1. GET BETTER WITH AGE, JUST LIKE FINE WINE
As it gets older, natural stone improves. We call it ‘wearing in, not out’. There are not many materials that you can say that about.
2. ORIGINAL & UNIQUE
By its very nature, every single slab of natural stone is unique. In fact, that is just one of the ways that you can immediately tell the difference between natural stone and compound materials, because there are no repetition of patterns.
3. INFINITE VARIETIES
There are infinite varieties of stone types, finishes, colours and markings – there’s no chance of you visiting another house which has exactly the same floor or wall.
Stone colours and patterns are subtle and under-stated. As a material, it does not visually dominate, so you’ll always find it very easy to design interiors around it.
5. FOR INDOOR & OUTDOOR
You can use many stones both indoors and out, so you can create a coherent feel for your home and exterior areas.
6. IDEAL SOLUTION FOR UNDERFLOOR HEATING
With modern underfloor heating systems, you can create a very cozy environment with the practicality of a hard floor.
7. EASY TO MAINTAIN
A natural stone floor is very easy to sweep and to clean – especially if you use the right sealants and polishes right from the start. There is no reason for it to ever be high-maintenance.
8. SUIT ANY BUDGET
There is a huge range of prices to suit any budget (especially with our commitment to sourcing high-quality natural stone at affordable prices).
9. ART OF STORYTELLING
Natural stone always has a story to tell – where it comes from, the geological qualities that it possesses, the fossils and patterns, the iconic, historical buildings that used the same type of stone.
10. ENHANCE VALUE OF YOUR HOME
Natural stone is durable, beautiful and appealing. It will enhance the value of your home now and long into the future, why invest in anything else?
Our stone is priced by the square metre. Usually customers order it in combinations of flagstones which make up patterns, such as those described here.
Products that are supplied in ‘patterns’ consist of combinations of set size flagstones, which enable you to follow these classic patterns without the waste associated with cutting uniform flagstones to appropriate sizes.
Some of our stones are available in different widths and random lengths, so that you can choose whether to lay floors in your own free-form pattern, or in a regimented design.
When buying a pattern you must buy at least one complete set of stones and therefore a minimum number of square metres, depending on the exact quantity of stone within that pattern.
Here are a few recommended simple steps to ensure your stone floor gleams for many years to come.
Firstly, keep your floor as free as possible of loose dust and grit with regular vacuuming or sweeping. This will greatly reduce the ‘sandpaper’ effect of dirt getting compacted into the surface and joints. Then, we recommend washing the floor firstly, to remove the dirt that a vacuum won’t pick up, and secondly for hygiene.
We strongly recommend that you use specialist cleaning products for stone. The harsh, acidic supermarket products will ‘bruise’ the stone and erode protective sealants. Ideally, use a product that is PH neutral, bio-degradable and environmentally-friendly. Using the correct specialist cleaning product will greatly reduce the frequency of more intensive cleans and even the re-seals that may be needed for the more porous types of stone.
General wear of the surface from foot traffic over the years exposes capillaries within the stone. Over time these can accumulate dirt and grime. Therefore, we recommend a more intensive clean every 3-4 years, with a heavy-duty product that will dissolve ingrained dirt and grease.
A common misconception is that every stone floor needs resealing every few years, but it is true for the more porous stone surfaces. You can normally tell if a stone does need resealing by wetting the stone and leaving for around 5 mins before wiping off and if the water leaves a mark by darkening the stone this will mean the stone is becoming more porous. If you do decide to reseal your stone, you should give it an intensive clean with a product that penetrates the surface prior to resealing with an impregnating sealer. You may, however, decide your floor doesn’t need resealing but could do with being refreshed. Applying a surface refreshing product every 4 – 6 weeks will help with this.
Do not use any of the following products on your stone floor: bleach-based cleaners; washing-up liquids; strong de-greasing detergents; anything that contains natural acids or alkalis. Avoid non-specialised supermarket cleaning products. Avoid using steam cleaners – they may clean some surfaces, but the hot steam can remove the sealer and repeated use will ‘spall’ and damage the surface.
Our Stone Essentials range covers all the bases for a cleaning and maintenance regime that will ensure your stone floor grows old gracefully.
All Clean is the Stone Essentials product for your routine cleaning. It’s suitable to use on stone, it’s an antibacterial detergent and can be used weekly or even daily without detriment to the stone as long as you dilute it as per the instructions on the bottle.
For a really deep clean, we recommend Deep Clean, heavy-duty cleaner which uses a combination of effective solvents and cleaning agents to dissolve ingrained dirt, grease, heavy soiling and many other problematic stains. The less you dilute it, the stronger the solution – but you must carefully follow the instructions on the bottle.
If you refresh your floor by applying a sheen with Stone Essentials Easy Sheen every 4-6 weeks, for example, you may find you do not need to completely re-seal stone.
We recommend that you employ a proven professional for installation, but here are some brief guidelines that you can consider for internal installation.
When you receive your order, check that you have all your tiles and that they are in good condition. These are 100% natural or hand-crafted products and so there will, of course, be some variations in colour tone and natural character that make them unique and beautiful. We recommend that you ‘shuffle’ tiles from different boxes/crates so that you have a uniform effect across the entirety of the new surface.
Please note: These are very general guidelines and not definitive instructions. The issuer of these guidelines cannot be held responsible for installation. It is always recommended that a qualified and professional tiler should take responsibility for the installation of all stone and tile products.
• Prior to installation you should store your tiles in a dry place.
• Do not install tiles during very hot weather.
• Avoid direct sunlight on to the tiles during installation (prior to sealing the tiles).
• Never use acids or undiluted alkaline solutions to clean tiles.
• If cleaning between each process is required use a pH neutral cleaner such as our STONE ESSENTIALS All Clean.
• Always ensure that surfaces are properly sealed before grouting.
• Use mats at entrance/exit areas where grit may enter the house.
• Do not cover newly installed surfaces with non- breathable membranes such as self-adhesive plastic sheeting, Correx or plywood sheets. If surfaces need to be covered after installation, use a good-quality decorator’s sheet or a thin specialist protective card instead.
Both sides of the tile should be wiped clean of any dust before installation and
the top surface should be wiped again after installation and before grouting takes place. You must create a flat, level and stable surface – preferably of concrete – on to which the tiles can be laid. If you do this on a timber surface, the floor will need overlaying with a suitable tile backerboard such as NoMorePly (www.nomoreply.net). You can also use this product to tile on to timber-framed walls. If you are tiling on to walls in wet areas, we recommend you fully tank (waterproof) the walls with a specific tanking system such as Schülter tanking system or similar. If you are tiling on to an underfloor, heated screed the floor will need priming and overlaying with a movement decoupling membrane such as our Stone Essentials Isomat or Schluter – Ditra. This will help prevent any shrinkage or cracking that may occur in the screed being transferred through to the tiles. The tiles can be cut using a diamond blade – ideally a water-cooled machine. Some glass and ceramic tiles can be cut with a scribe and break type cutter. If you are using an angle grinder, constantly spraying with water while cutting will help to prevent chipped edges.
Use a good-quality, flexible, white, tile-adhesive and carefully follow any instructions on the manufacturer’s label. Ensure 100% coverage of each tile with adhesive, and remove excess adhesive with a damp cloth before it hardens. Level the tiles using hand pressure only. Using a mallet or rubber hammer could cause cracking.
(natural stone, encaustic, terrazzo and terracotta)
Clean and condition the surface using a diluted solution of alkaline cleaner such as STONE ESSENTIALS Deep Clean (diluted 1:10 with water). This will help ensure that any dust, dirt and grime that may have accumulated during the installation process is removed. A properly cleaned and prepared surface will improve the efficiency of the sealer.
(natural stone, encaustic, terrazzo, crackle glaze and terracotta)
Once your tiles are installed you will need to use an impregnating sealant for protection against fading and staining, such as Stone Essentials Stain Block (or for crackle glaze tiles a crackle glaze sealant). This should be applied after they have been installed (and cleaned using Stone Essentials Deep Clean or similar) but prior to grouting, in accordance with the product label. You should apply a second coat after grouting. You could also choose to apply a surface finish (normally to more rustic products) such as Stone Essentials Stone Shield or Wax polish as this will offer further protection and give an attractive patina, although in non-wet areas only. This would be applied after grouting once fully dry (around seven days depending on humidity). Please refer to our guide throughout this directory for recommendations on sealing products.
We recommend using lighter coloured grouts for most products in particular natural stone, encaustic and terrazzo
tiles, rather than black or bright coloured as these can cause staining in the natural pores of the tiles.
• Ensure you have selected a grout product that is suitable for use with the chosen tile material and desired joint width.
• Don’t use masking tape on the tiles as this can cause marking.
• Ensure that you wipe away any excess grout from the tiles before the grout dries.
• Once grout is installed and fully dried, wash your new tile floor with a neutral detergent such as STONE ESSENTIALS All Clean.
• Do not leave water to sit on the surface.
• Follow the grout manufacturer’s installations carefully.
Natural finish: Apply a final coat of impregnating sealer making sure to cover the grout joints as well.
Satin finish: Further to the above you can also choose to apply a surface wax such as STONE ESSENTIALS Stone
Shield or STONE ESSENTIALS Wax Polish. This will offer further protection and give an attractive patina (cement tiles, rustic tumbled stones and some matt porcelains in non-wet areas only). For crackle glaze apply a second coat of crackle glaze sealant.
As long as you select the right type of tile for the job and your lifestyle, caring for your floors and walls doesn’t have to be a chore. Here are a few essential steps. Firstly, keep floors as free as possible of loose dust and grit with regular vacuuming or sweeping. This will greatly reduce the ‘sandpaper’ effect of dirt getting compacted into the surface and joints. Then, we recommend washing the floor – firstly, to remove the dirt that a vacuum won’t pick up, and secondly
for hygiene. We strongly recommend that you use specialist cleaning products. The harsh, acidic supermarket products will ‘bruise’ your tiles and erode protective sealants. Ideally, use a product that is PH neutral, bio-degradable and environmentally friendly. We recommend our Stone Essentials All Clean product. Using the correct specialist cleaning product will greatly reduce the frequency of more intensive cleans and reseals. General wear of the surface from foot traffic over the years exposes capillaries, or tiny cracks. Over time these can accumulate dirt and grime. Therefore, we recommend a more intensive clean every 3–4 years, with a heavy-duty product that will dissolve ingrained dirt and grease. A common misconception is that every natural stone floor needs resealing every few years, but it is true for the more porous stones. You can normally tell if a stone does need resealing by wetting the stone and leaving for around five minutes before wiping off. If the water leaves a mark by darkening the stone this will mean the stone is becoming more porous. If you do decide to reseal your stone, you should first give it an intensive clean with a product that penetrates the surface. You may, however, decide your floor doesn’t need resealing but could do with being refreshed. Applying a surface refreshing product every 4–6 weeks will help with this. We strongly recommend you do not use bleach- based cleaners, washing-up liquids, strong degreasing detergents, or anything that contains natural acids or alkaline. Avoid non-specialised supermarket cleaning products. Avoid using steam cleaners – they may clean some surfaces, but the hot steam can remove the sealer and repeated use will ‘spall’ and damage the surface.
Our Stone Essentials range covers all the bases for a cleaning and maintenance regime that will maintain your tile floor in excellent condition.
All Clean is the Stone Essentials product for your routine cleaning. It’s suitable to use as an antibacterial detergent and can be used weekly or even daily as long as you dilute it as per the instructions on the bottle.
For a really deep clean, we recommend Stone Essentials Deep Clean, heavy-duty cleaner which uses a combination of
effective solvents and cleaning agents to dissolve ingrained dirt, grease, heavy soiling and many other problematic stains. The less you dilute it, the stronger the solution – but you must carefully follow the instructions on the bottle.
These are very general guidelines and not definitive instructions. The issuer of these guidelines cannot be held responsible for installation. It is always recommended that a qualified and professional tiler should take responsibility for the installation of all stone and tile products,
These are brief guidelines for working with natural stones and man-made paving.
This general guidance does not imply any guarantee by Mia Urbo Design Ltd. We always recommend that a qualified and professional installer should take responsibility for the specification and installation of all stone and tile products. Current and appropriate industry standards and codes of practice s hould be observed in all instances.
However, if you do decide to install the stone or tiles yourself, we strongly recommend that you do plenty of research into materials and methods, and seek the best advice on how to carry out the installation.
Check that you have all your slabs and that they’re in good condition. Remember, with natural or handcrafted products there will always be some variations in colour tone, veining, surface texture and natural characteristics. Tip: Keep the tiles on a level, stable surface, stored vertically to avoid any risk of cracking.
• Wipe both sides of the tile clean with a sponge and clean water before installation to remove dust. This will ensure good adhesion.
• Don’t install slabs in freezing or cold conditions.
• Give yourself a dry run by laying your slabs or tiles as they will eventually be laid. This enables you to check you have the correct number and size of slabs and colour blending.
• When installing a flagstone, it is important to ensure it is laid the right way up (one way to identify the top, is to look at the sides of the slab – which usually taper inwards, so that the top is slightly wider than the underside). If in doubt it’s always best to ask a stone expert.
• With natural stones, randomly select and mix tiles from the different boxes or crates you receive to ensure a tonal blend across the entirety of the new surface and avoid any colour banding.
The golden rule is: tiles must always be ‘solid bedded’ – in other words, avoid any cavities underneath the material.
The bed should support the full slab, not just the corners or in dots/dabs. Do not ‘spot’ bed as this can cause ‘through
bed staining’ and will weaken the integrity of the paving. (Please note that precise standards, falls, bed thicknesses
and other specifications may vary dependent on the actual application. You should always refer to appropriate and current standards and codes of practice.)
Tiles can be cut using a diamond tipped blade – ideally a water-cooled machine for the cleanest cutting. There are
different blades for natural stone and for porcelain so it’s important to have the correct one.
Thin tiles (up to 1cm) should be levelled using hand pressure only. A rubber mallet hammer can be used for thicker, more robust slabs.
There are several different methods of installation for external paving. The two most common methods are:
To improve adhesion, apply/backbutter a slurry coat of tile adhesive or a slurry primer/paste of SBR with cement
to the underside of the flagstones/tiles prior to bedding. Carefully lower each slab onto the mortar bed and beware of any drips or splashes from the primer. Use spacers to guide your joint widths and use a rubber mallet to carefully tap it down into the mortar bed until it is at the correct level. Check there are no high spots or hollows so that there is complete contact between the primercoated base and the mortar. You should also check against the string-lines to make sure each flag is level and aligned. Make any adjustments now before the mortar becomes too stiff. Wipe down the paving once again in case any primer or mortar has touched the face of the flags. Required falls must be carefully formed, and expansion joints should be created using an outdoor grade jointing material. This should be suitable for your chosen slabs and may differ between natural stone and porcelain. Finally, cordon off the freshly-paved
area, avoiding any foot traffic for at least 24-36 hours.
We recommend using lighter coloured grouts for most products, rather than black or bright coloured as these can cause staining in the natural pores of the tiles. Whichever grout or pointing material you choose must be appropriate for internal or external use, and suitable for the selected joint width. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and remove excess grout from the tiles before the grout dries. Butt jointing of tiles is not recommended.
Natural stone used externally does not have to be sealed and so sealing is a personal choice but usually recommended.
If you decide to seal your stone, an important factor to consider is whether the sealer is breathable because it may trap mobile salts in solution beneath the surface. Efflorescence can develop, and the unbreathable sealer prevents salts
from exiting through the sealed surface. The build-up of the salts can result in a hard-to-remove stain and often causes disruption and breakdown of the surface itself. If you use a breathable sealant, the paved area can usually be sealed
immediately after installation, but always check with the product manufacturer. If you decide to use a sealer on your natural stone, test the product on a small, discreet area first, to make sure you are happy with the result.
Clean the tiles first A properly cleaned and prepared surface improves the efficiency of the sealer. Therefore, clean and condition the surface using a diluted solution of alkaline cleaner such as STONE ESSENTIALS Deep Clean (diluted 1:10 with water). This helps to ensure that dust, dirt and grime are removed. Tip: You should never use acids or undiluted alkaline solutions to clean tiles.
We recommend regular maintenance and cleaning of your new paved area to keep it looking its best.
There are various cleaners available – some specialise in dealing with specific types of stains (such as oil or tannins) and others are more general. We recommend you brush your paved area regularly as well as cleaning it from time to time. Use a soft bristled brush when sweeping your paved area, as tougher wire brushes could scratch the stone. Brushing the stone is the safest option for keeping the stone clean. Using water with a neutral pH soap or detergent should be sufficient for routine maintenance. Pressure washers should be used with great care to avoid damaging the surface of the stone and the mortar joints. Always check the instructions on the product before using it to clean your natural stone and test a small, discreet area of paving first to make sure you are happy with the result.
• Never use acids or undiluted alkaline solutions to clean tiles.
• Don’t cover newly-installed surfaces with nonbreathable membranes such as self-adhesive plastic sheeting, Correx or plywood sheets.
• Be aware of surrounding materials that could leach tannins onto the newly installed surface.
Heavily etched and worked surface followed by a further process that knocks back the grain exposure to ensure the character remains.
Created by hand-fettering and then cushioning (softly rounding) the edges of the stone leaving the surface flat.
Created by sand-blasting. An etched finish makes stone surfaces less slippery. It also softens the colour of the stone for a slightly more muted finish. This is particularly appropriate for hard stones that are used for exteriors and pool surrounds.
Created by high-speed mechanical action that leaves the surface smooth and flat. The finish achieved can vary from matt to gloss depending on the density of the stone.
The next level of smoothing up from honed. The level of polishing usually relates to the hardness of the stone – the harder it is the finer it can be polished.
Riven finish is the split or cleft face of stones that are naturally made up of many thin bed or strata layers. Stones such as slates and sandstones are typically supplied in the Riven finish, but some limestones are also available with this natural face.
Created by texturing the stone with a special high pressure mechanical action resulting in a soft stippled surface which, on some stones, can increase the slip resistance in wet areas.
A subtle process for matching aged stones. This is a mechanical process that softly rounds the edges and exposes the surface grain leaving it with a lightly stippled effect.
Created by a mechanical process that recreates the effect of the action of the sea on beach pebbles. The edges are softly rounded and the surface grain is exposed.
The stone is sandblasted to give it a bleached, etched effect and then undergoes the satino process which gives it an orange-peel look and velvety feel.
Created by hand-fettering the edges of the stone and then texturing the surface in a more concentrated process to give a delightfully rustic look
Created by hand-fettering the edges of the stone and then heavily etching and then smoothing the surface to produce an open-grain finish that mellows to an antique patina.
The classic stone for interiors. Often light in colour, but with colours that can range from grey to black, limestone always has interesting shell and fossil patterns. Limestone is versatile and durable. It ages beautifully and only requires a little cleaning and treatment to ensure that it lasts for generations.
Marble is an exceptionally hard stone, though it is essentially a limestone, characterised by swirls and veins (which result from mineral impurities such as iron oxides, clay or sand) and by a wide variety of colours – white through to black, including pink, gold, green and grey.
Sandstone is a little less hard than limestone and other stones, but it has been used historically for major buildings such as cathedrals, as well as for ornamental stone such as fountains and statues because it is easy to carve. It is a sedimentary rock, and like sand may be any colour, but is usually tan, brown, pale pink or red, or even white or black.
Slate makes wonderful, characterful floors – with metallic colouring and natural undulations. It is very hardwearing and, because of its darker colouring, less demanding in terms of maintenance than many stones.
The natural surface-pits in travertine stone are usually filled with grout, leaving the stone with an aged look of instant character, or with special resins for a more sleek appearance. One feature of travertine is that small holes will appear in the surface from time to time – this is nothing to be unduly concerned about as these holes can simply be filled with a little grout.
Travertine is easy to care for but is a better choice of product for areas which are not so heavily used. Travertine is closely associated with Italian architecture and design.
From the Italian meaning ‘baked earth’, terracotta is made from clay. It is generally a deep crimson colour with a rustic, glazed finish and is reminiscent of Mediterranean floors and roofs
Cement tiles differ from ceramic tiles in that the pattern or figure on the surface is a product of different colours of clay, rather than a glazed application – this is called the encaustic technique where pattern is inlaid into the body of the tile, so that the design and colour remain, even as the tile wears. Cement tiles will age naturally and develop their own patina with time, like natural stones. Cement tiles are suitable for domestic and commercial use floors and walls.
The same technique is used as encaustic tiles (see above), but ground marble chips are added to the top layer to add extra durability and visual effect.
Porcelain tiles are made from a mixture of clays and minerals and fired at a very high temperature. This means that they are extremely hard wearing. Tip: Due to the nature of the manufacturing process, porcelain tiles may be subject to a very slight ‘bow’ along the length of larger tiles (this can normally be corrected using a specialist clip system). This slight bowing, which will fall within European Standards (and please be assured that all our tiles are CE compliant), can cause slight ‘lipping’ between one tile and the next. If you wish to minimize the effect of this, we recommend that tiles should be laid square, or staggered by not more than a third of a tile length, rather than laying brick-bond.
Porcelain that is ‘non-rectified’ may vary very slightly in dimension, which means that a slightly wider grout joint needs to be used. NB ‘non-rectified’ porcelain products always carry a calibre code in order that tiles can be grouped together by their finished size