In the tile industry, we've received a lot of questions. While we could not present them all here, these are the most frequently asked questions. All are answered by our subject matter experts.
These questions and more can also be answered by the outstanding staff at our sales service centers, design studios, and showrooms. We would love to meet you and provide personal this service - something we are known for! You can quickly find your nearest location.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
CAN I DRY CUT TILES?
Cutting tile can produce silica dust, which can be hazardous if inhaled. Dry cutting tile produces the highest probability of silica dust and is not recommended. Wet cutting methods are best. Also, use adequate ventilation to keep exposure to dust below recommended exposure levels and avoid inhaling any dust created by cutting tile.
Use of a properly fitted NIOSH/MSHA approved particulate respirator is recommended when cutting tiles for installation or during the removal of the installed tile.
Use dust-proof goggles or safety glasses with side shields. Contact lenses may absorb irritants. Do not wear contact lenses in work areas.
Cotton or leather work gloves should be worn when cutting this product to minimize skin exposure to dust and/or cuts. Wash hands prior to eating, drinking, or smoking, and at the end of the work shift, after cutting operations are conducted.
CAN I DRILL A HOLE THROUGH PORCELAIN TILE?
Yes. However, the only thing hard enough to drill through porcelain is a diamond drill bit. Bits of different sizes are available at your local home center.
WHEN SHOULD I RESEAL MY GROUT?
Conduct a simple water test to determine the condition of your sealant. Drop a small amount of water on the grout. If the water droplets bead up, the sealant is fine. If the water is absorbed into the grout, it is time to reseal.
WHICH TYPE OF GROUT IS THE BEST TO USE WITH TILE?
There are several types of grout to choose from including sanded grout and epoxy grout. We reached out to leading grout manufacturers who provided everything you need to know about selecting the perfect grout for your project.
HOW DO I CHOOSE GROUT COLOR?
We recommend getting grout samples and placing them with your tile in the space where they will be installed. This will allow you to observe how they look with each other and how the lighting affects them.
Whether to match your grout and tile or use contrasting colors is a matter of taste. Expert craftsman and HGTV star Chip Wade offers tips for selecting grout color. Or visit one of our showrooms to consult with one of our designers (consultations are free!).
• For grout that requires you to add water and mix, the color can vary slightly from batch to batch.
• If grout color doesn’t come out as anticipated, you can use a grout stain to correct the color or the consistency of the color.
• Keep in mind that grout color can darken over time and use.
WHAT IS ATTIC STOCK?
Attic Stock is additional tile purchased and stored. We highly recommend that you purchase approximately 10% more tile than you anticipate needing for your project. This “attic stock” will allow you to easily replace any broken tiles or expand your tiled space with tile from the same dye lot and printing process (which can change slightly over years) as the original installation for a perfect match.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO REPLACE BROKEN TILE?
Replacing a broken tile is rather simple. It is very important to wear protective gear, especially goggles.
First, remove the grout around the broken tile. Second, carefully remove the broken tile using a hammer and chisel. Third, remove the hard mortar or adhesive that was underneath the tile. You are now ready to replace the tile, using a tile from your attic stock, and re-grout.
NATURAL STONE INFORMATION
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL STONE AND MANUFACTURED STONE?
Manufacture stone is man-made.
Natural stone is created when one or more minerals consolidate into a solid formation. There are 3 main classes of natural stone as they vary in their development: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. Sedimentary stone are made by amalgamated mineral deposits on the ocean floor, or other bodies of surface water, forming rock beds that are then fused together by heat and pressure. Metamorphic stone are stones that have morphed into another type of stone by heat, pressure and mineral deposits. Igneous stone are made by liquid and gas minerals permeating volcanic magma as it cools and hardens.
Natural stone blocks are removed from the quarry, the blocks are cut into 2cm and 3cm slabs and polished. Every block and every slab is unique. Skillful blending or matching of the dimension stone blocks, veneer panels, tops, etc., results in a beautiful blending of nature’s variety and man’s design. In contrast to the uniformity of materials produced by machine or assembly line, stone’s naturally varied appearance has wonderful character. “Uniformity of material,” when applied to natural stone, is a term of relative value that needs to be understood when making a selection.
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF NATURAL STONE PRODUCTS?
Limestone and travertine are examples of sedimentary stone. Examples of metamorphic stone are marble, quartzite, slate, and soapstone. Granite is an igneous stone.
WHAT ARE THE FINISHES FOR NATURAL STONE PRODUCTS?
Common finishes for natural stone products include polished, honed, tumbled and antique brushed.
WHAT DOES "NATURAL CLEFT" MEAN?
This term usually refers to slate stones. It means a cleavage face formed when the stone is split into any thickness.
HOW MUCH MATERIAL SHOULD I ORDER FOR MY PROJECT?
Take wastage into account to ensure you will have enough material to complete the project.
Also, keep in mind that the material from a quarry today may be different from what was available six months ago. Further, there may be more than one quarry of the material. It is always recommended to include “attic stock,” which is a small amount of material (approx. 10% extra) to be stored in the event future repairs are needed.
HOW DO I GET THE BEST FROM A NATURAL STONE INSTALLATION?
The final look of mixed tiles may vary considerably, especially if the stone is variegated and veined. The installer should mix tiles from different boxes during the installation to achieve a more even, visually pleasing result in the finished surface. We recommend you view the natural stone with your installer prior to installation. Moreover, it is highly recommended that you discuss in detail the stone layout with your installer to prevent misunderstandings.
HOW DO I CARE FOR MY NATURAL STONE COUNTERTOP?
Use coasters under all drink vessels, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices. Many common foods and drinks contain acids that will etch or dull the surface of many stones. Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under objects that can scratch the surface.
HOW DO I CARE FOR MY NATURAL STONE FLOOR?
Sweep and mop interior floors frequently using a clean, non-treated, dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize them. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.
HOW DO I PREVENT STAINING ON NATURAL STONE?
Most natural stones are porous and readily absorb liquids and moisture. Materials like limestone and sandstone are extremely absorbent, whereas granite and serpentine (green marble) are denser, but will still absorb liquids that are allowed to remain in contact with them for extended periods of time. The use of a sealer will help prevent staining in most situations. Even a sealed surface can stain if left in contact with a staining agent for a long period of time.
Therefore, all spills should be wiped up as soon as possible, and coasters or napkins should be set when serving food or drinks on a stone bar, table or countertop. Soft drinks, coffee, tea and fruit juices contain mild acids and can etch the polished surface of a stone and stain quite rapidly. These should be cleaned off immediately with mild soap and warm water.
WHAT IS A SEALER?
Sealers are recommended to protect your natural stone.
A sealer cures as a film on the stone surface. Since the material is actually covering the stone, the appearance of the stone surface may be altered. This material will absorb most of the wear on the countertop. Since the sealer is softer than the stone, normal use of the countertop will result in abrasion of the sealer surface and require periodic reapplication to maintain the original luster of the surface. A properly applied topical sealer will normally reduce, although not eliminate, the vulnerability of calcareous stones from mildly acidic solutions.
General Precautions: When any surface protection product is used, care must be taken to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions accurately. This will provide the greatest benefit from the application and will guarantee safe handling of the product.
HOW DO I CLEAN MY NATURAL STONE TILES AND SLABS?
Clean natural stone surfaces with a neutral pH stone cleaner (which are available at many retail stores and tile and stone dealers) or a mild liquid dish-washing detergent and warm water. Use a clean rag mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Rinse the surface thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth. Change the rinse water frequently.
• Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.
• Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble or limestone.
• Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks.
HOW DO I CARE FOR MY NATURAL STONE IN WET AREAS?
In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use an approved non-acidic soap scum remover available at retail stores or at your local tile and stone dealer.
WHAT DO I DO IF FILL IS COMING OUT OF MY TRAVERTINE STONE FLOOR?
After installation and throughout the life of the travertine floor, some of the fill may become loose depending on the foot traffic and/or because of sharp objects in constant contact with the floor (for example, heels, dog toe nails, etc.). This is a natural occurrence and can be solved by re-filling the tiles where needed with a non-sanded grout. This is part of the regular stone maintenance and pores are a natural characteristic of travertine.