Bluestone Tiles & Pavers - Why Is It A Popular Choice?

by Simon Gabriel September 12, 2016

Bluestone Tiles & Pavers - Why Is It A Popular Choice?

Majority of people love it and the rest of us either hate it or think it is boring to look at. I will start with boring because bluestone has been used for hundreds of years in Melbourne. They have paved streets with the old chiselled finished look and also for on-street gutters. This is a very common sight. Professional stonemasons, tilers and stone restoration experts hate it as it can be quite impossible to work with. What can you say, the majority of Melbournites love it. It has become synonymous with the cultural heritage of beautiful Melbourne.

 

A LIttle History

The volcanic basalt plains of Western Victoria are the third largest in the world, and date from 4.5 million years ago. They flowed from the west and south-west of the state more or less to the point where the Merri Creek meets the Yarra River in Melbourne. Bluestone was often quarried by convict labour, and it has been suggested that Ned Kelly, the Victorian bushranger, might have laboured in the bluestone quarries in Williamstown. Bluestone sites (cemeteries, morgues, gaols) are often said to be haunted: a major feature of contemporary heritage tourism.  Bluestone was also sent back to England as ballast in ships that had brought convicts, settlers and supplies to Australia. The stone was used in buildings around the port areas of London, so bluestone also has a global history. More recently, bluestone was used to create a Cretan labyrinth near the Merri Creek in 2002: a new age meditative practice using local stone to express an ancient tradition. This labyrinth is cared for by members of the local community.

 

Current Uses For Bluestone

As mentioned earlier, bluestone was used to pave roads, walk-paths and on-street gutters. It has always been available and in plenty. It is hard and durable making it an ideal choice for foundation structures and as a building material. However, today bluestone as a building material has taken different forms and is now commonly used internally as wall and floor tiles in bathrooms, ensuites and toilets. It is used as a floor covering both internal as well as external. This has brought about much grief and the complications that comes with it for all those who are involved. Let me tell you a few things on why this is happening:

  1. Poor quality imports from China | Vietnam and working on them as if they were Australian basalt.
  2. Traditionally bluestone was either chiselled finished or sawn cut. Now the stone industry with its many innovations have started honing and polishing these surfaces. Bluestone is inconsistent and is best kept in the former finish. With honed and polished finishes, all imperfections become more visible and can end up looking awful.
  3. The use of colour enhancing stone penetrating sealers to save the situation by masking the issues create a dark and even more awful surface to look at. This I can say will almost or put an end to the life of these surfaces. What’s next.. It will be the unending search for a product to remove this sealer. The situation is hopeless.

 

Stone Doctor Australia To The Rescue

We do have a strict guideline to solve all installation, pre-sealing, grouting, cleaning and sealing issues which forms the majority of the problems associated with using bluestone tiles. This takes the grief and complications out when working with sawn finished, honed and polished bluestone tiles. Here it goes.

Surface Preparation

  • Apply the waterproofing membrane to a sturdy, sound subsurface as required. Make sure it is clean and dry. We recommend the use of Mapelastic Aqua Defence. Waterproofing membranes are used when tiling wet areas.
  • The next day, you can start tiling. Use Mapei Kerabond Plus - Grey and mix it with Mapei Isolastic. Follow the mixing instructions. Be sure to butter the entire back surface of the tile with the adhesive. It is important to ensure that the adhesive does not get in contact with the topside of the tile from your fingers or by any other means. Keep the topside clean at all times.
  • After a few days of letting the glue dry and to fully cure, you will need to clean the surface with Lithofin MN Power-Clean at a dilution of 1:10 parts water. Follow the application instructions closely. Cleaning will have to be kept relatively dry controlling the amount of liquids that could potentially go down the grout joints. Having a wet vacuum will be handy.
  • After 24-48 hours, you can now pre-seal the surface using Lithofin Stainstop W. Apply 2 liberal coats of this stone penetrating sealer. Follow closely to the instructions provided.
  • The next day, you can grout the tiles and we recommend the use of Mapei Ultracolour PLUS - 114 Antracite. Due to different tonalities that comes with bluestone, you may want to look at a light grey or perhaps black. Make sure to clean up immediately with sponges and with an adequate amount of clean water.
  • After a few days of the grout being fully cured. It’s time to give the entire surfaces a good clean up.

For Chiselled & Sawn Finish - Use Lithofin MN Builders-Clean
It is acidic but essential for these rough type surfaces.

For Honed & Polished Finish - Use Lithofin MN Power-Clean
This is alkaline and will not harm the surface.

After 24 - 48 hours from cleaning and keeping the surfaces dry, you can now seal the surface and grout with Lithofin Stainstop W invisible penetrating sealer. It is premium and its’ performance is certainly worth the while.

These internal floors and external pavers can be left open to foot traffic after 24 hours. However, if the these tiles need protection assuming trade work still needs to go on, then it has to be temporarily protected using the only breathable floor protection system available in the market called Landolt Floorliner Vapor. This can be placed on the floor after 72 hours of sealing. For internal use only.

For actual applications instructions, required product quantities, tiling tools, electric mixers, and all other equipment.. kindly contact our team here at Stone Doctor Australia. Phone 03-9429 1223 or email to admin@stoneedoctor.com.au







Simon Gabriel
Simon Gabriel

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