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Stone Buying Guide Flooring Accessories

Once you've decided what type of stone and finish your new floors will have it is time to choose the accessories. Everything from underlayment to grout to sealer plays a role in the protection and life span of your new stone floors. In this section, read about the accessories you can incorporate into your flooring project.

Underlayment

The right underlayment can reduce sound transmission and provide proper support to your stone flooring. Some underlayments can also serve as a way to cover minor imperfections and serve as a leveling agent in the subfloor before installing your stone flooring. If you will be installing stone on top of existing flooring, you may also need an underlayment to achieve the required bonding. If you live in an area with unpredictable ground movement, purchase a crack suppression underlayment to protect your new floor.

  • Cement backerboard: This underlayment has a cement core surrounded by fiberglass. It is extremely water resistant and is ideal for stone installation.
  • Cork: Use cork underlayment for noise insulation as well as for added protection against your stone being affected by cracks in the sub–floor.
  • Crack Isolation membrane or Anti–fracture membrane: Stone tiles can sometimes develop cracks transmitted from underlying concrete slabs. This type of underlayment is a thin, flexible layer that protects your stone against cracking by absorbing any horizontal movement in the sub–floor.
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Grout

Grout is an essential part of stone flooring installation as it fills the gaps between stone pieces. It not only provides the bond that holds everything together but it is also a part of finished appearance of your floor. There are two basic types of grout: sanded and non–sanded. Sanded grout is used when the grout joints are 1/8" or larger. Non–sanded grout, more common in stone installation, is used when the joints are smaller than 1/8".

You will also choose a grout color. The grout color can stand out and complement your stone, or be subtle and blend in. That is a personal preference. The original color of the grout may change over time even when well protected.

Sealer

A protective sealer should be applied over most stone floors to prevent staining. When selecting your stone, check with both the manufacturer and the flooring professional for recommendations specific to your both stone and the rooms in which it will be installed. When sealer is recommended for a specific stone type, it provides additional stain and moisture resistance by sealing a stone's porous surface. Sealer also protects the original color and beauty of the stone.

Thinset Mortar

A thin layer of cement based adhesive that is spread onto a surface which tile is then laid into.

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