Proper Tile Installation is Imperative
There’s nothing greater than a freshly installed new tile in your bathroom or kitchen. However over time, these tiles and the grout can become dirty and stained. This comes from day to day use and exposure to dirt and traffic, shower soap scum, and cooking grease or debris in the kitchen. Because of the rigors of everyday use, it’s imperative that your tile is properly installed.
Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer, or looking to professional installation, you need to remember that floor coverings can make or break a home. Installing tile can be difficult, labor intensive and extremely exacting. Professional ceramic tile installers for example, are usually craftsman with years of experience who understand the new methods and materials that have been introduced and blended into today’s styles. So you need to do your homework, including a tile layout plan.
Tile Layout Plan
Your layout plan helps determine a pattern and orientation for the tile, and will help estimate how much tile you will need while creating a guide to follow. The use of spacers is also a must for proper tile installation. Adhesive mortar is first laid down, and the tiles affixed. Once set in place and left to cure, usually 24 hours, the grout is applied to the spaces between tiles, then the tiles wiped clean with a wet sponge to remove grout from the top surface. Installing tile can be a tedious process so it’s a good idea to work slowly and carefully, and most importantly – being prepared.
Common materials used as tile floor substrates in home installations include concrete, plywood, and drywall. These substrates must be prepared according to industry standards and manufacturer guidelines, including proper cleaning of dirt, moisture and oil, as these can interfere with the adhesion process. The surface must also be leveled to provide a strong support base for the tile while ensuring that the tiles lay and appear flat when installed, and reduce the chance of chipping or cracking when weight is applied.
Most tile today is installed using the thin set method, where the tile is adhered directly to a backer board that is affixed to the plywood or concrete substrate using a thin layer of mortar. Commonly known as CBU and this backer board provides a strong and water resistant layer between the tile and substrate.