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Marble, granite limestone, slate, basalt, sandstone – there is a vast pallet of natural stones from which to select for your project. Colours are a good starting point but you will most definitely want to consider how the chosen material is likely to perform in its setting.

For instance, hotel bathrooms need to be beautiful, functional and easy to maintain. Limestone and marbles are made of a high proportion of calcium carbonate, which is soluble. This doesn’t mean the stone will dissolve underwater but some will be more susceptible to water staining. If water softeners are being added to filtration systems, it is worth checking if the contents will affect the stones surface and increase limescale build-up or contribute to deterioration of the stone surface.

When specified in receptions and lift lobbies, stone floors offer a hardwearing and relatively easy-to-maintain solution providing the correct cleaning regime is used. I know of a stone cleaning company that can regularly be found in the foyers of some of London's top hotels at 4am. This happens almost silently, machine cleaning the floors to their original condition, some weekly, some fortnightly, all with excellent results.

There are many occasions when I’m asked to visit ‘problem’ floors to report on the condition and why they look so poor after a relatively short lifespan. Invariably, amongst other issues, the cleaning regime leaves much to be desired. The 4am cleaning shift is often a man with a bucket of dirty water and an old mop. This only serves to move dirt around the floor rather then remove it.

Other than cleaning, there are a couple of key areas to investigate for your chosen stone.

SLIP AND ABRASION RESISTANCE VALUES Slip resistance tests were originally developed as a rubber pendulum test by the Greater London Council, published in 1971. Today, a 4S pendulum test is recommended, with a COLOURS SC GREEN


Robert Merry of The Stone Consultants outlines some of the key considerations when selecting the correct stone for a hotel or leisure facility.

96-hardness rubber to simulate ordinary pedestrian foot traffic for public areas and 55 hardness rubber to simulate bare foot traffic—more suitable for pool surrounds and wet bathroom floors. The HSE expects a minimum value of 36 in the wet or dry, as I suspect will any insurance company.

The surface finish will affect the test results – a sandblasted face obviously presenting the least potential for slip and a highly polished floor the most. If there is heavy footfall on the floor, even if it begins as honed, it may end up as polished with time.

Futura Bold Futura Bold Italic Futura Medium Futura Italic Futura Light Regular Futura Light Italic

Therefore, abrasion resistance test results will help to understand the likely wear ability of the floor. Results are expressed in millimetres and BRE guidelines suggest anything under 23mm of wear is suitable for intensive use, 23 to 30 medium use, 30 and above domestic use. You will need to understand the predicted footfall to decide which category your floor falls into.

63r 165g 53b 75c 5m 100y 0k


218r 218g 218b 0c 0m 0y 20k

Floor loading is another factor to consider. Floors that are expected to carry heavy weights will require a stone with a high flexural strength and possibly thicker than you would have anticipated, to carry the additional load, however infrequent.


134r 134g 134b 0c 0m 0y 60k

There are slip-resistant coatings on the market that claim to improve a stone floor's resistance. But always check the ongoing maintenance requirements, costs and any warranty offered.


211r 94g 20b 13c 72m 100y 3k

Flexural strength and slip resistance results can be found on the CE marking certificate, which should be obtained from the supplier of the stone. Abrasion resistance tests do not have to be declared on the CE certificate for external or internal floors, but I would suggest these are checked before specifying the stone.

Stone is a fantastic product and elevates design to a luxury level. Just make sure you do your homework before specifying. HOTEL & LEISURE | 29

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