Interested in adding your favorite Artisan or StoneImpressions tile designs to your home? We are going to give a brief overview of how to buy and install StoneImpressions Tile. We offer hundreds of amazing designs including accents, pattern tiles, murals, and more! Our tile is sold in authorized dealers and showrooms throughout the United States and Canada, giving our customers the flexibility of finding the retailer that works for their needs. To get started on your decorative journey, here are some steps to move you in the right direction:
STEP 1: Find Tile Inspiration!
Inspiration is everywhere! Follow us on Instagram and Pinterest to get your daily dose of tile goals. It is so fun to see how people are using art tiles in unique and creative ways. We also have numerous galleries of our tiles installed in kitchen, bathroom, and fireplace spaces if you need some extra inspiration!
We love helping you pick out the perfect design for your space. We offer rendering services that can help show scale and repeats of patterns. Reach out to your local dealer or email us at Customerservice@stoneimpressions.com for your rendering.
STEP 2: Locate an Authorized Local Showroom
We work with amazing distributors throughout the United States and Canada who would love to help you with your project. Simply click on the Where To Buy link on our website, enter your zip code or preferred address into the field, and click the “Find Locations” button.
This will search and display all available showrooms and dealers in proximity to the zip code or address you entered, as well as directions and the dealer’s website. You can now select the dealer of choice to contact. If you are unable to find a dealer near you, feel free to contact us, and we will work with you to get your needs met.
STEP 3: Order a Sample Piece
Did you fall in love with a tile and can’t stop daydreaming about it? The dealer you selected can help you order a sample. Even a high-resolution image can’t replace having a sample of one of our products, and we recommend taking advantage of this option to ensure you love your selection. Wish it had different colors? We can even create a custom colorway for that tile you’ve been eyeing or even a different custom tile design of your choice. Ask your dealer for details.
STEP 4: Confirm and Measure the Installation Space
That beautiful design is waiting to be a perfect addition to your home and selecting the right place to display it most effectively is important. We recommend working with a professional contractor who can measure the intended space and let you know exactly how many square feet you need. Here is a quick guide on how to measure and calculate square footage.
Please remember that although our products are sealed with our 3-part acrylic topcoat seal, they are intended for light traffic residential flooring, backsplashes, interior wall applications, and intermittent vertical wet areas only. They are not designed for high-trafficked flooring areas, shower floors, steam showers, saunas, pools, or exposed outdoor spaces.
STEP 5: Place Your Tile Order
Satisfied with the sample? Contact your dealer to say that you are ready to place the full order! They will give you the details and facilitate the process of having it produced and delivered.
STEP 6: Inspect Your Tile Order
Your beloved tile has finally arrived! As excited as you may be to have a contractor install your new tiles, we strongly encourage you to inspect the product first to ensure:
• Intact delivery of the product.
• The correct number of pieces in delivery.
• All pieces have been satisfactorily produced.
Every box of tile contains instructions concerning receiving, handling, installation, sealing, and maintenance of our product.
After a thorough inspection of your new tile, you can now start the process of scheduling your contractor or tile installer.
Other Inspection Recommendations:
• Tile should be stored in dry areas where the temperature does not drop below freezing.
• Discuss pattern layout and any directional preferences with your installer to ensure the arrangement is installed in the look you intended! Your vision might be very different than your installer’s… this is a key step you do not want to skip!
We also offer the same instructions and much, much more in our handy How To Articles explaining in-depth the many different ways to handle and enjoy your tile! If for some reason there is a discrepancy or issue with your order, contact your dealer about it and we will address it as soon as possible.
You can find the same instructions and other detailed information in our handy How To Blogs!
STEP 7: Install the StoneImpressions Tile
Now it’s time to start installing your lovely tile! We strongly recommend a professional receive and read our instructions to install your tiles.
We’ve created a quick informational guide on the process of installing a tile backsplash. Let’s get started!
Materials and Tools Needed for Installation
You’ll need to have these handy to properly install tile:
- Rubber mallet.
- Tile spacers or leveling clips.
- Tile cutter.
- A trowel and spatula.
- Thinset mortar (this is the adhesive that keeps your tile in place). Check out our full discourse on the type of thinset to use with our tile. Do not use Mastic!
- Wet saw with fresh blade.
- Tile Nippers (these are meant for cuts around things like plumbing fixtures, pipes, round corners, and other specialty spaces).
- Chisel (for removing old tile or other material in space).
- Grout Bag (if necessary).
- Grout Float.
- Level (for ensuring consistent height and square layout of tile).
- Buckets, sponges, and absorbent cloths.
Clear the Install Space
- Make sure to switch off power to the kitchen or working space.
- Remember to remove switch plates and outlet covers that may be around the installation space.
- Mask areas in the space such as cabinets, outlets, and switches, especially where your countertops meet the walls. Move freestanding appliances away from the walls.
Plan Your Layout
- Pick your center point and lay out your tile to get an idea of how they will come together in the space. Make sure you account for the 1/8th grout joint.
- If your layout requires cutting tile, shift your spread so that the outer tiles on both sides can be cut evenly to prevent some tiles from being too narrow.
- It can be helpful to make a jury stick to measure how the tile will finish at the end of the installation.
Apply Thinset or Medium Bed Mortar
Thinset mortar is the glue that holds it all together! It is a common bonding agent that secures your installation. Keep in mind when mixing your adhesive:
- Mix your thin-set in a large bucket using a drill and mixing paddle.
- Let your mortar stand for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes after being mixed. This is the phenomenon known as “slake time,” which refers to the full activation of chemicals in the mortar.
- Be careful not to mix too much at one time. Thinset will start to harden before you’ve had a chance to use all of it, so prepare frugally. Be sure to clean your mixing paddle quickly after usage and as often as needed.
- Installing onto backer board? You need to dampen the backer board using water from a spray bottle or wipe it down with a damp sponge. Do this before applying the thinset.
- Spray and wipe as you go! This will prevent the backer board from becoming waterlogged and stop premature drying of the thinset. Doing so helps the tiles grip to the base.
- Once the thinset begins to harden, refrain from adding additional water to it, as it will adversely affect how your tile will bond to the substrate.
- Most mortars require 24 hours for curing.
Testing Your Mortar
Before beginning, you want to test the consistency of the mortar to ensure it is suitable for usage.
- Apply a small spread of mortar into the test area of your layout. Add your first tile to the thinset bed, and push it to lay flat. Press lightly against it and slide the tile about a quarter inch against the thinset ridges and slide it back into place.
- Lift the tile vertically to make sure the back is completely covered in thinset. Are there areas that are not completely covered in thinset? This may be caused by:
o Uneven spreading
o Uneven or insufficient pressing of tile on the mortar
o Waiting too long to lay tile and having mortar dry prematurely.
- Once you have confirmed the mortar consistency is correct, you can begin!
- Make sure the tiles are aligned with the layout’s center and press it firmly back into your mortar.
- Use two tile spacers on each end of the tile, to preserve the space for your grout lines. It’s always important to position the spacers so they stick up and out, making sure they aren’t laying on their sides where the corners meet. It’s a common mistake for these to get stuck in mortar, so pay close mind to avoid this.
- Position the edges and corners of your second tile as you press it down alongside the first piece. Secure the placement by turning and twisting the tile gently into alignment.
Setting the Tile
- Using your trowel, scoop out a plentiful amount of mortar from the mix bucket. Use the flat side of the spatula or trowel to spread your thinset across a workable size area. Using the notched side of the trowel, push the thinset at an approximately 45-degree angle, to create ridges within the adhesive. Different-sized trowel notches are required for different-sized tiles and types of installation. Be sure you’re using the correct sized notch for the tile. Otherwise, you may not have full adhesion of the mortar to the tile.
- Always comb the thinset in one direction, avoiding any curving directions.
- The comb grooves will flatten and compress when you place the tile. This makes sure you have the exact amount of mortar necessary for adhesion. You can use a smaller, thinner trowel to trim excess as you go. Don’t skim or prematurely dry the thinset, otherwise, you’ll have to re-apply and restart the process.
- Make sure your tiles are free of dirt and dust when you apply them, as dust, dirt, and other anomalies will affect adhesion.
- As you work, make sure to use a damp sponge to remove excess mortar on placed tiles. Dried mortar left on tiles is incredibly difficult to remove and can damage the artwork.
- Make sure you are staying level! As you continue to spread mortar and set more tiles, make sure to check how aligned and straight the tile edges are. Do so as often as possible, as you are also working with mortar that is actively drying and hardening. The good news is that while the mortar is still wet, you can adjust and correct it before continuing.
Cutting StoneImpressions Tile
- Always use a wet saw to cut tile, with the design facing up, as this will prevent breakage.
- After cutting, gently pat dry, being careful of the cut edge. It is at this stage that the seal on the cut edge is at its weakest and should be touched as little as possible until the tile has completely dried. Do not further touch, pat, or scratch the cut edge until fully dried.
- Allow to completely air dry on a dry surface, then use a penetrating sealer to seal all cut edges. Follow the sealant instructions.
- Miter cutting the edges of thin stone is very difficult and not recommended as it applies excessive pressure on the art layer and can cause delamination.
- Are the cuts starting to become less consistent? Replace your tile saw blades as necessary for a clean slice!
Grouting Your Tile
Completed laying your tile? Be sure to allow sufficient time for the adhesive to cure (Minimum 24-48 hours). Once cured, you can now start your grouting process! Check out our How To resource here! There are some additional steps to the process as well as three different methods of grouting our tiles.
- Remove the tile spacers prior to grouting, or else they will compromise your grout integrity.
- Follow grouting instructions on the packaging carefully.
- We recommend Unsanded or a Fine Aggregate Grout for use with our tile.
- For Fine Aggregate Grouts, We recommend you use Laticrete Permacolor or Mapei Ultracolor Plus for your grouting choices.
We have an excellent blog “Sanded vs Unsanded Grout” that explains the differences in full detail. We also have an excellent resource on how to pick the best grout color for your project!
- DO NOT use any tape (even blue painters’ tape) over the top of our tiles, as this can damage the artwork.
- Grout and fill the joints completely, especially on the smaller sections (4×4 and smaller).
- We recommend a 1/8-inch grout joint.
- We have not tested every grout product on the market, so it is always advisable to test first to ensure its usage.
- Allow your new grout to cure for a minimum of 72 hours before applying sealant.
The type of stone and pattern choice will play into how you should grout your tiles. Explore all of the different stone types that we offer on our Stone Options page to see which tile body is best for your individual style.
1. Smear Method: Spread the Grout Over the Entire Installation
This is the most common and fastest grouting method. It is achieved by:
- Spreading the grout with a rubber grout float in sweeping arc motions and keep your angling shallow.
- Applying the grout at a 45-degree angle in the spaces between the tiles to prevent floating or uneven application.
The smear method will fill the natural holes in the stone and can cause the image to become randomly spotted with grout. If the design that you have chosen has a lot of dark colors, a light-colored grout in the texture will be very apparent. If your design is a lighter color, the grout in the holes may not be as obvious. This is true with our patterns, murals, accents and listellos.
2. Grout Bag Method: Use a Grout Bag to Fill Grid Lines Only
For stones with texture, we recommend the grout bag method. You can use this method to grout only the joints and spaces between the tiles. That way you avoid filling in every hole and crevice in the natural tile.
The StoneImpressions’ stone types with the most texture are:
- Linen Perle Blanc
- Dappled Perle Blanc
- Dappled Limestone
- Tumbled Durango
A grout bag is just like a pastry bag used to decorate cakes! Fill the bag with grout and then squeeze it through a tip. This allows you to put the grout only where you need it. This can be more time-consuming than the Smear Method. To note, if your installer uses the grout bag for a single mural, then your timeline will be shorter. Conversely, if you expect your installer to use a grout bag on twenty or fifty square feet of tile, then you should budget for the extra time and cost it will take them to grout the installation.
Clean the Excess Grout
After applying grout to your tiles, remove the excess buildup, as this can create what is known as “grout haze.” Grout haze is when grout dries on tile, clouding and diminishing the details of the design. You will want to do this as you are working as grout can dry quickly.
- Use a dampened sponge and run it over the tiles lightly and diagonally to clean off the excess grout.
- Clean your sponge by wringing it dry and re-wetting it to continue excess removal. Don’t drip the water on the tile prior to cleaning, as that can affect grout consistency.
- Take as many passes as necessary to remove the excess.
- Frequently rinse your sponge with clean water, as well as frequently changing the water. This will ensure that your cleaning is the most effective.
- Use an absorbent cloth to remove any further excess.
Sealing Your Tile
Now you can begin the critical step of sealing! This is a necessary step to protect and preserve your beautiful tile for years to come. The process itself is simple and straightforward. Our 7-Step Sealing Process blog post lists our sealant recommendations and covers the proper way to seal your tile in detail!
Some quick tips:
• The proper sealant for natural stone tiles can be used on backsplashes, vanity walls, accent walls, bathroom floors, powder room floors, fireplaces, stair risers, and even ceiling tile.
• Follow all directions from the sealant manufacturer and use only as directed.
• Make sure your tile surface is clean before applying sealant.
• Use your sealant in a well-ventilated area.
• Depending on the traffic of the area, re-sealing can be done anywhere from bi-annually to annually. More details can be found in our blog about re-sealing your tile.
STEP 8: Enjoy!
You did it! Great job!! Our luxury handcrafted tile is now a part of your home and we hope you enjoy it for years to come. Make sure to properly clean your tile and practice re-sealing to maintain your beautiful new household additions. If you have any further questions about ordering our products, feel free to reach out and send us a message, comment, or any concerns about your experience.