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Laying A Stone Floor

- Continued

Simple Tools

We set up shop outdoors — a few rugged sawhorses and plywood table tops. The cutting tool of choice was a Makita circular saw fitted with a diamond blade purchased from a masonry supply house. To cut the stone, we sawed about three-fourths of the way through from the back, taking several shallow passes (Figure 4). Then, arranging the cut line along the edge of the work table, we used a 2-foot-long by 3/4-inch-thick piece of steel as a hammer to snap off the stone at the kerf.

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Figure 4. Working from the back of the slabs, the crews used a circular saw equipped with a diamond blade to score the stone most of the way through.

This created a slightly uneven, very sharp edge, but a scrap of the sandstone itself made a fine rubbing block for softening it (Figure 5). As we finished cutting the stone, we stacked the pieces on edge in the garage, sorted by size.

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Figure 5. By positioning the kerfed stone slabs (top left) on the edge of the table, the workers were able to snap the scored line using a large piece of steel as a hammer (bottom). A small scrap of sandstone served to smooth the sharp, rough edges (top right).

Prepping for Installation

The next step was to prep the concrete subfloor. When we poured the slab, we recessed the stone floor area and left it with a rough broom finish. We snapped layout lines for the 6-foot grid and transferred elevation marks from adjacent finish floors. We decided to dry-fit the stone for several reasons. Because of the labor involved, we hadn't cut many extra pieces. Color and texture of the stone pieces varied greatly, plus several pieces had slightly cracked corners. By dry-fitting, we could rearrange the pieces as needed, using the best ones out in the middle of the floor and taking advantage of broken pieces for cuts and edges. This required extra labor, but it reassured us that we had plenty of stone to finish the floor.