A Flat Floor is Essential for a Porcelain Tile Installation.
The issue of ceramic tiles breaking grows exponentially as the size of the tile gets bigger.
A strong base is the key to a ceramic or porcelain tile installation that remains great looking and crack free. A flat floor is essential. The bane of ceramic and porcelain tile installation is that these products have great strength if a given tile has a solid, inflexible base under it. But if that same tile has space between it and the sub floor or the sub floor flexes, the tile can bend and break.
Small ceramic tiles can be very forgiving but large (18 to 20 square inch tiles) demand perfect installation conditions if you expect your new floor to remain crack-free.
Porcelain Tile Installation – Floating the Floor.
The most important step in the tile installation process is to ensure the surface you are installing the tiles on is a flat plane.
The floor does not need to be level, but it must be perfectly flat. Humps or depressions in the floor create hollows under tiles as you lay them. You must make the extra effort to create a flat floor by filling in all depressions with a floor leveling compound. This process is commonly called “floating the floor.”
Porcelain Tile Installation – Efflorescence.
A prudent first step before floating the floor is to check for efflorescence.
Efflorescence is the movement of moisture upward through Portland cement and concrete slabs. The result of that moisture is a visible white powdery substance that is seen at times on the surface of grout joints. Generally, efflorescence can be cleaned off the tile and joints by a good washing with pH balanced cleaners.
In extreme cases, it can be cleaned with acid washing. Do not use any acids other than sulfuric or phosphoric. Use them according to the manufacturers instructions and remember that Portland cements are alkali based. Acid eats alkali. To check for the likelihood that efflorescence might be a problem, tape a small piece of plastic polyethylene film on the slab to be tiled and make sure the tape seals all of the edges. If water condensation appears under the plastic within a day or two, efflorescence will most likely occur. To avoid bonding and grouting problems a waterproofing membrane may be necessary.
Porcelain Tile Installation
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