface variations such as minor imperfections can occur. These natural imperfections give Granite it’s individual character and appeal.

Polished Granite tiles may become slippery when wet. Therefore you should take suitable precautions such as using absorbent mats in doorways or halls.

It is important that you mix the tiles from different packs before laying. A joint width of 5/6mm is recommended. Granite is a very hard material and therefore should be cut using a Wickes Tile saw with a diamond blade.

These tiles can be laid on a prepared concrete floor or on to a suitable prepared timber floor. See details on floor preparation.

Use Wickes Flexible Rapid Setting Tile Adhesive following the instructions on the pack. For additional protection the underside of the tiles can be coated with Wickes Natural Stone Gloss Finish and allowed to dry before fixing.

The tiles should be fixed using the solid bed method of bonding. Air pockets underneath the tile must be eliminated. Do not “spot” the adhesive. Do not walk on the tiles for 24 hours or until the adhesive has set.

For grouting use Wickes Floor and Wall Tile Grout and ensure that excess grout is removed from the surface of the tile. Grout residue can be removed using Wickes Natural Stone Grout Film Remover.

A coat of Wickes Natural Stone Gloss Finish should be used on polished granite tiles following the instructions on the container or Wickes Tile Sealer Satin on unpolished tiles. Granite tiles can be affected by Citric Acids. It is important therefore to avoid these substances coming in contact with the tiles.

LIMESTONE TILES

Wickes Limestone Tiles are extremely durable and suitable for internal use.

Due to their smooth surface tiles may become slippery when wet. Therefore you should take suitable precautions such as using absorbent mats in doorways or halls. Limestone Tiles are a product of nature – size, shade and surface variations such as minor imperfections can occur. These natural imperfections give Limestone it’s individual character and appeal.

Limestone tiles are subject to thickness variations and this should be considered when fixing the tiles. Width variation can also occur and a joint width of 4/5mm is recommended. Limestone tiles should not be butted together. To give an even spread of shading the packs should be opened and the tiles blended before fixing.

Limestone is a hard material and therefore should be cut using a Wickes Tile saw with a diamond blade. Use Wickes Flexible Rapid Setting Tile Adhesive following the instructions on the pack.

For additional protection the underside of the tiles should be coated with Wickes Natural Stone Gloss Finish and allowed to dry before fixing.

The tiles should be fixed using the solid bed method of bonding. Air pockets underneath the tile must be eliminated. Do not “spot” the adhesive. Do not walk on the tiles for 24 hours or until the adhesive has set.

These tiles can be laid on a prepared concrete floor or on to a suitable prepared timber floor. See details on floor preparation.

As with most natural stones these tiles will require sealing prior to grouting. Wickes Natural stone Gloss Finish should be used following the instructions on the container. This may cause a slight darkening effect but enhances the natural detail of the tile. Typically two coats will be sufficient, any excess sealer that is not absorbed into the tile should be removed. Allow the sealer to dry thoroughly before grouting.

For grouting use Wickes Floor and Wall Tile Grout, ensure any excess grout is removed from the surface of tile with water and allow the tiles to dry completely. Any remaining grout film can be removed with Wickes Natural Stone Grout Film Remover following the instructions on the container. Under no circumstance use Wickes Grout Film Remover which can affect the surface of the tile.

When cleaning these tiles, under no circumstances should you use any product designed to remove limescale. The use of such products can irreparably damage the surface of the tiles. To maintain your floor use Wickes Natural stone Wash and Shine.

POLISHED MARBLE TILES

Marble has been used for generations as a wall and floor covering as few materials match its natural beauty. Wickes Marble tiles are a product of nature – size, shade and surface variations such as minor imperfections and fissures will occur. These natural imperfections give marble its individual character and appeal.

Due to its highly polished finish marble can scratch and is sensitive to acidic chemicals.

Tile and Stone Stain Protector will help prevent marble from staining but will not prevent scratches or etching by acids. The sealer will give you more time to wipe up a spill.

To give an even spread of shading, the packs should be opened and the tiles blended before fixing. Cutting should be carried out using a Wickes Tile saw with a diamond blade.

Due to their polished surface they may become slippery when wet therefore you should take suitable precautions such as absorbent mats in doorways or areas where there may be a risk of slipping.

These tiles can be laid on a prepared concrete floor or on to a suitable prepared timber floor. See details on floor preparation.

Use Wickes Flexible Rapid Setting Tile Adhesive adhesive to lay the marble tiles following the instructions on the pack. It is essential you use the solid bed method of fixing. Air pockets or voids under the tiles must be eliminated.

For additional protection the underside of the tiles should be coated with Wickes Natural Stone Gloss Finish and allowed to dry before fixing.

Marble tiles are subject to thickness variations and this must be considered when fixing the tiles. Width variation can also occur and a joint width of 3-4 mm is recommended. Marble tiles should not be butted together.

Use Wickes floor tile grout when the adhesive has set. Do not rub the grout into the joints as you can scratch the polished surface. Push the grout into the joints and tamp down firmly. Clean off the excess with a clean damp cloth and ensure all traces of grout are completely removed. Any remaining grout film can be removed using Wickes Natural Stone Grout Film Remover following the instructions on the container. Under no circumstances use Wickes Grout Film Remover on marble tiles as this will affect the polished surface.

If using these tiles on the wall several points should be considered.

Marble tiles are heavier than ceramic tiles and should only be applied to a suitable sound surface such as brick or suitably supported Plasterboard. Use Wickes Flexible Rapid Setting Tile Adhesive following the instructions on the pack. You may have to use Wickes Wall Tile Spacers to avoid the tiles moving. Grout with Wickes White Wall Tile Grout. The tiles should be sealed with Wickes Natural Stone Gloss Finish.

When cleaning tiles under no circumstances should you use any product designed to remove lime scale. The use of such products will irreparably damage the surface of the tiles.

WICKES SLATE FLOOR TILES

These are suitable for internal and external use.

EXTERNAL USE

These tiles must be laid on to a base constructed from well compacted hardcore and with a minimum of 100mm thickness of concrete. Thickness of hardcore should be at least 200mm on clay, sandy or peat subsoil. Remember that if the tiles are to be against the house wall, the top surface must be at least 150mm below damp course level and the tiles must slope away from the wall.

Natural slate tiles vary in thickness considerably and therefore to achieve a relatively level floor you will first need to locate and lay the thickest tiles.

Use Wickes Ceramic Floor Tile Adhesive or Wickes Rapid Setting Floor Tile Adhesive following the instruction on the pack. It is important to ensure the adhesive totally supports the tile leaving no voids. Do not walk on the tiles for at least 48 hours or until the adhesive has fully set. Thinner tiles are made level by building up the thickness of the mortar.

As the tiles are cut from a natural material the size can vary slightly. Therefore we recommend that a joint width of a minimum of 9mm is maintained between tiles. Grout/point with Floor and Wall Tile Grout and ensure that excess grout is removed from the surface of the tiles.

Remove as much excess as possible with a sponge and water and if necessary clean with Wickes Natural Grout Film Remover. For added protection a coat of Wickes Natural Stone Gloss Finish should be applied and regularly maintained.

INTERNAL USE

These tiles can be laid on a prepared concrete floor or on to a suitably prepared timber floor. See details on Floor Preparation.

Natural slate tiles vary in thickness considerably and therefore to achieve a relatively level floor you will first need to locate and lay the thickest tiles.

Use Wickes Ceramic Floor Tile Adhesive or Wickes Rapid Setting Floor Tile Adhesive following the instruction on the pack. Ensure the mortar bed completely supports the tile leaving no voids. Thinner tiles are made level by building up the thickness of the mortar.

Do not walk on the tiles for at least 24 hours or until the adhesive has fully set. To protect the slate surface use Wickes Tile & Stone Protector and Wickes Floor Tiles Clean & Shine.

LEMON YELLOW MARBLE FLOOR TILES

Marble is a totally natural product and has very attractive colour variations. To ensure an even spread of such variations, and to prevent ‘blocks’ of colour, we recommend that packs are opened and the contents mixed.

Due to their smooth surface they may become slippery when wet therefore you should take suitable precautions such as using absorbent mats in doorways or halls.

These tiles can be laid on a prepared concrete floor or on to a suitably prepared timber floor. See details on Floor Preparation.

Use Wickes Flexible Rapid Setting Tile Adhesive to lay the marble, prime porous surfaces. It is essential that you use the ‘Solid bed’ method of bonding. Air pockets under the tiles must be eliminated.

The marble tiles are subject to some thickness variations. Always bond the thickest tile that you can find first, ensure that it is perfectly level from side to side and back to front, then leave it to set hard. Later lay all other tiles up to the level of the first one. Maintaining levels is critical to avoid differing reflections from the polished surface.

Width variations do occur so we recommend that you lay your tiles with minimum 5mm gaps left for grouting. This will eliminate the risk of tiling running off a perfect straight line.

Use our Floor Tile Grout to infill the gaps when the tiles have set. Do not rub the grouting into place or you will damage the polished tile surface. Push it directly into the gaps and tamp down firmly. Clean off excess carefully, with a clean damp cloth.

Wickes Building Supplies stocks a range of products to assist in the care and maintenance of our marble floor tiles.