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stone wall cladding - Stone is a defining feature in any room and adds instant solidity, luxury and grandness whether you decide to cover all your walls with marble or simply use it for a simple round basin. Although stone is an extremely tough material once installed, the self -builder should always take special care to see the delivery and installation process runs smoothly. Dirt from visitors or a careless knock from a power tool could lead to an expensive repair bill. Maintain the room clean and tidy, check larger items for instance a stone bath, can fit through a door entrance (you may have to leave off architrave/frames allowing extra room). The weight of stonework does mean that it should be planned in at the home's design stage as load-bearing joists should be increased in proportions or even doubled up to cope with the weight.

Preparing floors

A brand new concrete screed is the perfect base for stone floor tiles, as long as the concrete is fully cured. New concrete should be at least six weeks old and show no indications of remaining moisture. You may need to use a thin screed of self-leveling compound to smooth out any low spots. Again, leave the compound to fully cure before tiling.

If you're working on new flooring grade T&G chipboard panels, double check the edges are fixed at 300mm centers and tile on the surface with a flexible adhesive all the trade adhesive manufacturers have powder mixes meant for timber flooring. For any restoration project, never try and tile directly onto old floorboards. Instead, produce a new sub-base with 15mm exterior grade plywood, screwed down at 300mm centers with stainless steel screws. Stagger the board joints and adjust any uneven floorboards before beginning work. Coat it's with thinned PVA to seal the wood.

Old cork and vinyl carpeting should always be pulled up. Check the floor beneath is dry, flat and robust enough to support the new stone tiling. If you're up against quarry or ceramic tiles, it is possible to tile directly over the surface as long as there are no signs of damp, cracking or movement. Prime the old tile surface to give the adhesive a key' for bonding and make set out your new tiles so that the grout gaps aren't aligned with all the existing floor. The exceptions are shower or wet room walls that ought to be lined with a waterproof lining panel to offer the tile base.

Installing real stone tiles

The porous surface of many natural stone products means they are more vulnerable to staining than glazed tiles. Look into the manufacturer's instructions for precise laying instructions and constantly seal the surfaces from the tiles, if recommended, before fixing it's all too easy to spill adhesive on the tile and not notice. Open the tile packs and work from several packs to evenly distribute any color variation between packs.

Tiling a floor

With a little planning and careful aiming, dramatic stone flooring is as easy as tiling a wall. There's usually less cutting around awkward shapes as compared to wall tiles and you are not fighting against gravity. Remove skirting boards and door thresholds before starting work. In the setting out stages, it's important to make sure the tiles look directly from the entrance to the room. Often walls are bowed or away from true so check your measurements in a number of places along each wall. It is slightly more but a powder mix rapid-setting adhesive is the better option for most floors. It'll reach full strength within 24 hours so the rest of the build isn't delayed.

Finally, plan in any movement joints required. They are 6/8mm wide and filled up with flexible filler which allows for movement and prevents tile damage. These joints are typically installed where flooring abuts walling, steps, columns or other hard objects on large floor areas as well as over structural movement joints. Floors lower than four meters between walls won't normally need movement joints.

STEP-BY-STEP

1 Discover the mid-points of the two longest walls and snap a chalk line over the room between these points. Repeat for that shorter walls but adjust the line so that it passes through the center of the first line at right angles. Try to work with as many whole tiles as you can, even if it means adjusting the grout line width slightly.

2 Lay tiles along the two lines to ascertain if they look right from the entranceway. If any gaps in the walls are not even half a tile wide, shift the road across to make really a gap. Also move the guide lines so that tiles around a dominant feature (e.g. a fireplace or French windows) are symmetrical and there are whole tiles at the doorway.

3 Spread about one square meter of tile adhesive/grout into one of the right angles produced by the two crossing chalk lines. Scrap the notched side of the trowel across the mix to make ridges of the same thickness.

4 Lay the initial few tiles along the edge of the longest center line. Gently press the tiles into place, making sure they also lineup with the other center line. Add plastic spacers at each and every corner to keep them exactly the same distance apart for grouting.

5 Work outwards from your middle of the room til you have laid all the whole tiles on one half of the floor. Make use of a spirit level to check the tiles are at the same level. Now move across for the other side of the longest center line and add the remainder of the whole tiles. Leave setting for 24 hours.

6 Utilize the tile cutter to trim the advantage tiles to the right shape. Appraise the space at both sides in case the walls are uneven please remember to allow for the grouting gap. Always wear goggles and gloves when cutting tiles.

7 Leave the adhesive setting for at least 12 hours, then grout between the tiles with the adhesive/grout. Force a combination into the gaps having a squeegee, working from side to side or more and down the tiles.

8 For wide joint lines, manage a piece of hosepipe over the grouting surface. Wipe off any grout from your tiles with a damp sponge, before it sets hard.

Wall tiling

Gemstone tiles add a touch of luxury to your rooms. There's no special trick to locating out how many tiles you will require, just measure the height and width from the area and multiply these together to provide the area to be tiled. Divide this figure through the area of a single tile (e.g. a 10x10cm tile posseses an area of 100cm) to give the amount of tiles you need. Add Ten percent for cutting and wastage. Installation is equivalent to for ceramic tiles however, you will need an electric tile cutter using a diamond wheel and the capacity to tackle your selected depth of tile. Most natural stone is easier to cut than ceramic. The additional weight of real stone should also be considered use strong battens, at least 50mm wide and screwed to the wall, to support the bottom line of tiles.

Use a saw tile to reduce a tile to suit around an awkward shape for instance a pipe or architrave. If you need to cut a curve, to fit around the side of the basin for example, make a card template the identical size as the tile. Make cuts at around 10mm spacing along the curve edge and press website into position. Trim the 10mm strips to fit exactly around the curve and transfer this shape to the tile. Make sure to leave at least 2mm for grouting.

STEP-BY-STEP

1 To avoid lots of cut tiles or even an unbalanced look, make-up a tile gauge (a batten with all the tile dimensions and grout spaces marked along the edge) to plan the positions with the tiles so that the tops of the last row of tiles under any window will be exactly flush with all the ledge. You may find you will have to cut the bottom row of tiles.

2 Screw a batten for the wall along the line you've marked. Check with a spirit level it's horizontal. Fix an additional upright batten along the left side from the area to be tiled. Again, use a spirit level to ensure it's vertical.

3 Spread the adhesive/grout over most a square meter with the wall, starting in the corner made by both battens. Use the notched side with the spreader to form even ribbons of adhesive. This is especially important for heavy stone tiles. Usually of thumb, 6mm notched spreaders are used for walls and 10mm versions for floors.

4 Begin to tile, pressing the tiles gently to the wall and sliding into position until you see adhesive squeeze out around the sides. Press spacers into each corner and hold a spirit level over the tiles to see if they form a set surface. Continue to tile, focusing on about a square meter at a time until you've fixed every one of the whole tiles. Clean off adhesive from your tile surface while you work.

5 Next, lay tiles alongside and front from the window reveal in order that they cover the edges of the wall tiles. Wipe off any adhesive before it has dried with a damp sponge.

6 Leave the splashback to dry fully before detaching the timber battens. Now cut the tiles to fit into any gaps at the end of the splashback and at the front and sides with the window reveal. Fix in position.

7 When all of the tiles are fixed, leave to dry. Force more adhesive/grout to the gaps between the tiles using a squeegee. Wipe off all of the excess grout with a damp sponge, rinsed out regularly in clean water. When the surface is dry, polish with a dry cloth.

8 To form a flexible waterproof seal new tiles plus a worktop, run a bead of waterproof sealant round the bottom of the tiles.

TIPS

In case you are tiling around an acrylic bath, half fill with water to make the rim flex to its maximum extent before filling the space with a bathroom sealant.

Make screw holes for bathroom accessories having a masonry drill bit. To stop the bit slipping and damaging the outer lining, stick some masking tape over the area to be drilled.

Buy all of the tiles you will need at one time if possible to avoid any differences between batches.

If you wish to form a pattern, draw an agenda of the room on graph paper to make certain the pattern will look in proportion and symmetrical.

To tile an area that has to be used everyday, tile one half of the area at the same time so you can still walk throughout the bare floor while the tile adhesive sets. If you learn you are working slowly and also the adhesive is beginning to create, only spread around half a square meter at a time. It's essential the adhesive continues to be wet when the tiles are being fixed.

Fireplaces

Stone Fireplaces are a defining feature for any lounge or dining room, making the perfect frame to a wood, coal or gas fire. Of course, any chimney linings ought to be pre-installed in your self-build project and the surround really does come at the final stages from the project. Most companies give you a design and install service that's well worth the money for such large and expensive objects. Otherwise, check your builder is happy to battle the job. It may need extra lifting equipment nevertheless the installation process isn't complicated. You can choose anything from the clean lines of a contemporary fireplace with a reproduction Regency style or contact an architectural salvage yard for any genuine period piece. Most yards may also undertake restoration focus on stone and marble fireplaces.

Baths and basins

Baths, basins and washstands could be either stone resin or solid stone. There's a wide range of colors offered by off-whites to reds, browns and blacks. Keep in mind the loading on the suspended floor baths can weigh from 200 to 500kg or maybe more.

As well as the luxury of a solid stone basin, a number of the modern designs can also be breathtaking, with open wave forms, travertine mosaic and deceptively thin slab designs.

Worktops

Granite is the most popular of the natural stonework surfaces. You can clean and contrasts well with lighter wood carcases. Marble and limestone look great but are softer and can scratch or stain. Once you plan your kitchen, ensure the runs of floor cabinets can withstands weights up to 90kgs per square meter average for a 30mm solid granite top. You can even specify 40mm tops, made from two 20mm layers having a ply central insert to lessen the weight. Your kitchen supplier might need to alter the design and add extra support around sink cut-outs and appliances. The suppliers may also need a clear work area so all sinks and hobs needs to be removed and kept away from the work area. If you can, don't install the wall sockets until following your worktop is fitted this can avoid any accidental damage since the stone is slid into place over the units. With regards to the shape and size of each component part, the suppliers might point to extra joints in solid granite worktops since the grain structure can be extremely vulnerable to cracking if there's any stress over longer lengths or around narrow cut-out areas. Be sure to order matching granite up-stands

for your walls. These are around 100m high with polished surfaces and edges. Color-matched silicone sealant is utilized for the jointing. As with sanitary items, composite quartzite can reduce the price of the kitchen but still give some of the solidity and feel of your real stone. Additionally, it has the advantage of grain consistency along with a wide range of solid reds, blues, greens and more neutral tones.

Cleaning and maintenance

stone wall - Keep a copy from the care and maintenance instructions provided with your stonework as sealants and care procedures vary. Granite surfaces for example worktops don't need too much specialist cleaning because the surface doesn't absorb stains in the same way as a softer travertine stone.

Wipe up any spills as quickly as possible, especially liquids for example acidic juices and alcohol. Fine grit is the big enemy of natural stone flooring as ground in particles cause striations than eventually dull the top. Use a mop, soft brush or vacuum to gather up the dirt. A neutral pH detergent and tepid to warm water will remove grease along with other light stains but ensure the floor is dried with a soft cloth to avoid a film build of residues.

Stone should just have resealing every 3-5 years roughly and some products will never need resealing. After installing any gemstone, it's essential to clean up any mortar/adhesive residue immediately as the resin-based adhesives bond' the stone surface and so are extremely difficult to clean up when cured. For bathroom and kitchen installations, avoid using any wax or soap cleaners not less than the first six weeks. Otherwise, the stone pores will end up clogged and restrict the evaporation from your mortar/adhesive.

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