Nothing signals stability and permanence in a home like stone. When properly installed, stone tiles can last for years. There’s a reason all those kings and knights from days gone by built stone castles!
In modern homes, stone tile décor on walls create particularly attractive accents for large rooms, generously portioned baths, and patios. They make a wonderful offset for other natural materials like granite, brick, and wood. Stone fireplaces, for example, make great centerpieces to complement (and help warm) living rooms.
Outside the home, stone provides a protective yet complementary border for lawns, gardens, and pools. They can be used as a decorative floor in lieu of concrete around pools, on patios and on walkways.
Best of all, stone comes in an almost unlimited variety of colors, textures, and shapes. You can find stone tiles that fit almost any home, from a desert oasis to a mountain getaway. High-end townhouses built-in or near urban centers feature stone to underscore the luxury element.
Before You Buy, Get a Quality Stone Installer
Installing stone can be heavy, time-consuming work, particularly for large projects and by people with limited experience. It’s a good idea to use a reputable, experienced stonemason for the job. Many of them work closely with interior and landscape designers and understand what the result is supposed to look like. Guesswork is eliminated.
Lots of stone retailers and wholesalers offer an array of natural materials such as granite for countertops, travertine for showers, and more. They may even have installers on staff to simplify the task and offer one-stop shopping for homeowners.
Pre-installation work includes selecting tiles or slabs. You may want your designer to be involved at this stage since he or she may have a specific kind of stone in mind with the design that you have approved.
Stone installation is achieved with methods that vary depending on where the stone will go. Outdoor paving stones can be set with sand and other materials, while mortar is preferred for landscaping tiles and grout for indoor flooring.
Stone Installers’ Tricks
Most people who have attempted to install stone tiles to match a specific design or pattern will agree that it’s more difficult than the online videos show, particularly if you aren’t an experienced DIY-er.
Here are a few things professional installers will do to make sure your project is done according to plan:
Check tiles for quality and use fit
Cut tiles with precision
Sort tiles to consider how to lay them in a way that enhances the appeal of variations that are inevitable in natural stone
Know which stones need which installation method
Installers can even mix grout to match or blend with tile; a very skilled professional can even minimize the appearance of grout. Grout coloring can also be enhanced to give an accent or contrast with the stone.
Finally, all stone needs to be sealed to prevent stains, particularly in high-traffic areas where resealing may be necessary. Your installer can help you determine how often this will be needed.