Stone Manufacture and Installation
Marble or Granite Benchtops
The manufacturer of benchtops, vanities and other surfaces, purchases whole slabs of finished stone from the stone quarry direct or more commonly through a wholesaler. Slabs are displayed so the end user or installer can view the stone and evaluate according to their needs. Once the customer chooses a stone and edge profile, the manufacturer measures the installation area and prepares the slab according to the specifications of the customer. It is advisable when installing a sink or hotplate that the item be on site so the manufacturer can take exact measurements. The manufacturer considers the following when measuring a benchtop or vanity for installation:
- The suitability of the stone chosen
- The thickness of the stone (20mm minimum for benchtops and vanities)
- Where the joints will be located
- Where the sink or hotplate will be located
- Which side the sink drainer will be on
- Where the plumbing and wiring will be located
- Whether the surrounding cupboards are level so the stone sits level
- Whether the surrounding cupboards will provide adequate support for the stone
- Whether the windows above are level so the line of the stone and windows are parallel
- Whether the sink depth will fit in with the structure of the cupboards below
- If there is a vein or grain, the direction and whether it will line up with other pieces of stone
- If there will be enough slabs in the batch to complete the project
- Once the preparation is complete the stone slab is cut to size using machinery such as a bridge saw, and edges detailed and polished.
Sealing of the benchtop with a high quality professional sealer will ensure the benchtop is easier to keep clean and stop unsightly staining.
Marble and Granite Tiled Floor and Bathrooms
Stone tiles are produced by a tile manufacturer. Slabs are cut into standard tile sizes and thicknesses (usually minimum of 10mm for floors), polished or honed and sold to a distributor who sells the tiles to the end user. It is not common practice for the end user to purchase tiles directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler.
A good tiler will:
- Check quality of the stone tiles for polish, squareness, flatness, arris edges and colour variation
- Where to place the stone tiles so the grout joints are in the correct place
- Check for the levelness of the concrete substrate to determine if a sand and cement screed is required or self leveling compound required to ensure a level stone tile floor is achieved
- Use tiles from different boxes when laying the stone tiles so that the different colours a mixed into the floor
- Ensure that a good water proofing membrane is used
- What type of tile glue should be used on the stone tiles
- What type of tile grout should be used on the stone tiles
- Thickness of the grout joints between the stone tiles
- Ensure that a GOOD fall in the stone tile shower is achieved
Sealing of the tiles with a high quality professional sealer is essential will ensure the tiles are easier to keep clean and stop unsightly staining. Check out our recommended sealing range.
Marble, Granite, Limestone, Travertine Showers
- When installing tiles in a shower there are several considerations:
- The floor has a good fall towards the drain so water does not pool around the sides and seep into and behind the tiles. This is especially important where the glass meets the floor and there is no hob (step)
- Adequate waterproofing – best results are achieved if 2 membranes are applied – one below the tile to prevent leakage and one below the sand cement bedding as a back up
- Plumbing and fittings are installed before tiles are laid
- Floor tiles are laid before wall tiles so that the wall tiles sit on top of the floor tiles – this prevents water from flowing down the wall and under the floor tile
- Edges and corners are polished and not sharp on shower steps or shelves
Once the stone benchtop or vanity has been prepared to specifications by the manufacturer, the installer will fix the stone in position with special glues and resins. The end user must choose the colour of the epoxy resin used to fill the joints with the installer, so it matches perfectly with the stone. The wrong colour can change the look of the stone.
Sealing of the shower is a must with a high quality professional sealer is essential will ensure the tiles are easier to keep clean and stop unsightly staining. Check out our recommended sealing range.
Customer considerations when choosing stone slabs from the manufacturer or tiles from the tile distributor are covered in the ‘Tips for choosing your stone’ section