You are considering laying a new stone floor in your house, but where do you start? Expert in the field Iain Marfleet, from Hard Rock Flooring, near Aylesbury, offers his advice.
Q: Could You Tell Me a Little About Yourself and How Long You Have Worked in Flooring?
A: I have been in the stone flooring business for 20 years, in the early days bringing in terracotta from Spain and limestone and slate from Portugal. These days we import from all around the world, growing from running the business from home to the showroom we have today.
Q: What Kinds of Floorings do You Sell?
A: We sell most types of flooring – terracotta, slate, limestone, sandstone and travertine.
Q: Which Stone Floorings are Particularly Popular at the Moment?
A: At the moment Travertine and Limestone seem to be most popular. Travertine can be a bit of a minefield with so many different qualities and grades. Many consumers get confused between price and quality, especially when buying on the internet.
Q: If Someone is Considering Stone Where do You Advise Them to Start?
A: If a customer is considering a stone floor, I try to ascertain the type and age of the property they intend flooring. A stone that looks fine in a barn conversion may not suit a city apartment. It can then be established whether the customer wants a clean honed and sawn edge finish or something more aged and worn looking.
Q: What Types of Stone Floorings are Particularly Suitable for Which Homes?
A: Regarding suitability, that really is down to customer choice but there are general guide lines. For a farmhouse kitchen with kids, dogs and wellies, Slate can be a good choice, some of the aged and tumbled limestones and travertines can be ok. The main criteria for all natural stones is the initial sealing, if properly applied most stones are ok for most properties.
Q: Is There Any Particular Flooring That Requires More Consideration Before Buying?
7. With the vast array of finishes available these days some thought should be given to what goes where. There are many polished finishes on the market and they are not always suitable for wet and high traffic areas, they can look superb though on walls.
Q: Can Customers Lay Stone Floors Themselves?
A: Customers can lay stone flooring themselves and we can advise on the correct adhesive, grout and sealant for their particular application. However, we do advise fixing is carried out by an experienced and competent tiller.
Q: Are any special techniques Involved in the Laying Process?
A: One of the most important parts of the floor is the substrate which should be of a fit standard to fix a stone floor to i.e. sound and flat. Screeds should be cured for the appropriate time and not show any signs of movement or cracking. If a screed is not level or flat a self-levelling compound should be used. If there is Under-floor Heating> the correct adhesives and grouts should be applied.
Q: Is it Important to Consider the Care of the Floor Before Buying it?
A: As with any floor covering, stone floors should have a common sense approach, if something is spilt or dropped on the surface wipe it up as soon as possible. There are products on the market that will remove most stains. As I said before, if stone floors are sealed properly at the fixing stage ongoing maintenance should not be a problem.
Q: Do You Have Any Other Advice?
A: As with any floor covering, stone floors should have a common sense approach, if something is spilt or dropped on the surface wipe it up as soon as possible. There are products on the market that will remove most stains.