Natural stone floor tiles can give your home that rustic but classic look, especially when they are installed in a formal entry or in an outside building such as a bathhouse or guest house. Regardless of your choice of stone flooring tile, whether marble, granite, or limestone, you can count on them to provide durability and beauty to your home. And because of the variety of their shapes, you can install them, yourself, without concern for uniformity. Use the information below to install your own stone flooring. (This is Part 1 of 2. To move ahead to Part 2, click here.)
Step 1 – Consider Your Floor's Sub-Surface
A level, concrete surface laid during construction will offer a solid and usually level place for you to lay your tile. If, however, you are remodeling or will be laying your tile on a wood floor you will need to install a water resistant backer board.
Step 2 - Estimate the Number of Needed Tiles
Measure the square surface of the floor you'll be laying your tile on. Measure floor length multiple the number of feet times the number of feet in its width, then add 15 percent for trimming and fitting. You'll need these measurements when you purchase your tile.
Step 3 – Plan Your Layout
The first tile you lay will create the straightest edge, so determine where you'll want that straight edge. You will probably want your last tiles to be in an area of the floor where the uneven tile edges will less likely be seen. If straight edges of of less importance to you, begin laying your tiles in the middle of the floor and work outward toward the floor edges.
Step 4 – Tile Placement
For stone tiles that are larger and have a more natural and rougher look place them in strategic locations on your floor, then fill the spaces between them with smaller stones. You may need to create certain stone sizes to fit into these spaces, and you can do this by cutting these smaller pieces from those that are larger, just by using your stone chisel and hammer. The more spaces you fill between the larger stones with smaller stones, the less mortal will be seen and the more natural look your floor will have.
Step 6 - Level Your Floor
Some of the stones will be thicker and will have a single flat surface that you wall want for your top surface. Others will be thin and may have two flat surfaces, allowing you to use either surface as he top surface. Use mortar under your tiles as a leveler, deep enough that you can push some of the thicker stones into the mortar so as to create a more level surface.
Step 7 – Use an Appropriate Sealer
Stone tiles that have a more porous surface such as flagstone will absorb moisture to a greater degree than the surface of harder and less porous stone such as marble or granite. Without a sealer the more porous tiles will absorb stains and will be more difficult to clean. These surfaces will require a sealer, while polished marble will not.