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Know your stone types

LIMESTONE

The classic stone for interiors. Often light in colour, but with colours that can range from grey to black, limestone always has interesting shell and fossil patterns. Limestone is versatile and durable. It ages beautifully and only requires a little cleaning and treatment to ensure that it lasts for generations.

SANDSTONE

Sandstone is a little less hard than limestone and other stones, but it has been used historically for major buildings such as cathedrals, as well as for ornamental stone such as fountains and statues because it is easy to carve. It is a sedimentary rock, and like sand may be any colour, but is usually tan, brown, pale pink or red, or even white or black.

SLATE

Slate makes wonderful, characterful floors – with metallic colouring and natural undulations. It is very hardwearing and, because of its darker colouring, less demanding in terms of maintenance than many stones.

TRAVERTINE

The natural surface-pits in travertine stone are usually filled with grout, leaving the stone with an aged look of instant character, or with special resins for a more sleek appearance. One feature of travertine is that small holes will appear in the surface from time to time – this is nothing to be unduly concerned about as these holes can simply be filled with a little grout.

Travertine is easy to care for but is a better choice of product for areas which are not so heavily used. Travertine is closely associated with Italian architecture and design.

MARBLE

Marble is an exceptionally hard stone, though it is essentially a limestone, characterised by swirls and veins (which result from mineral impurities such as iron oxides, clay or sand) and by a wide variety of colours – white through to black, including pink, gold, green and grey.

TERRACOTTA

From the Italian meaning ‘baked earth’, terracotta is made from clay. It is generally a deep crimson colour with a rustic, glazed finish and is reminiscent of Mediterranean floors and roofs.

ENCAUSTIC CEMENT TILES

Cement tiles differ from ceramic tiles in that the pattern or figure on the surface is a product of different colours of clay, rather than a glazed application – this is called the encaustic technique where pattern is inlaid into the body of the tile, so that the design and colour remain, even as the tile wears. Cement tiles will age naturally and develop their own patina with time, like natural stones. Cement tiles are suitable for domestic and commercial use floors and walls.  

GLAZED CERAMIC

Ceramic tiles are generally made from a clay mixture that is fired at a high temperature. These tiles are then glazed with a base colour then over-printed or hand painted with a pattern. Glazed ceramic is suitable for domestic floors (where specified) and walls.

FULL-BODIED PORCELAIN

Full-bodied porcelain is consistent in composition. There is no glazing – so any pattern or colour runs through the entire thickness of the tile, and therefore the colour and pattern do not diminish with use. These tiles are less susceptible to scratching (unless they are supplied in a ‘polished’ finish) and are ideal for very heavy commercial use floors and walls.

GLAZED PORCELAIN

Glazed porcelain has a glass layer. This is usually a high-definition image of a stone, cement, marble or pattern applied to the surface of a high-tech engineered porcelain tile. The colour and pattern are only surface-deep but still very strong and resistant to wear. Glazed porcelain is suitable for domestic and, where specified, commercial use floors and walls.

10 very good reasons to choose natural stone

10 very good reasons to choose natural stone

  1. As it gets older, natural stone improves. We call it ‘wearing in, not out’. There are not many materials that you can say that about.
  2. By its very nature, every single slab of natural stone is unique. In fact, that is just one of the ways that you can immediately tell the difference between natural stone and compound materials, because there are no repetition of patterns.
  3. There are infinite varieties of stone types, finishes, colours and markings – there’s no chance of you visiting another house which has exactly the same floor or wall.
  4.  Stone colours and patterns are subtle and under-stated. As a material, it does not visually dominate, so you’ll always find it very easy to design interiors around it.
  5.  You can use many stones both indoors and out, so you can create a coherent feel for your home and exterior areas.
  6. With modern underfloor heating systems, you can create a very cozy environment with the practicality of a hard floor.
  7.  A natural stone floor is very easy to sweep and to clean – especially if you use the right sealants and polishes right from the start. There is no reason for it to ever be high-maintenance.
  8. There is a huge range of prices to suit any budget (especially with Ca’ Pietra’s commitment to sourcing high-quality natural stone at affordable prices).
  9.  Natural stone always has a story to tell – where it comes from, the geological qualities that it possesses, the fossils and patterns, the iconic, historical buildings that used the same type of stone.
  10.  Natural stone is durable, beautiful and appealing. It will enhance the value of your home now and long into the future, why invest in anything else?

How handmade encaustic tiles are made?

Finish options explained

ANCIENT

Heavily etched and worked surface followed by a further process that knocks back the grain exposure to ensure the character remains.

DISTRESSED

Created by hand-fettering and then cushioning (softly rounding) the edges of the stone leaving the surface flat.

ETCHED

Created by sand-blasting. An etched finish makes stone surfaces less slippery. It also softens the colour of the stone for a slightly more muted finish. This is particularly appropriate for hard stones that are used for exteriors and pool surrounds.

HONED

Created by high-speed mechanical action that leaves the surface smooth and flat. The finish achieved can vary from matt to gloss depending on the density of the stone.

POLISHED

The next level of smoothing up from honed. The level of polishing usually relates to the hardness of the stone – the harder it is the finer it can be polished.

RIVEN AND ROCKFACE

Riven finish is the split or cleft face of stones that are naturally made up of many thin bed or strata layers. Stones such as slates and sandstones are typically supplied in the Riven finish, but some limestones are also available with this natural face.

SATINO

Created by texturing the stone with a special high pressure mechanical action resulting in a soft stippled surface which, on some stones, can increase the slip resistance in wet areas.

SEASONED

A subtle process for matching aged stones. This is a mechanical process that softly rounds the edges and exposes the surface grain leaving it with a lightly stippled effect.

TUMBLED

Created by a mechanical process that recreates the effect of the action of the sea on beach pebbles. The edges are softly rounded and the surface grain is exposed.

VELVET OR HEAVY VELVET

The stone is sandblasted to give it a bleached, etched effect and then undergoes the satino process which gives it an orange-peel look and velvety feel.

VINTAGED

Created by hand-fettering the edges of the stone and then texturing the surface in a more concentrated process to give a delightfully rustic look.

WEATHERED

Created by hand-fettering the edges of the stone and then heavily etching and then smoothing the surface to produce an open-grain finish that mellows to an antique patina.

WORN

A smoothing process to create the effect of antique, riven flagstones.

 

Pattern options

Ca’ Pietra stone is priced by the square metre. Usually customers order it in combinations of flagstones which make up patterns, such as those described here.

Products that are supplied in ‘patterns’ consist of combinations of set size flagstones, which enable you to follow these classic patterns without the waste associated with cutting uniform flagstones to appropriate sizes.

Some of our stones are available in different widths and random lengths, so that you can choose whether to lay floors in your own free-form pattern, or in a regimented design.

When buying a pattern you must buy at least one complete set of stones and therefore a minimum number of square metres, depending on the exact quantity of stone within that pattern.

You can download our pattern option sheet by clicking on this link Stone Patterns (PDF)

Cutting service

Corner Cutting

For that extra bit of drama in reception and garden room floors, why not insert cabouchons – smaller tiles that fit between the four larger stones. We can cut one corner or all four corners of the main tiles to take a 10 x 10cm cabouchon.

Pentagon prices: 

Cutting to Pentagons (one corner per main tile) excluding  the cabouchon £12.00m² + VAT

10 x 10 x 1.0cm tumbled slate cabouchons, pewter or steel £1.00 each + VAT

Octagon prices:

Cutting to Octagons (all four corners per main tile) excluding the cabouchon £20.00m² + VAT

10 x 10 x 1.0cm tumbled slate cabouchons, pewter or steel £1.00 each + VAT

To cut matching skirting

Imagine a skirting board that doesn’t need repainting or treating, isn’t susceptible to kicking, scuffing or damp. We can cut and hand-finish the stone you select to 9cm or 12cm strips to create a beautiful stone skirting that matches your floor.

Remember, if you select a rustic style of stone or a finish such as riven, it will have a little more variation in thickness compared to stones with a honed finish, and so you may find this is not suitable for skirting.

Speak with your retailer about our cutting service, or contact Ca’ Pietra technical helpline on 0844 915 0002.

Skirting prices: 

Cutting and finishing the top edge of skirting to height of 9cm or 12cm, £16.00 + VAT per linear metre excluding the purchase price of the stone.

 

Brief installation guidelines

We always recommend that you employ a proven professional for installation, but here are some guidelines that you can consider.

When your stone is delivered 

When you receive your stone, check that you have all of your tiles and that they are in good condition. With natural and hand-crafted products there will, of course, be some variations in colour tone and natural character that makes them unique and beautiful. We recommend that you ‘shuffle’ tiles from different boxes/crates so that you have a uniform effect across the entirety of the new surface.

Prior to installation

Both sides of the tile should be wiped clean of any dust before installation and the top surface should be wiped again after installation and before sealing and grouting takes place.

You must create a flat, level and stable surface – preferably of concrete – on to which the tiles can be laid. If you do this on a timber surface, the floor will need overlaying with a suitable tile backer-board such as NoMorePly (www.nomoreply.net). You can also use this product to tile on to timber-framed walls.

If you are tiling on to walls in damp and wet areas, we recommend you fully tank (waterproof) the walls with a specific tanking system such as Mira or similar.

If you are tiling on to an underfloor, heated screed the floor will need priming and overlaying with a movement uncoupling membrane (such as our Stone Essentials Decomat or Isomat). This will help prevent any shrinkage or cracking that may occur in the screed being transferred through the tiles.

Tiles can be cut using a diamond-blade ideally a water-cooled machine. Constantly spraying with water while cutting will help to prevent chipped edges.

Installation

Use a good quality, flexible, semi-rapid, white tile adhesive and carefully follow any instructions on the manufacturers label. Ensure 100% coverage of each tile with adhesive, and remove excess adhesive with a damp cloth before it hardens.

Level the tiles using hand pressure only. Using a mallet or rubber hammer could cause cracking.

Sealing your tiles

Once your tiles are installed you will need to use an impregnating sealant for protection against fading and staining. This should be applied after they have been installed (and  cleaned) but prior to grouting. You should apply a second coat after grouting.

You could also choose to apply a surface wax as this will offer further protection and give an attractive patina (encaustic tiles and rustic tumbled stones in non-wet areas only). This would be applied after grouting.

Grouting

You will probably need to allow 1-2 days after the tiles have been laid before you can apply the grout.
• We recommend using lighter coloured grouts, not black or bright coloured as these can cause staining in the natural
pores of the tiles.
• Follow the grout manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
• Ensure you have selected a grout product that is suitable for use with natural stone and encaustic tiles.
• Don’t use masking tape on the tiles as this can cause marking.
• Ensure that you wipe away any excess grout from the tiles before the grout dries.
• Once grout is installed and fully dried, wash your new tile floor with a neutral detergent.
• Do not leave water to sit on the surface.

Ongoing maintenance 

Clean your tiles regularly by sweeping away any dust or grit and then mopping with clean water and neutral detergent (such as our Ca’ Pietra Multi Clean).

You can also lightly polish tiles with a soft pad. If the tiles become heavily soiled we recommend scrubbing them with a stronger, specialist detergent (such as Ca’ Pietra Extreme Clean).

If the tiles are heavily used, you may find that you will need to re-seal your tiles more regularly. You could also choose to apply a surface wax as this will offer further protection and give an attractive patina. We would also recommend this process if the tiles are being used for a cooker splash back.

IMPORTANT NOTE

These are very general guidelines and not definitive instructions. The issuer of these guidelines cannot be held responsible for installation. It is always recommended that a qualified and professional tiler should take responsibility for the installation of all stone and tile products.

Suitability

The main distinction when deciding the perfect stone for your project is whether it will be laid indoors or outdoors – all stones are suitable for interior use, but if you are planning to use stone in an exterior setting, there are certain characteristics that it will require.

The thickness of the cut stone is also very important. Here, you will need to balance the strength of the stone with the amount of height it takes up. And you will need to decide whether you will be laying the stone in a simple symmetric pattern or in a complex, random pattern.

FINISH

The stone finish that you select is a really important decision, as it has a big impact on the final look of your floor or surface. Remember that stone looks quite different in different lights – be sure to view the stone in the intended setting before making a final choice.

There is a big difference between a ‘honed’ finish and a finish designed to produce a textured, non-slip surface such as etched or seasoned.

PRACTICALITY

Another consideration is how practical the stone will be in the intended application. Some are more suited to particularly demanding rooms such as a busy kitchen for instance. Also, remember some finishes can make your floor more slippery. All stone, by its nature, is hardwearing.

STONE

The most important thing to establish is if stone can be used in the intended location. The surface you intend to fix the tiles to is called the substrate. Not all substrates are suitable to receive stone. A wooden floor will require special preparation and most substrates will need some form of general preparation.

STYLE

The overall design feel that you are seeking will be determined mainly by your personal taste but the style of property will probably also have an influence on your choice. If you want an informal feel and maybe an antique look, then you may wish to consider a random pattern. If you want to achieve a smarter look then you will probably consider a more geometric pattern with all of the stones the same size and in a flat, honed finish.

How to care for your natural stone floor

How to care for your natural stone floor

Natural stone is like wood. There are hard stones and there are softer stones, just as there are hard woods and soft woods. As long as you select the right stone for the job and your lifestyle, caring for a stone floor does not have to be a chore. Here are a few simple steps to ensure your stone floor gleams for many years to come.

Firstly, keep your floor as free as possible of loose dust and grit with regular vacuuming or sweeping. This will greatly reduce the ‘sandpaper’ effect of dirt getting compacted into the surface and joints. Then, we recommend washing the floor firstly, to remove the dirt that a vacuum won’t pick up, and secondly for hygiene.

We strongly recommend that you use specialist cleaning products for stone. The harsh, acidic supermarket products will ‘bruise’ the stone and erode protective sealants. Ideally, use a product that is PH neutral, bio-degradable and environmentally-friendly. Using the correct specialist cleaning product will greatly reduce the frequency of more intensive cleans and even the re-seals that may be needed for the more porous types of stone.

General wear of the surface from foot traffic over the years exposes capillaries within the stone. Over time these can accumulate dirt and grime. Therefore, we recommend a more intensive clean every 3-4 years, with a heavy-duty product that will dissolve ingrained dirt and grease.

A common misconception is that every stone floor needs resealing every few years, but it is true for the more porous stone surfaces. You can normally tell if a stone does need resealing by wetting the stone and leaving for around 5 mins before wiping off and if the water leaves a mark by darkening the stone this will mean the stone is becoming more porous.  If you do decide to reseal your stone, you should give it an intensive clean with a product that penetrates the surface prior to resealing with an impregnating sealer. You may, however, decide your floor doesn’t need resealing but could do with being refreshed. Applying a surface refreshing product every 4 – 6 weeks will help with this.

Important Information

Do not use any of the following products on your stone floor: bleach-based cleaners; washing-up liquids; strong de-greasing detergents; anything that contains natural acids or alkalis. Avoid non-specialised supermarket cleaning products. Avoid using steam cleaners – they may clean some surfaces, but the hot steam can remove the sealer and repeated use will ‘spall’ and damage the surface.

 

A recommended regime with Stone Essentials ancillaries

Our Stone Essentials range covers all the bases for a cleaning and maintenance regime that will ensure your stone floor grows old gracefully.

Routine cleaning.

All Clean is the Stone Essentials product for your routine cleaning. It’s suitable to use on stone, it’s an antibacterial detergent and can be used weekly or even daily without detriment to the stone as long as you dilute it as per the instructions on the bottle.

Intensive & spot cleaning.

For a really deep clean, we recommend Deep Clean, heavy-duty cleaner which uses a combination of effective solvents and cleaning agents to dissolve ingrained dirt, grease, heavy soiling and many other problematic stains. The less you dilute it, the stronger the solution – but you must carefully follow the instructions on the bottle.

A surface refresh.

If you refresh your floor by applying a sheen with Stone Essentials Easy Sheen every 4-6 weeks, for example, you may find you do not need to completely re-seal stone.

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Where to buy

The Ca’ Pietra Collection is sold throughout the UK and Europe, exclusively through our appointed retailers. You can find your nearest outlet by entering your postcode below.