Have your say & ask the experts!

Marble, Travertine or Porcelain Tiles

10 replies [Last post]
PJPro's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 2938

We are finally getting our extension built after an 8 year wait! We would like our porch, hall, downstairs WC, dining room and kitchen to have the same tiled floor through out. Morever, we'd like to tile our upstairs bathroom (walls and floor) in the same stuff. I thought we were going to simply go with a natural stone but it seems there may be some issues with maintenance. So, we are now considering porcelain. Anyone had any experience with natural stone tiled flooring?

__________________

My useful(?) What HiFi Forum threads can be found here.

Andrew17321's picture
Offline
Joined: 12 Nov 2008
Posts: 135
Re: Marble, Travertine or Porcelain Tiles

Travertine looks great, we have it in 2 bathrooms.  It is worth putting underfloor heating under it, unless you enjoy cold feet!  Besides the additional cost of the electrical underlay is small compared to the total cost of the tiling.

If tiling walls and floor in the bathroom consider a walk-in shower or wet room. 

One downside, one of our granddaughters was sick on it and it disolved the surface, even though it was sealed.  Needed sanding and resealing - not cheap but insurance paid.  Otherwise no maintenance, except possibly re-sealing after a number of years, and easy to clean.

Another thing to watch is that stone tiling is heavy.  Make sure the structure of your house can take the weight.

Strongly recommend.

 

Andrew

 

6th.replicant's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 3005
Re: Marble, Travertine or Porcelain Tiles

Agree re underfloor heating, it's a must and costs relative peanuts if you use the electric cable-type. If you're laying a new floor, then you might as well include it. And it will add value to your property.

Used travertine in my last bathroom and it made it feel more spacious, plus its ambience is warm in winter and cool in summer. IME it didn't needed re-sealing in three years, although the walls exposed to the shower's main blast did need sealant every six months, but that's because we lived in a very hard-water area. But what the hell, sploshing on the sealant with a paint brush took all of ten minutes - a small price to pay for the lush appearance and texture of such a lovely natural stone.

It wears well, too. After all, it's what most of the buildings in Rome are made from - and they seem to be lasting quite well. Wink

robjcooper's picture
Offline
Joined: 29 Sep 2008
Posts: 509
Re: Marble, Travertine or Porcelain Tiles

PJP,

We have Brazilian green slate on our kitchen floor and it looks wonderful. However, it can be a pig to keep clean, especially as it has a riven finish. A steam cleaner brings it up a treat though, as well as the grouting. In our bathrooms and downstairs loo we have porcelain on the floors, which is a doddle to keep clean and has a lovely smooth finish but can be a bit slippery. We have ceramics on the walls upstairs as the porcelain would have been too heavy to have from floor to ceiling. If you're going to have that much stone everywhere, then a heated floor is a no-brainer. If your having new screed floors laid anywhere, I'd suggest you go for the water based PolyPipe underfloor system (http://www.freeyourwalls.com/). It's a lot cheaper to run than the electric systems and is especially efficient with Condensing boilers. Our kitchen is 7m x 4.5m and it is heated solely using the under floor heating. Our dining room, which is next to it, and is 7.5m x 5m only has it under half the floor and yet still needs no rads to be lovely and cosy even in the depths of winter. Enjoy the mess, it'll be worth it in the long run !!

 

Rob 

 

NSYGrinner's picture
Offline
Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 1008
Re: Marble, Travertine or Porcelain Tiles

One thing to remember with elictric underfloor heating. If it has to go into the tile bedding then if at a later date a damaged tile needs replacing then it is a nightmare. Water pipe heating is the way to go. Make sure you have plenty of insulation below the screed though.

PJPro's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 2938
Re: Marble, Travertine or Porcelain Tiles

Thanks for your replies guys. Yes, we have asked for a quote for "wet" underfloor heating...at least downstairs. Probably won't bother upstairs. After all it has underfloor heating from the room below. That's my argument anyway Wink

I've been doing a fair bit of browsing to find out the answer to my own question. I;ve come to the following conclusions.

Natural stone is more expensive than porcelain (which isn't cheap itself) but is less durable that porcelain.

The substrate the floor is laid on can be an issue. Downstairs is OK (for us) as it's concrete. Upstairs will be on a suspended wooden floor, so will flex more, making it less suitable (but still do-able) for natural stone.

For me, it's an issue of care and maintenance. I have three young children as expect the floor to take a fair hammering. Some salesman demonstrated the toughness of porcelain to my wife. He took a tile and scratched away at its surface using a coin, leaving a big black mark. Apparently, the sound was awful. He then simply gave the tile a wipe and the mark was gone. You can't do that with stone!

I like the look of polished marble but suspect it will be just too slippery for a family home. I was going to go for a lemon marble (whic I really like) but suspect that it may turn people off when/if we come to sell the house.


Lemon Marble Tiling

I like travertine but am scared off by its porous nature. Ribena anyone?


Filled and Honed (premium) Travertine

So, porcelain is looking a good bet. You can get fullbodied porcelain (rather than stuff where just the surface is porcelain) which has a brushed surface, making it less slippy and super easy to maintain. Moreover, it really looks like natural stone and, if you get something with a subtle pattern or of a uniform shade, you can;t pick up the repeated pattern of these man-made tiles. The full bodied stuff is more expensive though!


Porcelain Full Bodied Tile

The trouble is, I don't like fake so it'd be going against the grain to get fake stone. My head says porcelain and my heart says stone and I can't decide! Damn! It's going to cost £35+VAT a metre to get it laid too!





__________________

My useful(?) What HiFi Forum threads can be found here.

PJPro's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 2938
Re: Marble, Travertine or Porcelain Tiles

Just had the quote through for the bathroom. Ha ha ha, ha ha ha, ha ha ha. Sob.

__________________

My useful(?) What HiFi Forum threads can be found here.

Andy H's picture
Offline
Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Posts: 461
Re: Marble, Travertine or Porcelain Tiles

Hi PJ, We fitted that Lemon Marble in our bathroom, yes it was expensive but our bathroom is very small. One thing I should point out is that it's porous (don't think that's spelled correct) and you have to chemically seal it. It was easy enough to cut though with diamond bladed electric tile saw.  

__________________

Sonos > DacMagic > Arcam A90, P90 > ProAc Studio 140

Andy H's picture
Offline
Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Posts: 461
Re: Marble, Travertine or Porcelain Tiles
PJPro:
Damn! It's going to cost £35+VAT a metre to get it laid too!


 Have a go at laying it yourself, after reading all your DIY projects I'm sure your more than up to it.


If your laying on a wooden floor, first cover the entire floor with 12mm ply and screw down every 6" horizontal and verticle. This take any flex out of a wooden floor. Then seal with PVA / Water solution 1 to 4 mix, leave to dry. Lay tiles as normal, REMEMBER to use WHITE adhesive, again because of the tiles being pourous. Once grouted and dry give a good clen and SEAL. I think your supposed to repeat this every year but mine have been down 3yrs and I've not done it again yet.


Good Luck.

__________________

Sonos > DacMagic > Arcam A90, P90 > ProAc Studio 140

shooter's picture
Offline
Joined: 4 May 2008
Posts: 2667
Re: Marble, Travertine or Porcelain Tiles
PJPro:
Upstairs will be on a suspended wooden floor, so will flex more, making it less suitable (but still do-able) for natural stone.



Its no problem laying tiles on a suspended floor but please do not use ply or anything like that its old school as it wont work properly and give you problems later on. Just make sure the floorboards are clean, dust free and screwed down, but please before you start screwing look below the floorboards to see whats their!

Use Ditra matting, its an excellent product and easy to use, check it out on-line.

If you are going to do a wet room make sure you tank it with something like a BAL tanking kit. Its a semi flexible product and its takes time to fit as it needs to be exact but its worth it because the room wont leek.

Make sure you tile the floor area first and tile down the walls to it, this will help with keeping it water tight.

Also use a flexible adhesive (grout) this it difficult to use but any good tiler worth his salt will use it.

If you are thinking of doing a raised shower area look at Wedi systems they are very good.

Finding a good tiler is the main priority and they may charge anywhere between £100 and £150 per day plus materials (adhesives etc) so the cheapest way to do it is source and bye your own tiles etc.
Don't rush into picking a tiler a good one will be booked up for months, ask him how he goes about his work, how he seals rooms water tight and the materials he uses. Don't put things in his head! Make a note and check the materials out online and DO talk to existing clients with similar work, tiling a room to an high standard and making it water tight is what you want a poorly tiled room will look s**t. And if it leaks!

If you are doing electrical work i.e putting in a shaver point etc it will need to be signed off to the council so you a reputable electrician someone who is an Elecsa member for instance.

Just a note on the underfloor heating. If you go with a water flow type it will cost a small fortune for a small area as it needs to be regulated with thermostats and come off the central heating. Will your boiler be up to it!
The cheapest way to do it is to use Warmup it is an electric heating system and one i've been using and fitting bathrooms for years with. If the tiler is good you wont have any problems with cracking tiles unless you use a sledge hammer!Its easy to fit and is controlled with an thermostat out side the bathroom, very easy to use and easy to install and about a quarter the cost if not less than the water method.



adivol's picture
Offline
Joined: 6 Jul 2012
Posts: 1
RE: Travertine tile is a good

Travertine tile is a good option, more attractive than natural stone and also available in different color and pattern, easy to maintain comparatively with other stones and tiles.

__________________

Edited by mods - see house rules