Installing Ceramic Tile

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Installing Ceramic Tile

Installing a Ceramic Tile FloorNew ceramic tile flooring instantly enhances the appearance of your floor. This is especially true when one realizes that tile, like any floor covering, influences interior beauty, design, décor, comfort, livability, and upkeep.

There is an expression that flooring can make or break  home – it’s true. Being ready for the installation of your new ceramic tile will make the entire process faster, more efficient, and hopefully eliminate any surprises.

Understanding what to expect and being prepared will ease the process for you and your family.

Our Skilled Tile Installation Professionals

Installing tile is a challenging, labor-intensive and exacting job.

Our team members are reliable, seasoned, and dedicated.  You can be assured of a beautiful, efficient and state-of-the-art tile installation by Southern Woods.

Installing ceramic tile is a skill that is acquired through years of experience. We want you to have an understanding of the process and you can confidently say we provided you with an outstanding installation.

Ceramic tile installers have vast skills. Southern Woods has tile installers that have been with our team for many years.  Our installers stay up to date on new methods and materials while maintaining the same hand-operated, labor-intensive procedures used since ancient times.

Preparation of the Ceramic Tile Foundation – The Substrate

Common materials used as tile substrates in home installations consist of cement, concrete, plywood and drywall.

We prepare the substrate with different methods, depending on the substrate material, and where the installation occurs.

Each substrate has its own exceptional set of issues, yours included, and is prepared according to industry and manufacturer guidelines. That means that you can rest assured preparation is done to recognized standards.

The first step in your ceramic tile installation includes the cleaning of the substrate. Dirt, moisture and oil can interfere with the adhesion of the tile; therefore, great care is needed to remove all foreign debris before beginning.

Next, the installer levels the surface of the substrate. Why is this step essential? It is to give a strong support base for the tile and to ensure that the individual tiles will lie flat when installed. If the substrate is not level or flat, the result could be tiles not being set correctly that can cause chipping or cracking when force is applied.

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    The Advancement of Tile Setting Through Thick and Thin

    How to Install Ceramic TilesIn the past, ceramic tile was installed using the thickset or mud set method.

    In this technique, a thick layer of mortar was applied to a waterproofed and steel reinforced substrate. This offers a strong, flat base onto which the tile was installed.

    The thickset method is the most effective installation technique for 18” or larger tile. While it is an involved, labor-intensive, and costlier process, it is the only proper way to install the larger tile.

    Today, many tile installers have opted for the industry accepted and more efficient thin set method, where the tile is adhered to a backer board that is nailed to a plywood or concrete substrate using a much thinner layer of mortar.

    This backer board is called a CBU, or cement backer unit, which offers a supportive and water-resistant layer between the porous substrate and the mortar and tile applied on top of it.

    The Planning Stage

    Once the substrate has been prepared, the next step is to make a layout plan.

    This plan indicates the dimensions of each room and will assist in determining the amount of ceramic tile and other materials needed for the installation.

    Professional installers will use this plan to approximate the amount of product needed and to anticipate any installation issues that may be caused by architectural features such as stairs, transitions, and cabinets.

    The installers you engage will use the layout plan to determine the pattern and orientation of the installed tile.

    We ‘Tow the Line’ When It Comes to Accuracy

    A chalk line is used to lay down a guide that leaves a temporary line that can be used as a straight guide.

    The installers may lay out some tile with spacers to provide them a better sense of how the tile will fit into the room. Some installers will use the chalk line as their guide to perform the installation.

    Once they have established the correct layout, the next step is to apply the adhesive mortar to the substrate.

    The Last Step – All About Grout

    The grout is applied after the tiled floor has been set into place and left to cure fully. Usually, that may take about 12 to 24 hours. Quick set grout is also an option for smaller areas or when the time does not permit. It would be best to discuss this upgrade option with our sales associate.

    Grout is available in a wide variety of colors, and in sanded and unsanded forms while sanded grout is commonly used for grout joints that are wider than 1/8th of an inch.

    This type of grout joint is typically used with floor tiles because it helps strengthen the tile joint, and it will not sag after it is cured.

    Unsanded grout is an option that may be used where narrow grout joints, wall tile, and many natural stone installations are noticed.

    Are you wondering how long it will take before you can walk on a new floor? Well, the mortar and grout require about 24 hours to cure before walking on the tile.

    This guarantees that the tiles will not shift or become loose before the adhesive thin-set mortar and grout have a chance to set.

    In some installations, the tile may be lightly mopped daily for several days to stop the grout from cracking, pulling moisture from the underlying mortar, or curing irregularly.

    That is how your new ceramic tile floor is installed professionally!

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