Most people assume that installing flooring is a pretty straightforward process. In truth, that depends on the type of flooring you are installing. For example, carpet or linoleum is simple enough to install, but tile, brick, and river stone are not so simple. For the harder, rock-based types of flooring, you need some bricklaying skills. Here are the skills you would need to lay these alternative floor types and why.
Cementing a Floor
Cementing a floor means that you are very carefully laying down a little mortar at a time, just enough to help your floor tiles or cut bricks adhere to the floor. You need to know how to spread the mortar so that this layer is just the right thickness without being too thick so it dries adequately. Knowing how to use a hand trowel is another skill required for this process. Additionally, you cannot spread mortar all the way across a floor and expect to work fast enough to finish laying the tile or brick before the mortar dries.
Filling in the Floor
Another set of bricklaying skills has to do with filling in the floor. In this step, you have fill in the cracks and crevices between the bricks or river stone so that most of what you step on is fairly level and secure. A different type of trowel is used to scoop up cement/mortar and fill the cracks/crevices. Then it is tamped in place to quash any air bubbles that might have gotten trapped during the filling process. You will want to make sure there are no bubbles and that the cracks are evenly filled or you could end up with cracked filler that chips and pops up, scraping and cutting bare feet (ouch!). After you have filled and tamped all these little spaces, you have to use a moist, warm cloth to wipe off the brick or river stone so that the brick is even and not abrasive and/or the river stone is smooth with a slight, glossy appearance.
Sealing the Floor
Some homeowners choose to seal their rock-based floors, while others decide to leave them alone. If you are going to seal the floor, you will need to wait until it has had sufficient time to settle and the mortar/cement has had time to cure. Then you will need to know how a bricklayer uses a sort of squeegee type of tool to push a liquid sealant over the top of the tile, brick, or river stone floor. The sealant needs to be a nice even layer, just like the thin layer of mortar/cement used to adhere the flooring pieces in place. If it is too thick, the sealant becomes sticky and then it may take on a prickly sort of pattern that constantly stabs your feet. If you are set on sealing your new stone-based floor, you may just want a professional to complete this final step. Otherwise you will have to dissolve the sealant and start over.
For professional bricklaying, contact a company such as Layrite Masonry & Tile.