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|Q 2351: I am building a patio with
a stream down the middle. I was able to do the
water feature with liner and thin stone. Now I want to build a small
stacked stone wall around my oval reservoir with stone that are
3 - 4 inches thick and assorted lengths and I am not sure how to
cut the curves and top cap block. Any ideas? I am also pouring cement
around 3 very large slabs of stone (around a ton each) one of the
stones has settled and is now 3/4 of an inch lower than the other
two. Any ideas on how to raise the stone or lower the other two
stones to make them level? Thanks Roger, July 30, Reply
We are building a new house. I would like to go for a shiny black
granite countertop in my kitchen. I like the look of absolute
black but would like to know how to tell if I am getting a good
product and how do I go about installing the 12" x 12" tiles.
What do we use to set them? I have been told that silicone is the
wrong choice. We live in Missouri. Thanks, Helen, July 26, Reply
Dear Helen: Absolute Black is an excellent stone, provided it has
not been dyed. Mike, USA
Dear Helen: About the setting material I would use a product available
at the HD by Custom Builders and labeled: Stone Setting Adhesive.
Keep 1/16" gap in between tiles and use unsanded grout to finish
the job.Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
Hi. We are replacing our entryway door, but would also like
to put ceramic tile in the foyer. Is there a rule as to what should
be done first - the door or the floor? We have gotten mixed
answers from different people. We are concerned b/c the door we
are ordering is a fiberglass door with a full glass light - with
two full sidelights. Afraid of what we would do if door is put in
first and cannot clear the tiles - and afraid if do tiles first,
there may be a gap where the new jamb and tiles meet. Please advise.
July 26. Reply
No, there are no rules; only common sense. First you put down the
floor (you can't make that thinner than necessary for a sound installation,
can you!), then the door jambs must be adapted, if necessary, to
the new situation. Ciao and good luck,
We recently inherited a Carrara marble fireplace mantle. It is
in eight sections and we would like to install it in our late 1800's
home. Can this be done "do it yourself" or will it require professional
assistance? The two up rights and the center medallion have
holes in the back for mounting. How would we use these to mount
the mantle? Thank you Jeff, July 26, Reply
Dear Jeff: Get a pro. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,
If you do not know why the holes are there, then you definitely
need to call a pro. Mike,
Jeff; Personally, I would engage the services of a good, knowledgeable,
and reputable stone setter for this. Unless you've had some experience,
you will get in over your head with this one. Good luck, JVC, USA,
We are planning on going with blue pearl slab granite for our
kitchen counters. I have read in your advice column that it
does not have to be sealed. Our fabricator says that we should
seal it anyway and that he recommends that all stone countertops
be sealed. Will it hurt to seal it? Vohl, July 26, Reply
Dear Vohl: I can see that your fabricator's brains have been sealed
real good by the "salesmen"! No, it won't hurt the stone to
seal it anyway, but it may create problems. And your fabricator
will be the last person in the world able to solve them, since they
wouldn't even know where they come from! Mother Nature made Blue
Pearl (an anorthosite from Norway) one of the best material possible
for a kitchen countertop. Why tamper with it just for the heck of
making the "salesmen" happy and wealthy??!
You're welcome to print this out and have you fabricator read it.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
Dear Vohl: In this instance your fabricator is wrong. Trying to
seal Blue Pearl is a waste of time. The stone is too dense to accept
a sealer. Mike, USA
have read your expert advice page and am impressed.
We are building a new home and am doing all the work ourselves,
my husband is a contractor. We want absolute black granite 12x12
tiles on our kitchen counter, Could someone give us installation
advice? The granite supplier is trying to sell us sealer. I
figure the grout will need sealed but your site says that the granite
will not have to be sealed. Any help would be appreciated I would
like to do this right the first time. Please don't email me and
tell me to hire someone. Thanks, Helen, July 26, Reply
Dear Helen: OK, I won't tell you to hire a professional! Unfortunately
I won't even give
you any tips on the installation of those tiles, because I have
no intention of writing a book on the subject. The grout could use
sealing (although, being black, wouldn't show anything if stained).
The black "granite" tile won't
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,
Use a thinset on 3/4" backerboard. Use round toothpicks to space
the tiles for your grout lines. Use a white cloth and acetone and
rub it on a couple of tiles to make sure they are not an inferior
product that has been dyed. If black rubs off on the cloth, reject
the lot. Tell your granite supplier that you will be conducting
this test, because if he is ignorant enough not to know that Absolute
Black is so dense that no sealer would ever penetrate the stone
and instead would merely sit on the surface, then he is certainly
ignorant enough not to know that some black granites have been dyed.
He also would not be aware that the sealer will cause its own problems
in the future. Mike, USA
I have been
reading your site and I must say that I am impressed with the
vast amount of knowledge that exists. Thank you!
My question is this: I notice that for floors and counter tops and
places that get wet (showers) you are recommending a 1/16" grout
spacing. I understand the reason for that. For walls, you sometimes
recommend doing a butt-joint. What about a fireplace surround and
a ~12 sq. foot floor space in front of the
fireplace? Can't I just butt-joint the granite tile all around
the fireplace considering that there, more than likely, won't be
any water near the fireplace? Thanks! Rob,
July 24. Reply
Absolutely. I can see that you can use your own head! Congratulations!
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
Hi, I need some help please. I did a mosaic tile countertop
in my Mother's dry bar. It's been completed for about a month,
(fyi -I used non sanded grout) so I'm sure it's cured by now. Here's
my question. I would like to put some sort of acrylic or poly
coating on it. My goal here is to have some sort of clear coating
over it so that I can preserve the mosaic and never have to worry
about anything touching the tiles or grout itself. A tile installer
who was doing some work in Mother's kitchen told her he had heard
of people using Mod Podge over tile mosaics???? Have you heard of
this and does it work. If not, do you have any suggestions as to
what type of coating I can use. Also, should I use a grout sealant
before I put any sort of "clear coating" on it? Any advice would
be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Brandy, July 24, Reply
Dear Brandy: Sorry, but I am a stone guy, not a clear coat one!
I am highly opinionated on how stone (mosaic or what-have-you) should
look like, and my opinion doesn't certainly coincide with yours.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
I am trying to find information about how to install and maintain
natural stone floors. These stones will be collected from my
own property and used as a floor. I need information about how to
do this before I try and error it. If you could tell where to even
look I would be thrilled. Tabatha, July 24, Reply
Dear Tabatha: My best suggestion is that you start working with
a well established tile
setter specializing in natural stone as an apprentice for, say ...
a year or so (two would be better). By then you'll know what to
do next. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
2280: Could you recommend the best type (not brand) of grout
for a granite tile kitchen countertop please? Thank you.
Monica, July 23, Reply
Dear Monica: Epoxy-grout would be very definitely the best choice,
but it's only sanded and not easy to handle. The next best thing
is unsanded grout (wall-type) mixed with acrylic. Once properly
cured (a few days) it should be sealed with a stone impregnator
/ sealer. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
|Q 2274: I am doing
job in green marble what kind glue should I use? Where can
I buy it and for how much? Thanks, Frank. July 22. Reply
Dear Frank: Theoretically you should be using epoxy-based setting
material. However, at the Home Depot there's a setting material
from Custom Builders dubbed Stone Setting Adhesive (or something
like that!). It's much more practical to use than a two part epoxy
and won't create any of the problems that regular thinset would.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
|Q 2238: Hello.
This website is very informative and it must be very time-consuming
for you to respond to everyone. I have noticed that
in several of your comments, you infer that the "granite" people
think they have in their homes is not granite at all. What might
it be instead? I am asking because we have recently purchased a
home with "granite" countertops but we do not know what they are
or who installed them. After reading your site, I realized that
we might have a problem already. The "granite" has a surface
scratch (looks like a score mark) about an inch in length and about
an inch from the sink... we assumed it was an error when the
sink was installed and didn't make a big deal of it as it was a
surface mark (we hope). The building inspector suggested we get
someone in to polish it out but we thought we could live with it.
I'm interested to know what you think. Where do people buy the products
you recommend for cleaning countertops? Are these cleaners non-toxic
(we have a small child)? Thanks
for your time and expertise. Sincerely,
Rebecca. July 15, Reply
Rebecca: I always put the word "granite" in between quotation marks,
because, in fact, appproximately the 98% (no, it's not a typo) of
the stone traded as granite are not granite. They can be gabbro,
dolerite, larvikite, anorthiste, gneis, porphyry, granidorite, anidrite,
etc., through a long list. That doesn't mean that they are not as
good as true geological granite. As a matter of fact, some of them
are better than granite; at the other end, unfortunately, there
are "granites" that, in my opinion, should be banned altogether.
But, hey, it's just me!
As far your problem is concerned, a scratch could have happen to
any stone, true granite included. Yes, you do need a professional
stone refinisher to take a look at it. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,
|A 2159: I had Baltic
Brown granite installed in my kitchen. I love the look, however,
I have some concerns. First of all, one slab has many wheel
marks---29 in all. These marks are different sizes of what looks
like a 9" circular mark. Only one is almost a complete circle. These
marks can not be seen during the sunny part of the day, however,
cloudy times or when the sun is going up or down or when it is dark----you
can really see these marks! The owner of the granite company has
been to my house and told me the marks were from a 9" polishing
head that is used on the big machines in Italy. He tried to make
me believe that it is very common and that if the industry did not
accept these marks, granite would not be as affordable as it is.
I told him that my other three slabs do not have one circular mark
and that I can not believe that this is as common as he is stating.
He was unable to find one mark on the others, however, he said that
if he replaced this one slab chances are that it too would have
these wheel marks. He also said that industry standards allows for
these wheel marks. Is he correct---or is he feeding me a bunch of
Another concern I have, his installers cut the holes for my faucet
without protecting my $500 cast iron sink. They then dry wiped some
of the granite dust out. We did not touch it and a week later a
second person came to check the work and he cleaned it out with
something very strong smelling. After almost 1/2 hour of rubbing
very hard and polishing my sink he was finished and the sink looked
great. Now his magic shine has worn off and I am finding very small
scratches in my sink. Can the granite dust cause this? Is it
industry standard to not protect a $500 sink from the mess caused
by drilling faucet holes? These wonderful installers also
chipped a 1" chunk of granite off the end of my back splash---right
on the end next to the window for all to see. They filled it with
a black epoxy that obviously didn't match the shine of the granite.
The owner of the company also said that this met industry standard,
however, he would replace it. Something tells me that this is not
My last issue is a gap between the bottom of the backsplash
and the countertop. One 30" section of the backsplash does not
sit flush with the countertop. It has been filled with caulking
2 times and according to the owner----it needs it again. He isn't
sure what caused it, however, it might be their saw that did it
and that it really wasn't a big deal. Shouldn't the backsplash be
flush with the countertop? Is there an industry standard on gap
size? Also, where does one go to find these "industry standards"?
Thank you, Susan, July 4, Reply
Dear Susan: Inasmuch at times I feel like an idiot Don Quixote by
denouncing the bare
truth, the fact that so called "Industry standards" are conspicuously
nonexistent keeps haunting the industry back. The result -- based
upon your side of the story -- is the presence of "Michelangelos"
on the loose like the guy you've been dealing with. Of course, you
don't have to accept a slab with grinding marks. (Besides, Baltic
Brown doesn't even come from Italy.) You don't have to accept a
"repair" like the one performed with epoxy, either; as well as you
don't have to accept any gap whatever between the backsplash and
the countertop surface. And if the guy insists at saying that "everything
is within industry standards" you tell him flat out to his face
to either show you such "industry standards" in writing, or to shut
the heck up and do the job the way common sense suggests.
And, by the way, when everything is done to your satisfaction, do
NOT allow the guy to seal your Should you wish, you can get my free
maintenance guidelines for residential stone installation by hitting
the link at the bottom of this page's left side bar. Treasure them;
I highly doubt you'll ever get anything like that from your "Professional
fabricator" (By the way, feel free to print this out and show it
to him. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, there's a remote chance that
a "shock treatment" may just do him some good!) Ciao and good luck,
I am a landscape architect and I have designed a pool terrace paved
w/ concrete pavers. The pavers are installed and the client
would like to have a bull nose for the pool coping (the tile is
7/8" thick). What kind of router bit should he purchase? Thanks,
Erez. June 30, Reply
A diamond router bit, quarter round, radius = 3/8", Miguel, USA.
I am installing 3/4 inch Blue Pearl granite on an island which
will have a 12" overhang. The granite will be set on 3/4 inch
plywood. Will I need to provide additional support for the overhang
and if so any suggestions? Thank You, Bruce, June 21, Reply
Dear Bruce: If the plywood is solidly bonded to the slab you should
not, but ... as they say, "Better safe than sorry!" Ciao and
good luck, Maurizio, USA
|A 2060: We are about
to install a porcelain tile floor. We have 30 year old cabinets
which we are keeping (they are in beautiful shape and we love them).
Presently there is 2 layers of linoleum and a layer of plywood.
We have had a few tile installers come in. One said to remove the
lower cabinets to level out the floor then tile and the put the
old cabinets back in. He would use liquid level and thin set to
level. The next tiler said not to take out the cabinets to use wonderboard
and thin set. The third tiler said not to remove the cabinets because
they are old and may shift and the drawers may not slide as they
should, to use thin set with a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch trowel to level
the floor and the to use wire not wonderboard which would be stapled
to the plywood. What should we do. Remove the cabinets? Use
wonderboard or use wire? Please help. Mary, June 14, Reply
We are in the process of having kitchen counters installed using
Cafe Brown granite. The installation is "complete" but the seam
between two slabs is visible and rough. When I run my fingernail
over it, it catches. The contractor claims he can repair it
- he sent a crew over and they used power polishing machines on
the area. I can't tell any difference. In the process of running
a razor blade over the seam to "clean the epoxy" off, they put a
chip in the granite about the size of a small pencil eraser.
I haven't given them the final payment ($3,000) yet. Can you recommend
a true professional I can call to come and look at the work. I live
in Orange County California (about 20 miles south of Disneyland).
What do I do. JOHN, June 12, Reply
Dear John: Simply demand your fabricator to come back and fill the
chip properly with epoxy filler.
Should you wish, you can get my free maintenance guidelines for
residential stone installation by hitting the link at the bottom
of this page's left side bar. Treasure them; you'll be glad you
did! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
How much it cost to per SF to clad a facade with polished black
granite 1" thick 1.5' x 1.5' on metal studs? I am an architect.
Hosam, June 4, Reply
Dear Hosam: As much as the market bears. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,
Hi there! I have have lots of experience laying ceramic tile but
am looking forward to a project with granite tile, I would like
to laminate granite bullnose to the edges of the front tiles also
and hope you can suggest the proper "glue". Thank you! Merry-Lee,
USA, June 3, Reply
Dear Merry-Lee: Epoxy. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
We are planning to install Travertine in our family room.
When we pulled the old carpet out we realized that the prior owners
had put down particle board as a subfloor. At one point I remember
reading about some kind of floating floor installation of travertine
that did not use an adhesive. Is this possible and if not, what
could we use with the particle board subfloor. Renee, USA May 29,
Dear Renee: Floating installation of travertine (typically sawn-finished
and unfilled) is for outdoors installations only (a patio, a driveway,
etc.) I would put either a 1/4" or 1/2" cement board (according
to the flexibility of the subfloor) over the particle board, then
install with the thin-set method (white thin set only).
Check out my maintenance tips toward the end of this page side bar.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
I read the postings on granite seams and would like to check if
I have understood the reasons why seams might be necessary.
My understanding is that seams are needed:
- if a length of a counter is longer than the slab or if the counter
involves an L.
and may be needed:
- in areas where the granite might crack due to stress if not cut
and seamed (near cut-outs);
- to avoid fissures or other "defects" in the slab. I would appreciate
any comments on this. Thanks, Barbara, May 28. Reply
Dear Barbara: You've already said it all! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,
|A 1971: I want to know
what is a fair price to pay for having stone installed or
laid per square foot on approximately 230 square feet of patio including
materials. Herb, USA,
May 27. Reply
I am getting ready to purchase 700 sq ft. of the Perlato Royale
Agglomerate. I see that a mortar is best and would like to lay it
with a tight grout. Wondering what blade would work on my tile
saw with this product of 95% marble chips and resin and also
what is meant by the PEI rating of cals V. Listed as indoor/outdoor
so seems it is versatile. Your guidance on maintenance &
installations of Perlato Royale Agglomerate stone would be appreciated.
Ed, May 26, Reply
Dear Ed: Installation?
The same like marble tiles (white thin set, 1/16" grout gap,
unsanded grout). Maintenance? Should you be interested at receiving
our free guidelines for maintenance of residential stone installations,
hit the reply / contact button at the end of your own question and
ask for it. I'll be glad to E-mail them to you. Ciao and good luck,
I have inherited an assorted range of marble (and granite) tiles
(the standard 12x12, 3/8 in. thick kind). They all have a highly
polished finish. I would like to embark on a mosaic floor project;
I have a small diamond wet saw which works great, so I'm eager to
start, but I have two questions: What's the best way to "un-hone"
the surface so that it has a natural, worn look? I can imagine
grinding the edges a bit for a vaguely 'tumbled' effect to soften
the look, but what about the super shiny surface? Would it be better
to consider a process in situ, once the mosaic is installed, or
could it be done more easily on the individual tiles before cutting
into mosaic components? Also, what sort of grout is best if
I want the mosaic pieces to have as small a seam as possible?
Ciao & Grazie! -Cynthia, Boston, May 24, Reply
Dear Cynthia: Unless
you know how to grind a floor perfectly flat, you can't hone (mechanically,
at least) your "tessera" after they've been installed. Besides the
chipping of the edges as you indicated, I would use muriatic acid
to chemically hone the marble (it will keep the same depth of color.
If you use phosphoric acid instead, it will lose depth and become
pale). As far as the granite is concerned, unless you cat get your
hands on some Hydrochoric Acid, you will have to hone them by wet-sanding,
again before installation. As far as the seaming is concerned, since
to do mosaic requires a lot of patince anyway, I would take my time
to "wipe" the edges of the single pieces with a thin layer of unsanded
grout, then butt-joint the pieces to one another. Of course, you
will clean the excess of grout with a sponge every two of three
square feet (before it dries, that is). Ciao & Prego,
My family is building a new home and we have selected for our
kitchen and the foyer to be covered with black granite shiny tiles.
The builder's selected contractor had advised us that they should
be hired for the job given the "extensive experience and expertise"
that they have in doing this type of job. That for black tiles,
it is very easy to look bad if we hired somebody who do not know
what they're doing. Therefore, we end up paying this contractor
over $12000 for this job. However, after he sent someone to put
the tiles in, we went and reviewed the job. We are horrified
at how uneven they were laid. Not only were there difference in
spacing between the tiles, it is also uneven in the way that some
tiles are not flat. Almost to the point that someone may trip over
After he surveyed the situation, he is not willing to re-do the
job even though he admit that they did not do a good job. He is
now suggesting that he will grind down the whole entire floor (foyer
to kitchen) to make it level/even/flatten out, and then polish it.
However, he said the color may wear out a little and he won't guarantee
Maurizio, your help and response would be so very greatly appreciated.
We have no experience nor expertise and do not know if we should
allow him to do this grinding down of the tiles. Please let
me know what you think. Thanks! Venessa, May 21.
Dear Venessa: No,
by all means, do NOT allow the guy to try grinding your floor!
His installation is totally faulty and you have a legal case as
big as your entire house and then some. Grinding "granite" and refinishing
it requires a professionalism that is almost up there with the pagan
Gods!! The guy is totally unqualified. A proven professional would
not charge any less than $ 20 to 25 per square foot to do a job
like that (I know I wouldn't!). And if the job is done by a competent
contractor, there will be no loss of depth of color, either. Demand
your GC to replace the floor and take his butt to court if he refuses.
You can't lose! The official industry standards for "lippage" (those
sticky corners) is 1/32". We're talking about less than the thickness
of a dime. If you need additional assistance, hit the "reply" link
at the end of your posting and ask to get in touch directly with
me. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
I think your website is very informative.
Our house was built last year (in New Hampshire) and we had Thassoss
White greek marble (pure white-no veins) installed in our approx.
300 sq ft foyer floor. Unfortunately the gen'l contractor hired
an installer without much marble experience; the first problem was
that the grout lines were about 1/2" wide but it was really the
second problem that caused the first re-installation, that is,
the tiles started to "buckle" and move until almost all the tiles
were tilted. So that floor was ripped up and Thassos was laid
again by a different installer about 9 months ago but we are now
facing a third installation for the following reasons and could
use some advice to avoid a fourth mess; first I should point out
that the subfloor is plywood / Advantech, then dur-rock nailed down;
thin-set and unsanded grout were used.
1) The floor has cracked in a series of straight lines that mirror
the seams of the plywood subfloor; and where the cracks aren't fully
formed you can see the marble "dimpling" inward; the contractors
solution to this is to add more supports to the floor in the basement
in case that floor is moving from pressure. Would any tile have
cracked, or is Thassos especially sensitive? It is very thick marble.
Also, the contractor says that instead of dur-rock they will be
using a German product (Schluter??). Will that help?
2)There are still a number of individual tiles that have "moved"
i.e corners sticking up and down. Why? How can this be prevented?
3) We still think the grout lines are too wide (1/8 ") and the white
grout is impossible to keep clean. The installer claims that the
grout lines "are close enough". Should we hand them toothpicks next
time? Is there different grout that would stay cleaner? What is
the standard width of grout lines?
4) Are we crazy to have this installed again? Is Thassos an appropriate
marble for an entry? Is there another pure white marble that would
be more durable? Thank you for any advice you may have. Tom, May
Dear Tom: First off,
I'd fire -- without a second thought and a single iota of regret
-- your GC. He obviously knows nothing about marble. Remember: You'll
never get a different result by doing the same thing over and over
(in this case, using the same GC)!!
Second, after the proper celebration that will be in order after
you fire the guy, you have to make sure that the joists holding
the floor meet the L 760 flexion value requirement. If you don't
have enough (stiff) support from the joists, no matter what you
do on the subfloor, and no matter what stone you use (granite included)
you will have an installation failure, period.
Third, to do a very good job with no "lips", and with the grout-lines
in a way that won't collect dirt, you should consider a "grind-in-place"
installation. Especially in the case of White Thassos, such an unrivaled
installation technique would give you a perfectly flat, monolithic
floor (you won't feel the grout by passing a fingertip over it,
since it will be
perfectly flush with the tiles). By the way, you're right, the grout-lines
shouldn't be more than 1/16". Which goes to prove once more -- as
if there was any extra need -- that both your GC and his installers
are plain incompetent.
If you have a hard time finding someone in New Hampshire who can
do "grind-in-place" installation, hit the "reply" link at the end
of your very question and ask to get in touch directly with me.
I'll be glad to help you. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
Wow, nice site! We had just purchased a 1929 bungalow
in Kansas and in our backyard we had found stacks of slate tiles.
They are a 1/4" thick and are 11.5"x 5.5". They seem to be a green
natural cleft variety. I have no idea how long they have been out
in the elements. What do you think they were originally used
for? My guess is, they were used for the outdoors somewhere.
We are restoring this home and I would like to reintroduce them
indoors by replacing a laminate kitchen countertop with these slate
My questions to you are: 1) Can I do that? 2) Would there be a better
use for them? 3) If I can turn them into a countertop, What is best
way to install them? Janet, May 17, Reply
I am currently having installation quotes from several people. I
am thinking of putting in travertine tile, 18x18. Area is about
480 sqft. (dining, kitchen, guest bath, entry way, high traffic
areas). What would be some of the key questions to ask in addition
to actually seeing reference work? Looking at 1/8" spacing,
straight lines for laying tile, etc. Are there advantages to polishing
vs.honed (no shine)? What about installation, tile set, slip-sheet,
etc? Prices have been ranging several thousand dollars. Some of
my quotes include materials and labor. What advice can you offer?
Thanks, Larry, May 15, Reply
Dear Larry: 1/8" grout gap? ... I dislike you already!! :-)
1/16" is the gap you want, and you also want to make sure that wall-type
grout (sandless, that is) is used.
About what to put under the tiles, there's no specific rule. It
all depends from your subfloor. White thinset is a must. Actually,
considering the "weird reaction" that the migration of moisture
through the core of the stone can general (mold) on some of the
tiles, you may want to consider using rapid-set cement, like the
one available at the HD, by Custom Builders (it's called stone setting
adhesive). You can grout after 2 hours and, most importantly, you
won't have any "surprise" due to migration of moisture. It's more
expensive, of course, but, in my opinion, well worth the extra dough!
Polished versus honed. You don't want polished travertine (or marble)
in a kitchen, that's for sure (unless of course, your kitchen is
going to be just a show-place!!) About the rest, it all depends
what you like. Sure enough, honed does require less maintenance
than polished. About pricing? I'd choose the highest bidder. But
hey, it's just me!! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
We are installing "granite" 12x12 tiles ("Colorado gold" ? from
Home Depot) on our new kitchen counter top
(Will plan to do the lemon juice test as soon as I get home.)
We don't have the option to hire someone to install. We have laid
tile before but not granite.
1. The builder has put down plywood over the surface. Should the
tile be installed on this or should we place backer board?
2. We've been told to use thinset is this ok?
3. We also plan to use un-sanded grout with a 1/16 grout line.
Please give us your words of wisdom, Thank you, Maj and Joe,
May 15. Reply
SET 1" FLAGSTONE ON A THREE DAY OLD CONCRETE SLAB. I USED "S" TYPE
MORTAR MIXED WITH 2 PARTS SAND TO BED THE FLAGSTONE. WHEN GROUTING
2 DAYS LATER I DISCOVERED SEVERAL LOOSE STONES. IN SOME CASES THE
MORTAR WAS STUCK TO THE STONE AND NOT THE SLAB. IN OTHER CASES THE
OPPOSITE. AND IN SOME CASES THE MORTAR WAS NOT STUCK TO EITHER.
I CLEANED THE STONES AND HAD A BROOMED FINISH ON THE SLAB. WHAT
MIGHT BE MY PROBLEM? SHOULD I INCLUDED SOME BONDING ADDITIVE IN
THE SETTING MORTAR? THE PROBLEM SEEMS TO BE VERY RANDOM ON THE 240
SQ. FT. AREA THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT, MARK, May 15. Reply
We are in the process of choosing flooring materials for
our new house (under construction). We have an inner courtyard which
leads to a water feature outside, it is covered for the most part
by the overhanging roof about 4 ft is exposed . Is it possible to
use sandstone flooring around the courtyard and water feature( the
inside of the water feature is glass mosaic) ?, we live in Kuala
Lumpur where we do experience heavy rainfall in certain months of
the year. Prema, May 14. Reply
It is possible to use flagstone type material in this setting. One
problem is that the overhang may not allow the surface of the stone
to dry out sufficiently between soakings. You may have to contend
with mold accumulation. The first order of priority is making sure
the site allows water to run off and away from your hardscape. Second,
proper preparation of the substrate to receive the material is important.
Third is making sure the material is installed properly. Fourth,
Make sure frequently and often after the installation is complete
to assess that the grouting is not loose or washed away. Regards,
I am putting granite tiles in my shower. One person told
me to use grout, another told me not to. PLEASE ADVISE, Tutoness,
May 14. Reply
Dear Tutoness: Take a gun and shoot dead the person who told you
not to use grout. Not only will you not go to jail, but you will
be awarded a medal, too!!! 1/16" gap for proper grouting (a round
toothpick) is the mandatory industry standard. "Butt-joint" is illegal.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
Use grout. I am concerned that you are taking such a difficult project.
Is this your personal shower? Tread carefully, because shower wall
failures lead to very expensive repairs. Regards, Steven, USA
My name is John , 3 years ago we installed a 12x12 jade green, (heavily
serpentine) shower and tub surround, the GC and the Sub both tried
to convince the client to use another material but alas she wanted
this. WE took the precaution of backing each piece with epoxy, before
setting with 100% acrylic and latex. Hoping this would work, I thought
about using epoxy and even tried but at the time most of the product
I could find had no body and took forever to set up, now latticrete
has a product we like very much., cures in 3 mins or 40 min. Anyway
I digress, the marble has begun delaminating, because of the expansion
and contraction, some leaching and warping are happening as well.
What can we do next better next time so this does not happen again,
I installed a shower the same way over 12 years ago and it stands
today, same tawain green marble. What Happened? Your expert help
would be appreciated if you have the time. Thanks, John,May 14.Reply
Dear John: Somehow, water found its way behind those tiles. There's
no other explanation. Is there grout or caulk missing? Check
it out and you will see that it's probably the case. Did you, for
any chance (I sure hope not), installed those tile "butt-joint"?
Regardless, for what you're reporting, the solution to the problem
is only one solution. Painful (to the wallet), but feasible: The
whole stall has to be ripped out and installed anew.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
You did not indicate whether you ever impregnated the serpentine
after you installed it. Basically, the moisture attacked from the
front. The epoxy rendered the back as a nonporous area. No transpiration
occurred. Serpentine then warps and delaminates. Keep the water
proofing on the substrate, install the serpentine with 100% epoxy
and impregnate after completion. Check the grout and caulk periodically,
impregnate as necessary. Remember the stone will require consistent
maintenance. Regards, Steven, USA
What is the best way to cut 1" thick Brazillian Blue Stone?
I need to cut several pieces from a 30"x30" slab to fit
around a fish pond. Any help you could lend would be most appreciated.
Thank You. Ken, May 14. Reply
Take it to a stone fabrication facility and pay them to cut it for
you. This is the best way. Regards, Steven, USA
want to install slate tiles to my new fireplace surround and to
the hearth. What is your advice as to the type of adhesive, grout
and sealer (if applicable)? How should the slate be cared for and
what precautions should I take? One product I was looking at is
a "tumbled" slate do you see any problems with this? also
let me know the installation process, Smith, May 14. Reply
Read answer 1839
for my suggestion. The material is nice and if well installed looks
quite good. Regards, Steven, USA
you tell me your opinion on installation of granite tiles
on a kitchen counter top. Do I need to put in a water proof membrane?
Do I use thin-set or mortar? Do I need a grout line or do I just
try to fit them as close as possible. What type of grout do I use.
How do I get them all level? My builder is just laying down plywood
to tile on. Do I need backer-board? Smith, May 14. Reply
The answer to all
your questions is Yes. Specific to the grout joint you want about
a 1/16" and nonsanded grout. My suggestion is for you to buy a book
with pictures and maybe go to your local home improvement and sit
in one of their tile seminars. As I have said before, I consider
this a moderately difficult to extremely difficult DIY project.
Regards, Steven, USA
How should I install granite 12x12 tiles on new kitchen counter
tops? I need advice on adhesive, grout and the insulation process.
I plan to edge with wood trim. Thanx! May 14. Reply
You should go to
your local home improvement store and sit in on one of their seminars
to make sure this is what you really want to tackle. Your local
bookstore can sell you manuals with pictures to follow as well.
I regard this as a moderately difficult DIY project. Write back
after you research it. Regards, Steven, USA
recently had tumbled stone backsplash installed in our kitchen.
The contractor filled in the holes with grout and insisted this
is proper. We wanted the rustic look with the holes left unfilled.
Was this a proper installation? Alyse, May 14.Reply
The short answer is that it was a correct and proper way to install
the grout. You may also grow to appreciate in the future as the
sealed tiles will not allow food particles or sauce splatters to
inhabit anywhere but the face of the stone. Apply an impregnator
to aid in cleaning and enjoy. Regards, Steven, USA
Dear Alyse: There
are no standards that can rule what you have to like or not. Technically
there's nothing wrong with the installation, but if you liked to
holes better ...
Should you be interested at receiving our free guidelines for maintenance
of residential stone installations, hit the reply / contact button
at the end of your own question and ask for it. I'll be glad to
E-mail them to you. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
The short answer
is that it was a correct and proper way to install the grout. You
may also grow to appreciate in the future as the sealed tiles will
not allow food particles or sauce splatters to inhabit anywhere
but the face of the stone. Apply an impregnator to aid in cleaning
and enjoy. Regards, Steven, USA
builder says that in "floating" our 18"x18"
travertine stone in cement over a plywood floor, there will be irregularities
in the height of some stones, i.e. they can have up to 1/32"
difference in height at the edge of stones. We thought that in floating
it, the stone-layer will achieve a smooth, regular surface. Can
you tell me what the specifications are for such items?,Steve, May
variation from stone to stone is 1/32". This refers to "lippage".
Lippage may result from the actual stone itself, the way the tiles
were manufactured, or the quality of the installation. It is good
that the installer brings this to your attention before the installation.
Regards, Steven, USA
Dear Steve: 1/32"
(no more than that!!) is the top limit for "lippage" as industry
standard. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
I just had a new shower floor of 1" carrara marble mosaic tiles
installed. It was installed over a new lead pan. After a few days,
I started getting dark areas on some (but not all) of the tile floor.
My tile installer did not use a sealer on the tile. He now says
the tile has absorbed water and has to dry out and then he will
apply a sealer. It's 9 days of drying already and no difference.
Will this ever dry out and will the sealer work after this, Jmjaniak,
May 14. Reply
It is possible that not enough time has elapsed. It could take 30
days. Sometimes if the installer uses a gray rather than a white
thinset this may occur as well. Regards, Steven, USA
Dear Jmjaniak: If the contractor used white thinset, then it will
eventually dry, If he used gray thinset, it won't. A sealer has
no function whatsoever in the picture. Not now, not later. Ciao
and good luck, Maurizio, USA
We kindly ask you to send us some information regarding the most
appropriate mounting adhesive, and protection solution for green
slate - natural cleft (used outside), Carmenciat, May 14. Reply
am wanting to cover our front porch in stone. The guy at
home depot said I shouldn't use an isolation membrane, but a book
I'm looking at did. Other than Thinset, what do I need to use?,
Lisa, May 14.Reply
It depends on the
substrate and whether or not water will run off from it. I suggest
you get a second opinion from a local installation professional.
They will be able to accurately identify what needs to be done.
Regards, Steven, USA
I am installing tumble marble as a backsplash. I will be
applying sanded grout before sealing. If I wait 24 hours, will a
cleaner help remove the grout haze without affecting the grout?
Otherwise, what should I do to avoid grout haze? I later intend
to use color enhancer and would not mind purchasing Thanks, Rodolfo
Dear Rodolfo: To
remove grout haze, providing that you cleaned the excess off as
thoroughly as possible with the sponge, all you need is some warm
water and a medium-bristled brush. No, you won't be damaging the
grout, but I would let the grout cure for at least two days, Ciao
and good luck, Maurizio, USA
I am doing an installation over an existing slab below grade of
Noce Travertine Limestone- crosscut, honed with Dark Empador Marble
dots. Is etching the 20 yr old slab required? What is the best adhesive
to use? Any recommendations for a waterproof membrane and would
the application of such affect adhesion of the stone? Thanks, Rob,
May 14. Reply
|R1: Do a
moisture test to assess what type of moisture wicking you are dealing
with. Check the slab for cracks and efflorescence. Apply a liquid
waterproof/ isolation membrane. Thickset as you would to achieve
less than 1/32" lipage. Regards, Steven, USA
Can you tell me what is the best & safest way to cut Brazilian
blue stone? I have to cut 8 30"x30"x1" thick slabs into various
sizes. Would appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks. May 2,
|A 1758: I'm designing
a screened porch with a stone patio floor. The client would prefer
to set stone without a concrete slab, but she doesn't want the dust
that arises from setting in a sand bed. Is there any product
or practice that would allow the setting of stone tiles over a compacted
gravel base and sand bed that would be dust-free? Or a crack-filler
besides sand that will stay put? I'm not looking for an impervious
surface, just a clean one. Marcia, April 25, Reply
Marcia, There is a product called Sandlock that was developed
to stabilize the joint sand of concrete pavers. It is mixed with
the dry sand that is to be swept into the joints and is misted/moistened
several times over a 45 minute period and the organic agents bind
the sand particles together and form a fairly hard joint. The joint
looks like sand, feels a bit like a mortar. Tom, Utah, USA
No not for the products or application specified. Regards, Steven,
Hello Marca. Yes! You could set the stone tiles on a good old traditional
lime mix. I'm not sure what lime are available in your country,
but any good hydraulic or non-hydraulic lime and sand mix could
be used. I would prefer a 1:2 ratio in the UK but your lime may
vary. (consult a lime mortar supplier).
Advantage! Makes a lovely plastic mix, easy to work with.
Slow set provides good working time (needs to remain damp while
setting) give it a couple / three days for tiles and light traffic
for a week or two.
Lime has built in flexibility and will accommodate small movements
/ settlement in the substructure. Lime is produced by a heating
process, driving off both the moisture and the carbon dioxide. Result
= Quicklime. The water will be returned during a process known as
slaking this will produce either a malleable putty or a hydrated
powder. Your mix will then reabsorb the carbon dioxide returning
the material back to limestone.
Lime is environmentally friendly as it rebalances leaving very little
excess carbon dioxide in the air once fully set and requiring less
heat than cement to produce.
For pointing the joints you might add a little boiled linseed oil
in the mix, 2% max.
Warning! Don't get it on the face of the tiles particularly if they
are porous. Best wishes Roy, UK.
|A 1751: I am using
Nuvalato Trani marble and tumbled Rojo Allicante marble in a shower
and would like to know if I can use an unsanded epoxy grout
on the marble. Thanks. Karen,
April 24. Reply
Yes you can. Be diligent in the clean up. Regards, Steven, USA
|A 1742: We have had
a gorgeous slate grand entrance to our home in Richmond, VA. The
grout is shaling and the slates are now dangerous and loose.
Please advise about proper adhesives/grout for outdoor use. We live
in a temperate climate, with lots of climate changes seasonally.
We have enjoyed our slate entrance way, including the stairs, for
over 10 years now. Thank you for any advice, Debbi, April 21. Reply
It may not be the case of adhesive or grout. Could the normal flow
of water runoff have been interrupted within the last ten years?
It sounds as if something is causing the stones to come loose. Many
times it is water. The grouts and adhesives are portland based products.
Good luck, Steven, USA
|A 1720: Need info
on laying cobbles / guidance, any contacts, documents, hyperlinks.
Help me please!! I am finding difficulty in the laying / setting
procedure of natural wahed cobblestones. I am not having much luck
so far. The site is in the centre of Oxford, UK and is therefore
historically sensitive in terms of retaining natural methods / features.
Patrick, April 17. Reply
It probably needs to be sand set. I would suggest you call a
firm close to you that is familiar with the product and procedure
to aid you. Regards, Steven, USA
|A 1691: I want to
install 12 inch GRANITE TILES on my kitchen island, but I need
some ideas on how to make an edge. Any ideas for a do it yourself
job? Also, how do I polish the edges of the tile to match the tops?
Thanks! Kelly, April 11. Reply
To make an edge on a tile you need a variable speed grinder, a 46
stone, a 120 stone and a set of polishing pads, that's for a pencil
edge, if you want a bevel you need a grinding wheel with the stones
and polishing pads, also you should use the pamir wax to make the
tiles edges to look like the countertops. Katie, USA.
Dear Kelly: Shaping and polishing edges of stone is not, by far,
a DIYer project. Get hold of a local fabrication facility and let
them to the job. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
|A 1690: How much unsupported
overhang can I have using 3 cm granite? Is there a rule of thumb?
I am building an island in a kitchen and would like to support the
granite with 6 inch diameter wood posts instead of cabinets. Joseph,
April 11. Reply
Usually the rule of thumb on a 24 inch cabinet is 8-12 inches unsupported,
but with a 6 inch posts its probably best to use 2-4 inch overhang.
|A 1684: I am building
a bar, the base is 84X26. The slab is 86X28X1.5 allowing 1 inch
overhang on each side and 2 inches in the front. I will be resting
shelves on top on the marble. What do I use to keep the marble
in place? Christopher, April 10. Reply
Dear Christopher, do you know that your marble slab will weigh close
to 140kg (305 pounds). I don't think that it will go very far even
if you rest shelves on it. Dr. Hans, Australia
|A 1643: We have a slate
porch floor, covered. The grout is becoming
cracked and dislodging, plus some of the slate is coming loose.
How do we repair this? Clara.
April 3. Reply
|R1: Hi Clara,
I have done a lot of slate. My favorite material to work with actually.
Lots of work to remove old grout, oldfashioned good hard on your
knees stuff. You need a pro or a lot of time and energy could be
wasted. All loose tiles and grout material should be removed and
sub-surface clean and level. This is about 80% of the job. Then
new tiles are laid. Then the floor can be prepared and grouted.
Getting the grout texture to be smooth and perfect is an art. If
the consistency ( ratio of water to grout ) and application are
lacking, you will have cracks fairly soon. It pays to use a pro.,
Tile Guy, USA.
A 1640: Maurizio,
we have installed a granite countertop,
that was mistakenly seamed over a dishwasher. The seam is
popping up and the front area that was a laminated ogee, is now
chipped where that seam begins. It is not a situation where we
can rip off the tops, as it would do damage to the cabinets. We
have heard solutions such as rodding the seamed area and then
maybe supporting it with wood. Then of course, filling in the
chipped area. I am a big fan of your advice, so I turned to you
for help. Any suggestions? Thanks, Robin, April 3. Reply
Robin: I'm sorry, but I had to lay off for a while. My dear friend
and colleague Steven gave you answer to which I have nothing to
add. Maurizio, USA
you didn't ask me, I will answer. This can be remedied. Contact
the fabrication facility and have them come out and tell you what
they can do. Then email me back so that I can advise you. Regards,
|A 1630: I am looking
for reference material so that I may learn to install either
16 or 18 inch tiles in the entry way, guest bath and living
room, about 700 square feet. Some of the area is a 10 year old concrete
slab and the rest is plywood sub-flooring. Could you also recommend
a supplier of limestone in the Orange County, California area? I
am looking for the best offer that I can get, I will be laying the
tiles myself. Thanks very much, Tom,
April 1, Reply
I wouldn't do this if I were you. Tile, especially stone, setting
is a very specialized trade. I recommend a trade professional, with
good references. If you persist, experiment in another area first
to teach yourself, and go slow...
Any good bookstore or hardware store may have 'how to' books.
Orange County has several reputable stone suppliers, but most deal
with trade professionals. Or, if you are a Home Depot kind of guy,
go there. Remember, buyer beware and I don't recommend this as a
'do it yourself' activity. If you have so much time on your hands
that you can 'afford' this, then good luck! Alex, USA.
First of all, you shouldn't be trying to buy 'the best price you
can get' unless you really don't care what you end up with. Imagine
buying a car, watch or anything and saying 'the lowest price'. Say
you get a used car and just pick the lowest price in the newspaper,
what are you getting?
You have to compare 'apples to apples' and 'oranges to oranges'.
Biancone from Italy is hard and very durable, The light colors from
Portugal are usually quite soft (esp. by comparison to Biancone)
and will need careful attn. to sealing and maintenance. Yes this
stone is generally less expensive but there is a reason... You should
be able to find a local supplier that can explain all this to you
and sell you good stone. Alex, USA.
|A 1620: I read your
We are building a new home, and are planning to use marble flooring
in all the bathrooms. I have never installed any tile before, but
wondered if it is too difficult to do myself. We did plan to hire
someone, but they charge much more for marble installation
than for ceramic. I have heard that Durarock is a good idea to put
on the subfloor, what else should we expect either in doing it ourselves,
or hiring a contractor? All the bathrooms are relatively small,
and there are only bathtubs installed. I look forward to hearing
from you. Sincerely, Pamela, March 30, Reply
I would say hire a professional. The difference between setting
ceramic tile and natural marble is quite a lot. The only advice
to give is check references, and see if you can view any work they
may have done. Regards, Steven, USA
|A 1615: Seven months
ago, we installed Jerusalem Stone (limestone) throughout our
bathroom floor, shower, and surrounding the bathtub. During the
installation process (a) many pieces of the stone tiles were severely
scratched (resembles a brillo pad scratch), (b) many baseboard edges
appear to have a "rippled" appearance, and (c) we cannot remove
most of the grout on the tile surface. We have currently identified
two companies in the Philadelphia area that does stone resurfacing.
Do you know of any other companies? In your opinion, is it a simple
process to remove such scratches and "ripples" from limestone?
Also, we are questioning the installation of the limestone
in our shower and surrounding our tub. We originially had ceramic
tiles. The installer simply installed wonderboard over these tiles
then installed the limestone. In essence, from the wall, we have
ceramic, wonderboard, then limestone. Is this standard protocol?
Any advise or guidance would be greatly appreciated. I am very afraid
to have the installer take care of the problems in fear of creating
additional ones. I am panicking right now.
Thank you, Amanda, March 29. Reply
-- I am " The Tile Guy" and have been a tile, stone , and mable
contractor for a while. You got screwed!
First of all when you set stone you must use very good ( expensive
) sealer or you will spend more time trying to clean the faces than
you did setting the stone. They didn't , and then proceeded to mar
the faces by trying to scrub off the grout that would not release,
rookie move. They gave up after they realized it was hopeless.
YOU NEVER set stone over old ceramic tile. What a cheap guy. I have
done hundreds of marble and stone tub surrounds. Would you put down
a new carpet over the old one??? Whoever did your work was trying
to make a quick buck.
I am sorry to bring you the news I see it a lot and it never surprises
me ; everyone thinks they are a tile guy, but there is a right way
and a wrong way to do tile. Tile Guy. USA.
This is what good general contractors are for..
It sounds like the stone was handled improperly, it should not be
scratched at all, perhaps they had polished stone and did a horrendous
job trying to hone it.
Also maybe they cut the stone with a bad blade and chipped the edge?
Normally one would remove existing tile and properly prepare the
space to accept a new stone installation. My advice, bite the bullet,
hire a good general contractor and do the job right. Alex, USA.
From the sound of it the installer is not the culprit here. The
material many times comes this way. The process of installing the
limestone over the tile is not technically a bad choice. The real
problem I see is that the material was not adequately inspected
before installation. I believe that you should call the refinishing
or installation company with the best references to come over and
look at the job. They should tell you what should be done. Regards,
|A 1614: During the
installation of a new slate fireplace hearth. a small hole appeared
in the black slate. The hole is about 1-1/2" long and approx
3/8" wide. How can I fill the hole? It was recommended that
I use black grout, but is this the best method? Jeff, Canada, March
How does a hole just appear? I think that grout should be o.k. Buy
two types. One sanded and one unsanded. Fill the hole till it is
only 1/8" deep with the sanded grout. Let it cure. Then go over
it with the unsanded grout. Regards, Steven, USA,
|A 1607: I am planning
to install 12" x 12" limestone tiles in my dining room.
Is there a method to check whether the tiles have dried.
I have been given to understand that the tiles have to be dried
before sealing. Rob. March 28. Reply
The drying times after placement vary from stone to stone and depend
on the amount of humidity in the subsoil. This can be checked by
attaching plastic foil with Scotch tape on various places of the
floor for 24 hours. If condensation should appear on the foil, this
means that the floor still contains some moisture and may not be
dry. Swarup. India
|A 1606: What do you
mean by Calibrated tiles? Jack, March 28. Reply
Calibrated tiles, which are tiles that are milled according to
thickness, can easily be glued to the surface . One can directly
glue on to the surface ,preferably with a glue that is not water
based or with a cement glue.When the tiles are glued to the surface,
the time to harden will be considerably shorter compared to the
traditional placement method, whereby tiles are placed on a mortar
|A 1599: I had a backsplash
of Calico Multi Slate installed in the kitchen, and lots of
grout was left in the uneven parts of the tile, Any suggestions
for removing it? Ried, March 27. Reply
There are various cleaning solutions sold through your tile store.
Don't start with a strong acid solution first. Recognize the bulk
of the work will be tedious. Regards, Steven,
|A 1594: We just installed
porcelain tile and the grout got in to the grooves of the tile.
How can this be removed? We already tried "haze cleaner", but
this did not help. Thanks! Resig. March 26. Reply
|A 1587: We have purchased
12"x12" granite stone tiles to apply over our existing built up
laminate countertop. What preparation do we need to do on the
existing countertop to apply the granite stone? What is the
installation process to apply the granite stone. What adhesive do
you recommend? Our kitchen countertop is L shaped. We have just
purchased a new slide in range to replace our cook-top (which we
will have to cut out) and will be
purchasing an overlay sink. Please advise to us "do-it yourselfer's".
Thanks, Lori, March 25. Reply
|A 1578: Need information
on how to install marble tile for a fireplace surround and hearth.
Jim, March 22. Reply
Jim, There are manuals and books that will help you install the
marble. Buy one! or hire a professional tile installer with references
to do it for you. Generally though you should decide how wide the
grout joints will be. See how flat and plumb everything is and then
use a white thin set with additive instead of water to install it.
Good Luck Steven, USA,
|A 1570: I am installing
tumble marble as a backsplash. I will be applying sanded grout before
sealing. If I wait 24 hours, will a cleaner help remove the grout
haze without affecting the grout? Otherwise, what should I do
to avoid grout haze? I later intend to use color enhancer. Thanks
for your help. Rodolfo, March 21. Reply
Dear Rodolfo: Don't you worry about damaging grout while cleaning
the film residue off the stone surface. Remember though, if you
want to color enhance your tumbled marble you have to apply the
color enhancer BEFORE sealing, not after. If you seal first, the
sealer will inhibit the enhancer from being absorbed by the stone.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,
|A 1567: I have been
seeing some pictures of granite countertops with what appear to
be drainage grooves immediately beside the under mount sinks. I
assume that area would act like a drying space for wet pots, pans,
etc, allowing the water to drain back into the sink. I think I understand
the pros of this set up but what are the cons in such a fabrication?
Tom, March 21. Reply
It is expensive. Not all fabricators can do it. Regards, Steven,
|A 1560: Not one guy
has mentioned the old fashioned (and proven) wire reinforced float?
We are and for generation hard surface contracting company. Does
anyone float any more? John, March 20. Reply
Yes, It is still done. But newer substrates and products are used
more frequently. Regards, Steven,
|A 1553: I have a bad seam where
the bullnose edge is laminated. Can it be fixed. March 18. Richard,
Dear Richard: Most likely, NO. Maurizio, USA,
|A 1535: I am working
on a Church where we have an interior slate stair. We are trying
to detail the stair and I have some questions. The stairs are
6'-0" wide and have a support at either end and at the center of
the tread. The tread is approx 13" deep.
1. We have detailed the stairs and we are thinking of making the
stone span a little less than 3'-0" between supports. Given this
distance what would be the recommended thickness I should make the
2. We are considering using slate but if we can not do this with
slate would you recommend granite or limestone? Koji, USA. March
|A 1527: I recently
had 2 countertops installed. We used laticrete sp100 epoxy grout.
In a few areas the grout seems a little low. I worry about chipping
on the unprotected edges. I still have a table top to grout with
the same epoxy and I was wondering if I can go back over these few
areas and add a thin top off in the low joints. Thom. March 13.
Dear Thom: You shouldn't have a problem. Epoxy bonds to epoxy, even
if the first application is completely cured. Ciao, Maurizio, USA,
The grout that is missing needs to be 1/3 of the entire depth of
the stone or the epoxy grout will not stick. Rebecca, USA,
|A 1509: I want to
cast my own table top concrete/terrazzo pieces. So, I would
be adding small aggregates like marble etc. to a mold. Where could
I get the small chips of stone (approx.4MM) and then what could
I use to grind or sand down, then polish without buying really expensive
equipment? I have a nice wood shop with wood tools like palm, belt,
orbital. Can they be adapted to work? Thank You!! John, March 8.
Hi John: It would take for ages, but if your up for it here
is a relatively cheap and cheerful method. Either cast the chips
in neat cement or trowel them in. Using an angle grinder (7" or
9" is easier to get flat), backing pad and 36 silicon carbide, resin
backed disk, grind of the surface keeping the tool moving at all
times in as many directions as possible. Go on to use approx. 80,
150, 240, 400 and to 600 is probably about as good as you will get.
Get a dust mask or an apron and do it wet, either lots of water
or none. A worthwhile investment would be some diamond hand pads
and use these once it is flattened with the coarser grades. Remember
! in any account be sure each grade has stopped biting before you
go on to the next. It's hard to be any more exact as it is often
a matter of just looking at the job and using your experience. Bryan,
|A 1505: What is
the margin of error in the sub-floor's level of flatness? For
example - We have poured a self-leveling underlayment, and yet when
we lay our tiles out in a dry run, there is still some tilting to
the tiles. However, the manufacturer recommends 1/4 inch trowel
for applying the mastic, so is this going to absorb some of the
uneveness? Also, do you cut marble tile the same way you cut ceramic
tiles? Andrea, March 8. Reply
First - you do not use mastic to install marble - you will find
the trowel marks to be visible on the face after installation.
You must use marble set to install the marble as it has all of the
You can also trowel it slightly higher or lower in spots to adjust
the height of the marble.
I would personally at this point hire a professional and not try
to do this my self.
It is not as easy as it looks. Rebecca. USA,
|A 1491: I almost ready
to begin installing a slate floor and counter tops in my kitchen.
Question # 1 - Is there any thing that I can do to prevent the
grout from staining the unsealed slate during the grouting process?
I would rather prevent than spend the hours cleaning and fixing...
Question # 2 - Does anyone have any particular do/don'ts when
dealing with un-gauged Indian Slate? Dave, March 4. Reply
Just Seal with the best sealant available. Use a sealant that is
colorless. It is available in the market. Paul,
Dear Dave: Yes, I do have a list of DOs 'n' DON'Ts when dealing
with Indian slate in a kitchen. It's a very short list: DON'T!
I'm finishing a wet bar in the basement with a set of base cabinets
butting a studded, drywall, 42" wall upon which will set an 8 ½
foot x 24" wide 3cm granite. Since the granite will essentially
be balanced on a 4 ½" wide wall, the question arises as to how
to adequately brace the countertop. Even with 3cm granite, the
builder plans to use a plywood base and support it with metal brackets.
He's not committed to a specific number, and I'm trying to find
out the 'sense of the community'. This is most important to me in
that I'm making some final decisions about decoration for the exterior
wall of the bar, and want to match up some decorative corbels to
help hide the brackets. Any ideas or suggestions? Kevin, Jan 30,
The spans between the center supports should
be no more than 24" or 61 cm the countertop in 3 cm material should
not cantilever with out support more than 10" or 25 cm. Hope this
helps. Regards, Steven, USA, Reply
The builder is doing the right thing. The
heavy stone needs support. It will not hold on without supports.
Have you considered Granite Columns to support the hanging corners.
You can get round columns. Alternatively stack up small squares
of granite 3" thick in the form of an arch. This can be made by
using small 4" x 4" square pieces of granite and placed on top of
each other in such a manner that you get a perfect arch. Regards,
Arun, India, Reply
for your replies. The keys for me are the width between braces,
so 24" was the magic number. The installers won't measure the
job until the cabinets are in, but I need to order the corbels now.
What's the best way to install granite tiles over a cement
slab (i.e. no joist underneath)? Dough Jan 24. Reply
The best way is to use an epoxy. Regards, Arun, India, Reply
You can use a thin-set method.
Apply thin-set to uniform thickness.
Position tile over bed:
Push or twist tile into place to achieve desired elevation:
Check for levelness of entire floor:
Check for lippage from tile to tile (no more than 1/32"):
Grout floor and work grout into joints:
Pull grout float over tile surface to remove grout off tile:
Use sponge and clean water-clean residue from face, edges, &
I would go one extra step and put down an isolation/water proof
membrane the day before. Installation method courtesy of the MIA,
Good Luck, Steven, USA Reply
Please see the
attached details that depict several options for granite and
stone installations. Hope the info helps. Art, USA Reply
Dear Dough: Level the cement slab using a self-leveling hydraulic
cement, apply an anti-crack membrane, then set the tile on white
thinset. Don't forget to take good care of your granite floor, once
installed. Contact me, I can help you with that. Ciao, Maurizio,
|A 1367: I'm having
material problems! I paid for "tumbled beige travertine".
When the stone arrived - the edges of the travertine have a beveled-look.
Most were chipped badly and ALL had bad grinder wheel scratches
that were quite obvious & deep. Edges look sloped. I strongly
dislike grout, and am under the impression that this type stone
is installed with a "butted-edge", so shouldn't it have
sharper edges? This is my 2nd shipment (so they say) that I have
refused. (They said they went through and picked out the best ones,
but there is no way that's the truth unless they were blind)!
1.) I need to know what the edges (12x12 tiles) should look like.
They should not be dramatically "filed-off" or beveled
looking, should they??? The sample from which I made my choice and
purchase was not all cracked, grinder-scratched nor chipped.
2.) I want the placement as tight as possible, eliminating as much
grout as possible. If it's beveled off, won't it look wavy and dipped?
Help! The installer said they weren't "tumbled out". I
ordered this Dec. 21, 2001... So, I'm feeling a sense of desperation-
yet, I don't want to settle for shoddy materials. Trish, Jan
I read your mail with grief, You should not have received the container
in that condition. Briefly, let me explain who we are. We are a
natural stone supplier from Turkey with 14 quarries and 4 factories,
all are in production. (I hope the container you received is
not from Turkey) We have been in stone business for more than 20
years. Our USA office is in NJ. There are several finishes on the
travertine tiles as follows: Filled / Honed- all holes should be
filled, and all 4 sides should be beveled, no cracks, chips on the
stone. When you install it, it should be tight, no space between
Tumbled Trav, should come out of the tumbling machine, edges should
be rounded slightly, there are still holes on the stone, because
you cannot fill the holes, and tumble it at the same time. This
should be indicated to you from the beginning, if you fill the holes,
and tumble it, all fillings will come out during the tumbling process.
Please call if you need to talk about it, I will try to help as
much as I can. Best regards, Ms. Gonca, Turkey
Most probably they have cheated. There should not be any difference
from the sample of the stone or delivery of the stone which has
sent to you. You should contact your lawyer. If you still need stone,
please contact us or some professional firm who has been doing this
business for years. Kind regards. Didem, Turkey.
It is unacceptable behavior in international trade. After this experience,
you must be more careful about your trade. You must make trade with
honest and expert firms. Good luck... Turkey.
DEAR TRISH, IF YOU HAVE ORDERED TUMBLED BEIGE TRAVERTINE THEN THE
EDGES WOULD HAVE TO BE SMOOTH, NO SHARP EDGES ARE ALLOWED WITH THE
IF YOU WANT PROPER BEVELLING, THEN THE EDGES OF THE 12X12 SHOULD
BE RAZOR SHARP. THIS IS THE STANDARD FOR BEVELLING WHICH SHOULD
BE AT 45 DEGREES TO THE HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL PLANES. IF THERE
IS A BEVEL IT WOULD BE BEST IF YOU INSTALLED THEM TIGHT AND WITH
IF THEY WERE PROPERLY TUMBLED, THEN MY SUGGESTION WOULD BE TO INSTALL
THEM WITH A 3-4 MM GROUT. THAT WAY THEY WOULD LOOK GREAT TO ME.
LET ME KNOW IF YOU NEED ANY MORE HELP. WITH KIND REGARDS, LEVENT,
When you are ordering the goods you have to mention that you want
the edges unbevelled. But only the surface patinated. Otherwise
they will do workmanship for the edges. this chipping seems that
the material is ruined or belonging to ancient times. That is why
they chipped the edges. Before order in the material must be specified
properly. Best regards. Murat, Turkey
Dear Trish: Tumbled
travertine does not have (because of the tumbling process) straight
edges, therefore it is not the right tile for a tight installation
(1/16"). Maurizio, USA
We had a limestone floor installed 2 weeks ago. The installer put
the thinset on in the middle and around the edges of the tile. The
tile has remained dark where the thinset was and where he did
not put the thinset there is a lighter ring. It's on all the
tiles. Because the stone is dark gray, the installer used a dark
thinset. We've since been told by others that this was a mistake,
that white thinset should be used with limestone. Short of redoing
the floor, do you have any solutions? Mira & Tim, Jan 22, Reply
Unfortunately your installer didn't "burn" an even coat of thin-set
into the back of the tiles before setting them by troweling a uniform
coating of thin-set across the entire surface. This would have prevented
"rings" which you noted. Those rings are indeed being caused by
the grey thin-set being broadcast through the semi-translucent tile.
By now, I'm sure you have either fixed the problem by removing the
tile or decided that it isn't as significant a problem as you had
first perceived. It's a common mistake and I've seen seasoned journeymen
forget this simple step on occasion. As a rule, white thin-set for
light colored stone. And always "burn" a coat of thin-set into your
tile to provide 100% coverage and uniform tone. Tile-Guy, USA.
I don't know if the the thinset is completely dry. How much time
has elapsed since the limestone was installed? If it is less than
a few weeks, you may take the do nothing approach for a few more
weeks. Maybe it will continue to dry. I fortunately, have not had
much experience with remedying this type problem. Regards, Steven,
Dear Mira & Tim: Nope. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Reply
We're getting ready to install a tumbled marble backsplash w/ 1/4"
sanded grout joints. My question relates to use of color enhancer,
specifically when to apply? Some comments I've seen indicate
at least one coating prior to installation, making grout cleanup
from textured areas much easier. Other comments suggest waiting
until installation & grouting are complete to avoid interference
w/grout adhesion. The enhancer manufacturer suggests it can be done
either way - just make sure not to spray enhancer on tile sides
where grout will be. Also, should color enhancer be applied to grout
after installation in lieu of silicone for purpose of sealing the
grout? Thanks Steve, Jan 18. Reply
The correct answer is already contained in your question. All the
information is correct. If you understand everything you wrote then
you will be fine. As to the enhancer acting like a sealer the answer
is no. A color enhancer has oil in it that make it somewhat hydrophobic
but it should not be construed as a sealer. I don't recommend silicone
coatings that stay on top of the grout. Go ahead and impregnate
your grout after it properly hydrates. This means that starting
couple days after you install the tile, wash the area with clean
warm water frequently for about a month. Then you can impregnate
the grout. Remember to change your water the moment it is not clear.
If you get told that you can impregnate within 2 weeks that is O.K.
also. It is just the lower acceptable threshold. Good luck, Steven,
Steve: I am a manufacturer of a color enhancer, and I recommend
to apply the product after installation. It's difficult to make
sure not to apply it on the sides of the tiles, if you do it before.
No, it won't do any sealing to your grout. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,
|A 1327: We are remodeling
our bathroom. Planning to install Perlato Royal Marble on the walls
around the tub/shower. We are planning to install #15 roofing felt
as moisture barrier on the studs then 1/2" Hardibacker board. Then
we are planning to use a TEC brand marble adhesive to set the tiles.
I have had recommendations from dealers which are conflicting and
would like to get an expert opinion on the best way to do this.
I'd prefer to use an adhesive v/s the mortar due to the waterproofing
characteristics of the adhesive. Thanks, in advance. William, Jan
Please note that - adhesives or mastics - as you call them are not
as resistant to moisture as you may have been led to believe. The
best materials to use for this installation is a two part liquid
and powder thin set mortar combination. It is also a good idea to
install a waterproofing membrane over the cement backer board prior
to installing the marble. I have attached a detail drawing that
depicts your installation. Art, USA, Reply
Dear William: "Perlato Royale" is a very good choice, providing
that you follow all proper maintenance procedures that are common
to all marbles (on this subject, you may want to contact me directly
and I'll be glad to email you our written guidelines for maintenance
of residential stone installations). I don't know exactly what you
mean by adhesive. If it's glue, I strongly suggest you to stay away
from it. If it is one of those fast-setting cements, than it would
be OK. I'm not familiar with the TEC products. Ciao and good luck,
Maurizio, India, Reply
Dear Mr. William: The advise you have received is good. I also share
the same opinion that the stone should NOT be fixed with an adhesive.
most of the adhesives available are water soluble and specially
in bathrooms where the relative humidity is high (due to steam,
shower and water) the adhesives tend to loose their strength. I
would recommend a use of solvent free epoxy or a polyester mastic
for fixing the stones. We can supply or even source the material
for you if you desire. Regards Arun, India, Reply
|A 1333: Hi, I'm interested
in building a freestanding concrete curvilinear wall clad in large
sandstone slabs (one side only). The wall will be approximately
24 foot long and 9 feet high. The concrete company will be providing
me with engineering and blueprints. What I am trying to achieve
is a surface that appears to be made of solid stacked sandstone
blocks. I want the blocks to be irregular and roughly cut and I
intend to have them mortared from behind. I will be engraving and
carving relief's on this surface once it is complete. Perhaps you
could help with some questions that I have. Where can I look for
the type of sandstone that would suit my purposes? I live in Edmonton,
Alberta, Canada and I would like to see it before I buy. Can I do
what I just described with these materials? Can you recommend a
stone mason from my area i.e. Alberta Do you recommend any particular
type of sandstone and should I consider reclaimed materials? How
much should I expect to pay for the material alone? Thankyou for
your time, Susan, Jan 16. Reply
We have a sandstone here in Tennessee that might work. If you will
contact me I will be happy to provide photos and informantion. Randy,
Dear Susan, Yes, you can do what you want. I am sure a relief work
in that stone would look excellent. We have lot of this work done
in India and you can even procure ready made stone with the relief
work in the form of a zigsaw puzzle. The various pieces will be
placed randomly and stuck on a removable substrate (plywood) and
then the carving can be done. I am attaching
a picture of the wall that we made. This entire wall in pieces
can be shipped in a container to you. You may chose a single color
sandstone with the joints showing or even use different color sandstones
ranging from Brick red to off white or even rainbow, which is a
Sandstone with a lot of colored stripes. If you need any help in
this please contact. Regards Arun, India . Reply
for your help. I really am a ' hands on ' type of artist and would
like to choose the stones myself, in person. Regards, Susan, Jan
18, . Reply
|A 1335: I've used travertine
for a fireplace hearth and surround. I have 1/16" joints waiting
to be grouted. I've considered using an epoxy grout because of the
stain resistance and durability. This would also fill some of the
small holes in the honed travertine tiles. I'm worried about the
epoxy grout creating a film on the travertine that I won't be able
to remove. Would you warn against using the epoxy grout? Better
to go with an unsanded grout? David, Jan 16. Reply
If you do not have any experience with epoxy grout then I would
use the non-sanded grout. Best regards, Steven, USA Reply
Dear David: It's not difficult to clean the residue film of epoxy
grout, providing that you clean it before it cures, of course! Apply
the grout, then clean the excess with a clean rag soaked with warm
water and soap detergent (unless the manufacturer specifies something
different. Read the label). Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA Reply
need to be careful with using epoxy grouts over stone. Not only
can a film be a problem, the sanded aggregate in the epoxy grout
can potentially scratch the stone surface. I would suggest using
an unsanded portland cement based grout. Hope the info helps. Regards,
Art, USA Reply
Dear David: To avoid staining the surrounding stone, I would suggest
, you use a polymer based grout. A polymer based grout contains
silica, and polymer and is a water thin paste. Masking tape can
be used on the edges to protect the adjoining stone or a coat of
water repellent silicone coating like ours can be done prior to
grout filling which will eliminate the chances of staining the stone.
Polymer based grouts are available in a number of shades or you
can buy white and pigment separately. This job can be done without
any expert. We can provide you with both the polymer grout and the
stain resistant coating. Regards Arun, India Reply
I guess some variance of opinion should be expected. ;-) I used
an epoxy grout on a granite tile kitchen countertop. It has worked
beautifully and is very functional. But the granite was polished.
The travertine is honed and more porous. This was my concern. I
will use Miracle Sealant products, 511 Porous Plus sealer and Mira
Matte color enhancer. Should I apply these before I grout? I've
read that Porous Plus can work as a grout release. Thanks again
for the wonderful advice. Jan 18, Reply
do NOT want to use 511 Porus Plus on honed travertine. Contrary
to popular believe, travertine is not very porus at all. Because
of the way it was formed, it's very similar, in physical characteristics
(minus the holes!), to compact limestone (most mercantile marbles),
which is very dense. If you like the Miracle Sealant company's products,
you have to use the regular 511. Porus Plus, being formulated for
very porous stones, is too thick and won't go in. Yes, you can apply
the sealer before installation. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio Reply
David: No, I can't. I do believe it's hopeless. Please, don't even
think at buying my sealer: I don't want to get involved with stupidity.
If you wish, you're welcome to print out this answer and show it
to your clients. If they need to be called names some more, tell
'em to contact me directly and I'll be glad to oblige them! MANKIND
SHOULD MASTER NATURE BY UNDERSTANDING, NOT BY FORCE. But I don't
think they will ever get it!! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio Reply
|A 1336: I have had trouble
with our installation of White Agglomerate marble tile in a 60x60x1.2cm
in our projects in the Philippines. The retail space where the tile
was installed has a lot of pedestrian traffic with as a result leaves
dirt in the 3cm joints between the tile which have cementious grout
to match the color of the grout. We find that the edges of the tile
rub against the soles of the pedestrians leaving dirt in between
which by and large looks rather shabby. We find that this type of
grout absorbs the dirty water which arises from the washing of the
surface and over time, darkens the white grout. Another problem
we see that the grout is softer than the tile which causes it to
rub off / scratch off, this results a sinking of the joint which
becomes a collector of loose dirt as well. We need if there is a
kind of grout can be used that does not attract loose dirt, does
not sink, does scratch of and is hard as the tile it self. Thanks,
David, Philippines, Jan 16. Reply
Have the existing grout removed and start over with new grout. Fair
warning though, white grout is very difficult to keep white. you
may need to investigate how durable grout stains are or epoxy grout.
Good Luck, Steven, USA Reply
Dear David: Are you sure about the 3cm. gap in between tiles?! I
mean, we're talking about almost 1.1/4"!! Very ... unusual, to say
the least! If that's really the case, then I don't think there is
a real solution to your problem. You may wont to try epoxy grout.
Better yet, you may want to consider leaving a gap of no more than
3 mm. in between tiles! Half that plus unsanded grout, would be
best. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA Reply
The type of grout you are looking for is an 100% solids epoxy grout.
However, you need to conduct a small test area to determine if the
epoxy grout can be used. At least 1/2 the depth of the existing
grout needs to be carefully removed, then cleaned and allowed to
dry. Then try an area using the epoxy grout. Check for potential
scratching of the stone surface and workability in the site conditions
that exist. Art, USA Reply
Dear David, Before we start the treatment , we should understand
the reason for the problem. Agglomerate marble is marble powder
and chips in a resin base. This composition makes it very hard and
devoid of natural defects as it is man made in a factory. In your
case the grout in the retail space is cementious, which is relatively
softer then the agglomerate and susceptible to erosion because of
heavy pedestrian traffic. Best solution is to fill the grout with
our epoxy grout. This will give you equivalent hardness as that
of the agglomerate and will not attract dust, dirt etc. It will
be like pouring agglomerate marble in the grout from a can. If the
existing grout is worn deep enough to allow the new epoxy grout
some foot hold then it can be applied directly on the existing surface.
Alternatively an etching compound can be used to etch the existing
cementious grout to make it rough to allow the epoxy grout to take
hold. The grouting procedure can be carried out by using masking
tape on the stone to protect it from grout stains. Ideally the entire
area after grout filling can be honed and polished and you will
have a brand new floor with no more grout problems. We can supply
readymade epoxy grout of the desired color and all the relevant
application procedures so that the job can be done by local contractors.
Regards Arun, India Reply
|A 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
|R4: 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
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 Reply
|R2: 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 Reply
|R1: 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
|A 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
|R1: Dear Colleen: 1. The tiles will eventually begin to chip
along the edges.
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 Reply
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 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 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 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
|R3: 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.
|R2: 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 Reply
|R1: 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 Reply
|A 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
|R2: 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 Reply
|R1: The way you're
thinking, you're right on the money! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio,
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
|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. Reply
|R2: 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, USA, Reply
|R1: 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, USA, 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
|R2: 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, Reply
|R1: 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, Reply
|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
|R2: 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
|R1: 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 regards, Steven, USA 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
|R2: 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 regards, Steven, USA
|R1: 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 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
|R1: 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, Steven, USA
|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 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 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 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
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 Reply
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,
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 Reply
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,
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 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 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 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
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 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 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 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, Reply
I've laid Niagara marble for flooring
of my house. After polishing, fine hair line cracks radiating
in all possible directions just like a tree are seen. What could
be the causes? Soudhamini, USA, Sept 24.
|R2: The dimensional stability of the mortar / adhesive
used to lay the stones may be suspect. The fact the cracks
radiate in all directions suggest that the stresses are also in
all directions. More information is really needed to solve
this one such as how were the tiles adhered, what were they laid
on, how thick are the tiles, have the tiles undergone any other
treatment or exposure such as flooding, how long have they been
down for. Regards, Jim, Australia,
Wrong sub-flooring, or poor installation work. Ciao, Maurizio, USA,
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 5, Reply
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
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, Contact
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
Q 1020: 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, 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! Good luck,
Maurizio, USA. 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,
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, Contact
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,
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, Reply
Have you ever heard of sandstone aggregate in a concrete foundation
wall in New England? If so, how does it hold up? Kathryn,
USA. May 18 reply
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
R1: 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
Thanks for your very appropriate web site and
the wide range of information. I want to build a home with
perimeter walls completely of stone--3' thick and up two stories. I
need to know: 1. The best kind of stone to use. What I should definitely
avoid. 2. Size of footings I should plan for. 3. What problems would
I face if I have concrete forms set 3' apart, drop a bunch of stones
in the forms, and pour concrete down over them? 4. I've been told that
the interior side of the wall should be tapered on its way up. How do
I do this? Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Greg,
USA. May 8 reply
Hello! I am writing for a friend of mine who is trying to use a black
grout on her sandstone flooring . it bleeds into the sandstone.
She has tried everything from masking off each tile to sealing edges
w/sealer to mac-tacing the surface prior to grouting - to no avail it
still stains the sand stone! Any help would be great! Richard, Canada,
March 11, Reply
R1: Even though in many
instances I try to find a solution to all sorts of problems, I always
go by a principle that, I believe, is very sound: Mankind should master
Mother Nature by understanding, not by force.
Every time I faced a problem by which somebody tried to force Mother
Nature, I realized that there was no solution. Same thing applies here.
Tell your friend to give in. Mother Nature is way out of her league:
There's no contest, she will win! Ciao, Maurizio, USA Contact
I recently built a home and had granite installed on countertops. Since
installation a fracture has developed in one area and the countertop
is cupping in another. The granite was installed over 5/8" cdx plywood
and glued solid or continuously. There appears to be an expansion
& contraction problem. In your opinion would this be correct
gluing procedures and proper plywood used? If so do you have any other
opinions as to the problem? Kip, USA, March 9, Reply
I think that we ned to start with some questions first.
What kind of granite is this?
Is it 2 or 3 CM material?
If it is cupping that means something is bowing. Is the granite truly
adhered to the CDX? Is the CDX truly adhered to the countertops?
Is the fracture near a vein or a something that looks different than
the rest of the countertop?
Is the person who installed this available to come see it?
Good luck, Steven, USA Reply
R1: Kip, How many continuous linear feet is the granite
Is it "grouted" hard up (no caulking used) against the backsplash?
The plywood appears to be correct - although a little thin - generally
3/4" thick minimum is used for countertops installed directly over plywood.
Provided that the plywood and cabinet framing is stable and not flexing
or otherwise moving, the substrate should be fine. What type of adhesive
was used? Please advise on the above questions - we may be able to provide
some insight on your problem. Regards, Art,
A 930: Please could you supply me with information
on the types of adhesives suitable for bonding granite or marble and
what finishes are used. I have also come across epoxy resins. Could
you provide info on the use of these resins? Many thanks. Regards, Sharon,
UK, Feb 26, reply
R1: Please note that
there are many types of adhesive mortars for natural stone. The type
you use depends on several factors including what type of substrate
will you placing the stone, what is the type and color of the stone
and where is the stone being placed (interior, exterior, wet or dry
area, will it be around heat etc...). Art, USA,
I want to know what is the best adhesive to use to install cultured
rock? Chad, USA, Feb 5, reply
R1: What type of "rock" do you have? Also, what surface are
you applying it to? Is it interior or exterior? How thick is it? Please
note that there are many factors that will determine which adhesive
you will use. Art, USA, Reply
I'm looking for standard methods of stone (most likely granite) attachment.
Joe, USA, Feb 1, reply
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