Installing Stone Tile
Stone also suffers from the normal physical inconsistencies found in any natural material. Some pieces might not be exactly as wide or thick as the others.
When set the top edges of all tiles should be flush. Backbutter each tile before you set it in the mortar bed and test it to make sure its edges are flush with its neighbors.
Most stone tile comes from the factory with beveled edges, so cutting a tile will leave it with an unbeveled edge. Hone the edge of the cut tile with a rubbing stone or with sandpaper wrapped around a block of wood. To polish a tile to a high sheen, use progressively finer grits of carbide sandpaper (from 120 to 600).
About 10 hours for an 8x10-foot room. Allow 3 to 4 hours for grouting and cleanup on the next day.
Sponge, chalkline, power drill with mixing paddle, notched trowel, beater block, rubber mallet, 4-foot metal straightedge, grout float, wet saw, dry-cutting saw
Marking, setting, cutting tile
Remove existing flooring; repair or replace underlayment
Thinset mortar, stone tile, grout
Stone tile often has a dusty residue on its back, and this dust weakens the adhesive bond. Wipe your finger across the back of the tile and if it comes up dusty, clean the backs of the tiles with a sponge and water. Let the tiles dry before bedding them.Step 2
Lay out a dry run so the edge tiles are the same size. Then snap lines as guides. Using white thinset for light-color tiles, trowel thinset on the subfloor and backbutter the tile. Set and level the tiles, adding mortar to the back as needed. Line up the tiles with a straightedge.Step 3
When the mortar for the field tiles has set sufficiently (usually overnight), cut the edge tiles with a wet saw and lay them in a mortar bed, backbuttering each tile as you go. Measure for each individual edge tile -- it's unlikely that the room will be square and all the tiles the same size.Step 4
Let the mortar for the edge tiles cure for 24 hours. Mix a batch of unsanded grout, enough to cover a small section. To keep the stone tiles from absorbing too much water from the grout, wet them with a spray bottle. Apply the grout with a float. Remove excess grout from the surface of the stone. When the grout has set for about 15 minutes, wipe the haze with a damp sponge. Finish grouting the entire installation, working in sections to clean the excess before it hardens. When the grout has completely cured, seal the tiles as necessary.Cutting a hole in the stone
Cutting holes for obstacles such as floor vents becomes a relatively easy task with a dry-cutting saw equipped with a diamond blade. The saw allows you to get almost all the way into the corners to make a clean cut.
Mark the outline with a china marker (not a felt-tip, which may bleed). While a helper steadies the tile, lower the saw into the middle of the line, then back to the other corner. Knock out the cut piece with tile nippers and trim the corners square. Don't worry if the cutline is slightly errant; it will be hidden under the vent cover.Edge tiles not available?
Some manufacturers produce stone bullnose, but if your selection doesn't come with them (and you need them to finish stone-tiled steps or a hearth), make your own by rounding the edges with a rubbing stone. As an alternative start with coarse carbide sandpaper wrapped around a wood block and polish with finer grades.Pro Tip: Use adhesive alternatives for stone
If you've laid granite tiles in an entryway or bathroom and have some left over, granite tiles make an attractive substitute for a granite slab on a countertop. If your tiles are cut to a consistent thickness, you can use silicone adhesive instead of thinset. Lay the tiles in a dry run. Lift one at a time, apply silicone to the substrate, and press the tiles in place. Line up the tiles with a straightedge. For some stone tiles expensive epoxy mortar is the preferred adhesive, but you might be able to save money by sealing the back of the tiles with a nonporous epoxy sealer. Once the coating has cured, set the tiles in regular thinset mortar.
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- Preparing a Room & Floor for New Flooring
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- Installing & Staining Cement Overlays: How to Install Cement Floors
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- Paint & Epoxy: How to Apply a Paint or Epoxy Floor Coating
- Floor Repair: How to Repair & Maintain Floors