Surface Preparation for concrete floors:
Allow new concrete floors to fully cure before tiling (minimum 28 days). If tiling over old concrete remove any contaminants (paint, dirt, dust). If you have concrete with structural cracks you will need to repair the cracks before tiling.
Surface Preparation for Wooden Floors:
Some adhesives will adhere to structurally sound tongue and groove or sound particle board or plywood sheeting providing there is no excess movement. However we do strongly recommend that you over sheet the floor with a cement fibre board prior to tiling The overlay is nailed down around the edges and through the centre to the manufacturers recommendations, normally at 75mm around edges and 100mm through the centre. Most cement fibre boards can be scored with a knife and then snapped to create the required dimensions, which is quicker and easier than cutting it with a saw. After nailing down the fibre board, prime the sheeting and then waterproof areas subject to moisture or splashes. Allow waterproofing to dry prior to tiling. Always read the instruction on all the products you are using in your project, they will give you invaluable information on the correct use of the material, mixing instructions, approximate coverage.
Setting out the tiles is very important. Start from the centre and work your way out towards the edges of the room. This will compensate for walls that may not be square, and make the job look more balanced. Try to avoid small or narrow pieces whenever possible. Before you mix the adhesive lay the tiles in a row in each direction to estimates cuts and the overall best look.
Remember there are lots of ways to set out the area. Come and see us for any advice. Don't forget to allow for the space of the grout joints and a perimeter expansion joint (see below). Normally you would allow 3 to 5mm for inside tiles, 5 to 10mm for outside tiles or even more for very large or irregular tiles. For handmade terracotta, slate or irregular tiles allowing at least 3 time the variation in the size of the tiles is a good idea. You don't want to have 3mm in one place and nothing in another do you?
Starting to lay the floor tiles:
After all your preparation is completed, your layout lines are drawn and planning done, you are ready to start laying the tiles. Use a cement based tile adhesive for concrete floors, a one pack semi flexible adhesive for over sheeted floors, or floors with underfloor heating. Mix a small amount of adhesive to begin with following the manufacturers instructions; you can then mix a bigger amount the next time once you have work out the time it takes you to use it up. Spread the adhesive evenly with a notched trowel between 8mm to 12mm in size (depending on the adhesive, tile and substrate) Spread only as much adhesive at a time as you can easily tile in 10-15 minutes. A dry skin can form on the surface of the adhesive if it is left too long. Firmly bed the tiles down into the adhesive ensuring there is even coverage under the tile. If in doubt butter the back of the tile to ensure a full coverage of adhesive. Use plastic spacers to give even spaces between tiles, (these can be removed prior to grouting after the adhesive has dried). Check your lines often to allow for minor adjustments if required. Once all the full tiles are down you can accurately mark and cut those to fit around the perimeter. Hire or buy a tile cutter, or if in Christchurch bring them in and we can it for you along your markings.
Allow for the adhesive to dry for 24 hours grouting.
Mix the grout with water until it become a thick creamy paste. This done work it well into the joints using a grout float or rubber squeegee. Remove the excess grout from the surface of the tiles before it dries with a damp sponge. Have a bucket of clean water and rinse the sponge often. Wring out as much water as possible from the sponge and lightly wipe all the grout off the tiles until the tiles look really clean when wet. If you find that the next day there is a haze over the tiles
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Happy tiling from the Tile Centre