Geological Rock Types
Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed by the consolidation of sediments, seashells and other organic matter. This calcareous stone forms our largest product range. Each Limestone exhibits its own characteristic colours and markings and can vary greatly in density. Some Limestones have a similar appearance to traditional Marbles which can often lead to mis-classification. Some degree of edge chipping should be expected along with occasional surface pitting, fossilised shells, fissures, mineral striations and resin fill. Limestone is an acid-sensitive material and so care should be taken to use the correct products when cleaning.
Traditionally the term Marble was used by stone masons to describe any stone that would take a polished finish. From a geological point of view however, Marble is defined as Limestone which has been subjected to thermal metamorphism. This process of metamorphism leads to a dense, closed surface although some material may have slight open veining or surface pitting. Marble has been used in ancient buildings for millennia due to the vast spectrum of beautiful shades and mineral veining. Some Marble tiles or slabs with particularly prominent veining may have a mesh backing applied to the rear of the tile, predominantly to reinforce the material during transport and cutting. It is also common practice for resin filler to be applied to voids and open veins either before or after processing. Marble is a very dense stone that readily lends itself to a polish but is also available in Honed and Tumbled finishes.
Travertine begins as a calcareous dispersion which is then deposited by hot mineral springs. The result of this method of formation is a honey-combed structure which when finished has visible surface pitting and voids. Travertine generally comes in either ‘cross-cut’ or ‘vein-cut’ formats. Vein-cut tiles are cut so that the surface plane of the tile runs parallel to the long veins present, cross-cut tiles are cut perpendicular to these veins. Once tiles are cut they are then either filled with a colour matched resin, or left unfilled. Generally the voids are only left unfilled in Tumbled, Brushed or Splitface finishes, where these voids are filled during the grouting process. Although filling of the voids gives a smoother surface, through general usage, some small areas of fill may dislodge or previously unexposed holes may become visible. This is not unusual and the holes should be re-filled with a suitable resin or grout. Travertine tiles may require additional adhesive to be applied to the rear of the tile in order to fill any larger voids.
A fine-grained metamorphic rock that is characterised by its ability to be split into broad sheets, Slate is a durable stone which presents a diverse range of colours and textures. We offer Riven Slate, which has a naturally cleft surface and is rustic by its nature, with chips and chisel marks present on some surfaces and can be used both internally and externally. Some of our Riven Slate is ‘uncalibrated’, indicated by a thickness range in the sizing line. An uncalibrated material will vary in thickness both across individual tiles and from tile to tile. Uncalibrated tiles require ‘bedding up’ with the appropriate thick bed adhesive during installation. We also offer a range of Honed slates that are machined to create a smoother, more even surface. Highly textured Splitface panels are stocked in various colours.
Schist and Quartzite
These are densely crystalline, metamorphic rocks that offer considerable shade variation, ranging from light cream/white to charcoal grey/black with many colours in between and often contain reflective crystals which glisten in the light. Highly textured Splitface panels are available in both Schist and Quartzite.
The term Granite is generally used to refer to a large range of Igneous rocks originating from the slow crystallisation of molten magma cooling deep beneath the earth’s surface. Granites are amongst the hardest stones in our range and are available in the textured Flamed finish for external application, the Flamed Brushed finish which offers a softened, tactile surface or the smooth honed surface which enhances the detail of the stone itself. Due to the nature of this material and the vast array of mineral crystals that serve to make up this stone, characteristics can vary greatly and some may be acid sensitive, so please ensure correct sealing and maintenance guidelines are followed.
A coarse-grained sedimentary rock formed by compressed sand deposited by water or wind. Available in a Riven finish which is characterised by its granular, undulating surface, or a smoother, Honed finish which will have variation in texture and some edge chipping. Sandstone is a hard yet very porous stone that, if being sealed, requires thorough impregnation with suitable sealants. Sandstone in its large flag format is a well-established and extremely popular external choice.
Meaning ‘baked earth’, Terracotta is a type of rustic ceramic made from natural clay which has been moulded and then kiln fired to bake the clay and produce rigid tiles. The clay is either moulded by hand to give a more rustic feel, or machine-moulded for a more consistent finish. All Terracotta tiles will be subject to edge chipping and variation which is part of the finished look of an authentic Terracotta floor. Terracotta when untreated is very porous and as such any unsealed tiles will look very different from your finished floor. Rapid setting adhesives should always be used in order to minimise the chance of efflorescence being caused by moisture.
Porcelain, Ceramic, Decorative & Glazed
Porcelain tiles are a type of ceramic with a very low absorbency. They are usually made from kaolin clays and fired at around 1,200°C, due to this high firing temperature and high density they are very hard wearing. A majority of our Porcelains are ‘rectified’, which means there will be little variation within a production run, however, different batches may vary in size slightly, so it is always advisable to purchase all necessary tiles at the same time and avoid mixing sizes of these tiles.
Tiles referred to as Ceramic are generally fired at lower temperatures than Porcelains and usually colour glazed to give a matt or gloss finish. Unlike natural stone they do not require sealing. Our Porcelains range from those designed to mimic natural stone or wood, through to minimalist architectural ranges.
Our Decorative & Glazed tiles come in a range of neutral tones, bold colours and intricate, beautiful designs giving a variety of shades and textures. All porcelain & ceramic tiles (including Decorative & Glazed) can exhibit size variation between batches, as well as deviation from both straightness and flatness. This deviation is minimal but to avoid emphasising any variation, joints should be staggered by a maximum of 30% of the overall size.