What is a flagstone?
The Earth's outer solid layer, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous (or volcanic rock) sedimentary (formed by sedimentary deposits) and metamorphic (stone which has been subjected to massive heat and or pressure causing it to change it’s physical state).
Flagstone, or a Flag is a generic flat stone, usually used for paving slabs or walkways, patios, fences and roofing. The name derives from Middle English flagge meaning turf, perhaps from Old Norse flaga meaning slab.
A flagstone is a sedimentary rock that is split into layers along well defined bedding planes caused by a different mineral type or particle sizes. A flagstone is usually produced from a form of sandstone composed of feldspar and quartz. The material that binds flagstone is usually composed of silica, calcite, or iron oxide. The rock colour usually comes from these cementing materials. Typical flagstone colours are red, blue, and buff, though some other colours do exist.
Flagstones in your home
Stone flags or flagstones as they have become known have been used in Europe since around the thirteenth century. Anglo-Saxons in particular used flagstones as flooring materials originally in the interior rooms of castles and churches. But since then flagstones have been used for flooring both inside and outside. Flagstones age beautifully and their appearance only improves with age as they wear into their surroundings as all natural products do.
Flagstones can come in many different shapes, sizes, patterns, textures and even colours depending on the origin of the stone. Every flagstone, and therefore every flagstone floor is unique. No other material connects with the fabric of a building both inside and outside giving that solid look and feel, like a beautiful natural flagstone floor.
The very fact that flagstones vary so much means you can obtain the look and feel you want for your floor, such as perfectly aligned slabs with precisely machined square edges or any pattern of your choice with tumbled or soft pillowed edges. Once finished your floor will be easy to care for and could easily last another thousand years.
Laying a flagstone floor
Flagstone flooring lends a touch of class wherever it is. No matter where you choose to install your flagstone, we have the stone to fit in with your need. When laid properly flagstone floors provide durable beauty for years to come.
1. Start with the surface that will be under your floor. On new construction, a subfloor of concrete may be poured, providing a level surface. On a bathroom floor, the installation of a water-resistant backer board could be necessary. On a timber floor it is advisable to ensure that the floor is solid and does not flex when it takes weight, It would also be prudent to consider a decoupling mat, for both timber floors and over newly laid concrete slabs particularly if they incorporate a wet underfloor heating system. which will compensate for any movement between the substrate and the flagstones.
2. Figure out the total amount of stone tiles you will need by measuring the length and width of the floor and adding 15 percent more to allow for cutting and fitting pieces around the edges. Purchase adhesive and grout made specifically for the flagstone flooring you choose. Because different stone retains moisture at various rates and because the surfaces vary from rough with holes to glass smooth, it is very important to choose the correct adhesives and grouts. We are very happy to offer advice about which products should be used.
3. Begin laying square tiles in the middle of your room and working outwards. Use straight chalk or pencil ines on the subfloor as guides. However, if your walls are not perfectly straight, consider which part of your floor needs a straight edge and begin tiling there. Keep in mind that the last tiles will be uneven so plan to install them in a place not frequently seen. See our laying patterns for flagstones.
4. Flagstone floors and other porous surfaces always require the application of a sealant. Because tiny holes exist in natural stone, they can absorb stains, making it difficult to clean. Sealant provides an invisible water-resistant protective coating that repels dirt and stains.
Please see our FAQ page for more details regarding the installation of flagstones. Or please ask us if you have any questions.
Living with and caring for your flagstone floor
Looking after your flagstone floor is easy, just sweep regularly with a brush or use a vacuum cleaner with a brush head, and wash it occasionally.
General Cleaning – Clean all stone surfaces with a ph neutral cleaner designated safe for natural stone. Use a clean mop on floors and a soft cloth for other surfaces for best results. Don't use more than the recommended amount of any cleaning product as it may leave a film or cause streaks. Change your rinse water frequently. Never use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on marble, travertine or limestone as these can etch the surface of the stone. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.
Floor Surfaces – Sweep interior floors frequently using a clean, dry soft brush. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness, so sweep regularly. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that can scratch a stone floor. Ensure that the underside of the mat or rug has a non-slip surface. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn, the metal or plastic attachments may scratch the stone.
In wet areas such as the bathroom or shower, using a squeegee after each use can minimize soap scum and marks left by hard water.
Please see our FAQ page for more details regarding the maintenance of flagstone floors.