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Stone tiles – availability, suitability and specification




Stone tiles are set sized pieces of set thicknesses that are designed to cover large areas. This vague definition is to set tiles apart from stone worktops which are generally of custom sizes and are limited to sheet sizes of 3m length and up to 2m in depth.


Stone Type


Tiles are available in most stone types, including those most featured in this website: quartz surfaces, granite, marble, and limestone. Other types of stone tiles include travertine and slate.

All of these stone types have different characteristics in terms of look, cost and suitability. The most durable and practical will always remain quartz and granite, however this is reflected in their higher cost.

The type of stone may have an impact on the finish of the tile. Many limestone tiles are not available in a polished finish, and some granites are available in a variety of interesting textured finishes.

Please see our article on sealing for related information.


Tile Sizes


Standard tile sizes generally available include:

305 x 305 x 10mm
610 x 305 x 10mm
610 x 305 x 20mm
400 x 400 x 20mm
400 x 400 x 15mm
600 x 600 x 20mm


Thicknesses


As tiles are normally used as a surface covering, clients do not really care about the thickness of the tiles as this element of the tile cannot really be seen. What matters more is the look of the tile, the face size of it, etc.

From a buyers perspective, the thinner the tile, the better. Thinner stone tiles normally cost less than thick tiles because tile producers can produce more thin tiles from a block of stone than thick tiles. However, there are physical constraints determining the minimum thickness of tiles – the brittleness of the stone itself.

Generally, the thinnest tiles available in most stone types is 10mm. This is the standard thickness for tiles of 305 x 305mm (1’ x 1’). As you increase the length and/or width of the tiles, the thickness normally increases to 20mm. So for tiles that are 600 x 600mm, the thickness is almost bound to be 20mm.

Quartz tiles can be produced thinner than 20mm in large formats due to its higher tensile strength. So do not be put off if you are offered 13mm thick tiles for tiles of sizes even larger than 600 x 600mm. Be aware however that these tiles may be bowed due to the natural elasticity in the slab, and that this will cause all manner of problems when it comes to laying the tiles. The issue of bowing is much reduced with the extra thickness. Finally, remember that quartz tiles are generally expensive anyway, so thin tiles do not make a massive difference in this stone type.


Suitability and application


This guide focuses on interior application of stone tiles. The main areas that are usually tiled in both residential and commercial projects are: bathrooms, hallways and public walkways, kitchen walls, feature walls.

Stone tiles are usually chosen for their aesthetic properties, but this must be balance with the suitability of the tile for its application. Please consider the durability of the stone, as well as its maintenance requirements such as chemical sealing. Finally, where floors are to be tiled, consider choosing a non-polished finish as a safety precaution against slipping. Many of our customers have opted for honed tiles, or even textured finishes.

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