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No. 19

No. 19

No. 19   Market & Technology   for Professional Tilers   Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of
No. 19   Market & Technology   for Professional Tilers   Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of
No. 19   Market & Technology   for Professional Tilers   Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of
No. 19   Market & Technology   for Professional Tilers   Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of
No. 19   Market & Technology   for Professional Tilers   Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of
No. 19   Market & Technology   for Professional Tilers   Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of
No. 19   Market & Technology   for Professional Tilers   Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of
No. 19   Market & Technology   for Professional Tilers   Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of
No. 19   Market & Technology   for Professional Tilers   Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of
 

Market & Technology

 

for Professional Tilers

 

Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of Natural and Engineered Stones

Natural stone surfaces have become increasingly popular. Ceramics now account for about 80 % and natural stone slabs for about 20 % of the “hard” surfacing sector.

It is reported that about 4,000 to 5,000 different natural stones are available on the German market alone. However, experts in the field know that this figure is too high as a result of the fact that some natural stones are sold under up to 20 different brand names (e.g. Blue Pearl, Labrador Blue, Marina Pearl,

Perla Azurro,

).

The following paragraphs are intended to help prevent errors in the laying of natural stones.

to help prevent errors in the laying of natural stones. 1. Origin of natural stones  
to help prevent errors in the laying of natural stones. 1. Origin of natural stones  

1. Origin of natural stones

 

The 3,000 or more types of stone can be classified as igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks depending on their origin.

Dr. Josef Felixberger, Head of Technical Service, PCI Augsburg GmbH, deals with the subject of:

Igneous rocks (magmatic rocks or magmatites) are created by the solidification of molten rock. Solidification may take place over millions of years at great depth or within a few hours in the earth's crust. In the first case, we refer to plutonic, in the second to volcanic rocks. Plutonic rocks are characterized by low porosity and irregular, coarse-grained structures.

"Trouble-free Laying and Grouting of Natural and Engineered Stones".

 

Our Advice! No. 19

Bianco Sardo (plutonic, granite) The minerals feldspar, quartz and mica are clearly visible. Traces of

Bianco Sardo (plutonic, granite) The minerals feldspar, quartz and mica are clearly visible. Traces of minerals containing iron (biotite) may lead to a yellow discoloration.

Typical plutonic rocks include granite (e.g. Sardo Bianco) and gabbro (e.g. Nero Impala) as well as the acid-sensitive Azul da Bahia. In contrast to plutonic rocks, volcanic rocks may be highly porous. Typical volcanic rocks include basalt, trachyte and porphyry.

Sedimentary rocks may be created either by erosion and transport from existing rocks by wind and water or by the chemical or biological precipitation of lime from bodies of water. Limestones are a special case in the group of sedimentary rocks as they contain vegetable and animal matter as well as free lime and are therefore prone to discoloration and efflorescence. Typical limestones include "Jura marble" and Solnhofen tiles. In addition to the limestones, sandstones and sandy shale also play an important role. As regards adhesion, there are few problems with laying sedimentary stones, as they are relatively porous.

Metamorphic rocks are the third group of natural stones. As the name implies, these rocks have undergone a process of metamorphosis or transformation from their original composition to another. Their origin is due to the lowering of original rock formations to regions deep under the earth's surface, where they were exposed to high pressures and temperatures for millions of years. In this way, limestone was transformed into marble, sandstone into quartzite and granite into gneiss, Typical brands include Bianco Carrara (marble), Silver Cloud (gneiss) and Kashmir White (granulite).

The diagram below summarizes the main parameters of natural stones and gives an overview of some of their key laying properties.

Azul da Bahia (plutonic, foyaite) An extremely expensive natural stone (> 500 €/m2) which is

Azul da Bahia (plutonic, foyaite) An extremely expensive natural stone (> 500 €/m2) which is something of a prima donna. The blue colour is produced by the mineral sodalite and can be irreversibly destroyed by exposure to vinegar or lemon-juice.

   

Natural stones

 

Igneous

Sedimentary

Metamorphic

Plutonic

Volcanic

Limestones

Others

Marble

Others

 

Water

           

absorption

Low

High

High

High

Medium

Medium

Properties

Adhesion risk

Yes

No

No

No

No

Yes

Discoloration

         

risk

Possible

Possible

Possible

High

Possible

Possible

Efflorescence

         
 

risk

No

No

High

Possible

Possible

No

Translucency

         

risk

No

No

Possible

No

High

No

Our Advice! No. 19

 

2. Laying of natural stones

2. Laying of natural stones

There are two basic problems that need to be solved when laying natural stones. Firstly, it is necessary to establish permanent adhesion; this is especially important in the case of magmatic and metamorphic rocks (except for types of marble). Secondly, discoloration and efflorescence must be avoided. This is particularly critical when laying sedimentary stones.

Good adhesion is normally ensured by using polymer-modified mortars. Efflorescence and discoloration can be prevented by ensuring a low water-cement ratio and rapid water absorption by the mortar. When laying highly absorbent natural stones, excessive water must not be used in the mortar. To ensure rapid curing, a laying temperature of at least +15°C is recommended. Especially for highly absorbent stones such as Jura marble or Padang granite, it is important to ensure that the stones are laid without any voids in the mortar bed; otherwise, lumps or lines of mortar under the stone may appear as dark spots on the surface. Over the past few years, flowable mortars have been used increasingly widely for floor coverings. These effectively prevent voids in the mortar bed to a sufficient extent for practical purposes. In the case of thin and medium-thickness mortar beds, this requirement can only be met by a combined buttering and floating process. In the case of translucent natural stones such as Bianco Carrara, special mortars based on white cement must also be used.

Blue Pearl (plutonic, syenite) This very popular natural stone, which has a bluish-grey sheen, is also marketed under the trade name of Labrador. When laying this stone, it is important to remember that the feldspar crystals will produce different reflections depending on the orientation of the slabs (dark and light effects). A harmonious appearance can be ensured by positioning the individual tiles in the appropriate direction.

the individual tiles in the appropriate direction. Porphyry (volcanic, rhyolite) Porphyry often contains glass
Porphyry (volcanic, rhyolite) Porphyry often contains glass veins which function as separating layers and natural

Porphyry (volcanic, rhyolite) Porphyry often contains glass veins which function as separating layers and natural break points. This stone is extremely hard and very difficult to machine. A very sturdy stone that is mainly marketed as paving stones or flagstones.

that is mainly marketed as paving stones or flagstones. Jura Grey (sedimentary, limestone) Limestones have formed

Jura Grey (sedimentary, limestone) Limestones have formed over more than 100 million years by the precipitation of lime from the sea. There is a severe risk of discoloration and efflorescent as limestone often features inclusions of vegetable and animal matter as well as free lime. Limestones are highly sensitive to acid cleaning agents.

 

Our Advice! No. 19

 

3. Special cases

3.1

Engineered stone tiles

Bianco Carrara (metamorphic, marble) The king of marbles. An almost completely pure white natural stone

Bianco Carrara (metamorphic, marble) The king of marbles. An almost completely pure white natural stone with "quartzite" (really graphite) veins. These veins represent slip locations and possible break points. Small holes (taroli) are unavoidable.

break points. Small holes (taroli) are unavoidable. Multicolor (metamorphic, migmatite) The name is

Multicolor (metamorphic, migmatite) The name is appropriate. The structuring graphically demonstrates the severe forces involved in the transformation process. Each tile is unique, which makes it impossible to form a pattern.

severe forces involved in the transformation process. Each tile is unique, which makes it impossible to

Engineered stone tiles are made by embedding natural stone, sand and hard stone particles in a synthetic resin (polyester or epoxy) matrix. Typical natural stones used for this purpose include marble, granite and quartzite. However, in order to meet high aesthetic requirements, mother of pearl, mirror glass and semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli may also be bound into the resin matrix, There is scarcely any limit to the creativity of the client or manufacturer. Engineered stone is produced in high-density slabs or blocks in a computer-controlled high-pressure process with

simultaneous vibration and evacuation of air inclusions. Engineered stone tiles therefore normally have a tightly packed structure with low porosity. The water absorption properties depend on the natural stone material used.

When laying engineered stone tiles, special attention must be paid to the mortar. The gauging water used may cause concave arching of the tiles and lead to saponification of the binding agent at the boundary between the tile and the mortar. For reliable laying, rapidly hardening mortar must be used. As the thermal expansion coefficient of engineered stone is some three times as high as for ceramic tiles, expansion joints are especially important. If the floor covering is exposed to temperature fluctuations, a rapidly hardening flow-bed mortar of a highly polymer-modified type must be used.

Deformation properties depend on the natural stone material used as well as the size and thickness of the tile. Special attention must be paid to synthetic resin engineered stone with Verdi Alpi (serpentinite) inclusions. A water-free reactive resin adhesive must be used for laying tiles of this type.

Because of their pronounced thermal expansion and sensitivity to moisture, artificial stone tiles are generally not suitable for outdoor use.

Kashmir White (metamorphic, granulite) This natural stone from India is not only decorative but also sturdy. However, the red granite inclusions may "rust" if exposed to water.

3.2

Slate

Slate is a natural product with natural colour differences and a variety of surface structures. It was created about 400 million years ago from sediments of extremely fine clay sludge on the seabed, followed by the formation of mountain ranges at high pressures and temperatures. Mica slate, which has a silvery sheen, has an especially attractive appearance. The metallic effect is the result of fine particles of muscovite, positioned mainly in the cleavage surfaces. Depending on the amount of organic material in the original clay, oil slate sheets with soapy, water-repellent cleavage surfaces may be created. Depending on their origin, slate slabs may be subject to water absorption from the back, resulting in severe deformation. Oil slate tiles can only be laid reliably if the asphalt or oil is first removed from the back of the tiles using acetone and polymer-modified, rapid-curing mortars are used.

 

Our Advice! No. 19

 

3.3 Chinese granite (Padang)

3.3 Chinese granite (Padang)

In

the course of globalization, natural stones from China are

finding their way to Europe, where they have become popular as

a

result of their low prices. Most of the Chinese stones are

granites, which is marketed under the brand name of Padang G XYZ. "G" stands for granite and is followed by a three-digit number. The first figure (X) indicates the region and the second and third figures indicate the quality of the stone.

In

some cases, Chinese granites behave in a completely different

way to their European "siblings". In comparison to European granite, they may simply soak up water although they have the same porosity values. Where a European granite may take up to 24 hours to become waterlogged, a Padang tile of the same thickness may reach the same state in a matter of minutes. If inappropriate mortars or laying techniques are used, Padang tiles may be affected by intensive, irreversible staining. This is especially the case if slow-setting mortar is used at low temperatures and/or there are voids in the mortar bed.

To avoid staining of Padang floor coverings, the amount of free water must be reduced. Fast-curing mortars must be used and the temperature must be above 15°C. To ensure homogeneous colouring, the mortar bed must support the entire area of the tiles and be largely free from voids.

4. Grouting of natural stones

Special attention must be paid to the grouting of natural stone tiles. If the correct grout is not used, components of the grout

 

may penetrate the tiles from their edges, leading to the formation

of

a visible frame.

Care must also be taken if the natural stone floor covering is to be ground and polished following laying and grouting, which is a relatively common practice in southern Europe. This is only possible if the grout used is free from quartz sand. The quartz sand in conventional grouts has an abrasive effect and would result in scratches on the surface of the stone.

Elastic joint sealants must be free from plasticizers. Special smoothing agents must be used; otherwise, the appearance of the floor covering could be damaged in the last stage of the process. Normal detergents must not be used as they contain surface-active agents, dyestuffs, aromas and fatty substances which could result in ugly discoloration of the natural stones.

 

Our Advice! No. 19

 
5. Summary  

5. Summary

 

For the proper laying of natural stone and engineered stone tiles, mortar and grout with special cements, a low water-cement ratio and appropriate water-retaining properties must be used. As a general principle, excess water in the mortar must be avoided and laying temperatures from 15 to 25°C are recommended. This reduces the exposure of the tiles to free alkaline and water, which may have a detrimental effect. As a result, deformation, voids, discoloration, staining and efflorescence are avoided.

 

Before starting with the laying work, tilers must consider the points listed in the table below:

Parameter

Potential problem

Stones at risk

Solution

Porosity

Poor adhesion if porosity is too low

Plutonic and engineered stones

Rapid-curing polymer-modified mortar

Deformation

Loss of adhesion during mortar curing phase as a result of concave arching

Engineered stones, serpentinite, thin slate tiles

Rapid-curing mortar

Laying temperature 15 to 25 °C

Reaction resin adhesive

Translucency

Visibility of mortar bars or lumps

Thin light-coloured tiles such as Carrara marble

White mortar

Scratch coating on back of tile

   

Laying without voids

Discoloration

Coloured impurities in the water used for the water appear on the stone surface

Sedimentary stones, natural stones containing iron

Rapid-curing mortar

Efflorescence

Free lime is transferred to the surface of the stone by the mortar water

Limestone, marble

Rapid-curing mortar

Laying temperature at least 10 °C

Slate

Voids caused by water- repellent oils, concave arching

Oil slate, asphalt slate

Clean with acetone before laying if necessary

Rapid-curing highly polymer- modified mortar

Engineered stones

Concave arching, saponification of the binding agent

Agglo marble, Agglo slabs, engineered stone

Very rapid-curing polymer-modified mortar

Reaction resin adhesive

Padang granite

Irreversible surface marking by rapid water absorption

e.g. Padang G633, thin slabs

Very rapid-curing mortar

Laying temperature 15 to 25 °C

 

No excess water in mortar

 

Our Advice! No. 19

 

6. PCI standard recommendations

   

The following table indicates the standard recommendations of PCI Augsburg for laying some widely used natural and engineered stone tiles.

   

PCI mortar

Stone type

Thin bed

medium thickness

Thick bed

PCI grout cement-based )4

elastic

 

PCI Carraflex PCI Carraflott NT PCI Carralight

     

)4

 

Plutonic rocks

(granite, gabbro)

PCI Carrament

grey/white

PCI Carraflott NT as bonding slurry

PCI Carrafug

PCI Flexfug

PCI Rapidfug

)5

PCI Carraferm

 

PCI Carraflex PCI Carraflott NT PCI Carralight

     

)4

 

Volcanic rocks

(basalt, porphyry)

PCI Carrament

grey/white

PCI Carraflott NT as bonding slurry

PCI Carrafug

PCI Flexfug

PCI Rapidfug

)5

PCI Carraferm

       

PCI Carrafug

PCI Flexfug

)5

)4

 

Padang granite )1

PCI Flexmörtel Schnell PCI Carraflott NT

PCI Carrament grey

-

PCI Carraferm

PCI Rapidfug

 

PCI Carraflex PCI Carraflott NT PCI Carralight

     

)4

 

Limestones )2 (Jura marble, Solnhofen tiles)

PCI Carrament

grey/white

PCI Carraflott NT as bonding slurry

PCI Carrafug

PCI Flexfug

PCI Rapidfug

)5

PCI Carraferm

 

PCI Carraflex PCI Carraflott NT PCI Carralight

     

)4

 

Other sedimentary rocks (sandstones)

PCI Carrament

grey/white

PCI Carraflott NT as bonding slurry

PCI Carrafug

PCI Flexfug

PCI Rapidfug

)5

PCI Carraferm

Marble )2

PCI Carraflex PCI Carraflott NT PCI Carralight

 

PCI Carraflott NT as bonding slurry

PCI Carrafug )4

 

(Blanca Carrara)

PCI Carrament white

PCI Carraferm

 

PCI Carraflex PCI Flexmörtel Schnell PCI Durapox NT )3 PCI Collastic )3

   

PCI Carrafug

PCI Flexfug

)5

)4

 

Slate )1 (oil and mica slate)

PCI Carrament grey

-

PCI Carraferm

PCI Rapidfug

 

PCI Carraflex PCI Carraflott NT PCI Carralight

     

)4

 

Other metamorphic rocks (gneiss, granulite)

PCI Carrament

grey/white

PCI Carraflott NT as bonding slurry

PCI Carrafug

PCI Flexfug

PCI Rapidfug

)5

PCI Carraferm

 

PCI Carraflex PCI Carraflott NT PCI Carralight

     

)4

 

Translucent stones

(marble, limestone)

PCI Carrament white

PCI Carraflott NT as bonding slurry

PCI Carrafug

PCI Flexfug

PCI Rapidfug

)5

PCI Carraferm

 

PCI Flexmörtel Schnell PCI Carraflott NT PCI Durapox NT )3

 

PCI Novoment M1/Z1 in combination with PCI Carraflott NT as bonding slurry

 

)4

 

Engineered stones )1 (Agglo marble)

PCI Carrament

grey/white

PCI Carrafug

PCI Flexfug

PCI Rapidfug

)5

PCI Carraferm

)1

Laying temperature 15 to 25°C; no excess water in mortar )2 See also translucent stones

   

)3

)4

For strongly deforming natural and engineered stones, e.g. with Verdi Alpi inclusions

Not suitable for grinding )5 Only for polished natural stones

Anhydrite floated screeds, cement-based screeds, gypsum plaster and concrete substrates must be primed with PCI Gisogrund or PCI Gisogrund Rapid prior to laying. Prior to laying on old ceramic or natural stone surfaces, the substrate should be prepared using PCI Gisogrund 303. More detailed information on special substrates and natural stones is given in our natural stone brochure (No. 2152). For further advice, please contact the PCI Technical Service department.

Our Advice! No. 19

Our Advice! No. 19 PCI Augsburg GmbH Piccardstr. 11 86159 Augsburg P.O.B. 10 22 47 86012

PCI Augsburg GmbH Piccardstr. 11

86159 Augsburg

P.O.B. 10 22 47

86012 Augsburg

Germany

Phone

0049 (0) 821/59 01-0

Fax

0049 (0) 821/59 01-390

www.pci-augsburg.de

The specifications in this issue of “Our Advice!” meet the latest state of technical knowledge. Subject to technical alterations. Edition: June 2010

of “Our Advice!” meet the latest state of technical knowledge. Subject to technical alterations. Edition: June