We understand there can be a lot to think about and consider when choosing your perfect stone floor, which is why we have put together a simple guide that covers our frequently asked questions – we hope it helps!

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What is natural stone?

A natural stone is any stone that has been quarried from the earth. Our natural stones are imported from all over the world and we have specialised in imports for over 25 years. Our natural stone collection is carefully curated from Limestone, Marble and Sandstone – with a vast range of colours and finishes, there really is something for every project.

The beauty of a natural stone means no two tiles are quite the same – it is quite special to think some of the fossils have been encased within the stone for millions of years. Whilst the stones may be extremely old, they can be super practical for modern living and the majority of our ranges are suitable as indoor/outdoor tiles.

What is a limestone?

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, formed over millions of years. A combination of sediments, broken seashells, coral and the remains of aquatic animals deposited on the waterbed, slowly compresses over time into a hard rock. Whilst the process is largely the same, the characteristics and colours between limestones can vary, as can the density. This provides a wide variety of choice for the flooring market.

We devote a large amount of time and use our years of expertise to source some of the most beautiful limestones in the world. As a rule of thumb, we tend to only import medium to high density limestones which allows the vast majority to be continued outdoors for the ultimate infinity effect.

Features to expect…

Tonal variation

Fossils

Crystallisation

Calcite Veining

Occasional surface pitting and fissures

What is a marble?

Marble is a metamorphic rock formed by the alteration of limestone by heat and pressure (thermal metamorphism). Depending on the point of extraction, some marbles can look very similar to limestones. Generally speaking, a marble tends to be a dense, closed tile due to the process of metamorphism. However, it is also common practice for resin to be applied to occasional voids and open veins.

What is a porcelain?

A porcelain tile is a man-made product that combines kaolin clay, finely ground sand and feldspar. The clay mixture is fired to an extremely high temperature (upwards of 1200 c) resulting in a very dense tile that benefits from a low water absorption rate – typically this stands at 0.5% or less.

Porcelain is a great option for busy homes as it is durable and requires little maintenance (in most cases there is no sealing necessary). Our porcelain collections come in a wide range of styles from sleek and contemporary to more ‘flagstone like’ with tumbled effect edges. Many of our ranges are available as indoor/outdoor tiles.

A few points to consider…

R Rating? Porcelain is rated with an ‘R rating’ which offers guidance on its suitability for specific areas. For example, a porcelain with an R rating of 9 or 10 is suitable for indoor use, however we would always advise an R11 rating (grip finish) for outdoor areas.

Rectified? During the firing process, the clay mixture can expand at varying rates. To ensure the tiles are dimensionally stable, the tiles are cut after the firing process. A rectified tile makes the installation process easier and allows for thin grout joins of around 2.5mm.

What is the difference between a ceramic and a porcelain tile? In short, ceramics are fired at a lower temperature which makes them a little less dense than a porcelain. Whilst they are not suitable for outdoor use, they are a good budget option for indoor areas and are durable enough for residential use – see our Camborne wood effect planks. Another notable difference is the clay – in a ceramic a red clay is used instead of white clay. The red clay body means a chip in the glaze would expose a reddy/orange clay vs the neutral clay of a porcelain.

What finish should I choose?

NATURAL STONE

TUMBLED – A gentle ageing process, softening edges and stone markings. Stones with a tumbled finish yield a more subtle, pastel-like appearance.

SEASONED – Seasoned finish adds a slight warmth and texture to the surface.

BRUSHED – A process that removes softer parts of the stone, revealing a slightly textured surface, whilst still retaining some smoothness and straight-cut edges.

HONED – Smooth appearance with straight-cut edges.

SOFTLY WORN – Textured finish lightening the tiles natural shade, with soft but clean edges.

SOFTLY AGED – Textured finish lightening the tiles natural shade, with softened edges.

ANTIQUED – Textured finish with a slight sheen and a hand dressed edges to varying degrees.

TIME WORN – Smoothly textured finish complimented by aged edging.

POLISHED – A high gloss finish, creating a smooth and reflective appearance, with straight-cut edges.

 

FRENCH LIMESTONE

RUSTIQUE – Delicately aged surface with softly chiselled edges.

WORN ANTIQUE – Gently aged surface and edges.

AGED CHATEAU – The finest hand-aged finish with pillowing across the face of the tile and cushioned edges.

 

PORCELAIN

NATURAL – A matte surface finish that emulates the feel of natural stone or wood.

GRIP – A grip finish designed for exterior applications or any areas requiring high slip resistance.

GLOSS – A glazed porcelain surface with a glossy finish.

What size should I choose?

The size tile you go for is personal preference – there is no right or wrong! However, over the years we have developed a keen eye on what sizes and formats work best for all shapes and styles of rooms. Our experienced sales team are more than happy to advise on this further should you need a helping hand.

Fixed Sizes – rectangular

A fixed size is available in all our porcelain ranges and a select few of our stone ranges. A rectangular size can be flexible in terms of format. It can be installed in a uniform manner in order for the grout joins to align or it can be installed in a two part brick bond which staggers the grout joins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Sizes – square

A fixed size is available in all our porcelain ranges and a select few of our stone ranges. A square size offers more uniformity in the grout and all the lines will align. Typically, square sizes are available in 600 x 600, 750 x 750 and 800 x 800.

Free Length

A Free length format is only available in our natural stones. Free length tiles (often referred to as flagstones) represent a diverse tile format, working well in large open-plan ground floors as well as smaller spaces. Free lengths have a fixed width and varying lengths ranging anywhere from 500mm up to a maximum of 1000mm, laid as a random brick bond. You can expect a minimum of 3 different lengths in an order. Our Free Length XL (Super Size) tiles range up to 1400mm in length (only available in a selection of our limestones).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opus Pattern

An Opus pattern is available in a select few of our natural stone ranges. An Opus pattern is made up of 4 tile sizes. We offer 3 different versions of the Opus pattern – small, large and grand. Total pattern coverage may vary slightly as suppliers can use both metric and imperial measurements.

Small – 600 x 400, 400 x 400, 400 x 200, 200 x 200 (1 pattern = 1.44m2)

Large – 750 x 500, 500 x 500, 500 x 250, 250 x 250 (1 pattern = 2.25m2)

Grand – 900 x 600, 600 x 600, 600 x 300, 300 x 300 (1 pattern = 3.24m2)

Super – 1200×800, 800×800, 800×400, 400×400 (1 pattern = 5.76m2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manoir & Cabochons

Our range of Manoir stones offer a classic style which is well suited to traditional homes. A popular area to install our Manoir is entrance rooms and hallways. For small spaces, we recommend a smaller tiler with 4 cut corners and for larger spaces we recommend a larger tile with 1 cut corner.

How do I order samples?

Our free sample service offers a great starting point for many projects and for this reason we can send up to 4 complimentary samples, delivered to your door. All samples can easily be ordered online or over the phone. Should your requirements exceed our 4 complimentary samples, we can send up to 8 samples for £4.92, or alternatively our friendly sales team will be more than happy to assist.

Please note, samples are intended as a guide and we always recommend visiting one of our showrooms or speaking to a member of our sales team for further information on your preferred tile.

Where can I view this stone?

The majority of our ranges are available to view at our showrooms in Leicestershire & Hertfordshire. Our extensive floor and wall displays provide the perfect opportunity to view your preferred tile on a larger scale.  Please note, we are currently operating by appointment only which can be easily booked online or over the phone. Should you wish to view a specific product, we kindly recommend calling in advance.

What are batches?

Much like wallpaper and paint, tiles are produced in batches and as such there can be variation between batches. For this reason, we strongly advise to order all tiles required for your project at the same time to ensure they are from the same batch.

How much variation is in the tiles?

Natural Stone

The beauty of a natural stone tile lies within its variation. Our range of natural stones will be subject to tonal variation, texture variation as well as fossils, veining and quartzite. We have had some customers be lucky enough to have full ammonites encased within their tiles! For this reason, we always recommend viewing as much of the stone as possible at one of our showrooms or warehouse to ensure the tiles will suit your requirements.

 

Porcelain

Our wide range of porcelain tiles offers something for every project. If you have a particular style in mind, then a porcelain may be more suitable due to its engineered print. Some porcelain ranges are more consistent in both colour and print than others and our sales team will be more than happy to assist in helping you choose the correct tile for your project.

What is a 'Blend' limestone?

Our Blend selection of stone is currently available in two of our ranges (Dijon Blend & Farrow Blend). The blend is the commercial selection of the stone and as such they do not meet the grading required for our premium selections. Whilst all natural stones can feature tonal variation, fossils, calcite veining, pitting, oxidisation, and crystallisation – the blend selections will display a much higher percentage of these features, resulting in an aged, rustic looking floor. All pictures displayed on our site, showcase previous batches of this selection but Dijon Blend is subject to bigger variations from batch to batch. We highly recommend viewing this stone at one of our showrooms or warehouse.

Please note, we recommend ordering between 15-20% wastage for blend tiles. This allows flexibility when choosing tiles to be used for cuts or installed centre stage!

What is the lead time?

As direct importers, the majority of our collection is in stock and can be delivered within 7-8 working days. Should you need an expedited delivery, please contact our sales team to discuss your requirements and we will do our best to assist. If a product is ‘on backorder’, the lead time is typically 4+ weeks but please call or email our sales team for more information.

How are my tiles delivered?

Deliveries of tiles are classed as heavy haulage and as such it is important to understand the delivery process to ensure it runs smoothly on the day. At the time of ordering we run through the delivery process in detail and send an informative guide.

In the meantime, see below for a brief rundown on what to expect…

  • Deliveries are charged by the tonne and dependent on postcode
  • The general lead time is around 5 working days
  • Your order will be delivered on an 18-tonne rigid lorry (larger than a fire engine)
  • Tiles will arrive in crates or pallets (weighing up to 1000kg each)
  • Delivery can be anytime from 08:30 – 18:00 on the confirmed day
  • It is imperative an adult is on site to check for damages and sign for the goods
  • The crates will be lowered to ground level on a tail lift
  • The crates will be manoeuvred with a manual pallet truck (flat, solid ground only)
  • All standard deliveries are classed as kerbside only
  • Tricky access? Let us know in advance so we can arrange a smaller vehicle or a specialist Moffett offload
  • Smaller 7.5T vehicles may be available, please note max. crate weight for this is 750kg and may incur additional delivery charge

Do you deliver to Ireland?

Yes! We can ship orders to Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Delivery is charged per crate, based on your locality – please enquire for pricing. Please note customs import charges may apply and lead time is longer than mainland UK deliveries.

We can also send up to 4 hand samples for £6 to NI and £15 to RoI – more information on samples can be found here.

What do I need to know for installation?

To ensure your tiles are installed correctly, we always recommend employing the services of a professional installer. Included in your delivery, will be an information sheet detailing the recommended installation process, we always advise discussing this with your tiler who is responsible for your install.


Always unpack natural stone tiles a week prior to installation to allow the stone to dry and show their true colouring – this ensures you can easily blend the tiles during installation (dry laying is advised prior to installation)

Always work from all crates at once during installation and not crate by crate

Ensure your screed is prepared properly and has been moisture tested to ensure it is dry enough prior to installation

Use an anti-fracture matting and allow for expansion joints where necessary

Install tiles on to a full bed of white, flexible adhesive – never fix with spots

Refrain from sealing the tiles until they are fully dry – the drying time will vary for each project

What do I need to know for installing encaustics?

Our Encaustic tiles are authentic, handmade tiles in a selection of stunning patterns. Unlike printed porcelain encaustics, these are original ceramic tiles where the colours and patterns are full bodied clay, as opposed to being glazed or printed on a surface. Authentic encaustic tiles require a special installation to ensure they will last and look beautiful for years to come.


Key steps for installation

The top layer of an encaustic tile is very delicate and should be handled with care. We recommend handling the tiles in pairs facing each other, to protect the design.

We advise fixing these with a flexible white adhesive or white cement and allow to dry fully before sealing. Once dry, tiles will likely need cleaning with clean water and a sponge.

Ensure the tiles are clean, dry and dust free before sealing. You will need a minimum of 2 coats of sealant and will need to seal thoroughly, including the edges of the tiles to protect from grout bleeding in.

Sealant must be left on long enough to penetrate into the tile, usually 10-15 minutes is enough. Under no circumstances should the sealant be left to dry on the surface, any excess must be removed to give an even finish.

Grout joints should not be wider than 3mm and we recommend using a light-coloured cement grout to avoid colour bleeding into the tiles. We also advise pointing the grout as supposed to spreading the grout across the tile surface.

Once the grout has started to set, start cleaning the surface again with clean water and a sponge. After this, wipe over with a clean dry cloth.

Apply a final coat of sealant to the tiles and allow to fully dry

How do I maintain my tiles?

Natural Stone

Our natural stone tiles need to be sealed after installation and re-sealed every 4 – 5 years (depending on usage). We recommend sweeping and vacuuming as primary methods of cleaning. We suggest keeping mopping to a minimum and using a pH neutral cleaning solution when doing so. It is important to avoid steam mops and acidic cleaning products when cleaning natural stone.

Porcelain

Our porcelain tiles do not require sealing however we still recommend sweeping and vacuuming as primary methods of cleaning – this helps prevent the grout from discolouring. We suggest using a gentle cleaner suitable for porcelain/ceramics. If in doubt, always test patch a hidden area.