No, the stone floors are not all expensive, fragile and difficult to maintain. New or old, natural or imitation, look at them in a different light ...
1. Natural stone: a lifestyle
Opting for a natural stone floor is to choose a noble and authentic material. It is also investing in the future, the stone gains value over the years. Burgundy stone Comblanchien, slate, schist: the pallet stones is vast, as the shades, surface aspects (softened, bush-hammered, layée) or size (thickness of 1 to 10 cm). Some still criticize the stone to be too expensive, too heavy, difficult to maintain. Price aside, a limestone of Burgundy does not cost more than a high-end imitation. The weight ? In 1 cm thick, a limestone weighs an average of 25 kg / m2 and a full body porcelain stoneware 25 to 28 kg / m2. As for maintenance, it is relatively easy provided you have been preceded by adequate protection.
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2. More lifelike imitations
Do look over the top, the stone imitations are high quality today. There are two types of products. Let's start with the reconstituted stone. concrete mix and powdered minerals, it is molded so as to reproduce the reliefs and prints of quarry stone aged, all at a competitive price. In the end, you get virtually unbreakable plates, perfectly calibrated, reproducing all the nuances of the stone with the addition of natural pigments. possibly treated plant slabs against stains for maintenance even easier. If the reconstituted stone can be used in the home, it is found mostly outdoors on the terrace or poolside.
Inside, the porcelain tends to supplant stone (natural or reconstituted). In clay-based, quartz and feldspar, it is known for its resistance. It is nonporous, can be placed anywhere and is not afraid stains or shocks. The latest models have reached such a degree of perfection in shades (slate, limestone, granite), effects of materials (structured surfaces or not) and colors, they have nothing to envy to natural stone . Instead they offer a bonus a wide range of accessories (baseboards, stair nosing, strips) for a perfect finish. Another advantage of porcelain stoneware: it allows the production of large format tiles (60 x 60 cm or 50 x 100 cm 12 mm only), while natural stone slabs similar formats have a minimum thickness of 3 cm, which makes their handling and their implementation difficult work.
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3. sealed or glued?
Everything depends on the state of the medium. Traditional installation is to seal each slab in a mortar 3 to 6 cm thick, made from sand and white cement or lime and white cement. The cap and seal are therefore made in a single operation, allowing to recover any level differences, an advantage in old houses or renovation. The joints are then made with white cement slurry and in the aftermath, the milt lifts are eliminated with water. The following days, the coating must undergo three or four washes with clean water to remove any remaining impurities. On an existing screed, sound, clean, flat rather is chosen glued installation with a thick and flexible adhesive mortar. Faster and easier to implement, this solution allows the operation after 24 to 48 hours against 72 hours in the case of a traditional installation.
4. Roman Opus or strips
Traditionally, the slabs are laid in strips, the elements of varying length on each row to stagger joints. But other types of installation are possible. The random length is to lay the stones according to their formats, without seeking alignment. Undemanding, this pose is heavily loaded at the joints. It is preferred in the case of recovery of irregular formats tiles. The Roman opus is an assembly of square and rectangular slabs of various sizes on a given surface. An installation method that can stagger the joints not only in length but also in width. Finally, the diagonal laying draws laying strips, with the difference that the slabs are implemented diagonally with respect to the axis of movement.
5. easy maintenance
With few exceptions, the natural stone used in interior coating is porous, so sensitive to staining. Before use, the application of a water repellent (in two layers in 24-hour intervals) is imperative. A treatment that can be renewed every two or three years. Meanwhile, the floor will be cleaned with hot water and liquid soap or a non-caustic detergent. As for imitation, maintenance is just as easy: hot water and mop. Reconstituted stone must receive beforehand a water repellent layer.