December 31, 2001
question, share your knowledge, or offer your services!
Advice Wanted has all the current month’s
1286: I am planning to use travertine for the floor, walls, and
roof for my bathroom with shower in the bali-style, where the bathroom/shower
opens to the outside garden and there is a door from the house to
the bathroom. In bali, I saw they use all kinds of stone and tile
for the room. Any problems with using travertine? How would one
attach it to the walls and ceiling, should I remove the drywall
and replace it with a special under layment? Any pointers would
be appreciated. benjamin. Dec 29. Reply
Remove the drywall and replace with 1/2" backerboard. Of course
you will need to use waterproof membrane in the shower. Use a premixed
epoxy thinset for the ceiling and walls if you want to go all out.
Epoxy is not cheap, and you will need to find a stone/tile distributor
for the material as Home Depot and Lowes don't carry it. Good luck.
Hage, USA, Reply
I would definitely suggest that the ceilings and walls be sheathed
out of cement backer board in lieu of drywall. The drywall is not
as resistant to moisture as the cement backer board. The tape the
seams with a liquid latex fortified portland cement based thin set
mortar (e.g. LATICRETE 211 Crete Filler Powder White mixed with
LATICRETE 4237 Latex Thin Set Mortar Additive). Once the taping
treatment hardens, use the same 211 + 4237 to install the stones.
If the floor substrate is concrete or a portland cement mortar bed,
you can use the same 211 + 4237. There should also be a shower pan
waterproofing membrane in the installation system.
Attached you will find a detail drawing that depicts a shower
application. Art, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
No there is not any problem with using travertine in the setting.
Use a tumbled product for ease of livability. Yes in a completely
wet space as a balinese or snail shower you would need to have the
installation done by a qualified professional. This type of installation
is not for the DIY because water proofing and ceiling tiling is
difficult and precise.
Natural stone is a great choice and I would recommend you spend
your time on learning how to properly maintain the installation
after it is done.
Please be thorough choosing your stone contractor and check references
before you begin. Good luck, Steven. USA, Expert Panelist,
Dear benjamin: Travertine will do just fine, providing that you
understand its physical and chemical limitation (especially if polished)
and, consequently, learn how to take care of it properly. If you
contact me directly I'll be glad to send you my free written guidelines
on the subject. The installation of travertine tiles is not any
different than the installation of other natural stone tiles. Just
use white thin set all the time. On the walls and the ceiling you
can use a rapid-setting material and install "butt-joint" . On the
floor and inside the shower enclosure you will leave 1/16" gap in
between tiles instead, to be grouted with wall-type grout (on the
floor, too). Sheetrock is OK on the walls and ceiling. Inside the
shower, however, is a big NO-NO! In there you must use Wonder board
or other similar material. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert
1284: My husband began installing a marble floor without seeking
advice. He did not leave any space between the tiles while laying
because he didn't see any in the beautiful floors in Las Vegas.
Will anything bad happen? Colleen, USA, Dec 24. Reply
Dear Colleen: 1. The tiles will eventually begin to chip along the
2. Every time you mop the floor some of the water will go under
the tiles, and, eventually, they'll begin to get loose and crack.
3. Hard-to-remove dirt will accumulate in between the tiles. Sorry.
Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert
1260: With reference to A1074,
installing of leaving a 1/16th gap between granite tiles, what about
butting them together and using caulking material where the beveled
edges meet? barbara, Dec 13. Reply
No never do that! Always leave a grout joint! Always fill the grout
joint! If not you are asking for installation failure, efflorescence,
and wasted money. best regards Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
It all depends where you install the tiles. If it's a wall I don't
see any problem. If it's a floor, or the inside of shower stall,
then the extra stickiness of the caulking material over wall-type
grout will not be enough to grant a sound installation. What you
could do -- providing that you know what you're doing -- is to put
a full bead of caulking on the edge of an already installed tile,
before you butt-joint the next one to it, and so on. I hope I was
able to explain myself. If not, contact me and I will try to elaborate
further. Ciao and have fun, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
1259: When you are fabricating a granite countertop with a sink
cutout, at what length (on average) does the integrity of the granite
become so compromised that you will decide to piece the countertop
versus trying to have one seamless piece? How would having one
open end on the countertop versus two fixed cabinets or structures
on each end, effect you decision, if it would at all? Thanks, Michael,
Dec 13, Reply
Dear Michael, Overall my first thought is how much experience do
you have with stone?
There is not a set directive concerning you question. I always base
it on variables. First we assess what type of stone we are working
with. Second we always rod our cutouts so part of your concern does
not affect us. Third we study the size of the material versus the
size of the installation as a whole. Which way we are going to run
the granite etc. best regards, Steven,
USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
1258: We are looking for a product that fills in the small pits
to apply to natural stone countertops after we install
them. Can you help? Dec 12,
clear acrylic glue or a shellac stick. best regards Steven, USA,
Expert Panelist, Reply
Yes I can;
It's penetrating epoxy glue. Now a couple of pieces of advice: 1.
Don't bother with it. 2. If you still insist, call a pro to
do it for you. by and large it is not a DIY project. Ciao and good
luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
1249: I just redid a bathroom with glass mosaic tiles in the shower
and marble and glass tiles on the floor. What are the best products
to use in the shower and on the floor? Thank you. Adrianne.
Dec 10. Reply
I am assuming you are asking what installation method and materials
you should use for the mosaic installation. If that is correct -
see the attached drawing
that depicts your application.
Hi Adrianne, You have some options:
#1 go to Home Depot and buy Tile Lab stone soap.
#2 go to Lowe's and buy Miracle Seal Stone Soap.
# 3 (THE bEST PRODUCT) called P-24 Stone Soap, this product is imported
from Germany is an excellent no
rinse soap product. If interested you can e-mail me back & I
could ship this to you. Only professional craftsmen or dealers can
order this. My company specializes in the restoration of natural
stone and marble. Only a small amount is needed and the bottle can
last for about 1 year of cleaning if you use it as I direct. If
you use other non stone cleaning products you will damage or dull
your marble. Atkin, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
Dear Adrianne: For the shower stall you can use any product that
you can find off the shelves of your local supermarket. For the
floor -- due to the presence of the marble tiles -- you will need
specialty products for stone, namely a pH neutral stone detergent.
Now that I answered your question, I would like you to reciprocate
by answering my own question, which is: "Since you'll be walking
on that floor, and pH active substances may be spilled on it (perfume,
wrong cleaner, such as toilet bowl cleaner, some formulation of
glass cleaner to clean your mirror, etc.) therefore the marble tiles
will deteriorate and, eventually, need resurfacing (it's only a
matter of time), HOW ARE YOU GOING TO TACKLE THE PRObLEM, CONSIDERING
THAT YOU HAVE GLASS TILES MIXED WITH THE MARbLE? I'm sure that the
showroom you bought the tiles from, and the guy who set them on
your floor, and, maybe, your interior decorator have everything
figured out already. So, please, I'd love to have such deep knowledge
shared with me, if it's not too much trouble. As a long time marble
refinisher, I wouldn't have a clue. Unless, of course, you refinish
the marble tiles individually on hands and knees with a small machine.
Assuming that you can find someone who's capable and willing to
do that, I can promise you, it's going to come out a lousy job to
begin with, and -- at my rates -- you might as well have the floor
ripped out and reinstalled anew. but, like I said, I'm sure that
the professionals listed above have this matter thoroughly covered
for you already. So, please, let me have their deep dark secret.
I'm even willing to pay money for the information! Ciao and have
fun, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
1239: Thought the site was terrific. The
comments in the "expert help" were great and very informative (even
humorous at times). I'm tiling a fireplace hearth and
surround with travertine. The hearth is at floor level. I took up
the old ceramic tile that seemed to be laid over an approximately
1" mortar bed. Under the mortar there was dirt and small rocks (even
some broken glass fragments) that was used as filler, I guess. This
is an old house built around 1905 with a basement. It has 2 x 10
beams under the first floor but only 1 beam seems to run across
the front edge of the area where the hearth will be (It's about
a 16" x 60" space.) Can you suggest what I should do for the preparation?
I was thinking about taking enough of the debris out to lay a 1"
mortar bed and then put a cement backer board on top of that with
thin set. Any advice would be welcome. David. Dec 5. Reply
David.. How thick is this layer of dirt etc? what is holding
it up if there is only one beam crossing the front of it? My suspicion
is that the original builder used this dirt layer as a means of
insulating the hearth material from any wood framing members that
are supporting it. If you are planning to use your fireplace, you
need to make sure that any changes you make to it do not bring any
masonry materials into direct contact with any
combustibles, so in making this modification, find something to
replace the dirt layer that is not only fireproof, but will not
transfer heat to the wood underneath. I've used a blanket material
that is used to separate the sheet metal layers in triple insulated
stove pipe and commercial range hoods, and have also used asbestos
board, but I don't believe that it is available anymore. ( haven't
built many fireplaces the last ten years or so). Check your local
markets, and ask some local masons for there suggestions, and I'm
sure you will find a solution that is both safe and effective. Good
luck, JVC, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
The way you're thinking, you're right on the money! Ciao and
good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
response was helpful. Having multiple responders was great and confirmed
what I intended to do. Tried other sites also but got no response.
Thanks again for the advise of your experts. David
1233: How can I re-attach the arm of St. Michael to the
statue on my grandmother's headstone? John L.
Dec 3, Reply
The reattachment can be complicated because adhesive alone will
not do the trick. You need professional assistance. The arm needs
to be cored out on both sides of the break and a stainless steel
rod needs to be glued with epoxy in there. Then the aesthetic portion
of the repair can start polishing and filling as necessary. best
Expert Panelist. Reply
What is the composition of the statue? Marble, Granite, ???? If
is stone - you can use a rapid setting epoxy putty designed for
this purpose. Art, USA,
Expert Panelist. Reply
| A 1223: I have 3/4"
tongue & groove OSb or "chip board". Over the top
of that I have a vinyl floor which I plan on removing. The
joists are 16" on-center (I think). I appreciate your advice.
Ron. Nov 26.
Ron, You will need a cementious underlayment that is screwed and
glued down. Over that use a latex modified thinset. This does not
address levelness of the substrate only deflection. Good luck Steven,
Expert Panelist. Reply
Thanks, Please see the
attached detail drawing that provide you with several installation
options. From the info you provided you will need to add an additional
layer of plywood or install a mortar bed to achieve the required
thickness of the installation system. Hope the info helps. Art,
Expert Panelist. Reply
|A 1219: We are replacing
a drop-in range for a slide-in model. On each side of the range
is 18" wide countertop. We have a friend giving us granite countertops
to replace the laminate countertop taken out. Is there anything
special we need to do to install this? Or will regular silicone
do the job? We were told that you had to put wood underneath this
before installing on the wood cabinets. Is this true? Is there a
site we can go to to walk us through this? Thank you! Angela. Nov
Hi Angela, As with many things the answer is "it depends". I would
suggest you get a stone fabrication & installation facility
in your area to give you a hand. Though I have seen it said many
times that consumers can do the installations themselves I believe
that using a professional with a proven track record is the way
Remember the old adage "you get what you pay for". best regards
Steven, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
Thank you for your inquiry - Please note that countertops can be
installed any number of ways - ranging
from direct bond to the counter frames themselves with silicone
to a complete bedding of the stone over a suitable backer surface.
Attached you find a detail
drawing that depicts the latter. You can omit the waterproofing
layer if you choose. Hope the info helps. Regards, Art, USA, Expert
|A 1210: Your article
A 1004 on the installation of marble tiles in the bathroom was quite
informative. In addition to the information provided, are there
any concerns, issues or special considerations when laying marble
on top of hydronic radiant flooring that has been poured with
1.75” of light weight concrete? My question relates to the warming
and cooling of the surface as it relates to both the thin-set
mortar below and the grout; are special additives required? Your
assistance would be greatly appreciated. Kindest regards, bernie.
USA, Nov 22. Reply
Radiant heat systems can present some challenges for stone and tile
installation. The cycling of the heating system can cause expansion
and contraction of the entire installation system. Please see the
attached detail drawing
that depicts this application. The use of liquid latex additives
in the mortar bed / thin set mortar system accommodates a lot of
this movement. Additionally, the use of anti-fracture membrane in
the system prevents future hairline cracking that can develop in
the system due to the cycling of the heating system. Hope the info
helps. Art, USA,
Expert Panelist, Reply
bernie, There has not been any specific negative qualities regarding
under floor heating whether by electricity or water. The only real
concern has been what to do if the area covered malfunctions. best
USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
|A 1209: Hi, I've found
some great looking granite 12X12 tiles at a reasonable price. I've
had varied opinions on floor backing, sealing and mastic. Could
you please walk me through the correct procedure for laying my tile?
It will be installed on the bathroom floor & on the walls above
my fiberglass shower unit. Thanks Ron, Nov 21. Reply
Ron, In the first place you may want to check the absorption of
the products you want. You then may want to choose a surface other
than polished for slip resistance and check the absorption again.
beyond that I need more information before I tell you how to install
it. by the way, Why isn't who is selling and installing it for you
helping? I would want more enthusiasm from those people if I was
paying them. Keep in touch & let me know how it turns out. best
USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
Please note that there are many types of acceptable substrates for
the installation of stone and tile.
Additionally, there are various types of installation materials
for specific applications. In order to narrow down what is suitable
to use, determine what the existing substrate is now - how thick
it is - is it structurally stable and able to support the stone
installation, the application - wet or dry area interior or exterior?
Once you determine these factors - we can then tell what you can
use. Hope the info helps. Regards, Art, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
|A 1197: Need information
on how to polish edges of granite tiles. Can it be
done by a homeowner? If so how? Nov 20. Reply
I will say no to at least 95% of consumers who ask this question.
The equipment cost and time leads me to say contact a local marble
& granite fabrication facility to do it. best regards,
USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
|A 1189: We are a group
of students of architecture at belgrade University and are doing
a research project on up-to-date materials used in making mosaics.
We need Your help in finding references about these materials (detailed
descriptions, performances, prices, ...) through catalogues, brochures,
etc. Please be as kind as to notify us about the possibilities of
obtaining these data. Thanks in advance. Nov 16. Reply
Unfortunately for you it will not be as easy as sending the email
to us. You have natural stone, ceramic, porcelain, glass, composites
and a whole host of other products to use. Enjoy the research phase
and keep us posted. best regards, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist,
|A 1169: Is it standard to
be able to get a LEVEL surface with tile - we had 1000 sq
ft installed over previous carpeting. What is the standard industry
acceptable mismatch in level of tiles? Installer reinforced floor,
laid 3/4 inch dur-rock then 1/4 inch porcelain tile - 14 inch,
marble / stone-look tile, diagonal lay with 1/8 sanded grout lines.
Although it does not necessarily look bad overall, there are areas
that are bothersome to me as you see edges/ledges especially in
sunlight. I am wondering if this is acceptable? I have also seen,
(especially in commercial), tiles that are absolutely flat, level
- no high/low spots. The installer assures me his work is "good."
How can I get a second opinion now that the work is completed? AND
then what can I do about it??? Entry foyer, hallway, powder room,
family room, kitchen, laundry room - one continuous area. Thanks,
Linda, USA, Nov 7. Reply
|R3: The guideline for
thinset floors is the maximum variation should be no more than 1/8"
(4mm) cumulative over a 10'(3M) linear measurement and no more than
1/32"(0.79mm) variation between individual tiles. I will generally
say that the subfloor should be 3/4" plywood with a 1/2" durock.
This only helps with the deflection of the floor. Levelness is a
factor of how flat is the floor. Though I never admit to this fact,
my good friend Maurizio will tell you about grind in place installations
that get rid of lippage. What I would not usually admit to is that
I was taught this method here as well. We generally used it in commercial
applications. Hope this helped, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
|R2: The condition you
are describing is called "lippage". This condition can be caused
by tiles or stones having a degree of warpage - in other words the
stones or tiles may be "bowed" or "cupped" and do not lay flat.
If this is the case with the materials you used, it may be a condition
that can not be overcome on your project. However, if the tiles
and stones are "flat" and are not warped. The substrate can also
be a factor. If the substrate is not rectified and made smooth -
lippage can occur. Also, the experience of the installer can also
come into play in installing areas smooth as possible floor. Hope
the info helps. Art, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
|R1: Dear Linda: Those
steps that you see are called "lips". The industry standard of acceptability
is 1/32" (you basically don't even notice it). Above that, despite
the assurance of your contractor that he does good work, you a have
the right to have them rectified. Since it's porcelain, your floor
can't be ground flat. (If it were marble or granite it could have,
providing that it was grouted with SANDLESS grout, which is not
the case here). Therefore the only remedy is the replacements of
those tiles. The alternative is to live with it and erase the name
of that contractor from the list of "My Favorites". Ciao and good
luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
Help! Can you tell me how granite slab is installed on a kitchen
counter? I am buying a new home and the granite the fabricator has
installed has a large crack in it. They have applied a fiberglass backing
and inserted steel rods to, presumably, strengthen the granite's integrity.
Is this standard procedure for all installations, or only for repair
jobs? Marceline, USA, October 20, Reply
Dear Marceline Lee: Yes, fiberglass backing and roding are fine.
It remains the fact that -- for the way you report it -- your countertop
has a crack that shouldn't be there! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA,
Expert Panelist, Reply
The installation method is different depending on the thickness
of the stone. 2-CM material will usually have a substrate installed
first then the actual slabs installed on the substrate. 3-CM material
can be installed directly on top of the cabinets and adhered with either
epoxy or silicone. As to the fiberglass and rods, they are used many
times at veins and areas where the stone needs to be cut out. the fiberglass
mesh is used more with type C or D marbles. The procedure sounds like
what they do for repair jobs rather than actual normal procedures. There
are many facets to an installation that I could go on about that I would
bore you and all others with the details. As to your particular situation
it probably will hold together but they should also apply resin to the
fracture from the top as well and polish it back out so that it feels
smooth. It may have been easier to replace the piece than to do all
this but I don't know what the circumstances were. Please email me back
with any other specific questions you want answered. Steven, USA, Expert
Please send info on the proper way to install travertine stone.
I'm looking for info on how to correctly seal a honed travertine floor.
Thank you. USA, Oct 16, Reply
Providing that the joist are posted right (16" o.c.) and that they
have the right deflection rating (L720 or higher), you have to have
a 3/4" subfloor, on top of which you'll bond a 3/8" or 1/5"
playwood, and a 1/4" hardbacker on top of the latter. You will
then set your travertine tile by using preferably 100% soilid setting
material (epoxy) (to avoid migration of moisture through the core of
the stone during the drying period that can generate discoloration),
or, at least, white thinset. To seal it properly, I recommend you to
follow the direction of the manufacturer of the sealer. According to
the make of the product, there are variations in its application. Ciao
and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Reply
We are building our house and sub contracting the work out in regards
to ceramic and marble tile installation, we have 3/4 ply down on the
floor joists, what should we do to install ceramic or marble on the
floor how is thin set, then durock (how thick) screwed or can it be
nailed, then mastic, then tile...or is there a better and more recommended
way and lastly we are getting quotes for $2.50 sq ft for ceramic tile
installation and they want $4.00 per sq ft for marble, should there
be such a big difference when they are both 12 x 12 tiles and how are
these prices for the dc capital area??? and would you recommend putting
the tiles first then the interior doors or the doors then the tiles?
thanks for your help. USA, Oct 11, Reply
O.K. First Screw and glue the backerboard down opposite of the pattern
that the 3/4 subfloor was installed with. Use modified thinset not mastic
to install.Pricing-- I would not touch it for that. Doors-- the casing
can be undercut and the installers would probably remove the doors and
stack them in a room for you to reinstall later. Good luck, Steven,
Thank you for your inquiry - Provided that the floor joists are spaced
no wider than 16" on center (they should also be at least 2" x 10" in
size), you can "laminate" 1/2" thick cement backer board to the 3/4"
thick tongue and groove exterior grade plywood subfloor using a suitable
2 part (liquid latex mixed with a thin set mortar). Also fasten it down
with screws. Tape the joints with the same mortar and then install the
tiles with the same mortar as well. If you choose a light or white colored
marble, use a white thin set mortar. If the marble you choose is either
resin backed or water sensitive (greens, reds, some blacks), you must
use a 100% solids epoxy adhesive. Please note that stone installations
are generally more expensive to install than ceramic tile, since more
time is required to ensure that the stones are installed flush and smooth.
However, both the ceramic tile and stone installation quotes you were
given are very competitive. See the attached
drawing on the installation described. Sequence the work, so that
damage to the stone flooring can be kept at a minimum. Hope the info
helps. Art, USA, Expert
R2: In my opinion, you should definately use the cement
board of some type. Screwing or nailing to me is personal preference
with the contractor as the material is very heavy, I don't think you
would have a problem with either method. However, screwing may be more
stable. The pricing you were given is very good for the DC area. I am
surprised that it is not more. Marble is set differently in that the
grout lines should never exceed 16" and should not contain sand. Ceramic
installations can use wider grout lines to compensate for irregular
tiles and may contain sand. Reply
R1: The installation method you indicated is OK for ceramic.
It would be OK for marble, too, providing that's not a large room (150
square feet or less). For more than that I'd prefer 1/5" cement
board ("wonderboard"). Of course, you want to do the doors
afterwards. As far as pricing is concerned, consider yourself lucky.
I charge $ 5.00 for ceramic and $ 8.00 for marble and granite. Ciao
and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
Need information on how to prepare, design and create a mosaic,
outside using ceramic tiles. Till, USA, Oct 9, Reply
Hello, Start with what you want it to look like. Now draw it. Specify
how many colors you want in the mosaic. Create a small mock up so you
can see how your tiles will cut. Now expand the mock up to full size.
Note that there will be a lot of waste. Now have you ever installed
tile before outside? I ask because the freeze/ thaw cycle is important.
Remember the materials you use outside need to not absorb a lot of moisture.
The installation requires different adhesives, grouts, and caulks. Good
Luck, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
What is the process for calculating the total square foot requirement
for kitchen countertops. I have measured the surface, but
do not know how to convert those measurements to square feet. Judy,
USA, Oct 8. Reply
Dear Judy McKenney: It's not so straightforward. A rule of thumb
is to figure the exact footage, then add 15% for waste. There are several
factors involved, though, that alter such an empirical formula greatly.
How many seams is the client willing to accept and where? What kind
of shape does the countertop (or even only part of it) have. Fancy shapes
always translate in more waste, that must be accounted for. What
kind of granite did the client choose. Sometimes, because of logistic
reasons, from certain parts of the globe, only (relatively) small blocks
can be quarried, consequently the slabs are smaller, which translates
in a higher percentage of waste. Hard to answer, Judy. Talk with your
fabricator, ask questions, feel him out.
If he doesn't want to disclose his criteria to you in a way that's acceptable
(to you), keep shopping.
Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
Simply divide the number of square inches by 144. example: 29"
x 36" = 1044". 1044" divided by 144= 7.25 square feet.
Simply add areas together. bob, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
Calculation for square feet is: Length in inches X Width in inches
= ???? then divided by 144 = Sq Feet. Hope that helps you. bill, USA,
Expert Panelist, Reply
Dear Judy: 1 sq. ft = 144 sq. inches. Multiply the length by breadth,
you will get the area in sq. inches (if measured in inches). Divide
sq. inches by 144 and you will get sq. ft. 12 inches make
one linear / running foot. 1 Inch = 2.54 centimeters. burzin, India, Reply
My wife and I are in the planning stages of building a house and would
like to use Kansas sandstone. Can we have our brick mason lay the
stone or should we find a true stone layer? We live in a small town
in Mississippi and there is not very much stone used in building here,
mostly for landscaping. Also I had someone mention to me about "shiners"
in the stone that make the job look bad if present. Mark, USA, Oct 8,
Mark: If you live in a small town then your brick mason may be the person
to use. I would question the individual about layout, culling material,
and specific practices about washing the stone before installation (stones
with a lot of dust on them don't stick). be involved with your project
and help select the stones you want installed. Remember this will increase
the waste factor substantially. Good luck, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
As a long time stone mason, I had many opportunities to lay brick also.
Although competent, I never felt as comfortable working on a brick wall
as I did with the stone. Friends who are brick layers by trade, find
that the stone gives them the same feeling. I guess that it all depends
on what we work with the most, but in my experience, if it is put together
with mortar, a good mason will give you a good job no matter what the
material. If the stone you are planning on using is to be laid up in
an "ashlars" pattern, particularly if it is a formal three
unit stone, your brickies shouldn't have any problem at all. If it is
to be laid up in a random, or a flagging pattern, and your masons have
no experience with stone, then there will probably be some excitement
and consternation involved. What do your masons have to say about it?
Have you even asked them how they feel about working with stone? One
thing about sandstone, is that because of its porosity, the material
needs to be kept damp to prevent flash setting of the mortar, and weak
bonding. Of course, some brick need to be treated the same way. Also,
since sandstone is a silicate, the dust produced by cutting, or hammer,
is not the best thing in the world for the lungs. but then, the clays
that brick are made from also contain silicates. Finally, never heard
the term shiner used in reference to stone, but in brick work it refers
to a brick laid with the backside out. Reply
I don't see a problem with brick mason if he can show proof of his competence
(insurance, prfessionalism, etc.) and history (past completed projects).
I have not heard the term shiners. bob, USA, Reply
What is the best subfloor system for marble, and ceramic tiles?
1. Plywood and cement board?
2 OSb and cement boards?Oct 5, Reply
The same depending on weight. Pini, Usa, Expert Panelist, Reply
The sub-floor specified will depend on factors. The floor joists
spacing. and whether the floor is flat. You could use Ditra matting
from Schluter in lieu of cement board. You may need to use a wire lathe
and mud system. Check your substrate before you proceed and email me
back with the results. best of luck, Steven, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
The plywood and cement backer board route would be better. See the
attached detail for a sample installation.
be sure to use a high quality Liquid Latex Fortified Set Mortar to install
your stone. Hope this info helps. Regards, Art, USA, Reply
No practical difference. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert
A 1106: I would like to buy some "do it yourself"
or indeed any books or other publications about making terrazzo.
Do you know of some suitable publications and a source of supply? I
would be very grateful for your assistance, Thelma, Sept 22, South Australia.
R1: the books I know
about on this subject would be the Terrazzo Association manual. I believe
their web site is www.NTMA.org, Fred, USA, Expert Panelist, Reply
A 1090: I would like wholesale sources for metal table
frames ready for mosaic tile installation. Also any good reference
material on natural stone tile installation for interior or exterior
use, specifically tables & benches. Thanks, Todd, USA, Sept
A 1082: DIY: I
would like information on tile and it's various uses. I have
some 12 '' square tiles (marble design) and would like to do something
creative with them. Any ideas?? I want to put a family picture
on it and seal it to use as a hot plate. Is that doable, and how?
Please give me any tips or advice you might have. Thanks, Getta, USA,
August 31. Reply
1074: DIY: I would
like to know where to get information (experience, recommendations,
instructions, warnings) on installing 3/8" thick 12" square
granite tiles on a kitchen countertop (can't afford a slab but want
the look) and how to do a bull nosed edge. Also, how do you determine
which granites are more porous than others? Is Giallo Veneziano
porous? Thanks for any help. Nancy, USA, August 23. Reply
R1: Dear Nancy: A question comes to my mind:
"What do you know about installing tiles?" If you know the
first thing about it, then installing granite tiles on top of a kitchen
cabinet, is not much different from installing any other tile. I recommend
to use white setting material, to leave 1/16" gap in between tiles
and, if possible, to use caulking material instead of (unsanded) grout.
(Caulking is stain-resistant.) As far as the "bullnose" is
concerned, just forget about it. You can't do it. You don't have the
equipment, the material (between shaping machine and bit, and honing
& polishing equipment and material, we're looking at some 5K or
better!), not to mention the skills. Try to find a goodhearted local
fabricator that is willing to do it for you.
Yes, "Giallo Veneziano" is a very porous stone. by
my standard it's at the very borderline of acceptability. To find out
if a "granite" is porous or not, dip one or two fingers in
a cup of water, then run them, with a circular motion, over a couple
of square inches, on the polished side of the slab or tile. If it soaks
up the water right away (i.e. it becomes dark), away you wanna stay!
(From that stone, that is). You may find somebody who's going to tell
you that if you seal it everything is going to be all right. Don't listen.
When a stone is extremely porous, even the bestest (!) sealer (including
the one that I make) will turn out to be just a fix in the long run
(and not even "that" long, anyway!). Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,
USA, Expert Panelist. Contact
A 1037: DIY: Kitchen, dining
and foyer area of recently purchased house has tile that is
unfinished and I was told it was Satio tile (spelling may be
incorrect). Need to know how to lay it, grout it, finish the front
door threshold, clean it and seal it. Thanks for any info, barbara.
USA, July 17, Reply
Q 1025: DIY: What techniques
can be used when putting down sandstone on a sand pack foundation
of a court-yard. Prefer mortar joints to prevent tracking in sand.
buddy, USA. July 03 reply
DIY: What is a good rule
of thumb for checking the price of a granite fabricators bid? They
roughed out a fabrication bid of $45/SF on my new countertops with semi-circle
ends on the 6x3 island and approx. 122 SF of total countertop area in
kitchen. Wanted to check their pricing for fabrication and installation. Sean,
June 25 reply
R1: The best way to check a fabricators price is to get more than
one to do a quote for you. I know in my area that around $90. per sq
ft installed is the "going rate". Also check about "additional
costs" examples being the edging, delivery to site, etc...be sure
what the price quoted includes. Tear out.....plumbing......etc. are
other sometimes "additional costs" of a job. beware the add
ons......it can turn a great price into not such a bargain. I personally
always get 3 quotes for anything I am spending a goodly amount of $
on. Good luck, bill, USA, Expert Panelist. Contact
1004: DIY: I want to know how to install marble
tile in my bathroom. I have purchased the marble and I want to install
myself. bob, USA. June 8 reply
R1: Dear bob: I hope I'm not too late. Installing marble tiles in
a bathroom floor is not any different that installing the same marble
tiles in a, say, foyer floor. If you know what you're doing, walls are
no brainer, either. What you should be most concerned about, however,
is your shower-stall. First off, after the plumber is done with your
pan, you install the floor in the stall (I suggest to use tiles 4"
x 4": they make the floor less slippery), after that, you install
the tiles on the wall. Now, the most important thing you must worry
yourself about is to leave a proper gap (1/16") between tiles,
so that you can properly grout them. I've been noticing, in all too
many occasions, that some "Michelangelo" has set tiles in
a shower-stall butt-joint. I have to admit it, they look prettier, but
... The problem is that the grout will not go in between the tiles,
but will only bridge the little gap represented by the beveled edges
of the tiles. That grout has no root, and under the continuos action
of warm water hitting it, will eventually come off. At that point, water
WILL start getting behind the tiles and, by gravity, down under the
tiles on the floor of the shower, creating all sorts of bad problems,
the only solution of which is to rip-out the whole stall. And you do
not want that, do you! The corners where the walls meet with each
other, and where the walls meet with the floors should be caulked, rather
than grouted. Grout is not flexible, caulk is. Every month or so, do
monitor your grout and caulk lines. You must be obsessed with that!
Maurizio, USA. Expert Panelist. Contact
1002: DIY: 1. How should a granite stone slab feel
like when it is installed? Should it feel smooth all over the surface?
Is it acceptable to have small dents in the stone that can be felt when
running your hand across the surface?
When marble or granite floor is made with smaller pieces, what is the
acceptable industry standard for the mismatch in the level of the pieces
w.r.t. each other? Rakesh, USA. June 1 reply
R1: Small is a relative term, but yes most all granites will have
small holes or voids running through out it. Once cut and polished these
small voids will show in the surface and can even be felt. This is very
natural for grantie, because it is a natural product, it will have characteristic
little "dents" that you can not polish out. Hope that helps
you. bill, USA, Expert Panelist. Contact
R2: The small dents may be minerals plucked from the
stone - possibly mica (black) or weathered minerals that won't take
a polish. Compare the surface with the sample that you chose from.
Jim Man, Australia, Expert Panelist.
R3: One of my favorite and most repeated statements
is that "The vast majority of the stones traded as granite are
in fact related to granite like a cat to a cow!" So, if you take,
for example a basaltic rock such as the South African Absolute black
granite, or an Anorthosite one (of the Labradorite family) such as the
Norvegian blue Pearl or Emerald Pearl, (and some other stones),
they will feel as smooth as "you know what". True granite,
however, such as the Italian bianco or Grigio Sardo, or the Spanish
Porrino, do present small cavities (natural fissures) all throughout
their texture. Granidorites, such as the American Dakota Mahogany have
this natural phenomenon further enhanced; so much so that you can distinctly
feel those indentation while running your fingers over the surface of
the stone. Of course, being a natural product, there are difference
also between batches of the same stone. Unfortunately, the stone industry
World-Wide is pretty much unregulated, therefore there is not any official
grading of the stone, as you have, say, with lumber. Good luck, Maurizio,
USA, Expert Panelist. Contact
Inform me about banker Masonry. Deajavou. USA. May 19 reply
banker masonry: stones are worked by hand in the traditional manner
to the exact profile of the template. Daniel, Slovakia, Expert Panelist.
Q 910: Please explain "dry pack" method
of setting to me, i.e. how is it better? What does it involve?
Durability? Christine, March 18, USA, Reply
The Dry Pack method is a portland cement and sand mixture
applied in a thick configuration. Generally, the thick mortar bed ranges
in thickness from 1 1/4" to 2 " thick. The mixture is generally
3 parts coarse masonry sand and 1 part portland cement. For better performance
a liquid latex additive is used in place of water to fortify and strengthen
the mortar bed. In lieu of using of mixing local sand and cement on
the job site, adhesive manufacturer's now provide pre-blended, pre-bagged
thick mortar bed mixes. You just have to add the latex additive to the
mortar at the project when you are ready to go. The mortar bed can also
be placed in two configurations; a bonded method - which is attached
to the concrete structure with a latex fortified portland cement based
"slurry bond coat", or an unbonded method - which is placed
over a "cleavage membrane" (plastic sheeting or felt paper)
and reinforced with wire fabric. Once the mortar bed is placed, you
have two options. You can either allow the mortar bed to harden, and
then "thin-set" the stone using a liquid latex fortified thin
set mortar or apply a slurry bond coat to the fresh mortar bed and the
backs of the stone and "beat" them into place. This method
is desirable for installing stones that may be irregular in thickness
and provides an extremely flat and smooth floor. Hope the info helps.
Regards, Art, USA, Reply
A 987: Inform me about standard thickness
of granite countertops. Ira, USA. May 18 reply
R2: Dear Ira: There are no standards (official, that is). In general,
however, kitchen countertops are manufactured in either 2 cm. (approx.
3/4"), or 3 cm. (approx. 1 1/4"). In the case of the 2 cm.
a "lamination job" is recommendable. Lamination is the application
of a strip of the same granite under and all along the edges of the
counter. After the glue is properly cured, the shop operator will provide
to shape and polish the edges as chosen by the customer. I like this
kind of fabrication better than the 3 cm. In fact, visually it looks
thicker than the 3 cm. (it is, in fact, 4 cm. -- approx. 1 1/2").
Overall it is lighter, which means that it's more "cabinet and
floor friendly", but it is indeed stronger where it counts (along
the edges, that is). Good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Contact
R1: 3/4" you can double it at the edge. Pini, USA. Contact
A 941 a: I'm in the process of buying a granite counter top
for my kitchen. Prices range from $ 70 to $90 linear ft. I found a dealer
selling it at $55 a linear ft installed. What questions should I ask
to make sure I'm getting quality product. I don't know if there
are different grades of granites. Christopher, March 16, USA. Reply
R1: Dear Christopher:
Wow, man, in which part of the country do you live? Here in the Northeast
we're talking about $120 linear ft.! And that's without the sinkhole,
the faucet-holes and the backsplash! Since, wherever it is that you
live, the cost of a slab can't be any lower than here in the Northeast,
I would have three questions for the guy who bid $55 installed.
1. Are you related with Santa?
2. How do you manage to steal granite slabs without getting caught?
3. What kind of medication are you on?
The average cost of a granite slab is around $11 per square foot. The
average cost for templating and installation comes in at around $12 per
square foot. So far we are at $23 per square foot, that translates into
$48 per linear foot. How can one possibly manage to fabricate (labor),
amortize the machinery (rather expensive stuff), pay his overhead and
make a profit out of $3.5 per square foot ($7 per linear foot) beats me
and -- in my humble opinion -- any logic. As far as different grades of
granite is concerned, the answer is YES, there are, but ... NO, there
aren't! See my answer to Q 909. You're a lucky fellow, all right! Ciao,
Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. Contact
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