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Laying natural stone

Construction methods

Unbonded laying without concrete slab

1.5-3% slope
Natural stone layerBase course
JointTopsoil
Grit bed

Bonded laying with concrete slab

Natural stone layerDrainage mat
Contact layerConcrete slab
JointBase course
Single grain mortarTopsoil

These representations of the covering construction methods are system sketches which are not according to scale and which are intended to serve as exemplary clarifications of the descriptive texts.

Laying methods

Unbonded laying without concrete slab

1. Prepare the topsoil. Create a well-compacted topsoil with a gradual gradient of 1.5 - 3 %. The right gradient will permit the dissipation of water into the subsurface. For cohesive soil (e.g. clay soils), a drainage system should if required be installed after inspection of the local conditions. Like the gradient, a drainage system serves to drain the subsurface.
2. Installation & compacting of the base course. Select a base course which is composed of a mixture of minerals or gravel, and has a grain size from 0/32 - 0/45 mm (please observe the manufacturer’s instructions). Depending on the amount of traffic and the regional frost line, add a depth of at least 40 cm of base course. Then compact this base course to prevent settling of the floor covering. Always check the local conditions during all working steps.
3. Installation of the grit bed. For the grit bed, select a basalt grit with an anti-capillary grain size of 2/5 mm or 5/8 mm (you can of course obtain the appropriate, certified grit from us). Pour the grit to a depth of at least 4 - 7 cm, and even out the grit bed to the required gradient.
4. Creation of the joints & laying of the slabs. Hammer down the slabs using a rubber hammer. Install the covering, leaving joints of at least 3mm. Apply quartz or basalt crushed sand joints in order to guarantee optimised water vapour diffusion. The floor coverings may continue to shift after installation. The joints provide the required space so that the floor coverings cannot be damaged.

Bonded laying with concrete slab

1. Prepare the topsoil. Create a well-compacted topsoil. For cohesive soil (e.g. clay soils), a drainage system should if required be installed after inspection of the local conditions. Like the gradient, a drainage system serves to drain the subsurface.
2. Installation & compacting of the base course. Install a base course with a gradient of 1.5 – 3 %, which is composed of a mixture of minerals or gravel, and has a grain size from 0/32 - 0/45 mm (please observe the manufacturer’s instructions). Depending on the amount of traffic and the regional frost line, add a depth of at least 40 cm of base course. Then compact this base course to prevent settling of the floor covering. Always check the local conditions during all working steps.
3. Creation of a concrete slab & installation of a drainage mat. Create a concrete slab with a gradient of 1.5 - 3 %. We recommend laying a drainage mat onto the concrete slab. In this way, water dissipation is possible in spite of the bonded laying method (please observe the manufacturer’s instructions). Ensure the correct and professional installation of the concrete slab. Always check the local conditions during all working steps.
4. Installation of the joints & laying of the slabs in single grain mortar. Select a single grain mortar suitable for natural stone (please observe the manufacturer’s instructions). Prior to laying them, add a water impermeable contact layer onto the underside of the slabs to improve adhesion. Install the covering in alignment in a 5 – 6 cm-thick single grain mortar bed with a min. 3 mm-wide single grain mortar or cement joint. Hammer down the slabs with a rubber hammer. The strength of the joint mortar should be lower than that of the natural stone. Mason’s crosses make alignment of the joints easier.

Resulting damages

The most frequent damage patterns are permanently moist floor slabs and discolourations and efflorescence on the surface of the natural stone. Although the causes for these are diverse, and each case of damage must be examined separately, the following recommendations can play a major role in the avoidance of consequential damages.

How to avoid moist floor slabs:
Ensure optimum drainage from the subsurface and superstructure.
- Create a gradual slope
- Use anti-capillary grit
- Install a drainage system (depending on the type of laying and the ground)
- Create joints through which water can diffuse as the ground heats up.

How to prevent discolourations and efflorescence:
For the subsurface, do not use grit which may rust, or which is calcareous or dirty (no building rubble or recycling grit, or grit containing limescale fragments or iron oxide).

Subsurface moisture
Subsurface moisture
Rusty grit in subsurface
Rusty grit in subsurface

Almost all complaints can be traced back to incorrect subsurfaces and incorrect and unprofessional laying of the natural stone flooring. This leaflet is a recommendation to avoid expensive consequential damages, and applies exclusively for natural stone coverings. It describes laying guidelines for patio slabs for residences and buildings subjected to similar types and amounts of use. The guidelines in this leaflet do not apply for areas which are driven over or for parking levels.

Care & accessories

Cleaning
Natural stone flooring can be cleaned using neutral cleaning agents or water. Please contact our specialist personnel for information on other natural stone care products.

Impregnation
Impregnations represent substantial interventions in the covering construction, and must therefore be individually approved by the respective manufacturers for the materials to be impregnated.

Required tools

Pencil
Folding rule
Chalk line
Rubber hammer
Smoothing trowel
Spirit level
Straightedge
Tile lifter