Once you have chosen the desired ceramic tiles for the project you have in mind, the next step is their installation. Regardless of the space where you want to install the wall or floor tiles, this process requires good organization and proper information.
A common question of those who choose to install the tiles themselves, thus optimizing the cost, is the order in which these activities should be performed. Our recommendation is to start with the installation of the wall tiles and then proceed with the installation of the floor tiles. The reason why this process is recommended is to protect the floor tiles from any scratches or damage that may result from the installation of the wall tiles. It is best to start with the installation of the wall files, except for the bottom row, and after the installation of the floor tiles, apply the last row of wall tiles.
1.Measuring the perimeter and purchasing the materials
The first step in preparing the surfaces is to measure the perimeter for tiling, to determine the amount of materials that you need. The correct method to establish this is by using a chalk line parallel to the walls or floor of the room, to identify the median line.
We recommend purchasing a quantity of tiles with an additional 10-15% to cover the losses resulting from cutting the tiles.
The surfaces where the ceramic tiles – whether wall or floor tiles – are to be installed must be perfectly flat, compact, and clean, without traces of dust or grease. It is then necessary to check the hardness and humidity of the substrate. In the case of walls with old paint, they must be prepared beforehand by removing the old coatings and leveling the surface with plaster.
The success of the ceramic tiling is strongly influenced by the choice of the appropriate adhesive. This is chosen based on the following factors:
- The nature and humidity of the support on which the installation is made;
- The degree of water absorption for the selected ceramic tiles;
- The environmental conditions to which the entire support-adhesive-ceramic tile assembly is subjected, respectively the level of traffic and operating conditions.
- A protective joint sealant can also be purchased, which is applied with a brush, if you want to provide better protection against dirt.
2. Tiling the surfaces
After the support has been prepared and you have all the necessary materials, proceed to prepare the adhesive mixture, which you obtain by adding clean water to its composition and mixing it until a homogeneous substance is obtained.
To obtain a correct mixture, it is important to respect the manufacturer’s indications regarding the dosages.
This mixture retains its properties for approximately half an hour, but elasticity can disappear in case of a too warm environment. Therefore, tiling is done on smaller areas, where approximately 6 ceramic tiles can be mounted.
Start from the corner and apply the first tile, pressing lightly and firmly on the first take. For each new tile, put plastic spacers between the previously mounted reference tile and the new one to obtain symmetrical distances between the ceramic tiles. After applying the first tiles, continue horizontally and vertically to create orientation rows.
Check with a bubble level that the coverage is perfectly flat and press it to align the tiles in the plane. Continue this process by putting portions of adhesive and working alternately, one row vertically and one row horizontally. Mount the tiles with spacers until you cover the entire surface and continuously adjust the surface with the help of the bubble level.
The last ceramic tiles are mounted by putting mortar on the back of the tiles with a trowel, not directly on the surface to be tiled, to avoid spreading the adhesive.
Finally, the edges of the surface to be tiled, as well as the perimeters where there is a pipe, an inlet or a corner, are applied. For these, cut the tile, take a template with a piece of paper in the shape of the tile and draw the recess in the template. Copy it onto the tile and then cut it.
In case you have dirtied the tiles, you can use a damp sponge to wash off the adhesive remaining on the surface. However, be aware that you have about half an hour before it dries! Check the execution and setting time in the manufacturer’s instructions as well, and let it dry accordingly.
To achieve a natural effect on the surface, we suggest that before tiling a surface, you select tiles from multiple boxes and mix them together.
3.Applying grout for joints
Before applying grout for joints, ceramic tiles must be cleaned of impurities and dirt. The joints and remaining spacers must also be cleaned to ensure that the grout is applied evenly throughout the depth of the joint.
Applying grout for joints is the final step in the process of installing ceramic tiles. After installing the tiles, it is necessary to wait 24 hours before beginning to apply grout for joints.
Grout for joints is obtained by mixing the powder with water until homogeneous, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Because there are now not only white or gray grouts on the market, but also colored ones, they can be chosen according to the hue of the tiles, but we recommend using neutral or at most the same color as the ceramic tile, but not darker.
Pay special attention to the channels in the floor when installing the tiles, as they can fill up with dirt from cleaning the tiles, and if they are not well cleaned, the grout will not adhere and will eventually deteriorate.
The obtained paste is applied between tiles with the help of a special rubber trowel, with a sweeping motion of the surface.
You can later remove excess grout remaining on the tiles with a wet sponge, rinsing it frequently with water and squeezing it well (if the grout is cement-based) or with special solutions (if the grout is reactive resin-based). It is important that the joints be filled regularly and smoothly, without cracks. Use the sponge trowel to smooth the grout after about 10-15 minutes of application.
It is very important that the grout paste covers all the channels as evenly as possible, as it prevents water from penetrating under the ceramic tile. Ceramic tile manufacturers recommend a minimum joint of 2 mm, even for rectified tiles. The contact areas between the floor and the wall will be sealed with sanitary silicone.
There are several types of grouts available in a wide range of colors:
• Cement type (CG) normal or improved with aquastatic, antibacterial, antifungal properties;
• Reactive resin type (RG).
4.Maintenance and cleaning of surfaces
Before the grout sets, you can begin washing the surface using a detergent.
• For daily cleaning, we recommend using neutral detergents.
• Do not use wax, oils, hydrofluoric acid, phosphoric acid (or orthophosphoric) or products containing these substances.
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these substances.
• Always immediately wash the surfaces with plenty of clean water.
When the grout begins to harden, it is pressed into the gaps with a round stick to obtain a smooth surface. Allow to dry.
Finally, we recommend that the joints be sealed with a solution dedicated to this process, using a brush, for protection.
At CESAROM, you can find the following tools for surface installation:
• Adhesives – cement, dispersion, or reactive resin-based materials;
• Glazed ceramic tiles, wall tiles and decorations for interior walls in residential and commercial spaces
• Glazed porcelain ceramic tiles for interior floors, exterior floors, and exterior walls in residential, commercial, and industrial spaces
• Special pieces, porcelain steps, and skirting boards for residential, commercial, and industrial spaces
• Porcelain glazed and unglazed ceramic tiles with slip resistance (R10, R11, R12, ABS) and/or antibacterial protection CESAROM safe+
• Porcelain floor tiles for elevated exterior or interior floors (2-3 cm thickness);
• Glazed ceramic tiles and special pieces for pools:
• Porcelain floor tiles for industrial floors (1.5 cm thickness);
We also offer solutions for cleaning and maintaining ceramic surfaces:
• for removing cement residue or epoxy resin remnants;
• for cleaning grease and oil;
• for removing dry paint and rust;
• for cleaning calcium deposits;
• for daily use.
CESAROM offers numerous types of wall and floor tiles, decorations, and special pieces for both indoor and outdoor spaces in residential, commercial, or industrial settings. Check out our collection HERE.