Installing Ceramic Tile
New 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
In 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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Our Ratings And Reviews
“Southern Woods did a great job on our garage flooring project...on time, fair price and it looks terrific...what a transformation! We recommend Southern Woods without hesitation.”
“Rob and his team are very friendly and knowledgeable. Everything went smoothly from scheduling the estimate to the finished project. Installation crew was prompt and professional and did a great job. We had our hardwoods refinished and added more. You cannot tell the old from the new they match perfectly with a seamless transition.”
“ I would definitely recommend Southern Woods to friends and family as the customer service was outstanding. ”
"The Southern Woods folks have done flooring in 4 houses for me now using both hardwood and vinyl and I have been very pleased with each one."
"This is a fantastic company that does exactly what they say they will do in the time and for the price that they say they will do it."
"Southern Woods did such an amazing job with our floors. My partner is a carpenter himself and is incredibly picky, and the owner made it a point to make sure he (and me) were happy with everything."
"Southern Woods has performed well above the standard each and every time I have used them. From sand and refinish, new wood flooring, to tile and carpet they are always my vendor of choice."
"We had our master bath remodeled and I must say that the job that was done is fantastic! Rob was great to work with and Manny who did the tile almost completely by himself was unbelievable!."
"Great customer service!! As well as great selection of hardwood, laminate, LVP, etc, they have a very nice showroom that showcases a wide variety of their product."
"We installed our own new hardwoods and Southern Woods refinished and matched them seamlessly to our old woods. They were communicative and their pricing was very fair."
" We LOVE our refinished floors! The are absolutely beautiful! I would highly recommend Southern Woods for any of your flooring needs!"
"Southern Woods was flexible with appointments, extremely knowledgeable, and responsive with any questions. They ensured I was completely satisfied when the jobs were complete."
Susan CJohns Creek
"I used Southern Woods to refinish my floors, they were very professional, I met with them, discussed what I wanted, they quoted me a price. They showed up when they were supposed to, and the quality of the work was better than expected."
"Wonderful company! We've used Southern Woods for hardwood, carpet, tile and granite counter tops. They do amazing work start to finish."
"Great people!!! They do awesome work. I highly recommend them."
“Southern Woods made the entire process of updating our floors so easy. Their communication was great, and the installers were courteous and professional. The process was almost completely contact-free, and everyone wore a mask. We appreciated their taking such safety measures. And we're so happy with our floors!”
“This was at least the 7th job that Rob and his team have done for us in the last 10 years. I would never consider using anyone else! I trust him and Southern Woods completely. His expertise and integrity and work ethic are unrivaled. He's the best in Atlanta . . . period!”
“Most beautiful floors I’ve ever seen! Professional staff and so knowledgeable! You can tell Rob knows his floors, and is passionate about getting you the results you want!”
-“Saved my kitchen floor and my sanity!”
“Fantastic service from beginning to end. They were very professional, upfront and transparent with pricing and costs. I would use them again and recommend to anyone in the area.”