5 Common mistakes with natural stone flooring


Navigating the world of stone flooring can be a daunting task, with a plethora of online articles offering an overwhelming amount of conflicting information. This often leads to a range of common mistakes, from ordering mishaps and installation blunders to maintenance oversights. Such errors not only incur additional costs but also demand significant time and effort to correct. In this blog post, we’ll explore the most frequent stone flooring mistakes and provide expert advice on how to avoid them, ensuring a flawless finish for your home.

With that in mind, we’ve listed what we feel are the 5 most common mistakes to avoid with natural stone flooring…

1. Not ordering the full amount of stone required in one batch

One defining quality of limestone is the beautiful fossil markings, fissures and variations that you find in each tile. Given how it’s a natural product, it’s no surprise there are variations in colour, even within each batch.

Hence why, it’s so important to order the total amount of limestone that you require for your project, in full, to ensure you minimise the risk of receiving batches with widely varying differences in colour and markings. Ensure that you check the square meterage required, then check again! We will always ask you to add 10% on top of what you require to allow for cuttings and wastage.

2. Not dry laying the tiles first

As mentioned above, given that natural stone can vary in colour and tone from crate to crate, and indeed within a crate, limestone has slight, moderate or highly varied detail and we can’t stress enough how important it is that your tiler unpacks and mixes all the tiles from the different crates you receive. This helps ensure you achieve that consistent, tonal blend.

Not only that, but a dry run also enables you to check you have the correct number and size of slabs. However, the greatest benefit is the opportunity to amend mistakes before tiles are secured in place. As limestone is a natural material, you can get some tiles that have markings on that you’d rather not see and these can be hidden under cabinetry – but this is only possible to review if you dry lay the tiles first. This may seem like a time-consuming exercise, but can be invaluable to achieve your desired look.

Above: Brampton limestone installed in a Spenlow kitchen.

3. Using the wrong colour adhesive

With regards to tile adhesive, we always recommend the BAL Rapid-Flex One. To explain, it’s a rapid setting and flexible adhesive, which allows for faster grouting, thus quicker installation. It’s high in quality and light in colour. And the reason it’s so important to use a light adhesive is down to the stone’s porosity, which draws up any moisture surrounding it. Therefore, if a dark adhesive is used underneath a natural stone tile, the coloured pigments are drawn up into the tile and in turn, dark moisture patches appear on the surface. This results in an unsightly problem, almost impossible to rectify without having to replace the tiles. Therefore, always use a light adhesive, and ‘back butter’ the tiles as opposed to the method used below, referred to as ‘spot fixing’.

5 common mistakes to avoid with stone flooring

Above: an example of a dark adhesive was used underneath these tiles. You can clearly see the dark patches seeping through to the surface of the tile.

4. Not sealing the flooring

We’re often asked if sealing a natural stone floor is an actual necessity or just a ‘nice to do’. As mentioned above, due to limestone being an extremely porous material, its imperative that your stone floor is sealed.

Consequently, we always recommend Fila Fob Xtreme stone floor sealant for unpolished surfaces. Firstly, limestone should be fully fitted and sealed prior to any furniture or cabinetry being placed on or fitted above it. Every stone is different in the number of coats required, as some are more porous than others, so the stone should be sealed until it is fully saturated and won’t absorb anymore sealant.

Your stone fitter will know the process, but generally, we recommend at least three coats prior to grouting and then as many coats as required following grouting.

Remember, sealing doesn’t alter the appearance of the stone, but will help ensure that your flooring is low-maintenance for years to come.

Brampton mid-sealing

Above: Brampton limestone being sealed for the first time before grouting.

5. Using the incorrect cleaning products

Once sealed, natural limestone, is extremely durable. However, keeping your floor as free as possible of loose dust and grit is important. Regular vacuuming and sweeping will reduce dirt being compacted into the surface or joints of the stone.

Therefore, when it comes to cleaning we strongly recommend using specialist products for limestone. Smart Seal tile and stone cleaner is a PH neutral, non-abrasive and eco-friendly chemical, which you can purchase online. Furthermore, we DO NOT recommend using cleaners that are not PH neutral as they can permanently damage your stone.

However, over time, general wear from foot traffic will expose capillaries within the stone. These can accumulate dirt and grime which means the stone will need a more intensive clean every 3-4 years.

Thus why we always recommend you avoid any of the substances below as they can strip the sealant out of the stone which can cause further issues at a later date:

*Washing up liquids


*Acids or alkalis

*General supermarket floor cleaners

*Steam cleaners

*Bleach based cleaners

Above: Brampton limestone correctly installed and sealed.

In conclusion, they’re our top 5 common mistakes to avoid with stone flooring. We hope you enjoyed reading them and that they clear up any confusion surrounding limestone flooring. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in contact us. You can email us at info@hmflooringlibrary.co.uk or call us on 01371 821300.

Remember, if you’re searching for inspiration take a look at our instagram account @hmflooringlibrary, or stay for a while and have a browse through the previous projects on our website.

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