Installing stone tile in your bathroom can not only add the beauty of natural stone to your bathroom walls and floors, increasing the value of your home, but the best part is that installing stone tile in your bathroom is just as simple as installing ceramic tile in your bath, the only real difference in the tile installation process is that you will require a wet saw with a diamond blade due to the hardness of natural stone.
Limestone, marble, and granite are the bathroom designer’s stones of choice and while natural stone tiles may be slightly more expensive than ceramic tiles, the price has actually come down in recent years. The trend in stone tile size selection has increased over the years from subway sized tiles to much larger 12×12 inch or bigger tiles.
“Summary: Installing stone tile in your bathroom can add the beauty of natural stone to your bathroom walls and floors giving your bathroom a sense of elegance. When handling and installing natural stone tile in your bathroom, you do have to be a little more careful than when working with ceramic tile. When installing stone tile in your bathroom you need to do a dry run by laying out your tiles to see if they will fit in the allotted space on your bathroom floor.”
When handling and installing natural stone tile in your bathroom, you do have to be a little more careful than when working with ceramic tile. This is primarily due to the fact that natural stone is not a manufactured material therefore the minerals that make up the stones pattern are distributed unevenly throughout the tile which could potentially make it brittle and subject to fracture along the mineral lines so try not to jar the tiles too much.
Another unique feature of natural stone tiles that you should be aware of when installing stone tile in your bathroom, is that some tiles may be slightly thicker than others, therefore you may need to adjust the amount of thinset underneath your tiles to compensate for this difference in thickness to make sure your stone tiles are level.
Due to the natural properties of natural stone when it is cut, there will be a thin layer of stone dust on the bottom of your stone tiles. This dust residue needs to be wiped off with a damp cloth and clean water before you install the stone tiles in your bathroom. If this is not done, it will reduce the adhesive ability of the thin-set to bond properly with the tile, to create a snug and stable tile floor. And don’t forget to let the stone tiles dry completely before you lay down your tiles.
Just like ceramic tiles, when installing stone tiles in your bathroom you need to do a dry run by laying out your tiles to see if they will fit in the allotted space on your bathroom floor. Next, you need to mark your layout grid lines on your lavatory floor by snapping out chalk lines to serve as guides to keep your stone tile square with your bathroom walls.
Pick up, count, and stack your tiles strategically in different sections of your bathroom floor so you won’t have to be going back and forth each time you need a tile. Mix your thin-set with a low speed (below 300 rpm) mixing drill or use a mortar paddle from your tiling toolbox and let it sit for about ten minutes before applying the mixture to your floor.
Apply the thin-set using a trowel to your bathroom subfloor inside the grid lines on the floor, but do not cover the chalk lines or else you won’t be able to see your grid. Also, apply some thin-set to the back of your stone tiles (called buttering the tile). Set and level the stone tiles (using a straight edge) on your bathroom floor within the confines of each grid, use plastic spacers between the tiles and adjust the tiles with a slight twisting motion to align your tiles along your layout lines. Continue installing your stone tiles in your bathroom, spacing the tiles as you go.
When installing stone tile in your bathroom, it’s sometimes a good idea to let the rest of your floor tiles (sometimes called field tiles) set overnight before you attempt to finish off your edge tiles as these will normally need to be cut because your bathroom floor is rarely if ever completely square and your tiles will sometimes be different sizes.
Cut the edge tiles using a wet saw with a diamond blade and bevel off the edges with a rubbing stone or sandpaper wrapped around a block of wood. Set your edge tiles in the thin-set mortar, remembering to butter the back of the stone tiles. Let the mortar cure for twenty-four hours. To finish up the process of installing stone tile in your bathroom you need to mix up a batch of unsanded grout, just enough to work on one small section of your bathroom at a time.
Read more: Do You Know What’s in Your Bathroom Walls?
As a special note, when installing stone tiles in your bathroom, stone tiles are naturally porous, so to avoid your tiles absorbing too much moisture from the grout you need to mist them using water from a spray bottle before you apply the grout to your stone tiles. Using a float, apply the grout over your stone tiles and remove the excess grout, wait about fifteen minutes and then using a damp sponge or cloth wipe off the grout haze from off the surface of your stone tiles.
It’s important to work in one small section of your bathroom floor at a time; this will ensure you are able to wipe off any excess grout haze before it has the opportunity to harden on your stone tiles. Continue the grouting process until your bathroom floor is completely grouted.
Let the grout cure based upon the manufactures specifications. Once the grout is dried, seal your tile and grout lines to care and protect your stone tiles and prolong the stone’s natural beauty. As you can see installing stone tile in your bathroom is not that different from installing ceramic tile in your loo but the elegance and atmosphere it creates are well worth the effort.