Why are different materials and sizes more expensive..?
The are a number of factors determining the cost of natural stone and why the price differs.
Type of Material
A higher cost of raw materials will have a dramatic effect on the cost, and not only when it is scarce or more difficult to quarry; materials have varying qualities and markings that can create demand and bidding between buyers increasing the price. The higher cleaner quality Italian marbles such as Calacatta command a premium because of the whiteness of their background and definition of the vein patterns.
All types of stone materials are graded into different qualities, this is generally identified at the time of production and the cost differential depends on what proportion ofthe block of raw material is made up of first quality, standard quality or commercial quality. As you would expect the higher the quality of material the more expensive it, this is because a block tends to be made up of a modest amount of first quality, more standard quality and the remainder is commercial quality. When this material is cut into slabs and tiles the price will reflect the quality.
Another major contribution to the increased cost of larger format materials is logistics. Larger slabs of stone are more awkward to handle and often require specialist handling equipment. They take up more space whilst being shipped from source to their destination.... and as you can imagine when breakages occur in transit there is a larger cost incurred by the carrier!
Bespoke stone slab work
Slab materials are generally available in 2 or 3cm thicknesses.When producing cut to size pieces, a consistent supply of similar quality material is needed. The quantity of slabs required depends on the size of the block and the shape of the pieces to be cut. Larger pieces will generally require a whole slab to produce one piece, where as many smaller pieces can also be cut from one whole slab. The large pieces will have a higher percentage of wastage which adds to the cost of the production. For this reason the initial slab material price cannot be used as a definite final m2 price for your job.
Does natural stone need to be sealed..?
Yes, we would recommend you seal your natural stone for all internal applications and some external.
The primary reason for this is to protect the stone as all stone is porous. By sealing the stone it will help make the ongoing maintenance more straightforward.
We are happy to discuss the specific application and recommend the product that will give the optimum protection to your surface.
How should I clean my hard-wax oiled floor..?
For wood flooring that has been coated with a hard-wax oil, it is imperative the finish is maintained and not compromised by using incorrect cleaning products.
Hard-wax oil is a formulation of wax, pigment and vegetable oils of varying consistencies that bond to create a protective coat that also enhances the natural beauty of wood.
Although tough when fully cured, a hard-wax oil finish is still susceptible to certain aggravating substances. The most common being in general cleaning solutions, such as bleach which quickly breaks down the wax layer exposing the wood surface to dirt and fluid staining. Hard-wax oils may also be affected by intense heat so therefore steam cleaning is to be avoided at all costs.
Our advice would be to invest in a high quality proprietary wood floor cleaner specifically formulated for the purpose. These can be purchased from ourselves or most good hardware stores, but take care to read the label and ensure that the product is compatible with your floor.
Regular cleaning is fairly straightforward by first removing dust and other media before washing the floor with a solution of the floor cleaner and warm water. This will be all that is required to clean and protect your floor and maintain its natural beauty.
Should I glue or float my wood flooring..?
The jury is always out on this, as it may be considered easier and less costly to float a floor. However if you are to do so then you should consider the following; Most floors in the general market come from overlay boards. An overlay board is typically a 10-16mm thick material which is designed to lay upon a solid structural sub base such as a concrete floor or existing ply, chipboard or plank flooring and as such has a reasonable lightweight construction throughout the core and tongue and groove mechanic.
A structural board (18-22mm thick) is different as it has a thicker load-bearing structure (generally a maximum of 400mm centres) and has a beefed up male and female tongue and groove which is generally a more solid construction than its overlay companion. Therefore, when floated an overlay board may feel inferior to its stronger companion by possible weakness on the joints and in some cases when the floor is not altogether flat, a more hollow sounding nature.
Our choice would be to glue both materials, as then your plank or board will take on the overall strength of the subfloor supporting and noise and wear and tear on the joints are minimised. The glue when a plank is mass bed adhered, then acts as huge elastic band pulling the substructure of the wood material back into its original position and thus counteracting any movement or affecting condition.
Glued floors (when appropriate compatible material is specified) also work well with underfloor heating as the solid state that is created between the plank, glue and substrate, which allows the heat to rise more easily and evenly.