Installing Ceramic Tile – FAQs

Installing Ceramic Tile – FAQs.

When installing tile over newly poured concrete, how long should I wait before installing ceramic tile?
The industry standard is 28 days between concrete pouring and installing ceramic tile. Increasingly tighter timelines make it difficult to adhere to that schedule, so alternate solution are being employed.Tile setter at work installing ceramic tile.

One successful system consists of a liquid membrane, with crack-isolation properties, that can be applied over concrete that is just three days old. The membrane is followed by a quick-setting mortar that allows tile or stone to be installed the same day.

Can ceramic tile be installed over my existing particle board?
Because ceramic tile is rigid and somewhat brittle, a strong underlayment is the most important part of the ceramic tile installation.  Interior-grade plywood and particle board are not a strong enough floor underlayment.  Therefore, laying floor tile over particle board is not recommend. The particle board should be replaced with a suitable substrate before installing ceramic tile.

Can I use mastic to install my floor tile?
It is preferred to use a thin set mortar for floors, but in residential use you can use mastic with tile up to 6×6 on floors.  If you are installing tile in an area that is going to be exposed to moist conditions, use a mastic that is water-proof so that it will hold up well. This is very important.  If you are applying floor tile in areas not exposed to water you can use a mastic that is not water-proof. Epoxy adhesives are also available but their drying times can be difficult to control.

Can I install ceramic tile over lightweight concrete or gypcrete?
No, tile installation is not recommended over gypsum products. The moisture in the setting materials will deteriorate the gypsum cement.

What is the maximum spacing for floor joists under a tile installation?
On standard wood frame construction, joists should be spaced a maximum of 16 inch on center.

Can cement board be installed directly to the floor joists?
No, cement backer board is not a structural member. It must be installed over an exterior plywood sub floor, 5/8 inch minimum thickness.

Why is it necessary to tape the joints on cement board?
On walls it is definitely necessary. Fiberglass tape and thin set mortar are used to put the tape in place. On floors, it is not normally necessary, but sometimes is recommended depending on the application. Refer to manufacturers and proven industry standard instructions.

When laying tile on my bathroom floor, is it necessary to remove the toilet?
Yes, it produces a much nicer look.  If you tile around the toilet instead of removing it, when the toilet needs to be replaced, it will be difficult to find a toilet that will fit in the same space as the old one.

Do all tile setters adhere to recommendations and standards of NTCA and other tile associations?

No, although the National Tile Contractors Association is recognized as the largest tile contractors association in the world and is highly respected, is not a governing body.

The same situation applies to the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).  The Tile Council of North America, Inc. (TCNA) publishes industry-consensus guidelines for ceramic tile installation. For installation methods involving specific products, the TCNA recommends that manufacturers are your best resource as they offer application instructions and architectural support where their products are being specified.

The construction industry allows builders, suppliers and tile setters to follow guidelines set by local building codes. Often building codes do not properly address the correct methods of ceramic tile and stone installation. Thus, builders and tile setters often get away with less than adequate workmanship.

Is ceramic or porcelain tile a smart choice in a residential environment?

Porcelain and ceramic tile flooring is a smart choice as it has an attractive and versatile appearance and is particularly hard wearing. Ceramic floor tiles come in a plethora of styles and colors to match any taste and budget.  By choosing the right material, glaze, finish, and style, it can be adapted to fit a wide range of environments and needs.

Porcelain tiles are stain, moisture, mold, and mildew resistant, so they are an ideal flooring choice for any food service or high traffic environment.

Modularity is important.  In the event a tile is damaged it can be extracted and replaced without a great deal of effort or cost. Usually, there are some extra tiles left over after installation that should be saved just for such an event. Be sure to ask the tile installer for any usable extra tile.

Should I use a sealer on my floor tile?

It is typically not necessary to apply a sealer, wax, or other surface coating to ceramic tile.   Ceramic and porcelain tile in glazed or unglazed form do not need to be sealed, as they are impervious to moisture and its appearance can not alter by adding a sealer.   Additionally these coatings can also diminish the slip resistance of the ceramic tile.

However, tile installers often use pre-grout sealers on ceramic tile to keep fine color pigments from embedding into the pours of the tile during the grouting process. The pre-grout sealer is removed after grouting. Sealers are designed to protect porous products and to provide wearable surfaces to porous products. All natural stone products and grouts are porous products and should be sealed with a penetrating / impregnating sealer. Some stone products are also sealed with enhancing sealers to deepen and darken the stones’ natural colors.

What effect does tile size have on tile installation consideration?
With the introduction of large dimensioned rectified tile (24 inch x 24 inch) the quality of the tile has become more an issue, especially as it relates to floor preparation.


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My tiling service areas include Port St. Lucie (PSL), Fort Pierce, Stuart and Vero Beach, FL.

In St. Lucie County Boyer Tile LLC. services Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie West, Tradition, Torino, Tesoro, Lake Charles, Lake Forest, Magnolia Lakes, PGA Village, The Vineyards, St James Golf Club, The Cascades, and Fort Pierce, FL.

In Indian River County Boyer Tile LLC. services Vero Beach, Indian River Shores and Sebastian, FL.

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