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Tiles & Stones 3

Slate - Slate’s naturally slip-resistant surface is very hard and durable, with varied colours and features that have served builders and architects for centuries. Suitable for indoor as well as outdoor applications, slate satisfies several natural stone flooring needs. Slate is often installed as flooring for use in foyers, hallways and bathrooms as well as for poolside surfaces, due in large part to its characteristic slip-resistance, a common consideration in these areas. One of the most popular textures available in slate is that of the “split face” variety, which is particularly effective when looking for this slip-resistant feature. With a range of colours that vary from orange, to greens and purples and to beige, slate offers a distinct aesthetic dimension as well, adding to its value as a decorative natural stone tile as well as a practical one.

Because slate is made from a natural stone, you can expect a certain level of colour variation from tile to tile. This is because of the fluctuation of the amounts of minerals and other compounds unique to each individual tile.

Although this can be seen as a disadvantage if you’re looking for a monochromatic effect, it can really work in your favour when laying your slate with a more diverse design approach in mind. These natural colour variations allow you to be creative when it comes time to laying out each tile, making a unique statement with the individual slate tiles you have at your disposal. No other slate floor will look exactly like yours! For this, a good idea is to open all of the boxes of slate you’ve purchased to see the full spectrum of the natural stone in unique to your batch. This will allow you to plan out how you wish to design your floor in a dry run, much like you would do with ceramic tile or granite tile.

Slate is a popular, practical, and decorative natural stone tile solution for flooring. The slate option is a great choice when you’re looking for a surface that is slip resistant, and one that is specifically designed to be uniform for the most level and even surface possible. With the natural colour variations, you have the option of getting creative when it comes time to install your slate, and you can really make a unique statement that will make your floor truly distinctive.

Vinyl, rubber, linoleum - These materials are available in tiles as well as sheet form. Because they are softer, cheaper, quieter and warmer than most hard tiles, they are a popular choice for utility areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. They are also extremely easy for the amateur to lay.

Terra cotta - It is the same material in construction and appearance as clay garden pots. Tiles are absorbent and need to be treated for indoor use. They are nice when they are properly sealed and maintained, but often they are not. Some people expect this rugged and natural product to be perfect. It is not so, and does not pretend to be.

Many European terra-cotta tiles are very porous. It pays to seek out a low porosity tile.

Cork - Made from pressed and baked natural cork, these tiles make a warm, comfortable, quiet and durable floor. Make sure you buy flooring-grade tiles. Lay them on a smooth floor, using adhesive. Cork must be properly sealed

Wall Tiles - Most wall tiles are made in much the same way as floor tiles. It is always best to check that the tile you choose will go where you want it to. For Kitchens and bathrooms most people tend to opt for the value for money ranges which are ceramic. Ceramic tiles are flat, thin items made of clay, silica, fluxes, colouring and other raw materials.

Grout and Tile Adhesive - Modern wall tiles are fixed to a wall using a synthetic bonding agent called tile adhesive for dry areas, or a cement-based mortar for areas prone to moisture, such as bath or shower walls. The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called grout and usually comes in white or gray. The excess grout is scraped off with a hard rubber block called a float immediately after applying, and then the grout is wiped again with a moist sponge before it completely hardens. The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout.

A special kind of adhesive has to be used if the tiles are being laid on top of a floor with underfloor heating pipes inside.        


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