Success with stone tile installation involves practical as well as aesthetic matters. Whether the project is small or large, whether you design it or hire a professional, and whether you install it yourself or rely on a tile setter, you should be aware of certain facts before starting a project.
Lippage is defined as “A condition where one edge of a tile is higher than an adjacent tile, giving the finished surface an uneven appearance”.
Excessive lippage on floor could be hazardous in environments where the risk of tripping needs to be as low as possible. For example, people working in food preparation area often carry sharp knives, or have to handle containers of scalding liquids. It is particularly important that floors be as flat as possible to reduce the risk of tripping.
The lippage of polished porcelain tiles may not be the tiles fault, or the tiler who installed them, it may be a combination of a few elements. When assessing the degree of lippage inherent within a tiling installation the following factors must be considered:
- Surface flatness of the substrate
- Curvature or warpage of the tiles
- Pattern in which the tiles are installed
AS 3958.1-2007, Ceramic tiles, Part 1: Guide to The Installation of Ceramic Tiles states that:
“The lippage between two adjacent tiles should not exceed 2 mm. In the case of tiles where the surface has been ground flat for example polished tiles, the lippage should not exceed 1.5mm, and for joint widths of 3.0mm or less the lippage should not exceed 1.0mm”, noting that “This condition is inherent in all installation methods and may also be unavoidable due to the tile tolerances. Lippage may also be unavoidable where tiles larger than 150 x 150 mm are graded to a waste outlet, unless transverse cuts are incorporated”.
Many people are unaware that polished porcelain tiles can curve as much as 0.5% the length of the tile. For instance if you have a 600 x 600 mm polished porcelain tile, the surface can warp up to 3 mm by the Australian and International Standards.
In these cases it may be impossible to reduce the amount of lippage of polished porcelain tiles to less than 1 mm as required by AS 3958.1-2007. These factors need to be considered when assessing the unsatisfactory tiling appearance.
- AS 3958.1-2007, Ceramic tiles, Part 1:
Guide to the installation of ceramic tiles
- Safe Environment (www.safeenvironment.com.au)
Stone pavers is a general term used to describe a broad range of natural stone pavers. The stone pavers are usually cut and assembled for sale specifically as pavers.
Stone pavers don’t involve the manufacturing processes typically used for concrete and brick pavers where the paver is made of a combination of materials being mixed, pressed and fired.
There are many different types of stone pavers that are available including granite, limestone, marble, flagstone, sandstone, bluestone and slate. Each has its own unique properties that will make some of them suitable for particular applications and not others. For example granite pavers are very strong and would be suitable for driveways, while marble would not.
Stone pavers are defined by their thickness - usually 30mm and over whereas stone tiles are typically 8 - 20mm in thickness.
If the paved areas are used for human traffic only and not expecting cars or anything heavier to drive over 30 mm thickness should be fine. Otherwise 50 mm thickness is advisable.
Benefits of Pavers
Pavers’ combination of strength, resilient abrasion resistance, and flexibility deliver highly durable, crack-proof pavement able to handle all types of wheeled traffic and pedestrians with very low maintenance requirements. Areas surfaced with pavers are immediately useable, guaranteeing a quick process of any application and contract jobs, which is especially important when resurfacing highly populated areas.
Pavers can be removed and reused without visual or structural changes to allow access to utilities or to change soiled sections of paved areas.
Pavers offer an economical long-term alternative to other types of pavement. They can be laid in almost any weather condition and require no grouted joints, mortar (other than perimeter reinforcement), and concrete sub-base or curing time.
Limestone paving is a great alternative to clay and brick paving due to its unique characteristic for not retaining heat. In other words, no more burnt feet.
Paving stones are installed over a compacted stone sub-base and a levelling bed of sand. Instead of connecting the pavers by pouring grout between the joints as one would with tiles, sand particles are spread over the pavers and tamped down.
Stone contains natural crystals. These crystals reflect light to provide a shine on the surface. When the crystals are dull, crushed, or broken, they cannot reflect light evenly. For example, when the lens of a flashlight breaks, it cannot reflect the light that is being emitted from the bulb.