Expert Advice

How to avoid 6 common ceramic tile installation mistakes

11 Oct

Posted by
Tom Plaskota
Technical Support Manager

What mistakes do contractors regularly make when installing ceramic tile? There are several common errors that can be avoided by proper planning. Here's how to avoid mistakes encountered on a regular basis during ceramic tile installations:

1. Prepare the surface—One of the most common reasons for an adhesion failure is lack of proper surface preparation. For example, taking precautions to avoid contamination, cleaning the area and preparing the surface will take extra time, but will significantly reduce the chances of failure.

2. Use the right adhesive—Too often, adhesive products are purchased based on cost factors alone. Various types of adhesives are made for different applications. For example, one adhesive may work well on smaller tile but will not effectively adhere well to large tiles.

3. Protect the surface—Floors are often completed before other construction around them is finished. It is important to remember that the floor can be damaged and grout can stain. Take precautions to ensure that the floor is protected and that the finished product stays intact and in pristine condition.

4. Pay attention to movement joints—Depending on the size of the tile job, an installer should consider movement joints. Just like bridges, concrete and tile surfaces will expand and contract. It is important to notice the size and plan accordingly to avoid cracking and grout failures.

5. Read instructions—Some product failures are a result of not knowing what the product requirements are. Products are specially formulated and something as simple as adding too much or too little water to the mix can result in a bad mix that will lead to further problems in time.

6. Grout carefully—Grout requires attention to detail and can be temperamental. It is often mixed to with too much water, and/or cleaned with too much water, resulting in a greater chance for the grout to not cure properly and instead cure splotchy and mottled.  Additionally, the installer will often times get back on the grout too soon for cleaning, not allowing the grout to have its initial set.  This can have a negative affect on both the final color of the grout and even the physical strength.

My Technical Support Team is here to answer any question you may have during or after any tile installation. So, don't be afraid to ask. Send us an email or call 1-800-832-9023, Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CST.

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