Top Ten Tips for Hot Weather Tile Installation
As we learned in our 'Tips for Grouting in Hot Weather' post, any part of a tile installation can be challenging when the temperature soars. The following outlines best practices to help ensure successful tile installation in hot weather.
- Ensure the powder temperature is between 60-80°F prior to mixing. Store bags in a shaded or conditioned space, if possible. Powder makes up about 78-86% of the final weight, which means that hot powder will lead to a short working time, even if it is mixed with cool water.
- As possible, plan your job to avoid the hottest part of the day, ideally starting early in the morning. Minimize sun exposure by planning your work. If an area cannot be shaded, try to complete the installation during the coolest part of the day. Use shades to cover both yourself and the installation as much as possible.
- Be aware of your water temperature. If necessary, add ice to the water to cool it below 75 degrees. Cool water and cool powder can greatly extend your working time in hot conditions.
- Be aware of the temperature and humidity. High temperatures can cause the mortar to skin over prematurely. Low humidity can draw moisture from the mortar, also causing premature skinning.
- If reusing buckets, be sure to clean any residual product out of them before starting your mix. Cross-contaminating your mortar with previous products can shorten the working time.
- Always add the mortar to the water before mixing with a low speed drill. TEC® recommends a low speed (300-350 RPM) drill for grout and mortar installations. Allow the mortar to slake before remixing. Be careful to not over mix the mortar.
- Mix using the recommended water amount, being sure not to exceed the maximum.
- Pre-moisten the substrate before troweling out the mortar. This will help keep the substrate from pulling needed moisture from the mortar and will extend your working time.
- It is critical to work in small areas to prevent mortar skin-over. Hot weather can cause the mortar to skin over faster than cool weather. Skinned over mortar can prevent proper bond with tile and can lead to disbanding failures.
- If the mortar begins to set up it can be gently remixed to a trowelable consistency. Do not add additional water.