Granite & Tile FAQ

 

FLOORING INSTALLATION – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER INSTALLATION
               
GRANITE COUNTERTOP INSTALLATION CHECKLIST
               
GRANITE AND RADON
               
TILE TERMINOLOGY
               
FLOORING PATTERNS
               
BACKSPLASH PATTERNS
               
PORCELAIN AND CERAMIC FAQ
               
LAMINATE FAQ
               
NATURAL STONE FAQ
               
NATURAL STONE CARE AND MAINTENANCE
               
HARDWOOD FAQ
               
GRANITE HISTORY AND USAGE
               
MEDALLION INSTALLATION
               
 
               

 

FLOORING INSTALLATION WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER

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GRANITE COUNTERTOP INSTALLATION

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER

When it comes to preparing for your granite installation, Granite & Tile Expo wants you to know all about the steps to take and issues to consider. We want your installation day to be a positive experience and the first of many days of enjoying your beautiful new countertops.

Allow us to offer two words of advice: BE PREPARED!

Get ready for the day your new countertops will arrive for installation.
Being prepared and involved will help insure that the installation process is done smoothly and efficiently, and, hopefully, eliminate expressions of “I wish I’d asked about…” Knowing what to expect will also be a lot less stressful on you, your family and your home. To that point, this document will provide you with many of the things you should be aware of, plan ahead about, and carefully consider.

 

What to know and do before installation day

Access.
Everything needs to be placed aside before our installation crew arrives. This includes clearing the entrance way. We need good access to complete our work. This will help prevent any damage to the counter tops or any other items in our work area. If a counter top piece is broken during installation it will delay the completion of our work until it has been remade. If we are removing the existing countertops, they should be clear of all items. We recommend that you remove items from your cabinets and drawers.

 

Appliances
Please remove all appliances. All cook tops and ranges need to be removed before our installation crew arrives. We recommend that you consult a professional electrician to assist you with disconnecting and/or reconnecting any gas appliances. Granite & Tile Expo installers are not electricians or plumbers. Granite & Tile Expo DOES NOT disconnect or reconnect gas ranges, ice makers, or dishwashers.

 

Sinks
All sinks need to be removed before our installation crew arrives. We will install the undermount sinks for your plumber. He will have to hook them up. The undermount sink needs to be available when we arrive to measure so we can coordinate them to your cabinets. If you are obtaining your sink through Granite & Tile Expo, we will provide the necessary information to your installer. Please note that Granite & Tile Expo installers are not plumbers. They will not disconnect nor reconnect the plumbing to your sink, dishwasher or ice maker.

Climate of your home
Be aware that the area of installation must be climate controlled (heated or air conditioned). Indoor humidity should be maintained between 45-65%.

 

Existing wood trim pieces
Existing wood trim pieces are often encountered. They may need to be removed prior to our installation. We will not assume any responsibility for these items if we have to remove them. In addition, we will not reinstall them once the job is complete. Sometimes they will not fit back exactly the same after they have been removed.

 

Backsplashes


During the removal of your existing countertop and/or the installation of your new granite countertops, some damage to your existing backsplash can occur. Some pieces may pull away from the wall when the old countertop is being removed. We cannot assume any responsibility if this happens. It is Granite & Tile Expo’s recommendation that you plan on replacing your backsplash if you are replacing the countertop. Often, the gap between an existing tile backsplash and the new counter top is not consistent due to variations in the thickness of the old versus new countertop. If this is the case, we will caulk the resulting joint for good appearance. We will not grout the resulting joint. We will not assume any responsibility if the grouted joint by others doesn’t match the existing grout.

 

Know this about your cabinets
We often find that my cabinets have settled out of level or were installed out of level in the first place. This is not obvious until we arrive to install and/or tear out your existing countertops. If this is the case, we will have to shim our pieces up in some areas for proper fit. This will leave a gap between the bottom of the counter top and the top of the cabinets in some areas. This is usually small enough that we can caulk it. In some instances, it will require that a wood trim piece be provided, stained sealed and installed by others for good appearance.

 

Clean-up
Installing new countertops will produce both dust and waste. Please cover all items you do not want exposed to dust. Materials will be collected by your installer and left at your trash collection site. Larger pieces will be hauled off by the installation crew for proper disposal.

What to know and do during installation day

Plan on being home
Be prepared to be at home the day of installation and be available in case the installation crew has questions. Your presence will insure that the correct ceramic is installed in the right areas. Because it is difficult to estimate the length and circumstances of each job, some installers may not be able to give you an exact time of arrival. We suggest you be flexible and keep in touch with us.

We insist on wall-to-wall safety
Your installers will use a variety of tools and techniques that can make the work area hazardous. Please make sure that your children and pets are kept out of the work area on installation day.

Walk through, don’t run
We recommend that prior to the completion of the installation you walk through the job with the chief installer. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and be clear on any final details.

What to know and do after installation day


Other Trades
Do not schedule any other trades that touch your counter tops for at least 24 hours after we complete our work. This allows time for the gluing compounds we use to completely set up. Often, we will have to leave several clamps in place overnight to prevent the pieces from shifting. We can’t finish your joints until we remove the clamps. This is usually the following business day.

Sensitivity to Dust and Odor
If you are sensitive to dust and odors, good ventilation should be established for 48 to 72 hours after installation.

 

Granite and Radon

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Recent media attention has focused on granite countertops and whether they can increase your indoor radon levels. While testing your home is always a good idea, a few clarifications are in order.
FACT – Granites often contain trace amounts of material that can produce measurable amounts of radon gas.
However, the key word is “measurable”. As an illustration, imagine turning on a burner on your stovetop. The burner emits heat, but has little to no effect on the overall temperature of your house. Similarly, if your countertop emits a small amount of radon, it will generally be insignificant when diluted with the quantity of air in your entire home.
You are hundreds of times more likely to be at risk for radon emanating from the soil beneath your home. The US EPA states it simply in the Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction:
“In a small number of homes, the building materials (e.g., granite and certain concrete products) can give off radon, although building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves. In the United States, radon gas in soils is the principal source of elevated radon levels in homes.”

TILING TERMINOLOGY

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Apron tile
Tile set along the face of a structure–for example, along the front of a countertop edge or the vertical border of a sloping kitchen range hood.
Backer board
Cement-based sheet material used as a substrate for tile on walls, floors, and counters. The material of choice in any wet area such as a kitchen or bathroom because it is unaffected by water. Also called cement board, wonder board, or green board.
Backsplash
The vertical surface at the back of a countertop.
Bullnose tile
A trim tile with at least one rounded-over edge used to finish outside corners.
Caulk
One of many flexible compounds used to fill gaps between construction materials. Some key tile joints are filled with caulk instead of grout.
Cement-bodied tile
Tiles made of mortar instead of clay, generally providing the appearance of stone or pavers without a surface glaze.
Cove tile
A shaped trim tile with a slightly curved base that creates a rounded joint between adjacent walls, a wall and a floor, or other surfaces that meet at right angles. Often used as a sanitary detail along the bottom of bathroom walls.
Curing
The period of time that concrete, tile adhesive, or grout must be left in order for it to reach its working strength. Curing time is usually longer than drying time.
Expansion joint
A space left between two surfaces that allows for natural expansion and contraction, typically filled with a flexible backer rod covered with caulk.
Field tile
A full-size tile in the main area of installation.
Float
A long-handled tool used to smooth a concrete surface. More generally with tile, a term describing the process of shaping and smoothing a bed of mortar with a trowel.
Glaze
A hard surface generally fired onto the exposed side of a ceramic tile, which imparts a glossy shine.
Greenboard
A water-resistant variety of drywall used in kitchens and bathrooms.
Grout
The mud or cement that is troweled into tiles that fills the seams and solidifies the tile field. Available in many formulas and colors.
Mastic
Common term for organic-based adhesives generally with less bond strength and water resistance than other thinsets.
Mortar
The mixture of sand, cement, and water used to float beds for tile.
Mosaic
Small tiles that are used to create a design or pattern, generally sold in preassembled sheets.
Mud
Tile-setter’s term for mortar applied in a setting bed.
Sealer
A silicone, lacquer, or acrylic based, clear liquid that is applied to cement-based grout to protect against water penetration and stains.
Shower-floor membrane
A flexible waterproof material under tile that protects against leak damage by directing any water that seeps through seams into the weep holes of shower drain.
Specialty tile
All tiles that are not field tiles, generally used to create smooth, finished edges and corners for specific areas. These trim pieces come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Subfloor
Plywood panels (or tongue-and-groove boards in older homes) installed over joists to support finished flooring material.
Substrate
The supporting layer under tile, generally panels of plywood or backer board.
Thickset
The term used for tile installations that use a thick bed of mortar between tile and substrate. Generally used on older installations, while thin beds of adhesive are generally used today.
Thinset
The term for modern tile installations that use a thin ribbed coat of adhesive between the tile and substrate.
Thinset mortar
The term generally used to describe any of the cement-based tile adhesives.
Underlayment
Smooth panels of plywood or backer board used as a base for tile setting.
V-cap tile
A basically L-shaped tile with a slightly raised corner commonly used along edges of kitchen and bathroom countertops.
Waterproof membrane
A flexible rubberlike material used in tiled tub and shower installations, and also in thickset counter installations.
Wicking Effect
When the core (drywall, wood) is in sustained contact with water, the water will be absorbed several inches from the point of contact.
Zero clearance
This term applies to prefab fireplace units that can be installed next to framing and other combustible materials.
 
FLOORING PATTERNS

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BACKSPLASH PATTERNS

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PORCELAIN AND CERAMIC FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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APPEARANCE/USE

What is the difference between standard “ceramic” tiles and porcelain tiles?
Why does porcelain tile cost more than ordinary ceramic tile?
What is a glazed tile?>
Can ceramic tile be used outdoors?
Isn’t porcelain delicate and easy to break?
I’d like to buy porcelain tile for my great room, but won’t it be cold?br /> Are tiles restricted to specific applications or areas of use?
>What is a PEI rating?
What is meant by the term “calibration” when used by tile manufacturers to refer to tile sizes?
INSTALLATION
Does Granite & Tile Expo do tile installations?
How do you install porcelain tile?
What size grout joint should I use?
How can a hard material like porcelain tile be cut and/or drilled?
How do you know which adhesive to use for your tiles?
What could be causing cracks to appear in ceramic floor tiles?
Is there anything I should do to my tiles after installation?
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
What precautions should I take to protect my tiles?
Should a sealer be used on ceramic tile?
What is the best way to clean my tile?
How do I keep the polished tile shining?
What is the best way to clean grout?
What can be done to eliminate a white film or powder in grout joints?
Can existing dirty grout be re-grouted?
APPEARANCE/USE
What is the difference between standard “ceramic” tiles and porcelain tiles?
Tile terminology can be confusing. Most types of tiles that are made from clay or a mixture of clay and other materials, then kiln-fired, are considered to be a part of the larger classification called “Ceramic Tiles”. These tiles can be split into two groups, porcelain tiles and non-porcelain tiles. These non-porcelain tiles are frequently referred to as “ceramic” tiles by themselves, separate from porcelain tiles.
Ceramic” or non-porcelain tiles are generally made from red or white clay fired in a kiln. They are almost always finished with a durable glaze which carries the color and pattern. These tiles are used in both wall tile and floor tile applications, are softer and easier to cut than porcelain, and usually carry a PEI 0 to 3 rating. Non-porcelain ceramic tiles are usually suitable for very light to moderate traffic. Porcelain tile is a tile that is generally made by the method of pressing sand which results in a tile that is dense, impervious, fine grained and smooth. Porcelain tiles usually have a much lower water absorption rate (less than 0.5%) making them frost resistant. Glazed porcelain tiles are much harder and more wear and damage resistant than non-porcelain ceramic tiles, making them suitable for any application from light residential traffic to commercial traffic. Porcelain tiles are available in matte, unglazed or a high polished finish. Granite & Tile Expo offers our customers only the highest quality ceramic (non-porcelain) and porcelain tiles to ensure years of worry free use, at affordable prices. Why does porcelain tile cost more than ordinary ceramic tile?
You are getting a superior product with porcelain. Porcelain tile requires the finest natural ingredients and a rigidly controlled manufacturing process that utilizes the most advanced processes and technology.
What is a glazed tile?
Glazed tiles are coated with a liquid glass, which is then baked into the surface of the clay. The glaze provides an unlimited array of colors and designs as well as protects the tile from staining.
Can ceramic tile be used outdoors?
To be used outdoors, tile need to be frost proof with an absorption rate of 0.5% or less. Therefore, Granite & Tile Expo recommends using porcelain tiles for outdoor use.
Isn’t porcelain delicate and easy to break?
No. There are different types of porcelain, including dishes and dolls, which can be very fragile. Porcelain tile, on the other hand, is tough and long lasting because it is fired at extremely high temperatures (2000° F and above) until it becomes vitrified (glass-like). This process makes porcelain tile 30 percent harder than some natural stones.
I’d like to buy porcelain tile for my great room, but won’t it be cold?
Porcelain tile is no different in temperature than anything else in the room; it’s just that we tend to equate smooth with cold. (Of course, cool is good in warm weather climates!) Still, it’s easy to warm things up with an area rug or two.
Are tiles restricted to specific applications or areas of use?
Even though certain types of decoration appear to suggest certain settings (such as for a bathroom or kitchen), it is not true that tiles are designed and specified (either explicitly or implicitly) for any given application. For example tiles are not specifically designed for use on a kitchen floor or on balconies. Any given kind of tile can be used in a variety of different areas with satisfactory results. On the other hand, the conclusion that “any tile can be used in any area and for any application” is definitely false. Each tile may be properly used only in areas where its technical characteristics are suitable for the relevant conditions of use. So the choice of the “right tile in the right place” must be made with great care, matching the technical characteristics of tiles with the expected stresses in the area of use.
What is a PEI rating?
PEI classes range from 0 to 5. The Porcelain Enamel Institute rating scale is not a measurement of quality. It is a scale that clearly indicates the areas of use each manufacturer recommends and has designed their tile to fit. A PEI 2 tile has been designed for areas where very low traffic and soiling is anticipated. In most cases the aesthetic detailing of these tiles is of prime consideration. You will often find high gloss levels, vibrant colorations and metallic elements in this group of tile. Conversely, a PEI 5 tile has been designed for abusive extra heavy foot traffic. The technical aspects such as surface abrasion resistance will be considered and must be achieved first before aesthetic effects are incorporated.

  • Class 0 – No Foot Traffic: Wall tile only and should not be used on floors.
  • Class 1 – Very light traffic: Very low foot traffic, bare or stocking feet only. (Master bath, spa bathroom).
  • Class 2 – Light Traffic: Slipper or soft-soled shoes. Second level main bathroom areas, bedrooms.
  • Class 3 – Light to Moderate Traffic: Any residential area with the possible exception of some entries and kitchens if extremely heavy or abrasive traffic is anticipated.
  • Class 4 – Moderate to Heavy Traffic: High foot traffic, areas where abrasive or outside dirt could be tracked. Residential entry, kitchen, balcony, and countertop.
  • Class 5 – Heavy Traffic: Ceramic tile suggested for residential, commercial and institutional floor subjected to heavy traffic.

All porcelain tiles sold by Granite & Tile Expo are PEI 4 or 5 rated tiles.

A. What is meant by the term “calibration” when used by tile manufacturers to refer to tile sizes?
Although a tile size may be stated as 18×18, the nature of the manufacturing process means that it is impossible to ensure all tiles are of an exact equal size. It is for this reason that tile manufacturers produce a number of calibrations for the same tile. The specific calibration provides an indication of the variance from the stated size of the tile. When calibrations are indicated at the outset of a project, the tiles will be as close to a uniform size as you are ever likely to achieve. If this is not done however, there can be problems with the grout lines not running straight as a result of the variance in the tile sizes used.

INSTALLATION

Does Granite & Tile Expo do tile installations?
ABSOLUTELY YES! Granite & Tile Expo does tile installations. We have several tile setting crews who work solely for Granite & Tile Expo.

How do you install porcelain tile?
Porcelain tile is installed as easily as ordinary ceramic tile, using the same installation tools.

What size grout joint should I use?
The size of your grout joint is a personal decision that you need to make. Keep in mind, however, that larger grout joints tend to crack and attract more dirt. Some people suggest a thinner grout joint. As thin as 1/8″ to 3/16″ is best. If your design includes stones of multiple sizes, consider using a 1/4″ grout joint throughout, which adds consistency to the overall appearance.

How can a hard material like porcelain tile be cut and/or drilled?
Cutting can be done with diamond cutters for porcelain tile both by hand and, for more precise cutting, with electric cutters in a water bath. Any holes must be made with diamond cutters (e.g. those used for cutting glass).

How do you know which adhesive to use when fixing your tiles?
The type of adhesive you use depends on a number of factors: Where are you tiling? What are you tiling on? How much tiling experience do you have? Adhesives can be split into two main categories: THINSET and MASTIC. THINSET adhesives come in powder form and must be mixed with either water. Granite & Tile Expo recommends using a multi-set thinset which already has a latex in the mix. Thinsets are generally harder to work with because they must be mixed to the right consistency before using. Thinsets have a strong bond and are flexible. They can support a lot of weight so they are often used for floor installations. MASTIC is pre-mixed and ready to use. It is good for setting wall tiles because they start gripping the tile even before it has fully cured. Be aware that if you are using a solvent-based mastic the fumes can be potentially explosive and dangerous when inhaled.

What could be causing cracks to appear in ceramic floor tiles?
There is always a remote possibility of an individual fractured tile, usually caused by not being bonded properly and then being impacted by an object dropping on it. That type of fracture is repaired by replacing the damaged tile. A sure rule of thumb to determining the problem: if the crack goes from one tile to another on a continuous line through the grout joint, the problem, without any doubt, is in the substrate; usually a crack in the slab. The damaged tile would have to be removed, a crack isolation membrane put down and the tile reinstalled; which should solve the problem.

Is there anything I should do to my tiles after installation?
After your new tiles are installed buff them with a soft dry cloth to remove excess powdered grout. Then wash your tiles with a recommended tile cleaner.

CARE AND MAINTENANCE
What precautions should I take to protect my tiles?
Tile is highly resilient to impact, however every attempt should be made to prevent objects dropping on your tiles. Would you drop a glass of red wine on an expensive carpet? Sand and any abrasive dirt can damage your tiles over time therefore we recommend you to install mats to your heavy traffic areas or area where objects are likely to be dropped. Front and rear entries of your house, near the oven sink are all areas where mats should be installed.

Should a sealer be used on ceramic tile?
A glazed tile is already stain proof, so there is no purpose to putting on a sealer. However, Granite & Tile Expo recommends that you seal your grout. Allow the grout to dry at least 48 hours before sealing.

What is the best way to clean my tile?
Vacuuming or sweeping large floor area before mopping can often reduce your cleaning time. Regular cleaning will eliminate build up of abrasive dirt and make the cleaning process easier. Metallic trims and floors should only be cleaned with a soft cloth and warm water. Avoid harsh detergents.

How do I keep the polished tile shining?
The trick to keeping your tile shining is to thoroughly rinse off the dirty wash water when cleaning it. Detergent residue can form a coating that’s difficult to remove. Once you’ve cleaned your polished porcelain stone, dry the floor thoroughly with a soft cloth or a buffing pad to enhance the shine and prevent water spots.

What is the best way to clean grout?
A routine for cleaning grout should be established, as occasionally cleaning with household cleaners containing acid, bleach or even vinegar will etch the tile and grout in time. There should be two types of cleaning procedures, regular cleaning with a concentrated non-acidic phosphate free cleaner and occasional ‘Heavy Duty Cleaning’ when dirty. We recommend purchasing a grout cleaner for heavy duty cleaning. NOTE: Epoxy grouts are not porous and are easier to clean; however, they are more expensive to purchase and to install.

What can be done to eliminate a white film or powder in grout joints?
The white powdery layer that reforms again after you brush it away is called efflorescence; which is simply white salt deposits. These salts remain on the grout joints when the salts in water solution come to the surface and the water evaporates, leaving these salts in powder form. It seeks out the porous grout joints because water cannot travel through glazed tile to the surface. Because it is difficult to say exactly where efflorescence comes from, it is just as difficult to say when it will stop appearing. These salts can originate in the grout, the mortar bed, the concrete slab beneath the mortar bed, or even in the ground under the slab. They have also been traced to unwashed sand containing soluble salts, sometimes to free alkalis in cement, occasionally to chemical concrete admixtures, and more recently to high alkaline floor cleaners which absorb into the joints and reappear as efflorescence. Frequently the problem will reduce to a low level as the underlying moisture evaporates away. The bottom line, it is excessive moisture (more than normal) coming through the porous grout joint.

The first step to eliminate the problem is to let the installation dry out and the cement cure. During this process, merely brush off the white powder which will leave a stain, but do not address the stain until the moisture transmission stops. For the final cleaning and to remove the stain, agitate the grout joint with a brush and, if necessary, utilize a neutral cleaner. If this fails to remove all of the residue, it may be necessary to use sulfuric or phosphoric acid.

Can existing dirty grout be re-grouted?
Applying new grout over existing grout is not the answer. It will always look like that is what you have tried to do without success. You can re-grout if you dig out the existing grout. There are tools specifically designed for this purpose. Be forewarned, this is a tedious and exasperating task and it is virtually impossible to do without damaging some of the tile, which would necessitate replacement. You may also have a problem matching the color shade of the tile. The best method is to stain the grout with a grout stain.

Laminate Flooring FAQ

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What are laminate floors and how are they made?
What is the difference between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring?
How do laminate floor panels lock together?
Where can I install laminate wood flooring?
What are the advantages of laminate flooring over those of solid hardwood flooring?
What do I need to know before I start installing my laminate floor?
Do I have to keep staggering the planks in my laminate flooring installation?
How do I determine the direction in which to install my laminate flooring?
Will there be any cutting waste?
What is the reason for the necessary 10mm gap left around the perimeter of the interior and around other obstacles within it?
I didn’t get my first row straight. Can I continue?
How do I choose the right moldings?
How should I install moldings?
What is a floating floor?
What is HDF and what is it made of?
Why is a moisture barrier used on concrete?
How can I get the shine of my floor to increase?
How does laminate flooring from Granite & Tile Expo compare to other laminate flooring products?
Can laminate flooring be installed on steps?
Can laminate flooring be installed in my screened in porch or patio?
Can we install laminate over carpet?
How do I clean my laminate flooring?
How do I care for and maintain my laminate floors?
How do I replace one plank of my flooring due to damage?
Q. What are laminate floors and how are they made?
A. Laminate flooring is a versatile, durable, attractive flooring with the appearance of a hardwood floor. Although laminate flooring looks like wood flooring, there is actually no solid wood used in its construction. Laminate floors are made up of several materials bonded together under high pressure. Most laminate flooring consists of a moisture resistant layer under a layer of HDF (high density fiberboard). This is topped with a high resolution photographic image of natural wood flooring. It is then finished with an extremely hard, clear coating made from special resin-coated cellulose to protect the laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is perfect for anyone wanting a durable floor for a fraction of the price and installation time of a hardwood floor, but with the attractiveness of real hardwood. This construction also makes laminate flooring more environment-friendly as it uses less wood in its construction and makes more efficient use of the wood fiber that is used.Q. What is the difference between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring?
A. Both laminate flooring and hardwood flooring can beautify a home. While hardwood is often thought to be a superior choice, there are several advantages to laminate flooring. Distinct differences between the two types of flooring often make laminate a more attractive alternative. Solid hardwood of any thickness (most is 3/8” to 3/4”) should be installed only above grade. Laminate flooring can be installed above or below grade, and over virtually any other flooring surface. Some hardwood flooring is engineered, meaning that instead of solid hardwood, it is made of several wood layers with a hardwood veneer. Laminate flooring, usually 7mm to 8mm (5/16” to 3/8”), is also made of several layers. These are laminated together which makes for stability and strength. The top surface of laminate flooring is a photograph of hardwood. High quality photographs faithfully reproduce the grain and color of natural hardwood, and the surfaces on quality laminate flooring closely resemble real wood. Although many people insist on hardwood flooring, laminates are a long lasting, durable, affordable option that are quickly becoming one of the most popular types of flooring.
Q. How do laminate floor panels lock together?
A. There are many types of edge joining systems used to connect laminate flooring panels together. Some laminate flooring connections snap together by hand while others require a light tap with a mallet and a tapping block. Still others use a combination of a “snap” click edge and a “bang” or “tap” click at the end of the panels. While most of the various systems work well to secure your laminate floor, it is important to read your laminate flooring installation instructions carefully. Familiarize yourself with how your flooring locks together before starting your installation.
Q. Where can I install laminate wood flooring?
A. Laminate flooring is an extremely versatile flooring product. It can be installed in virtually any room of your home, above or below ground, over wood or concrete. There are several locations that are not recommended for laminate flooring. Because laminate flooring is a wood flooring product it is not recommended that laminates be installed in wet locations such as bathrooms, washrooms, saunas, enclosed porches or verandas, or anywhere that may require wet-mopping. Extended exposure to moisture of this type may cause the core of your laminate flooring to warp or swell. In some instances, with special installation procedures, it is possible to install laminate floors in bathrooms where water will not stand on the floor for any length of time. For bathroom installations, it is recommended you apply a light bead of glue to the tongue on the planks to be used in the areas subject to spills. Also, ensure that all spills are mopped up and dried promptly.
Q. What are the advantages of laminate flooring over those of solid hardwood flooring?
A. One obvious advantage is that of price; laminate flooring is typically half the cost of traditional hardwood flooring. Sometimes the savings are even greater, depending on the types of flooring in question. Additionally, laminate flooring is designed to be easy to install and is generally a good choice for most do-it-yourselfers, where solid hardwood requires a specific level of expertise. Installing laminate doesn’t involve nails, and more recently has done away with glue as well in many cases. Laminate flooring can therefore be installed fairly quickly and inexpensively. Laminate flooring is generally designed to be scratch-resistant and fade resistant, two areas where solid hardwood flooring is known to be more vulnerable.
Q. What do I need to know before I start installing my laminate floor?
A. There are several things to consider before you begin to install a laminate floor. Careful preparation before beginning will make installing your laminate floor a quick and easy process.

  • Ensure that your subfloor is flat, dry, and smooth.
  • Always use underlayment under your laminate floor.
  • Laminate flooring and underlayment/vapor barrier can be installed over concrete, wood flooring, vinyl tile, linoleum, tile, or virtually any other hard, flat surface.
  • Take extra care when installing laminate flooring over radiant heating. Ensure that you read both the laminate flooring and radiant heat system instructions carefully before beginning.
  • Read your laminate flooring manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully.
  • Allow you laminate flooring to acclimatize to the room where it will be installed for as long as possible (min. 48 hours).
  • Inspect each laminate flooring panel carefully for defects or damage before installing it.
  • Installation should take place at room temperature of at least 65 degrees.
  • A floor surface temperature of 59 degrees and an overall room temperature of 64 degrees must be ensured before, during and three days after the installation.

Q. Do I have to keep staggering the planks in my laminate flooring installation?
A. The first row should be started with a full plank, the second row with a 2/3 plank and the third row with a 1/3 plank. The distance between joints from one row to the next for the remainder of the installation must be 8″ or greater

Q. How do I determine the direction in which to install my laminate flooring?
A. To decide where to begin the layout of your floor, consider incoming light. It is usually best to install laminate flooring with the planks running parallel to light coming in windows or glass doors. For any installation, the starting wall should be as long and straight as possible.

Q. Will there be any cutting waste?
A. In an average installation, approximately 7% to 10% of the total area to be covered will be wasted for several reasons, typically cuts, planks damaged during installation, or errors.

Q. What is the reason for the necessary 10mm gap left around the perimeter of the interior and around other obstacles within it?
A. Because laminate flooring is derived from wood, it is subject to expansion caused by room temperatures and humidity levels. An expansion gap is a necessary part of any successful installation because it allows space for the expansion of the floor as it responds to these external influences of temperature and humidity. When it is exposed to warmer temperatures, or to increased humidity, laminate flooring planks expand outward. Leaving out the essential element of an outside gap can cause the buckling of the individual laminate flooring planks as the planks push outward against walls or other obstacles.

Q. I didn’t get my first row straight. Can I continue?
A. Do not continue. Getting the first row absolutely straight is the foundation – perhaps the most critical part- to a successful installation. If your first rows are not properly aligned, or the joints are not tightly sealed, the entire installation will be compromised. (The error will magnify as you continue installing.) Along both sides and ends, all planks must be parallel to each other or there will be wedge-shaped gaps between planks. If residue is caught in the grooves, poor alignment can also result. Remember to make sure all grooves are clean before installation.

Q. How do I choose the right moldings?
A. Here is a brief guide to moldings and their best uses for a laminate flooring project:

Molding Usage Image
Reducer molding Used to join laminate flooring to other flooring materials of varying height.
T molding For use in doorways or thresholds to join two areas of floor on the same height level
Stair Nose molding For use in finishing the exposed outer edges of stain and landings
Quarter round molding Used in the same way as a base shoe molding, behind cabinets where a low profile molding is better suited to support an object flush against the wall.

Q. How should I install moldings?
A. You can glue or nail moldings to the wall only, never to the floor.

Q. What is a floating floor?
A. A floating floor is a floor built with all its parts attached to each other but with none of these component parts fixed to the supporting floor. Virtually all laminate floors install as floating floors.

Q. What is HDF and what is it made of?
A. High density fiberboard, HDF, is basically a high-density, moisture-resistant fiber panel. It is made of wood residues (sawdust, shavings and wood chips) from wood processing factories. This material is ground into a pulp to which a melamine-urea-formaldehyde resin is added. This pulp is then dried and pressed into panels.

Q. Why is a moisture barrier used on concrete?
A. Concrete floors below ground are capable of storing a vast amount of water. It is crucial to avoid all direct contact between the laminate flooring and the concrete floor because the soil beneath the concrete can transmit humidity into the floor. Installing a moisture barrier over all concrete surfaces is mandatory for a successful installation and for the ongoing health of a laminate floor.

Q. How can I get the shine of my floor to increase?
A. The shine cannot be modified as it is a manufactured characteristic. Therefore, you must never wax or polish a laminate floor.

Q. How does laminate flooring from Granite & Tile Expo compare to other laminate flooring products?
A. All Laminate floors sold by Granite & Tile Expo are high quality products, manufactured with residual wood fiber. Their self-locking tongue-and-groove systems have exceptional joint integrity and are designed for easy, glue-free installation.

Q. Can laminate flooring be installed on steps?
A. Yes, laminate flooring can be installed on steps but with this exceptional installation, the planks should be glued down with regular wood glue. The moldings and transitions need to be nailed down.

Q. Can laminate flooring be installed in my screened in porch or patio?
A. No, laminate flooring must be installed in a climate-controlled area.

Q. Can we install laminate over carpet?
A. No, all carpet and padding should be removed completely prior to installation.

Q. How do I clean my laminate flooring?
A. Laminate flooring is a beautiful, low maintenance, long-lasting flooring. There are several simple steps that you can take to keep your laminate flooring clean and to ensure that you get many years of service from it. Simply dust mop or vacuum with a soft brush or wood floor accessory to keep your laminate floor clean from dust, dirt or grit.

  • A damp cloth or mop can be used without damage to the laminate flooring panels, but do not use excessive water. Dry the floor thoroughly with a clean, soft cloth.
  • Blot up spills or water from wet feet or footwear immediately with a clean, dry cloth, sponge, or paper towel. Do not allow excess liquid to remain on the surface of your laminate floor.
  • Do not use soap-based detergents, abrasive cleaners, or combined “clean and shine” products on your laminate floor.
  • Do not use steel wool or other scouring pads that may scratch laminate panels.
  • Do not wax or polish your laminate flooring.
  • Do not steam clean or use chemicals that may damage the laminate flooring surface.

For stubborn spots or stains on laminate flooring use acetone or nail polish remover on stubborn substances such as tar, asphalt, paint, or oil. Then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

 

Q. How do I care for and maintain my laminate floors?
A. While laminate floors are highly resistant to stains and abrasions, they are not indestructible. In order to maximize the durability and beauty of your laminate flooring, we recommend the following practices as part of your floor’s normal care and maintenance.

  • Place a doormat outside the exterior entrances to collect excess moisture, sand, grit and other potentially damaging substances from being tracked onto your laminate floor.
  • Use only colorfast and non-scratch carpeting or pads on your laminate surface.
  • Avoid sharp or pointed objects with concentrated weight such as high heels on your laminate flooring.
  • Use protective felt pads under furniture legs or wide castors under appliance levelers.
  • Do not slide furniture or appliances across your laminate floor. If using a wheeled dolly to move furniture or appliances, place a clean sheet of smooth plywood or other protective layer over your laminate surface.
  • Rearrange furniture occasionally for increased indentation resistance
  • Do not treat or seal your laminate floor panels after they are installed.
  • Never sand, lacquer, or refinish your laminate flooring surfaces.

Q. How do I replace one plank of my flooring due to damage?
A. If the plank that needs replacing is close to the edge of the room, simply disassemble the floor to the position of the plank to be replaced and then reinstall the plank(s). There is a more complicated procedure if you need to replace a single hard-to-get-to plank. Call your Granite & Tile Expo sales representative to discuss repairing your floor. Phone: 361 894 8972.

NATURAL STONE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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What are the different types of stones?
Where do stones come from?
What are shinny flakes inside the stone?
Is one stone better than other? What is the best stone?
Are some countries stones better than others?
What are the different finishes? What are the differences between?
What are the different types of edges? What are the differences?
What makes an exotic stone exotic?
What are the advantages of natural stone over man-made stones?
What are the standard sizes for a tile floor? What is the standard thickness of a tile?
What are the decorative stones? What are they used for?
Will my stone stain? What type of stones are resistant to stain?
Is it necessary to seal stone?
Will my stone change colors or degrade in quality when sealed?
How often do I need to seal my stone?
What the Sealer Does Not Do!
What Does the Sealer Do?
What do I need to consider when buying marble or granite?
What’s the difference between marble and granite?
Should I use granite or marble for my kitchen countertops?
What is the best way to clean marble and granite and other stones?
Granite questions?
What do I need to consider when buying a granite countertop?
Can I cut on my granite countertop?
Can my Granite countertop be damage?
Will my granite look the online sample?
Can I set hot pot on my granite countertop?
Can granite chip?
How are seams made?
Can granite crack?
Marble questions?
Is marble suitable for a kitchen countertop?
What is the difference between granite and marble?
Can I seal marble?
Travertine Questions?
What is travertine?
What colors does travertine come in?
What does the finished surface of travertine look like?
Where would I use travertine?
What should I consider in using travertine?
My Travertine Floor Is Getting Holes In It, Do I Have Bad Stone?
Slate Questions?
What is slate?
Is your slate suitable for the floor?
What do both sides of the slate look like?
Are there drawbacks using slate tile compared to ceramic or porcelain tiles?
Is there a PEI rating for slate tile?
Can slate tile be installed outside on sand?
Is slate resistant to damage?
What are the different types of stones?
There are various types of stones that are used for flooring and decorative purposes. The most well known ones are marble, granite, travertine, and slate.
Where do stones come from?
Mountains are the largest source of natural stone. Riverbeds and seas are also sources of natural stone.
What are shinny flakes inside the stone?
Each stone type has different minerals, which gives various properties to stone.
Is one stone better than other? What is the best stone?
Each type of natural stone has unique characteristics that make them harder, softer or shinier. Depending on your application, there are some design preferences of some type over another. Granite & Tile Expo carries stone tiles and decorative natural stone products, which are suitable for interior or exterior floors and walls.
Are some countries stones better than others?
There is a general misconception that some countries produce better stones than other. Natural stones come from the nature itself; they are raw materials for tile and slab industries. It is the manufacturing process that will bring out the beauty of the natural stone. To this extent, some countries are better at processing the stones than others. Granite & Tile Expo uses manufacturers that have state of the art manufacturing facilities capable of producing high quality natural stone products.
What are the different finishes? What are the differences between?
Finishing stone is similar to sanding process: smaller grit and longer sanding gives stone more shinny polished look, whereas less will make it look more natural. Finish is a design preference. Usually polished surfaces are used where a modern look is sought. They require more delicate care and handling compared to antiqued or tumbled surfaces which have a natural patina and will take a better wear and tear over time. Some stones like travertine have natural holes as a result of sedimentary minerals. These voids or holes can be left unfilled to give even more natural look to the floor. They are also available as filled travertine or you can grout the holes when you grout your joints.
What are the different types of edges? What are the differences?
As for the type of finishes, the edge finish is also a design preference. Below are the type of edge finishes generally preferred:

  • Straight cut or SC: Tiles are sawn and has a sharp edge. Preferred by customer in Southeast and Southwest for seamless floors without any grout joints.
  • Beveled: Also called Chamfered, the bevel is used to make installation easier and to eliminate sharp leveling differences on the floor between tiles when grout is used.
  • Chiseled: The edges of the tiles are “chiseled” giving them a rough texture and appearance.

 

What makes an exotic stone exotic?
Due to the weather conditions, seasonal limitations, transportation restrictions, some stones are available in small quantities, therefore they are exotic. Exotic stones often come from very remote parts of the world; they require extra care in production and handling.

What are the advantages of natural stone over man-made stones?
Natural stone creates a unique atmosphere everywhere it is used. They will not let go of their beauty even after thousands years. Man-made stones are esthetically repetitive, often having an artificial look. They can wear easily over time and can lose its appeal.

What are the standard sizes for a tile floor? What is the standard thickness of a tile?
Natural stone is available in a variety of sizes. You can find it as small as 5/8” to 24”. The tile size is also a design preference. In general, the larger the area you want to cover you might consider using larger dimensions.

What are the decorative stones? What are they used for?
Decorative stones tiles are used to accentuate various surface covering forms. You can use moldings to frame an art work on your wall. You can use borders to clarify the distinction between your living room and kitchen. The possibilities are immense with mosaics, moldings, and borders.

Will my stone stain? What type of stones are resistant to stain?
We recommend sealing all natural stone with a good sealer.

Is it necessary to seal stone?
Since mineral surfaces are quite porous they absorb liquids, which may result in discoloring and staining. Although there are many commercial grade products available on the market which may bring the stone to its original luster, taking simple precautions and regular maintenance can save a lot of trouble and cost. All marble and granite tops are sealed immediately after they are installed. The impregnating substances penetrates the stone clogging most of its pores making its quite impervious to alcohol, juices, soft drinks, cosmetics, cleaners, coffee, food and even oil. With course of time, depending on how heavily the tops are used, the sealer gets washed out. The clear indication of this happening would be the fact the liquids are easily absorbed into stone Leaving temporary (if promptly wiped off) stains.

Will my stone change colors or degrade in quality when sealed?
Different sealers have different degrees of changing the stone color. However, sealing the stone will give a slight wet and cleaner look to it. There are sealers without color enhancers and it will almost retain the original look of the stone.

How often do I need to seal my stone?
Depending on the usage, you might seal your stone tiles once a year.

What The Sealer Does Not Do!
1 – Sealers do not prevent surface pitting, scratches, abrasion or etching. Foot traffic, sharp objects or acidic agents affect the stone surface. Sealers protect below the surface. Routine honing or polishing and filling holes are necessary for surface renewal.
2 – Impregnating sealer is not a water or stain proof barrier. It will allow time for cleanup of accidental mishaps. However, if liquids are left for long periods of time staining may occur. Most sealers do resist oil, however; hot cooking oils or grease may melt the sealing resins and stain. Oils should be removed immediately.
3 – You cannot waterproof showers, decks or grout with stone sealers. Waterproofing is a membrane that should be applied prior to installation.
4 – Sealers do not keep dirt off stone or out of grout. But they do make them easier to clean. A simple scrub and then removal of dirty water will clean most soiled areas.
5 – Impregnating Sealers do not make the stone “shiny”. If they do it’s the wrong kind of sealer. Topical sealers are for interior slate or other clefted stones and are not suitable for smooth stone applications.

What Does The Sealer Do?
Impregnating / Penetrating sealers retard the absorption of liquids that may cause staining, odor and erosion beneath the surface. The word “sealer” is really a misnomer. Proper sealers allow microscopic ventilation of temperature, air and moisture (known as vapor). For most installations impregnating sealer applied to the surface soaks in approximately 1/8″-1/4″. The water or solvent that carries the “sealing resins” evaporates. The remaining resins (silicone or Teflon like materials) coat the pores with a repelling layer. This impedes absorption of water, oil & dirt, but allows the stone to breathe. This “vapor transmission” is essential for the life of the stone. When vapor is not allowed to transfer, it creates its own escape path causing fractures (cracks), spalling (splitting within the substrate) and erosion. It is important to use a premium grade, impregnating “stone” sealer to insure proper protection and vapor transfer

What do I need to consider when buying marble or granite?
Because it is a natural stone, marble – and more recently granite has been blessed with a remarkable natural beauty that has captivated humans throughout the ages. Inherent in such natural products is a certain lack of predictability that sophisticated architects and designers celebrate. Consumers who are less acquainted with the material expect the marble ordered to be identical to the picture or sample they shown. Although sample stones are intended to be representative of the quarry’s product, the material quarried at one time may differ slightly in color and veining from the sample. Moreover, even a single marble or granite slab will process a certain amount of color variations from one end to the other. Interior designers and architects have come to view this tendency of natural stone as an advantage. Slight irregularities can be pleasing.

What’s the difference between marble and granite?
Although both are stones and both are quarried from the earth, marble (and marble’s relatives – limestone, onyx and travertine) and granite are very different from each other. Granite is formed deep in the earth’s mantle at extremely high temperatures, and is very hard, resistant stone made of crystallized minerals. The marble family – limestone, travertine, marble, onyx – starts out as sediment – animal skeletons and shells, plant matter, silt – at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies 9lithifies) into stone. Because its main component is calcium, it can be affected by acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages.

Should I use granite or marble for my kitchen countertops?
Although typical application of marble is for the bathroom vanity tops, Jacuzzi tops and flooring, it is possible to use it in the kitchen. However, due to the fact that is easy to scratch and is affected by acidic substances, such as vinegar, ketchups etc, we don’t usually recommend it. Moreover the high–gloss of the marble countertop can be partially lost as many chemicals etch its surface. Granite in turn is considered the second hardest stone, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching by knifes and pots and pans under normal use. It is also not affected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans.

What is the best way to clean marble and granite and other stones?
The old rule of thumb is never to use anything you wouldn’t use on your hands. Never use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your stone. Even a ”Soft Scrub” type cleaners contain pumice, which is powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your stone countertops or floors. Never use any product which is acidic, this includes substances like ammonia or many common liquid cleaners such as Windex. You should always use sealers and cleaning products designed especially for natural stone.

Granite questions?

What do I need to consider when buying a granite countertop?
Granite is a natural stone. It is very hard and durable, heat and scratch resistant as well as easy to maintain; in all sense it’s the material of the future. Aside from the practical aspect, granite is very versatile in the design field. It comes in various colors and structural compositions. All stones are not exactly the same; each lot will have unique characteristics attributed to the specific granite.

Can I cut on my granite countertop?
Granite is harder than your knife blades and will dull them very quickly, if you use the countertop as a cutting surface. Always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board.

Can my Granite countertop be damage?
Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp objects. Unsealed, granite can absorb stains such as oil, which can ultimately cause dark spots or discoloration. Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not affect granite under normal circumstances.

Will my granite look the online sample?
The sample you see on the computer have been scanned and saved as digital images. The color tones may not be absolutely correct due to variations in computer systems, monitors and compression algorithms. Also, granite is a natural material with naturally occurring variations in color, tone, granularity, pattern, etc. these variations are expected and are the source of its natural beauty.

Can I set hot pot on my granite countertop?
Granite is formed by extreme heat and pressure combined beneath the earth’s crust. It cannot be affected by heat from a cook top or frying pan. A lit flame placed under the granite will have no melting effect and will not leave any burned or scarred marks.

Can granite chip?
In only cases of sever abuse with a hammer or impact tool. A chip can be filled with an epoxy mixture and polished.

How are seams made?
Seams are done where the granite joins with a smooth, straight cut during installation, a small bead of silicone is placed along the seam to seal it. Occasionally, in areas of stress or without sufficient support, the seams will be joined with epoxy mixture matching the color of the stone, which must be supported temporally until the epoxy cures.

Can granite crack?
Not with ordinary use. Granite is most susceptible to cracks during transportation, shipping and installation. Normal use will not overstress this durable material.

Marble questions?

Is marble suitable for a kitchen countertop?
No, marble is not a good choice for a kitchen countertop. Although it can be sealed, it is not dense as granite and therefore it is more porous and susceptible to being stained in a highly used area like a kitchen. It is much softer and it will chip and crack under frequent use.

What is the difference between granite and marble?
The main difference between granite and marble is that granite is a highly dense material composed deep inside the earth’s core while marble is formed from sediments under the seabed. Both solidify into stone after millions of years but the mineral composition of the two stones makes marble and granite react different to various chemicals and household cleaners.

Can I seal marble?
Just like granite, marble is sealed after the fabrication process; unfortunately due to its porous nature sealing marble is insufficient for everyday kitchen use. Marble is ideal to use in living and bathroom areas and other areas.


TRAVERTINE QUESTIONS?

What is travertine?
Travertine belongs to the larger family of stone called limestone also known as Calcium Carbonate. Marble is also a type of limestone that has had additional heat and pressure applied to it by the earth’s crust. Travertine is formed by minerals dissolving in ground water and then being deposited on the earth’s surface by rivers, natural springs, or geysers.

What colors does travertine come in?
Travertine comes in many different colors including ivory, beige, walnut, noce, and gold. The color of travertine is the result of iron compounds or other organic impurities.

What does the finished surface of travertine look like?
Travertine can have four major finishes, polished (shiny), honed (matte), brushed and tumbled (textured surfaces). The type of finish given to the travertine will determine how shiny the surface will be. The polished and honed surfaces are flat and smooth, while the brushed and tumbled surfaces are flat and textured. The polished surface is the shiniest, while the tumbled surface reflects the least amount of light. The most common finish for travertine is honed.

Where would I use travertine?
Travertine has been used in the construction of buildings for thousands of year. In today’s construction, travertine is used for flooring, cladding on buildings, showers, wall coverings and counter tops.

What should I consider in using travertine?
Travertine is a natural stone product. Because the minerals that make up travertine are highly reactive with acidic solutions (
e.g. orange juice, vinegar), a major consideration is where the travertine will be installed and what it will be exposed to. Sealers will provide some protection to the stone no matter what the environment, but knowing what it will be exposed to will help you decide whether travertine is a good fit for your project.

My Travertine Floor Is Getting Holes In It, Do I Have Bad Stone?
No. Travertine is formed in springs where water and gases pass through it. There are air bubbles, cavities, voids, holes and soft pockets all through the stone. Exposing these holes in high traffic areas, especially under chairs is common. Holes can be filled with a number of different compounds depending on the type of travertine. It is part of maintenance.


SLATE questions?

What is slate?
Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock. Its main constituents are quartz, chlorite, mica & calcite. Slate is formed when ocean or riverbed sediments are compressed and heated by the earth’s crust.

Is your slate suitable for the floor?
Slate is a very durable and hard wearing product and is suitable for use on the floor.

What do both sides of the slate look like?
The back of the slate tile has been machine to either a flat or grooved finish, depending on the factory of origin. The top is a natural-split face surface.

Are there drawbacks using slate tile compared to ceramic or porcelain tiles?
Slate tile does need a little more in the way of maintenance compared to ceramic or porcelain tile, but its unique qualities and appearance are often preferred to man-made products.

Is there a PEI rating for slate tile?
The PEI refers to ratings set by the Porcelain Enamel Institute. These ratings were developed for the Ceramic and Porcelain tile industries. There is therefore no PEI rating for slate. However, slate is very hard and durable and can be used where a long-wearing product is required.

Can slate tile be installed outside on sand?
Slate tiles can be used outside if set on a solid substrate with mortar. Slate tiles should not be installed on sand nor should they be used as pavers.

Is slate resistant to damage?
Slate (and any other natural stone that we offer) is highly resistant to damage, as long as it is applied to a solid substrate. If the sub-floor, prior to the slate installation is flexible (for example, a thin plywood sub-floor), the slate could crack like any other tile. It is therefore very important to have an adequate substrate prior to installation. If in doubt, you should consult a professional installer about this.

Natural Stone Care & Maintenance

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The use of natural stone in both residential and commercial environments has increased dramatically over the past ten years. Prior to this, polished marble was the primary stone utilized in interior areas. Today, numerous stones are used. Stone ranges from the very dense, low porosity stones such as granite to high porosity (very absorbent) stones such as sandstone. Surface textures also vary, ranging from very rough, textured surfaces such as cleft slate and flamed-finished granite to polished surfaces often found on marble and granite surfaces. Although natural stone provides an excellent upgrade from many of today’s synthetic alternatives, it must still be recognized that it is neither maintenance free nor stain proof. Here are some excellent tips that will help insure the ongoing beauty, long life, cleanliness and slip resistance of your stone installation:
Do: Seal your stone to improve the stain resistance and ease the ongoing maintenance. It is very important that the proper sealer be used based on the type of stone, surface finish and location. A good rule of thumb is that with denser stones, including polished surfaces, only penetrating–type sealers should be used. If you have a stone with a very porous (absorbent) or textured surface such as slate, then you have an option of using a “coating” or surface sealer that will generally provide a degree of surface sheen or a penetrating-type sealer that will leave a completely natural look. Be careful when selecting coating-type sealers on exterior areas as many of the coating-type sealers currently available do not work well in exposed exterior environments.Don’t: Allow liquid contaminants to stand indefinitely on stone surfaces, even if they are sealed. It is important to remove liquid contaminants as soon as possible. They will very quickly penetrate into unsealed stone surfaces, making them difficult to extract, and eventually seep into even sealed surfaces if allowed to dwell for extended periods of time. A sealer should be viewed as providing reaction time to remove the contaminant before it penetrates and stains the stone.Don’t: Directly wipe a liquid contaminant off the stone surface. This will simply cause the stain to be spread over a larger area, and even drive the contaminant deeper into the stone, especially if unsealed.Do: Quickly utilize an absorbent paper towel or rag to blot up any liquid contaminant remaining wet on the surface before scrubbing the surface with a proper cleaner.Don’t: Use acidic cleaners for routine stone maintenance. Although some stones are acid resistant, there are many stones (most noteworthy – Marble), which are sensitive to acids. Even a light solution of vinegar and water will quickly etch and dull polished marble surfaces. It is also important to note that acidic cleaners do not function as degreasers, but work by chemically attacking cement and calcium found in some varieties of stone, thus damaging the structural integrity of the stone.Do: Use neutral PH cleaners for everyday routine cleaning of stone surfaces. In situations where periodic heavy duty cleaning is needed, use an alkaline (high PH) cleaner. These are excellent degreasers, working well on most stone surfaces without chemically damaging these surfaces. It is recommended that whatever cleaner is used on fine polished marble, that it is always first tested to insure that it does not dull the polished surface.Don’t: Clean textured stone surfaces using only a mop. Highly textured or uneven surfaces such as slate, is rough finished and tends to grip and hold surface contaminants. A simple moping is not going to create sufficient surface agitation to release these clinging contaminants.Do: After applying a neutral PH or high alkaline cleaner, utilize a scrub brush to create sufficient surface agitation to release the surface contaminants so they can be easily removed in the rinsing process.Don’t: Wet mop polished stone surfaces, allowing the polished surface to surface dry as the water evaporates. This will allow for eventual mineral buildup to occur which will dull high polished finishes.Do: Use absorbent paper or cotton towels to polish dry any water on the polished surface. This will eliminate the dulling mineral deposits that would be left behind if the water is left to naturally evaporate. This is also important in wet areas such as showers, where polished stone surfaces should be towel dried after use so as to eliminate eventual buildup of mineral-hard water deposits.Don’t: Just pick up any cleaner from your local grocery store and use to clean your stone. You would be surprised how many cleaners contain at least trace amounts of acid that can cause quick or eventual damage to fine stone. Most stone and ceramic tile outlets carry cleaners that are specially designed to properly care for these fine surfaces.Do: Contact the product manufacturer if you have any questions about their product and its intended use. Manufacturers of these products should have toll free numbers and would encourage phone inquiries should there be any questions about their products.
HARDWOOD FAQ

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GRANITE HISTORY AND USAGE

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YEARS BACKGROUND VEINING PATTERN WORKS WITH GENERAL INFO
1.5 BIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CHOCOLATE COLOR
WHEAT STAIN
BROWN GLAZED WOOD
STAINED WHITE OAK
From the Nordic country of Finland comes Baltic Brown. A true mix of earth’s colors, dark brown circular graining like that of petrified trees is shaded with subtle greens and black accents. This stone brings the outdoors in, which is why it’s a natural choice for many applications.
960 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CONSISTENT LIGHT, NATURAL OR
MEDIUM CHERRY WOOD
WHITE CABINETS
CINNAMON STAINED WOOD
India is a land of contrasts, and so it is with Black Galaxy. Each copper colored fleck embedded deep in the stone is dramatized even more against the dark black background, like bright stars in a magical midnight sky. This stone will bring a sparkle to any room.
300 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CONSISTENT GLOSSY WHITE
GREY STAINED
With its natural iridescence, Blue Pearl from Norway is highly sought after for both upscale commercial projects and home interiors. Its rich blue-gray color reflects light brilliantly, reminiscent of the deep cool Island waters
900 MIL VARIED VARIED VARIED DARKER AND LIGHTER WOOD Iridescent golds and creams boldly crisscross the surface of pulsating hues of brown, black and burgundy, like the pulsating movement of the bossa, nova. Feel the rhythm of this Brazilian treasure.
540 MIL VARIED VARIED VARIED DARKER AND LIGHTER WOOD Another unique creation of nature from Brazil, Crema Bordeaux makes a strong impression with its spectacular blend of colors ranging from soft brown, beige and gray’s giving way to splashes of rich burgundy. Gathering in your kitchen with family and friends will always be a memorable event if Crema Bordeaux is your countertop of choice
2 BIL CONSISTENT VARIED VARIED DARK RICH WOODS
CHERRY
NATURAL WOODS
Dakota Mahogany is a celebrated homegrown granite. With its blend of red-rust, blue-gray and white crystallization, it is representative of our nations colors. Innovative Stone is proud to offer this American beauty as part of our selection from all over the world.
540 MIL VARIED VARIED VARIED RICHLY COLORED CABINETS A delicate composition of creamy quartz crystals, Delicatus is a celebration of nature. With its origins in Brazil, the pearly luster of this material will enrich any application.
540 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT VARIED BLACK STAINED CABINETS
TRADITIONAL WOODS
A specialty granite originating in the northeastern part of Brazil, Dragon Red is a bold expression of character and energy. This robust granite will demand attention in any application.
300 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CONSISTENT GLOSSY WHITE
OLD WORLD WOODS
With its deep character and iridescence, Emerald Pearl from Norway is highly sought after for both upscale commercial projects and home interiors. Its rich emerald green color reflects light brilliantly, making this stone a countertop jewel.
520 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT VARIED RICH DARK COLORS
LIGHTER STAINED CABINETRY
Another one of Brazil’s charms, Giallo Ornamentale is selected for its understated elegance and calming character. It makes its statement in a confident yet delicate way. The gentle gold, cream and browns of Giallo Ornamentale awaken the senses, like the soothing and subtle aroma emanating from Brazil’s cacao trees. Experience the beguiling qualities of this passionate tour de force.
500 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CONSISTENT RICH DARK COLORS
PAINTED CABINETRY
Quarried in the rugged terrain of southeastern Brazil, Giallo Fiorito is a burst of energy and bold golden crystals. The striking features of this material are an expression of confidence and character, making statement in every application.
540 MIL VARIED VARIED VARIED COUNTRY COLOR CABINETS
OFF WHITE
WOOD TONES
From the land of carnival and exotic dancers, we bring you Giallo Veneziano. Reflecting the warm nature of the Brazilian people, La Vita’s golden hues and occasional veining invite you on a voyage of discovery to reveal new characteristics each time you look at it. Perhaps one of the most popular choices, La Vita™ is a sought after material for its lighter look and strong character.
570 MIL CONSISTENT VARIED VARIED DARK AND LIGHT COLORS Waves crashing against the shoreline of the beach transport you to a tropical island fantasy. Pink, gray, and beige tones are awash in this ethereal dreamscape from India.
900 MIL VARIED VARIED VARIED NATURAL WOOD
DARK STAINS
Like a fine hand-dyed raw silk fabric, Madura Gold is one of India’s most exotic exports. This stone has a natural variation in color and texture, which brings the warmth of the sun into your home. Embark on a journey to discover the unique enlightening characteristics of Madura Gold in your design.
520 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT VARIED RICH DARK COLORS
LIGHTER STAINED CABINETRY
Quarried in the state of Espirito Santo in southeastern Brazil, the warm golden hues of New Venetian Gold are a classic expression of welcome and comfort in any home. The curative black sand beaches of Espirito Santo are imbued with the kiss of golden sunbeams in this spirited granite selection.
525 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CONSISTENT ASH GRAY STAIN
MEDIUM STAIN WOODS
A gem of a stone from the middle of the Indian subcontinent, Sapphire Blue’s rich tapestry of earth tones are naturally enhanced by the look of blue toned glass blended within. An eclectic design choice allowing you to bring out the blue or play it down.
700 MIL VARIED VARIED VARIED RICH DAR COLORS
PAINTED CABEINETRY
Quarried in the rugged mountains of Espirito Santo in Brazil, St. Cecilia Classico reminds us of ancient times and nobility. A stone whose inherent characteristics are not always visible at first glance, the accent of garnet-like gems specs scattered throughout the stone with hints of white crystallization and the characteristic black veining allow you to bring this elegant beauty into your home.
525 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CONSISTENT ANY CABINET CHOICE One of India’s most sought after stones, Tan Brown is a versatile stone with its dark copper colored crystals accented by black undertones and enlivened by occasional white flecks
570 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CONSISTENT GOLDEN TONES,
GREEN TONES
YELLOW PAINTED CABINETS
Earthy browns and golden green undertones combine in a warm glow of contrast as Tropic Brown from Saudi Arabia captures the mood of the desert at dusk. Its clear structure and depth create the illusion that you can see deep into the stone, in hopes of discovering the mysteries of times long past.
600 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CONSISTENT ANY CABINET CHOICE Capturing the allure of nature’s rich textures, Ubatuba is unsurpassed as a design choice for kitchen countertops. Quarried in the state of Espirito Santo, Ubatuba is a tranquil reflection of the lush green tropical forests of Brazil and its many treasures. This rich, deep black-green granite is known for its natural gold crystallization, which brings out the color of natural wood floors and cabinets. Its universal appeal and versatility make it suitable for any application.
600 MIL CONSISTENT CONSISTENT CONSISTENT WHITE, SOFT YELLOWS
DEEP CHERRY OR OAK WOOD
Like the abundant life thriving on the Ocean floor and swaying in its gentle currents, Verde Butterfly from Brazil is another one of nature’s masterpieces. Flutters of white crystallization let through the light, accenting the fine gold veining and occasional garnet flecks in this deep green stone

MEDALLION INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE GUIDE

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Granite & Tile Expo has a variety of medallions to enhance any room. Our skilled installers are knowledgeable in medallion inserts and are capable of installing any of the medallions available to you. However, should you choose to install your own flooring, here are a few helpful tips for installing medallions.Before installation, medallions should be laid on a flat surface for twenty four (24) hours with some weight on them. The medallions should be clean before installation. They should be handled gently as they are large and rather delicate pieces that can break if not handled correctly. All of our medallions come in one piece ready to install.Either a mortar bed application or a “Thin Set” application can be used to set the medallion, it all depends on how the surrounding tiles are being installed and how thick the surrounding floor is. It is very important to install the medallion on a level floor and that no hollow spaces are left under the medallion. There are two techniques to set the medallion down.The first one is to mark the area where the medallion will go and mark the tiles that go around it. Cut the tiles following the contour of the medallion and lightly ease the edges of the tiles with sand paper so they don’t look chipped. It is very important to determine the thickness o f the floor around the medallion, and work around that thickness. Install the medallion on the level floor and install the tiles around it.The second technique is to install the surrounding floor first, then place the medallion where it is going to go permanently, and draw a contour line on the floor. Cut that area out and then set the medallion.Both techniques work fine and different installers have a way they feel more comfortable with.If your medallion is made of a natural stone, after the medallion is set on the floor, wait for a few days and seal it. Natural stone must be sealed to protect it from staining and to add more durability to the natural stone. Stone is a natural product and simple care and maintenance will keep it looking beautiful. To maintain your medallion in good condition, dust-mop it frequently and seal it approximately every one to two years, depending on traffic. Clean it with stone cleaners or mild detergents. DO NOT USE: Vinegar, lemon juice, abrasive cleaners or other cleaners containing acid. For all medallion installations, no traffic on the medallion should be allowed during two days after installation.After an efficient installation following the guidelines, you should have a beautiful piece of art on your floor that will last forever.