Rock and Wood

Stone of the month - Old White £55.00

Jamie RobinsComment

This months stone is Old White. £55.00 per meter. A classic white limestone tile quarried in Egypt, this hard wearing stone is a favourite with clients who have a space struggling with natural light. The Old White with its milky white tones, grey flecks and subtle fossils make this stone unique to our range at Rock and Wood. A great natural stone for kitchens, the Old White comes in 60 x 90 flagstones and 60 x 40 tiles either honed or tumbled. It works very well with underfloor heating and once treated with stone sealer will age well. 

White stones are a brave choice when it comes to choosing your stone floor, but the Old White is very durable and clients have boasted that it looks as good 2 years later as the day it was installed. So if your kitchen or bathroom needs a burst of light then why not send for a sample and see for yourself.

Electric v's Water Underfloor heating

Jamie RobinsComment

So you've decided to opt for underfloor heating in your new kitchen. The next question is electric v's water underfloor heating? Here are a few tips to help you make the right decision for your project.

Electric Underfloor Heating - Click here to buy

Underfloor Heating relies on a network of wires under your floor that heat up. Depending on the shape of the room, you can go for heating mats, which cover large areas, or individual wires which can get in every nook and cranny. Heating mats are generally a bit cheaper. The wires usually sit on top of a layer of insulation board. 

Electric wires themselves are fairly thin, making them easier and cheaper to install than a water-based system, but they are also slightly pricier to run, making them better suited to smaller areas.

How much to install Electric Underfloor Heating?

An electric system will cost £85 per-square-metre for pre-fitted underfloor heating mats, or £110 a metre for the loose cables. Further costs come in the form of insulation to lay under the system, heating controls and installation fees.

What are the running costs of Electric Underfloor Heating?

Based on a standard Kitchen, heating an area of around 10m2, using a 150W mat system (installed on insulation boards and tiles) running for 4 hours a day on a medium heat, the running cost would be around £12 per month.

Wet Underfloor Heating - Click here to buy

Water or Wet underfloor heating systems are made by connecting a series of flexible water pipes through a series of channels back to your boiler via a manifold in your house and hot water pumped through the pipes thus heating the tiles on top like one big radiator! Simple....

One main advantage is that it requires a lower water temperature to heat the room its in, this is because water underfloor heating systems for kitchens and other rooms can warm a room more evenly than a radiator can. As a result the system is much more efficient than radiators and more cost effective to run. 

The disadvantage is that water systems are slightly more expensive to install in the first instance. You will require a qualified plumbing engineer who is familiar with UFH systems. Rock and Wood Interiors design team can advise you on what system is best for your project. Give us a call to discuss your project.

How much to install Wet/Water Underfloor Heating?

A retro fit water system (Polypipe System) will cost between £700 for a single room zone kit to over £4000 for multi room zoned kit. Then you will have installation fees on top of that.

What are the running costs of Electric Underfloor Heating?

Difficult to calculate, but a lot less than your radiators for sure!

If you have a project and are considering UFH, then give us a call for some no obligation advice anytime - Click here to send us your details and we will call you right back.

Stone flooring Pros and Cons

Jamie RobinsComment

Stone
Everything from limestone (pictured) and travertine to granite and slate, classic stone is an unsurprisingly popular flooring choice. The beauty of stone is in its natural, unique variations – no two pieces are completely the same.

Be aware that more irregular stones are harder to slot together neatly. ‘If you choose more rustic tiles that don’t have smooth edges, the grout lines will be thicker and these can get dirty,’ A honed, matt surface will give you a more modern look. 

Slate has a reputation for being soft, but it’s possible to find more hard-wearing varieties. ‘Slate varies in its toughness,’  ‘Cumbrian slate, for instance, acts like granite.’

Pros High wow factor – stone is beautiful, timeless and classy. It’s robust, long-lasting and easy to care for. It works with underfloor heating and is a good heat conductor.‘Stone catches heat and holds onto it for about an hour,’ says Andrew. 

Cons ‘Stone is not very forgiving to your feet if you’re likely to be standing on it for long periods,’ It’s also pretty unforgiving where any dropped crockery is concerned. It’s cold without underfloor heating and can scratch. More irregular surfaces can harbour dirt. ‘Darker floors show the wear more, and will reveal the more well trodden paths,’ It needs a strong, rigid and level base – it can’t be laid on a floating floor. 

Keeping your team sweet!

Jamie RobinsComment

As David, our resident Tiler tells us, keeping your work team onsite sweet is a very important, and can mean the difference between getting 'a fantastic job!' and a 'mediocre one'... "Having worked with my guys on installations over the past 15 years I have experienced some pretty rubbish hospitality on site I can tell you. Sometimes we don't even get offered a cup of tea!" David goes on to give us some secret top tips on getting a good job from your builders.

"Its really simple actually. Here you go, Im sure you can do all of these."

  1. BE INTERESTED - Be nice to your builders, they are human just the same as you, they are not gorillas (although i have seen builders that resemble gorillas) some of us meditate in a morning before we start work and drink camomile tea! Be curious and ask questions about who they are and what are their interests? If your builder feels that you have an interest in who they 'really' are and not just a dogs body to turn up and get the job done, they will most likely take care and put a bit of love into the work on your beautiful home...
  2. SPACE TO BE - Offer them a space in the house to put their belongings, phones etc, so that they dont feel like they are imposing in your home.
  3. TOILET - Show them which toilet they can use and explain that they dont have to ask every time they need to use it. This will have them feel at home.
  4. REAL COFFEE - Offer them a cup of tea or 'real' coffee. TOP TIP: Its really worth offering, and making a point of the fact that you have 'real' ground coffee, even if they don't like it, its nice to offer and chances are they will love it.
  5. HOT DRINK STATION - Create a tea/coffee making station somewhere for the team. This will mean that they can make hot drinks as and when they would like them and you don't have to be constantly be asking them.
  6. TREATS - Depends how long they are working for you. Only 2-3 days or 2-3 months, my advise is to get a nice treat in right at the beginning of the job. NICE biscuits are easy and should be kept in full supply, not cheap pound stretcher ones, but nice ones that they maybe wouldn't have at home. TOP TIP: If you really want to get the best job? make them all a lovely generous bacon sandwich with cups of hot tea on their first day! they will be blown away!!! its a real rarity and they will talk about how good it was the whole day! Trust me, Im a builder! :)

How to seal my natural stone floor

How toJamie RobinsComment

When considering how to seal your stone floor, ask yourself, how long will me stone floor last? We believe that if a stone floor is installed and cared for correctly then it should last the lifetime of a house. Make sure it's installed by a professional, sealed correctly and cleaned with the right products and you're on to a winner. Stone gets better with age, it wont stay the same for ever.... Here is our guide to sealing your stone floor.

STEP ONE: INITIAL CLEANING 

Before sealing natural stone must be thoroughly cleaned to make sure that sealing of the surface can be achieved effectively. This is true of newly installed surfaces, as well as existing, due to the contamination that can occur during fitting. Equipment recommended for this step is a bucket, mop, white emulsifying pad.

We recommend LTP LTP Grimex as the solution for cleaning newly installed natural stone surfaces before sealing. LTP Grimex removes grease, dirt and grime from the surface ensuring the natural stone surface is best prepared for application of a sealing product.

Cleaning newly installed stone surfaces

  1. Dilute LTP Grimex 1:10 with water.
  2. Apply solution to the surface with a mop or sponge. Under floor heating must be off.
  3. Agitate to release the residual dirt and grime from the surface with a mildly abrasive pad (White emulsifying pad).  Rinse well using a sponge & water.
  4. Do not use acidic cleaners, such as LTP Grout Stain Remover.
  5. Allow the surface to dry (preferably for 24 hours).

STEP TWO: PROTECT YOUR NATURAL STONE SURFACE FROM STAINS

To protect stone surfaces and help prevent staining natural stone should be sealed. LTP recommends applying LTP Mattstone for a natural (invisible finish) or LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock for an enhanced appearance. LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock deepens the colour and enhances the appearance of the stone surface.

Sealing prepared natural stone surfaces

  1. Surfaces must be clean and dry. Ensure under floor heating is off.
  2. Apply the product to the surface evenly using either LTP sealant applicator,a sponge, brush or soft cloth.
  3. Redistribute to remove excess product and avoid pooling on the surface.
  4. Allow to dry. Do not walk on the surface for at least one hour.
  5. Protect from water for 24 hours and do not wash surfaces for at least 3 days.

How do I clean my stone floor?

How toJamie RobinsComment
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 If I were about to spend in excess of £4000 for a new stone floor, I would want to know that it's easy to keep clean!?!

 The good news is, it's easy...

The answer, you’ll be glad to hear is, its very easy to keep your stone floor clean. As long as you adhere to a few ground rules then your stone floor should stay looking as good as the day it was laid for a long time.

Tips for cleaning stone tiles

1)    Cleaning stone tiles, well, first thing is never ever use any house hold detergents on your floor. Even id you run out of natural stone floor cleaner! They will damage the floor.

2)    Make sure you DO use a recommended natural stone floor cleaning product. We recommend - LTP cleaning products.

3)    Cleaning red wine from stone floor! What do I do? Clean it up quickly! Hahahhaha… assuming your installer sealed it correctly then it will simply wipe off with a damp cloth, good as new. 

4)    It's our recommendation that you consider resealing your natural stone floor every three to five years depending on how much traffic it gets. 

5)    Visit www.extensive.co.uk to buy cleaning and maintenance products and get great advise from the Lithofin team over the phone there too.

6)    Top tip: When installing, we always apply a bit extra sealer around the cooker area. This is where fat drips and stains are most likely. Speak to your fitter about doing this for you, or do it yourself a day or so after the install (remember to make sure stone is clean before you apply sealer)

Choosing the right stone for your project...

Jamie RobinsComment
 Featured stone flooring is Lambourne Limestone

Featured stone flooring is Lambourne Limestone

Most importantly, you really need to make sure that you are buying the right stone for your project/home. For example, if you have a big country farmhouse kitchen with sliding doors opening to your garden where your 2 children and their friends play and you have a very muddy chocolate labrador, then do not install a white porous French limestone as this will take lots of maintenance, will never look clean and you will loath the day you ever chose to install a stone floor in your home.  

We would advise you to be looking at is a nice honey or grey toned flagstone Cotswold Cream or Lambourne either of which will take knocks and bumps and will also look great with a few muddy paw prints on them! Just like a Landrover looks better with mud all over it?  They are meant to have mud all over them! They just look silly when they're clean!   Stones like these will clean up well due to their hard wearing nature and like a good quality pair of leather boots, they will look better as they wear in…