Tiles & Stones

When the time comes for decoration, tiles usually play some part in your choice . They come in all shapes and sizes and different thickness Do not rush into this area if you see what you might think is a good buy as the options available to you are endless.

Floor tile is usually 1/2" to 3/4" thick, manufactured in squares measuring 4"x4" up to 24"x 24". Other shapes, such as octagonal and hexagonal are available. Wall tile is thinner and comes in squares from 3"x 3" up to 6"x 6" .

Abbey Marble & Granite Ltd supplies and installs custom made Granite, Marble and Quartz kitchen countertops, bathrooms and Stairs. We guarantee quality, reliability and a top class customer service.


Mosaic tiles are two inches square or smaller and can be installed individually. Mosaic tiles are also available in pre-mounted paper or fabric mesh sheets. Do not take them off the mesh or they will go all over the place and you will never get them straight.

  • All tile feels hard, but some types of tile are actually harder than others. Tile is rated by a series of standardised tests. The tests evaluate a tile's relative hardness, its ability to stand up to wear and the percentage of water absorbed. In an effort to reduce purchasing mistakes made by a consumer, most manufacturers use the P.E.I (Porcelain Enamel Institute) guide to rate ceramic tiles.:

The 5 ratings for ceramic-tiles are:

  • Group 1 ceramic tiles are soft and scuff easy. These ceramic tiles are most suitable for bathrooms, where soft footwear is worn or most preferably as wall ceramic tiles
  • Group 2 ceramic tiles are best used for general residential traffic. These ceramic tiles should not be installed in kitchens and foyers
  • Group 3 wall and floor ceramic tiles can be used in all residential applications. In addition, these ceramic tiles can also be used in light commercial situations such as offices and reception areas
  • Group 4 ceramic tiles can be installed in all residential conditions as well as moderate commercial areas
  • Group 5 ceramic tiles are the heaviest duty ceramic tiles. They can be used in heavy traffic areas such as malls and restaurants. These ceramic tiles can also be used in light external areas as they may resistant frost and freezing.
  • These ratings are important, but don't get too bogged down in analysis — they serve to help you find the right tile for your application.

    Start at the beginning. Measure your space and keep a note of it in your car , just in case. You will find as you carry on with your self build just in case comes in very handy if there is a bargain to be had. Do remember to buy a few extra to allow for breakage’s.

    So where do you start to look? Tiles shops seems to be one of those things that pop up all over the place which is very good for the self builder as it not only gives you lots of choice but it also gives you the upper hand when it comes to the price.

    Floor Tiles

    These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. Floor tiles have been a popular decorating material for quite some time, plenty of time in fact, for tile to build an impressive record of durability and versatility.

    And tile flooring takes to customised designs, unique glazes, and special effects with ease. One way to create an eye-catching kitchen tile floor or bathroom tile floor is to use subtle gradations in colour across the entire floor.

    You can buy tiles made in different countries one of the problems with Spanish clay tiles is they're fragile and can break on floors that see heavy traffic. Some companies have lines with a similar look but made from a proprietary concrete-based material rather than clay.

    According to the manufacturer, the tiles are virtually maintenance free and designed to stand the high-traffic demands of kitchens or entryways. The tiles can also be used outdoors.

    So given all the choice of tiles what sort of tile goes where?

    Ceramic tiles

    Cold to stand on, but durable, water-resistant and resistant to stains and spillages. They are available in numerous colours, patterns and shapes and are made of natural clay, decorated on one side with coloured glaze. 

    The surfaces are normally glazed, but are not as highly polished as wall tiles, while others are matt or have an unglazed finish. Unglazed tiles must be sealed with the correct proprietary sealant (recommended by the manufacturer) once laid.

    The stronger floor tiles are thicker and darker on their underside and often come in larger sizes. They are fired at a higher temperature (vitrified) so that the particles fuse together. This results in the tiles being almost unbreakable when laid.

    They do not require polish as they come with a natural glaze or matt finish. Polishing would also make them very slippery and dangerous to walk on. Sweep rather than vacuum, as the end of some vacuums can scratch the surface. Wash by hand or use a squeezed mop. 

    Porcelain tiles

    Sourced from all over the world, porcelain tile has come to be recognized as a decorative, reliable and versatile option for a variety of household and commercial applications. This hardy tile offers unique practical benefits as well as a classy and refined look.

    Porcelain tile is a subset of ceramic tile, which is becoming better and better known. It shares the elegant nature of china earthenware with ceramic’s noted durability and hardness Characterized by its dense body which renders it very moisture resistant, porcelain tile is often used in bathrooms where high moisture levels are a matter of course, and is the most recommended variety of ceramic tile for these types of areas.

    In addition to its attractive look and durability, porcelain tile can be used as either flooring tile or wall tile. There’s are also many glazes and colours that can be added according to your design requirements.

    Varieties of porcelain tile are available in glazed and non-glazed styles much like other types of ceramic tile, the glazed tile being a little bit easier to keep clean, and unglazed tiles offering a slip resistant quality that may make them more suitable in for use in certain areas.

    Given the hardy nature of porcelain tile, the tiles may prove to be harder to cut than most ceramic tile. There are several types of saws and other cutting implements that are specifically designed for cutting through such hard surfaces.

    Porcelain tile often is shipped after it has undergone a process of calibration, and will minimise the need for any on-site cutting for the purpose of a level installation. In this sense, quality porcelain tile is manufactured with the idea that installation should be relatively easy, assuming a certain level of experience. 

    Once you have installed your porcelain tile, it will prove to be an extremely wear resistant surface, just because it is such a hard material.

    Natural Stone

    Natural Stones come in different shapes and sizes and are usually slip resistance which makes it particularly good if your household space is likely to see high traffic from young children or the elderly.

    It is recommended that all natural stone floors be treated with a sealant of some kind, usually a silicon based impregnator which will protect the stone from excessive moisture and will also serve as a means of protecting the stone flooring from stains as well.

    More porous natural stone, like travertine for instance, is more resistant staining if a sealant or a stain-guard is applied, and so it is highly recommended that you do so. At the same time, it is important to keep the surface as dry as possible as the stone’s absorption to moisture contributes to its wear. Similarly, slate tile flooring is semi-porous and the same principle applies.

    Quarry

    Normally square or rectangular, quarry tiles come in a range of warm, natural shades. They are made from unrefined alumina clay high in silica (quartz). Because they are water- and grease- resistant, they make practical floors for kitchens and hallways, although they are hard, cold and noisy. Lay on screed concrete

    Brick

    For indoor use (pabiors) are hard-wearing, water- and grease- resistant, and warmer than either ceramic or quarry tiles. They can be laid only on ground floors, in a mortar bed. They come in a range of colours, including not only the standard red, brown and yellow, but also blue, purple and green. they often look best in a rustic setting or when linking interior rooms to the garden - for example, as a hall or kitchen floor

    Marble

    It is quarried on a large scale, removed in large chunks by cutting it from the adjacent rock and transporting the marble to nearby mills where it is sawn to size. The processing of the marble is done in order of size, the largest slabs being processed first, and the smaller tiles which are to be used as flooring tile and wall tile processed last.

    Abbey Marble & Granite Ltd


    As they are made from a natural material, variations in colour from tile to tile are both expected as well as preserved. The marble tile is polished and checked for “faults,” the small fissures that can appear in the stone, and filled if necessary by pigmented resins to protect the structural integrity of the tile, as well as the appearance.

    Marble tile stands as a decorative natural stone flooring solution that has not been matched for centuries.

    Slate

    Slate’s naturally slip-resistant surface is very hard and durable, with varied colours and features that have served builders and architects for centuries. Suitable for indoor as well as outdoor applications, slate satisfies several natural stone flooring needs. Slate is often installed as flooring for use in foyers, hallways and bathrooms as well as for poolside surfaces, due in large part to its characteristic slip-resistance, a common consideration in these areas. 

    One of the most popular textures available in slate is that of the “split face” variety, which is particularly effective when looking for this slip-resistant feature. With a range of colours that vary from orange, to greens and purples and to beige, slate offers a distinct aesthetic dimension as well, adding to its value as a decorative natural stone tile as well as a practical one.

    Because slate is made from a natural stone, you can expect a certain level of colour variation from tile to tile. This is because of the fluctuation of the amounts of minerals and other compounds unique to each individual tile.

    Although this can be seen as a disadvantage if you’re looking for a monochromatic effect, it can really work in your favour when laying your slate with a more diverse design approach in mind. 

    These natural colour variations allow you to be creative when it comes time to laying out each tile, making a unique statement with the individual slate tiles you have at your disposal.

    No other slate floor will look exactly like yours! For this, a good idea is to open all of the boxes of slate you have purchased to see the full spectrum of the natural stone in unique to your batch. This will allow you to plan out how you wish to design your floor in a dry run, much like you would do with ceramic tile or granite tile.

    Slate is a popular, practical, and decorative natural stone tile solution for flooring. The slate option is a great choice when you’re looking for a surface that is slip resistant, and one that is specifically designed to be uniform for the most level and even surface possible. With the natural colour variations, you have the option of getting creative when it comes time to install your slate, and you can really make a unique statement that will make your floor truly distinctive.

    Vinyl, rubber, linoleum

    These materials are available in tiles as well as sheet form. Because they are softer, cheaper, quieter and warmer than most hard tiles, they are a popular choice for utility areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. They are also extremely easy for the amateur to lay.

    Terra cotta

    It is the same material in construction and appearance as clay garden pots. Tiles are absorbent and need to be treated for indoor use. They are nice when they are properly sealed and maintained, but often they are not. Some people expect this rugged and natural product to be perfect. It is not so, and does not pretend to be.

    Many European terra-cotta tiles are very porous. It pays to seek out a low porosity tile.

    Cork

    Made from pressed and baked natural cork, these tiles make a warm, comfortable, quiet and durable floor. Make sure you buy flooring-grade tiles. Lay them on a smooth floor, using adhesive. Cork must be properly sealed

    Wall Tiles

    Most wall tiles are made in much the same way as floor tiles. It is always best to check that the tile you choose will go where you want it to. For Kitchens and bathrooms most people tend to opt for the value for money ranges which are ceramic. Ceramic tiles are flat, thin items made of clay, silica, fluxes, colouring and other raw materials.

    Grout and Tile Adhesive

    Modern wall tiles are fixed to a wall using a synthetic bonding agent called tile adhesive for dry areas, or a cement-based mortar for areas prone to moisture, such as bath or shower walls. 

    The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called grout and usually comes in white or gray. The excess grout is scraped off with a hard rubber block called a float immediately after applying, and then the grout is wiped again with a moist sponge before it completely hardens.

    The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout.

    A special kind of adhesive has to be used if the tiles are being laid on top of a floor with underfloor heating pipes inside.