Masonry, Tile & Stone

One thing to remember, is that stone can last for thousands of years. It is of great importance that you choose your flooring material wisely!

Masonry

Concrete

You can use concrete for many purposes. Concrete is a great foundation to build a house on. Sidewalks, retaining walls and engineered concrete, decorative walls, stamped concrete, colored concrete and so forth. It’s very useful and sturdy. It can be used to designate walkways or landscapes, curbs, drainage, ditches, pillars, etc. It’s a great substrate for pavers, tile, natural stone, also concrete staining and polishing. 

Concrete can have many different finishes from a shiny-wet look, to a textured tile look or stone look. It can even be treated with chemicals to make it look like marble! This is made possible from the many different stains and coatings that can be used on concrete.

Brick

There’s many different kinds of brick. From structural block, to decorative brick, handcrafted bricks, to burnt clay bricks. There’s also clinker bricks that give a  rustic design to a structure. There are thin bricks (1/2″ to 3/4″), also known as brick veneer, which are used for decorative purposes and are usually installed on the side of an existing structure or placed on an interior wall. Brick veneer is usually cheaper. You can do the outside of your house if its made out of wood and make the house look as if it is made out of brick if you choose to install brick on any part of the exterior. You can take a house with wood siding and replace the siding with red brick for a very nice look that doesn’t have to be repainted every 10 years.

This is just one example out of many on how to reduce the maintenance cost on your home. 

Bricks are pretty timeless. They are weatherproof, fire-resistant and generally last a long time.

Stone

Stone includes marble, granite, travertine, limestone, and comes in various sizes, shapes and finishes; from a high polish down to a honed finish. 

Natural stone is very beautiful and works well outdoors or indoors. It can be used to make fireplaces look GRAND, as well as showers, countertops, floors, walkways and walls. 

Stones can be very elegant or rustic. They can be shaped, polished and used for stair treads. We only use Master stone masons. Stones can be fitted together very tightly or very spaced apart depending on the look you’re wanting to achieve. They can also be cut into shapes and fastened together to form a medallion or any other pattern(s) in the floor or walls. 

Some stones are very hard, like granite and then others are very soft like travertine. They come in all ranges of hardness. This will affect the ability to keep a shiny finish. The harder stones keep their polish much longer than the softer ones. If you want polished stone in a high foot traffic area, it is recommended you use a hard stone, like granite. 

There is a variety of different marbles and stones that are mined from quarries around the world. Different quarries produce different stones with different colors and looks. Natural stone has a shade variation because it’s not man-made…it is REAL rock.

 
 Depending on how the stone is cut when it is mined, the stone can have a different look. It could be what they call “vein-cut”, and have all the veins one on top of the other, giving the appearance of layers. Or it can be cut at another angle and can have the appearance of veins. Some rock is alive, such as slate. 

Slate is ancient mud that’s made from compacted organic matter on the bottom of deep lakes for thousands of years and usually has a very rough, flaky texture, usually colored dark with greens, grays, reds and oranges. These slate pieces are not smooth finish, they do not come polished. But they do provide great footing in wet weather due to the rough, non-slip textured surface.

In addition to brick, tile and stone, there’s cultured stone. This is light-weight concrete that has been moulded and colored to look like rock and comes in a variety of styles from river rock to flagstone. These work great to go over retaining walls to cover pillars with or used in place of an exterior wainscoting (wooden paneling).

IMPORTANT: Stone is a natural resource that will run out. Please do not install stone in your house if you’re going to tear it out in 10 years due to style trends. You want to use stone in places that it will stay. We have seen this occur with mahogany from the rainforest and stone from around the world. Once that quarry is out, there is no more. People replace it like an old pair of shoes and throw it into the landfill! This valued resource is going to run out and so, for future generations, they won’t be able to have stone in their house. They will only be able to have man-made manufactured stone bound together with epoxy, which has a lifespan, and will yellow and crack in the sun. 

This is a huge decision! Let us help you!

Learn more about choosing the right stone here >>>

Tile

Ceramic tile is fake stone. It comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors. Tile can be set in many different patterns, with different sized joints in between the tiles. These joints serve a purpose. They are not for style. Grout joints actually serve a function. As the tiles are stamped out with a dye and press, the dye gets worn and becomes smaller because of wear and so the tiles gradually get bigger as they’re stamped out. 

Tile is a clay bisque, like a red brick or clay pot, and is coated with ceramic, which is very similar to glass. Most white sinks are coated with ceramic and baked in an oven of over 2,000 degrees.

The grout joint allows for the size variation and makes the size variation unnoticeable to the eye. The more precision size the tiles are, the smaller the grout joint can be used. 

Also, the tiles can warp in the baking process. In today’s world, most large tiles are bent at least on one corner, so these grout joints hide these imperfections. In some situations, the sizing is so bad that in the intersection of four tiles, it looks what tile setters call “racked” or crooked. In this situation, an off-set pattern or brick-patten hides this. If the walls in the house are out of square or crooked, setting the tile at a 45 degree angle or diagonal pattern, hides this. These are not styles, but are tools. Grout joints are a tool that the tile setter uses to make your floor look great. This is not a design feature, this is not a style. This is to hide the natural imperfections and make your floor look good. The better the grout matches and not contrast the tile, the better your floor is going to look. 

To learn more about tile and common mistakes with design choices, click here >>>

Pavers

A paver is a brick made from colored stamped concrete. Individually, they form in a shape that interlocks with each other to create a pretty cool looking design. Pavers can be used for walkways, driveways, streets, patios, and around pools. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. 

They can be set on concrete or placed in sand. A lot of the stamped concrete driveways are designed to look like pavers. Pavers provide anti-slip, rough texture and work great in place of cement.

Portland has pavers in many spots downtown in intersections and crosswalks. They’re very durable and can be driven on by big trucks and buses.

Re-doing your old cracked driveway and sidewalk with pavers is a great way to improve the aesthetic of the exterior part of your property. They are very cost-effective.

To learn more about pavers, click here >>>