Understanding Changes in the Tile Industry Series
As the demand for heated flooring increases, questions arise about how best to go about this with stone tile floors. The TCNA recently provided greater insight with several changes to their handbook related specifically to installing stone tile with radiant heat. Here’s the overview.
Why the Change?
In the past, stone tile installation methods did not vary from ceramic tile installation methods. The TCNA desired to provide better information and methods that include stone-specific considerations.
Six new methods were adapted from the ceramic installation methods for stone flooring. All of these are methods for tiling heated floors. Four of the new methods apply to the use of hydronic heat systems and two are for electric radiant heat.
When it comes to stone installations, some special considerations should be top-of-mind to get the full benefit of both a beautiful floor that will last a long time and a floor that is reliably warm and comfortable.
Each of the new installation methods for heated stone floors use cementitious self-leveler or poured gypsum in either an on-ground or above-ground substrate. It is especially important for stone to be installed flat to avoid lippage and the self-leveling substrates do a good job of this.
Additionally, the TCNA included general cautions that apply to all stone installations, such as,
- Resistance to abrasion, flexural strength, and compressive strength of the stone being used determines the service rating.
- Light colored mortar is recommended for light colored stones like marble, limestone, and others that may be stained by a dark mortar.
- Minimum grout joints for stone floors when unsanded grout is used is 1/16”. And the maximum for unsanded grout joints is 1/8”. Unsanded grout is necessary for softer stones that may be scratched by sanded grout.
- Epoxy may be recommended for installing some stone that is sensitive to water or has a fiberglass mesh that doesn’t bond well with mortars. An epoxy will ensure a reliable bond.
Daltile is consistently working to make sure our products and specifications meet or exceed industry standards in a timely fashion.
If you have questions or observations, please leave them in the comments below. We’d love to have a conversation about it