Monthly Archives: February 2014

Large Format Stone Tiles

While the rule of thumb for tiles used to be that smaller was better – particularly in small spaces – today’s attitude toward tile is the bigger the better. Large format stone tiles in particular are a great addition to any area of the home.

Contrary to the belief that large tiles can’t be used in small spaces, a large format tile actually makes smaller areas look larger. Large tiles have fewer grout lines, which means that the area looks less busy and isn’t broken up into a grid that displays the size of the room.

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For stone tiles, using a large format has an additional benefit of making the stone appear less “busy” in color, pattern, variation, and grain. While some stones have a quiet grain or pattern, others vary tremendously from piece to piece. Using small tiles with such wild stones mean a floor or wall that has a lot of movement – so much so that it may overwhelm some areas.

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A larger tile, however, confines the grain and pattern. There is less blending required by the installer in order to create a pleasing layout.

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Large format stone tiles do have some considerations to make during installation, however. The floor needs to be perfectly level in order to support the body of the stone without cracking or creating “lippage”, the condition where a corner of a tile sticks up above the rest.

Any stone tile 16-inches or larger in size should be back buttered during installation to help prevent any voids in mortar coverage, and the mortar bed itself should be thicker than average to help support the weight of the stone.

While it may take installers some time to get used to installing larger stone tiles, the effect when they are done is well worth it. Large format stone makes a dramatic statement wherever it’s installed, enhancing any area of a home or office.

Caring for Stone in the Kitchen

From granite countertops to slate floors, natural stone is found throughout many kitchens. While these beautiful products enhance the look and style of any space, they require special care when used in the kitchen to help keep them looking their best.

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With a few exceptions, most types of natural stone that are used in the kitchen are porous and likely to absorb moisture or stain. Many of these same stones are also susceptible to acids and alkalines – both of which get used frequently in the kitchen in the form of the food you’re cooking. Upon coming into prolonged contact with something like lemon juice, your granite counter or limestone floor could come away with an etch mark, or dull spot if they aren’t protected.

When you get your natural stone installed, take a few minutes to conduct the water and lemon test on a small, inconspicuous area. Pour a small amount of water and a small amount of lemon juice onto the stone and leave it for an hour before wiping it up. If you notice a change in the stone after you wipe away the spills, your stone needs to be protected.

Apply a coat of an impregnating sealer to your stone yearly to help impede stains. Always wash your natural stone with a neutral PH cleanser, and wipe up any spills as soon as you notice them. Sealers are not 100% foolproof; they are meant to help give you time to wipe up the spill before it stains your counter.

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If you have a calcium-based stone in your kitchen, such as marble, travertine, or limestone, consider using a sealer made for extra-porous stones, and keep in mind that these materials are more likely to etch.

Natural stone will immediately enhance the look and style of any kitchen. Protect the stone in your kitchen to help prolong its life.

The Many Uses of Stone in the Bathroom

Stone comes in a variety of different colors, textures, and styles, all of which work beautifully in different bathroom designs. Whether you’re designing a soothing spa, a formal master bath, or a modern half bathroom, consider the many ways that stone can enhance your bathroom design.

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There are two ways that natural stone is typically used in a bathroom: tiles and slabs. Slabs are large, thick pieces of stone typically reserved for areas such as the countertop or shower curb. Tiles are thinner, smaller pieces of stone that can be laid on the walls and floor. Both come in a large selection of both color and finish. This means you can mix and match, using two or three different colors of stone in one bathroom, or you can use one stone in a variety of different ways.

One example of combining different stones involves using darks and lights in one space, such as a dark, honed gray floor combined with a polished, white marble on the walls and counters. The contrast of color and texture in the stone makes a stunning, modern effect.

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Using one stone throughout a space creates an entirely different look in the bathroom, such as using Bianco Carrara as a mosaic on the floors, a larger tile on the walls, and a slab on the counter. Using it everywhere creates a bathroom that appears larger, more open, and calmer in appearance.

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By varying the texture of the stone you use throughout the space, you can also shift the focus of the bathroom’s style as well. For example, using a rough-edged stone counter with a natural cleft slate floor or clad wall can push the design toward rustic, even if the rest of the fixtures and accents are modern.

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Because of the many ways it can be finished, stone is a much more versatile material than man-made tiles. Consider turning to stone for your next bathroom design to help set it apart from the ordinary.