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Our frequently asked questions are listed below, if you cannot find what you are looking for please email us and we will be happy to help.

Beauty

Why choose Natural Stone?

Natural Stone flooring is beautiful and will add a stunning feature to any home. Stone is the only material that improves with age, it lasts a lifetime and its natural variation adds character. It is hardwearing, very practical and gains its own patina over time. It is worth investing in natural stone as it lasts for years and will enhance the value of your home.

Why should you choose a natural stone floor?

A real stone floor is durable and will stand the test of time. It is easy to clean, practical yet stylish. Once the preserve of royalty, the price of natural stone has decreased in recent years making it a luxurious yet affordable floor covering.

What are the benefits of a natural stone floor?

Natural stone flooring comes in many styles and can suit both a traditional and contemporary setting. It is a very adaptable material that is at home in a country cottage as well as an urban townhouse or apartment. Ideal for hallways, kitchens, dining rooms, conservatories and bathrooms and increasingly being used in living areas and bedrooms. Stone goes well with other natural materials such as wood and works particularly well with underfloor heating. Natural stone flooring is unique as every tile is a one off and this look cannot be recreated by man-made material. Fossils, shells and crystal veins are all marks of authenticity.

Value

Is stone flooring more expensive than other types of flooring?

It is worth investing in a natural stone floor, as they last much longer than carpet or laminate. Slate is very cost effective and starts from £9.99 excluding VAT a square metre. The price of some mid range limestone can be very similar to that of solid wood flooring. The initial outlay for a top range natural stone floor may be slightly more but it is very cost effective in the long run because of the longevity of the material. Once laid, it will be there to be enjoyed for many years.

Will a natural stone floor add value to my house?

Yes, many estate agents agree that investing in this luxurious and long lasting natural high specification material will reflect in the asking price of your property.

Why are some stones more expensive than others?

The price of the stone depends on several factors, including where the stone comes from, how unique the source or colour is, and how hard it is to cut and make into tiles. The more expensive stones tend to be very rare or have special characteristics. Direct-Stone-Tiles holds a huge amount of stock and imports all its different stones direct from the quarries around the world. As Direct-Stone-Tiles buys in bulk, we are able to pass savings onto the customer and offer very good value prices.

Choice

What types of stone flooring are available?

For interior floors, the choice consists of limestone, travertine, marble, basalt or slate. Direct-Stone-Tiles has a stock range of many different products in its UK warehouse, so there is a stone and a price range to suit everybody.

What are the different types of stone?

There are three main types of rock: sedimentary rock, metamorphic rock and igneous rock. Limestones and travertines are sedimentary rocks. Marbles and slates are Metamorphic. Granite is an igneous rock.

Definitions

What is limestone?

A limestone is a sedimentary rock. It is made up of layers of calcium carbonate formed from the accumulation of organic matter in shallow seas, which is then turned to stone by millions of years of pressure. Limestones come in a variety of density and hardness and some rare limestones are as tough as granite.

What is travertine?

Travertine is also a sedimentary rock, which is made up of layers of calcite formed from the accumulation of organic matter in hot springs and spa areas. The stone has a natural honeycomb structure, where water has flowed through the material. It is a very strong stone, which when cut into tiles exposes the small holes on the surface. These holes can be left unfilled to leave a natural texture or they are filled in the factory with a very hard resin and honed smooth. Small holes may appear on the surface of the tiles over time, this is part of the charm of this ancient stone.

What is marble?

Marble is a metamorphic rock and started its life as limestone, which is then crystallised by immense heat and pressure. Marble obtains its different colours from the minerals and chemical elements in the stone.

What is slate?

The stone industry describes slates as stones with a riven texture, which is produced because the stone splits naturally. In geological terms slate is categorised as a metamorphic rock.

What is riven?

Slate naturally has a riven surface, where the stone splits due to a natural cleavage. This textured surface is great for grip. For ease of laying, the best quality slates are calibrated, which means they are completely flat on the underside.

What is basalt?

Basalt is an igneous rock, and has been formed from liquid magma and lava which has cooled very quickly, usually by water. Basalt is a very hard stone, which has a low porosity. It should still be sealed for ease of maintenance.

Authenticity

What is the difference between real natural stone tiles and imitation-stone?

Man-made tiles will never match the beauty and individuality of real natural stone floors. Ask for a sample and you will easily see and feel the difference between the real and the fake stone. Reconstituted Stone is NOT natural stone. Replica stone or reconstituted stone is made from cement and aggregate with added artificial dyes. Porcelain tile manufacturers have tried without success to recreate the natural variation and beauty of real stone floors but even their best copies are more expensive than the real thing! Natural stone floors have been tried and tested over the centuries, who knows how well these new man-made products will perform in years to come.

Is it true that you do not need to seal replica stone and concrete?

No, replica stone floors and concrete work surfaces are more porous than natural stone and will require more treatments with resins, sealants, stain inhibitors and wax polishes in order to maintain them.

How old is natural stone?

It depends when they were formed. If the stone were formed during the Jurassic era then the stone would be about 300 million years old. Some Travertines are relatively young and were formed about 10 thousand years ago.

Colour & Style

What colours are natural stone tiles available in?

There are an infinite number of colours to choose from. Natural stone comes in a great variety of tones and shades. Because limestone is a natural material, it comes in natural earth tones ranging from creams, beiges to blues and dark browns. There are a vast range of coloured marbles including bright reds and pure whites. Slates and granites are available in a huge range of mid tone and dark colours including greens, grey, black and multi-coloured to name a fraction of the range available. The colours, in which natural stone is available in, are endless. Direct-Stone-Tiles has a huge choice and shade to suit everybody’s needs and colour schemes.

What patterns is natural stone flooring available in?

Direct-Stone-Tiles has square tiles that can be laid in a grid, diamond or brick bond patterns. Rectangular tiles can be laid in grid, brick bond or herringbone patterns. Aged stone comes in repeating patterns of different sized stone that recreate the random feel of a Roman paving. Honed limestones and travertines can be cut into hexagonals and laid with insets to design a Georgian style floor. Contemporary floors suit large tiles. The latest trend is for slate strips laid like floorboards. There are a huge variety of designs to choose from and will certainly be a style to suit all projects.

What stone is recommended for older properties?

Some readers may be looking for a stone floor that looks as though it had been walked on for decades or centuries. Aged stone floors are perfect when looking for a sympathetic material for period homes or renovation projects. A tumbled, brushed or chipped edge stone floor in a repeating pattern, with different sized tiles mixed together, works particularly well for that authentic antique look and complements other natural materials such as original timber beams and old wooden doors. Antiqued unfilled travertine with a brushed surface and softened edges are ideal for barn conversions, restoration developments and listed buildings where a textured surface and rustic style is required. For an eclectic look, aged stone can be mixed successfully with minimalist furniture and accessories.

What type of stone flooring is recommended for contemporary interiors?

Honed limestone has a smooth matt surface and straight lines, which lends itself to clean uncluttered modern rooms or classical interiors. When creating a stylish clean look, the larger the better.

Texture

What textures are available?

Honed, polished, riven, tumbled, antiqued, brushed, unfilled.

What is the different between honed and polished?

The most common finish on limestone floors is honed, which is ground to a smooth matt sheen for a very contemporary or classic look. Granite and Marble traditionally come in a polished finish where the stone has been ground extra smooth to a gloss finish.

Why do I need to apply a sealant to a polished marble tile that already has a gloss finish?

The gloss finish on your marble tiles is achieved in the factory by rubbing the stone thousands of times with special grinding machines, buffing pads and abrasive powders. The stone becomes shiny because the crystals in the stone reflect light the more they are buffed. A polished stone has not been coated with any liquid gloss or wax. Even though the marble tile has a glassy appearance it will still be slightly porous. For ease of maintenance, it is advised to saturate the stone with an impregnating sealant, which forms an invisible barrier over the pores and capillaries of the stone to protect it.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Is stone flooring easy to maintain?

Yes, all natural stone is easy to keep clean, once it is fully impregnated with the right penetrating silicon sealer. Your tiler applies the sealant at the installation stage, so no need to ”do it yourself”. Direct-Stone-Tiles recommend a silicone-based sealant that impregnates into the stone and gives it a protective layer which helps prevent staining. This sealant is a clear solution therefore it does not change the colour or appearance of the stone and will not change the surface finish. The sealant will cover both the grout and the stone, so that hygiene will not be a problem in kitchens or bathrooms. Any liquids such as water, wine or oil will rest on the top of the stone, ready to be wiped away with a paper towel or damp cloth.

How should natural stone floor be cleaned?

Once the stone is sealed thoroughly, then ongoing maintenance is simple and easy. General cleaning only requires sweeping the stone and mopping with warm water and a stone soap or alternatively you can use a mild PH neutral liquid detergent. To prolong the life of your stone floor it is best to avoid the use of bleach, acidic or abrasive cleaning products, as limestone reacts to acids.

Are natural stone floors practical for families and pet owners?

Yes, choose mid-tone colours such as beiges, coffee colours and mushroom colours which are great for hiding everyday wear and camouflage your children’s muddy footprints! In addition, many common childhood allergies are greatly improved by replacing carpets that can harbour dust mites with hard flooring such as natural stone. Natural stone floors are excellent for pet owners, as dog and cat hairs become easy to sweep up. With stone flooring there is no more hours of scrubbing carpets to clean up your pets “little accidents”, just a quick mop.

Is there a stone that will not show the dirt?

The beauty of a natural stone floor is that you can choose a stone with natural colour variation. This variation means that the colour will have depth and will not be flat. Stone with a colour variation is terrific for not showing dirt. Choose a mid toned hard limestone or travertine with fossils and mottling.

How often should a natural stone floor be resealed?

It depends on how much wear and tear a natural stone floor has under gone. On average, it may need resealing after 3-5 years, providing the stone was fully saturated on installation and that the stone has been well maintained and cleaned with a stone soap.

Will the sealant wear off?

No, sealants that impregnate the stone do not wear off because they penetrate deep into the stone and do not just rest on the surface. If you have stone in your house in a room that is used intensively, then you may wish to top up the sealant and reseal the stone more often than 3-5 years, but this is very easy to do.

Do you need to reseal stone every 6 months?

No, It is not true that you have to reseal stone every 6 months, providing you use a silicone-based sealant as recommended from Direct-Stone-Tiles. Each floor is different, but on average natural stone floors may need to be resealed every 3-5 years.

How easy is it to reseal a natural stone floor?

Very easy and can be done by almost anyone by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Just give the floor a thorough clean, wait to dry and reapply the silicone sealant with a clean cloth. Open then windows for ventilation, while you are doing this and leave to dry. Repeat until the stone is saturated. This process should only take an hour or so for an averaged size room.

Should a stone floor be sealed with Linseed Oil?

No, modern silicone-based impregnating sealants are much more effective than old-fashion treatments such as Linseed Oil or bees wax. Modern silicone sealants do not leave a greasy film over the stone nor do they change the colour or texture.

What happens if red wine or cooking oil is spilled on the stone?

Don't worry – a properly sealed stone floor will repel the liquid. The silicone sealant will buy you time as it protects the stone with an invisible barrier which means that any liquid will appear as droplets on the surface of the stone. Wipe off the wine or oil immediately and then wash it with warm water and some stone soap. If wine, vinegar of food acid is left on the floor for a period then it may start to penetrate the sealant and etch the stone’s surface. However, any etching normally disappears in time as the stone is walked over.

How long will my stone floors last?

Natural stone is the only floor covering that improves with age! As the floor is walked on it develops its own unique patina and beautiful sheen. Stone was formed hundreds of millions of years ago, so a new stone floor will last for the enjoyment of generations to come. Most commercial stone floors where thousands of people walk over them every week are expected to last 20 years before they need restoration. The pyramids in Egypt are 5,000 years old and the oldest limestone floor in Britain is 7,000 years old!

Is it possible to tell if natural stone tiles are sealed properly?

If you pour an egg cup of water on to your natural stone floor it should pool on the surface in a large droplet. Leave the water for ten minutes, when you return, it should remain on the surface of the stone. If the water has absorbed into the floor and left a dark patch then the floor requires additional sealant. To test stone wall tiles, splash water onto your tiles and the liquid should run down the tiles like rain drops running down a window pane.

Suitability

Can natural stone floors be used anywhere in my house?

In general, natural stone can go anywhere, but each stone has different properties with its own benefits and advantages. Hard limestones are excellent in intensively used areas such as hallways and kitchens and soft limestones are best limited to use in bathrooms.

Can natural stone be used in my bathroom?

Opt for the neutral tones of natural stone in a bathroom if you have a small room, to make it appear bigger. Mosaics work particularly well and Direct-Stone-Tiles has a wide range, which complements wall and tiles.

Can limestone tiles be used in bathrooms?

Yes, stone is perfect to use in bathrooms and unlike wood or laminate stone tiles does not warp easily when exposed to water and humidity. Stone surfaces for bathroom flooring are obviously hardwearing and since they work in both traditional and modern settings, have a timeless appeal.

Can slate tiles be used in bathrooms?

Slate tiles are good value and make a real design statement. The surface with its riven and textured and they have a natural grip when wet. Honed natural stone can often be less slippery than old-fashioned lino floors and shiny laminate flooring.

Can marble be used in bathrooms?

Yes. In Europe it is very common to find polished marble in bathrooms, but it will be slippery when wet. As with any tiled floors it is probably sensible to put a bath matt down when getting out of the bath or shower. Marble also comes in a honed version or tumbled version, which have more grip than polished marble. Tumbled marble tiles and mosaics are particularly good in bathrooms and provide excellent slip-resistant flooring.

Are mosaics suitable for bathrooms?

Mosaics are especially popular for bathrooms. Incorporating strips of mosaic helps to break up a wall of one solid colour. Mosaics work particularly well when used in abundance to highlight a particular area of the room;- shower walls, splashbacks above your basin or as a feature wall behind the bath. Small tiles of stone mosaics are flexible enough to cover curved walls or circular shower enclosures. Mosaic floors in bathrooms are very practical and stylish.

Can natural stone tiles be used in a wet room?

Yes, natural stone has been used successfully for years in wet rooms, however they must be tiled onto a properly fitted tanking system.

Can natural stone tiles be used in the hallway?

Yes, natural stone is great for creating a first impression. It is perfect for areas of heavy use where a tough, hardwearing solution is needed. Natural stone is an incredibly resilient material as well as making your hall welcoming and stylish.

Can natural stone tiles be used in the living room?

Yes, natural stone is a stylish choice for any living area. Add that cosy feeling to a natural stone floor by installing underfloor heating or with the simple addition of colourful rugs. If you want to change the décor of your room, then you just need to change the rugs. A neutral coloured stone will go with any colour scheme so if you wish to change your décor in future there is no need to go to the expense of changing the whole floor.

Can natural stone tiles be used in the conservatory?

Yes, a natural stone is a practical and elegant choice for your conservatory floor. Natural stone flooring with a honed finish is the perfect natural background for your favourite plants and the matt surface dissipates the bright daylight. Unlike wood, carpet or vinyl, most pale stones will not fade in direct sunlight.

Can natural stone tiles be used in the dining room?

Yes - Natural stone comes in a variety of styles that will suit any room scheme whether it’s contemporary or traditional. Stone is the ultimate flooring to impress your guests at any dinner party. Felt pads on dining room chair legs will protect the surface of the stone.

Can natural stone flooring be used in the kitchen?

Natural stone is functional, easy to clean and stylish. When the stone is sealed it become hygienic to clean and water resistant. You can choose from a variety of non-slip finishes. Historic-looking slate creates a traditional effect, perfect for a period cottage kitchen.

Can the same stone be used to cover the whole of my ground floor?

Yes, this is a growing trend in open-plan living spaces, united with one stone throughout.

Can natural stone tiles be used in the bedroom?

Yes, this is becoming more popular in the UK as clients are being influenced by the bedroom interiors seen on European holidays. Solid stone flooring is ideal to keep environments dust free and is increasingly becoming more popular with interior designers, especially those putting full sized baths into master bedrooms.

What stone floor would suit the architecture of a Georgian House?

A honed limestone or travertine floor would really work well in this instance. Tiles with marble or slate inserts will also add to the authenticity of recreating that classic stone floor.

In a kitchen, what should be fitted first: the new kitchen units or the floor?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on your timescales and what is the easiest option for your builder or tiler. Some prefer to tile under the units, which means that appliances are easier to push in and out when they are on the same level if they need to be repaired. Tiling under the unit means that if you want to change your kitchen in 10 or 20 years time, you won’t have to retile the floor.

Is it possible to match a natural stone from a small sample of an old stone?

It is possible to source the stone of the same name from the original quarry but sometimes due to the natural variation of stone, it may not always exactly match colourwise. However, once laid it will mellow with use over time and eventually the two stones will not stand out.

Can the same stone be used on the wall as on the floor?

Yes, you can use the same stone on the floors and walls. Direct-Stone-Tiles has a large range of wall tiles, which are only 1 centimetre thick to match larger floor tiles.

Durability

Is limestone a soft stone?

Not always, there are some very hard limestones availabe, which are as hard as granite. Some of the less expensive limestones on the markets are of the softer variety; ensure you go to a stone specialist who only sells top quality limestone.

Is natural stone harder wearing than porcelain or ceramics?

Yes, to cut stone you need a diamond tipped blade. Cutting porcelain or ceramic is much easier, so it stands to reason that stone is harder wearing.

Is natural stone porous?

Yes, all natural stone is slightly porous to different degrees. Luckily, today’s modern silicone sealants help protect the stone very effectively for years and years.

Is granite porous?

Yes, granite has a low porosity so for ease of long term maintenance treat with a silicone-based penetrating sealant.

Is natural stone cold?

No, stone is not inherently cold. On the contrary, stone is wonderful at heat transference and retains heat for long periods. If you have a well-insulated house with modern central heating then a stone floor will normally be a few degrees below the ambient temperature of the room. The floor temperature will also depend on what is underneath the floor (i.e. the subfloor) and how well insulated it is. If you are laying a natural stone floor onto a concrete screed it may be worth considering the now affordable luxury of underfloor heating. For that added comfort, electric underfloor warming systems radiates a gentle heat across a stone floor as well a providing warmth for bare feet.

Can stone flooring be damaged easily?

No, you need incredibly hard diamonds to cut stone so image how hard it is to damage. Stone develops its own sheen when it is walked on just as gold jewellery develops a patina when it is worn. Shoes abrading the surface of the floor over months and years create this beautiful patina.

Is a stone floor suitable in a home that is prone to flooding?

Unlike wood or carpet, which are ruined after flooding, a natural stone floor on a concrete based can generally be revived after drying out and being thoroughly cleaned and resealed.

Is there a choice of finishes for granite work surfaces?

Yes, granite can be polished for an elegant, glossy finish or honed for a smooth matt look. Choose a high gloss finish which reflects natural daylight or matt for a more contemporary style.

Quality

Direct-Stone-Tiles hold over £1 million pounds worth of stock ensuring that it’s impressive portfolio of tiles are normally available for delivery. Direct-Stone-Tiles constantly monitors stock for quality and consistency.

Weight & Thickness & Dimensions

How much does stone weigh?

For guidance the weight of stone units should be taken as follows:-
10mm thick = 30kg/m2
20mm thick = 60kg/m2
30mm thick = 90kg/m2

How thick is the stone?

Generally, natural stone floor tiles are between 1cm and 2cm thick. The layer of adhesive needed is about 3-5mm. The average carpet is about 2 centimetres deep and wooden or metal thresholds will help integrate slightly different levels.

Can a 10mm stone tile be used on the floor?

When tiling onto a wooden floor with 1 cm thick stone floor tiles, the substrate must be 18mm of WBP plywood AND a layer of an “Uncoupling Membrane” such as Ditra Matting. If you are tiling onto a wood floor without an “uncoupling membrane” the “subfloor” must be strengthened with a layer of 18mm WBP plywood; in this case the minimum tile thickness you should use is 5cm.

What is the smallest tile available?

Direct-Stone-Tiles Direct sells the small stone mosaic tiles, which are 1 cm by 1cm. For easy of tiling, these little pieces of stone cubes are glued onto a string mesh to form square sheets which are about one square foot.

What are Flagstones?

Flagstone is the name given to any large size rectangular natural stone tile. They gained this name because in ages past they were a similar size and shape of a flag.

Source

How limestone and travertine tiles made?

Natural stone is quarried in large blocks, which are then taken to a factory and cut into slabs and then into tiles. From the factory they are packaged very carefully in crates and then shipped to the UK.

Where does natural stone come from?

Natural stone tiles are traditionally produced in France, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Greece and Spain. New countries that are also now producing excellent quality natural stone tiles include Turkey, Egypt, Israel, China, India, Brazil and Argentina.