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Placing and Treatment Ceramic Tiles

Download here our step by step guide for ceramic tiles.


Type: Ceramic tiles are tiles made of clay or porcelain, whether or not finished with glaze and baked in a tile oven. The production takes place (partly) manually or by machine.
Materials: Clay, porcelain and/or basically anything that can be baked into a tile.
Characteristics: Ceramic tiles are mostly machine made. The finish is very diverse and suitable for many purposes.
Variants: Spanish tiles, metro tiles, concrete look tiles, large format tiles, etc.
Applicability: Inside, outside, walls, floors.
Extra attention: Ceramic tiles are a collective term for many different types of wall and floor tiles. There can be many differences per species in the way they should be processed. We focus on the varieties that are sold by us.

The step-by-step plan and advice may differ per space or area of  the application. Below we give our advice for the most common installation of our ceramic tiles. Also read the important tips at the bottom of the step-by-step plan and contact us if you have any questions.

What do you need to install ceramic tiles:

  • Primer
  • Flexible tile adhesive
  • Grout
  • 2 mm tile spacers
  • Tile cutter and/or angle grinder
  • Joint trowel, glue tub, glue comb 4, 6, 8 or 10 mm, depending on the tile
  • Azule Cement Stain Remover (cleaning agent)
  • Bucket and sponge, wash-in set
  • Tile leveling system (optional for large format tiles)
  • Level


STEP-BY-STEP PLAN 
Before you start tiling, make a plan of how the tiles should be placed. For example, are there patterns with borders (border tiles) and should everything be neatly centered in the room? Measure everything well in advance for a good result!

Priming
Is the surface on which you will be tiling absorbent or untreated? First make sure that you treat the surface with the correct primer / primer. This can usually be applied with a block brush or roller. Follow the instructions and drying time of the respective primer.

Glue & install
Always glue the tiles on a flat surface with a flexible tile adhesive that is suitable for your tile type.

--> For small (wall) tiles:
Use a 4 to 6mm notched trowel and 2mm tile spacers. (a thicker joint doesn’t look nice, thinner is almost impossible to grout)
Use the glue comb to coat part of the substrate with tile glue of approximately 10 tiles. Always start at the bottom of your workpiece by placing the tiles and work your way upwards in horizontal lines. Press the tiles lightly on the surface.
Use the tile spacers to get the same joint widths everywhere. Also use a spirit level (or laser) from time to time to check that the tiles are still in alignment. You can make some adjustments with the tile crosses.
Remove the excess adhesive residue on the tiles.
Let the glue dry for at least 24 hours before starting the next step.

--> For larger (floor) tiles:
Use an 8 to 10mm notched trowel and 2 to 4mm tile spacers. We almost always recommend to use tile spacers of 2 mm because this gives the least grid formation and therefore a better result in the end.
With large tiles, it is advisable to always apply tile adhesive to the surface of 1 tile at a time. It is also highly advisable to glue both surfaces, so apply tile adhesive to both the tile and the substrate, which results in better adhesion without air pockets.
The starting point is different everywhere. It depends on the space and size of the tile.
As a rule, it is recommended to start from an edge or corner. It is important to keep an eye on the sight lines. So where one enters the room, the tiles must be placed as well as possible so that this provides a nice sight line. We prefer to process the fitting pieces at edges that are not immediately visible.
It is recommended to mark the desired positions of the tiles on the substrate so that they can be maintained during installation.
With these large format tiles it is very important that the tiles are evenly level at all corners, use a spirit level for this. If the tiles are not level then reposition the tile and adjust the amount of tile adhesive. If a tile is pressed too hard, it is very difficult to remove it, so press the tile lightly first and only when the tile is nice and flat, press further or tap with a special rubber tile hammer.
There are also handy leveling systems with which all tiles can be placed exactly on level. (Rubi Delta Leveling starter kit). This system ensures that all tiles fit together nicely and evenly.
Remove the excess adhesive glue residue on the tiles.
Let the glue dry for at least 24 hours before moving on to the next step.

Cut to size
Finish your surface completely and start at the end with the pieces that need to be sawn. Ceramic tiles are easy to cut with a tile cutter or angle grinder. Make sure you always buy some extra tiles for the cutting loss that arises. Different placing patterns are possible, each of which causes its own cutting loss. Calculate this well in advance!

Grouting
When the glue is dry, the tiles can be grouted. Use a flexible grout. Mix it according to the proportions on the package. Then apply this with a joint spatula and ensure an even filling of the joints.
Let the grout dry (about 30 minutes) and remove the excess grout that remains on the tiles with a slightly damp sponge or cloth. Make sure you do not remove too much, the joints must remain well filled.
Once the grout is completely dry, you can clean the tiles several times with Azule Cement Stain Remover and a dry cloth until no more veil is visible.
Be careful with tiles with crackle in the varnish: the grout should not dry in there and must be cleaned right away to prevent stains and streaks. This type of tile is also not recommended in showers where they are constantly exposed to water.

CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE

Ceramic tiles are easy to maintain and do not require any special cleaning agent. You can clean the tiles with an all-purpose cleaner or other non-greasy soap. Just make sure that the cleaning agent is not corrosive, not bleaching or not extremely acidic. This can cause the color to fade and / or damage the surface.

TIPS

  • Work in a clean and well-ventilated area.
  • For large tiles it is advisable to work with at least 2 people or call in a specialized tiler.
  • For handmade Spanish wall tiles and / or subway tiles, it is advisable to mix tiles from different boxes.
  • Get informed which joint width and joint color are attractive. This is different for each ceramic tile variant. As a rule, we recommend a joint width of 2 mm for most tile types.
  • We do not recommend crackle tiles in the wet cell because the moisture can penetrate into the glaze and damage the tiles.
  • Handmade Spanish tiles may show slight color differences or nuances, this is inherent to the product and should be considered normal, and it gives the character to this tile type.
  • Spanish tiles and Metro tiles are usually intended for indoor use, if they are used outdoors, always under a canopy protected from sun and rain. A heavy frost can damage these types of tiles.
  • Use a tile leveling system for large tiles (60x60cm and larger). This ensures beautifully connected tiles and sleek joints.
  • Always read the instructions on the various products you will need to install tiles such as glue, grout and primer.
  • If you are unsure of the correct treatment or if you have any questions about the treatment schedule, please do not hesitate to contact our helpdesk. We are happy to advise you so that you are sure of a good end result.
  • Make a good plan / sketch in advance of how you want to place the tiles and where the tiles should be cut. Place entire tiles on the lines of sight (the place of a wall that you see first in a room) and (if possible) use the cut tiles in the places that you cannot immediately see.
  • Work safely! Always use the correct protective products such as gloves, safety glasses and hearing protection. When cutting or grinding tiles, pieces can come loose and cause painful injuries. Make sure you always have a first aid kit within reach.

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