FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we’ve included the most common questions regarding tile installation. If you have additional questions, email us and we will respond promptly.

Ceramic Tile Installation

Tile Grout

Ceramic Tile Installation

When installing tile over my newly poured concrete, how long should I wait before installing ceramic tile?
Industry standard is 28 days between concrete pouring and ceramic tile installation. Increasingly tighter timelines in the construction industry make it difficult to schedule the traditional 28-day wait to install tile over newly poured concrete. One successful system consists of a liquid membrane, with crack-isolation properties, that can be applied over concrete that is just three days old. The membrane is followed by a quick-setting mortar that allows tile or stone to be installed the same day.
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Can ceramic tile be installed over my existing particle board?
Because ceramic tile is rigid and somewhat brittle, a strong underlayment is the most important part of the tile installation. Interior-grade plywood and particle board are not considered a strong enough floor underlayment. Therefore, we do not recommend laying floor tile over particle board. The particle board should be replaced with a suitable substrate before installing ceramic tile.
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Can I install ceramic tile over lightweight concrete or gypcrete?
No, tile installation is not recommended over gypsum products. The moisture in the setting materials will deteriorate the gypsum cement.
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What is the maximum spacing for floor joists under a tile installation?
On standard wood frame construction, joists should be spaced a maximum of 16 inch on center.
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Do all tile setters adhere to the recommendations and standards set by the National Tile Contractors Association?
No, the National Tile Contractors Association is not a governing body and the industry allows builders, suppliers and tile setters to follow the minimum guidelines set within the Building Codes. The Building Codes DO NOT properly address the correct methods of ceramic tile and stone installation. Builders and tile setters often get away with less than adequate workmanship.
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I’m worried that I might drop something and damage a tile. Is ceramic or porcelain tile a smart choice?
The floor build-up and installation is more of a factor then the tile itself. The good news about ceramic and porcelain tile is that in the event a tile is damaged it can be extracted and replaced without a great deal of effort or cost. Usually, there are some extra tiles left over after installation that should be saved just for such an event. Be sure to ask the tile installer for any usable extra tile.
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Should I use a sealer on my floor tile?
Ceramic and porcelain tile in either glazed or unglazed form do not need to be sealed. As these products are impervious to moisture and you can not change or alter the appearance or the sheen of a ceramic or porcelain tile by adding a sealer, a sealer in not recommended. However, tile installers often use pre-grout sealers on ceramic tile to keep fine color pigments from embedding into the microscopic pours of the tile during the grouting process. The pre-grout sealer is removed after grouting. Sealers are designed to protect porous products and to provide wearable surfaces to porous products. All natural stone products and cementitious grouts are porous products and should be sealed with a penetrating / impregnating sealer. Some stone products are also sealed with enhancing sealers to deepen and darken the stones’ natural colors.
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What effect does tile size have on installation consideration?
With the introduction of large dimensioned rectified tile (24 inch x 24 inch) the quality of the tile has become more an issue, especially as it relates to floor preparation.
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Tile Grout

When will my ceramic tile installation be ready to receive grout?
Most standard thin-set mortars will reach initial cure within 24 hours; however certain job conditions could affect the final cure time required. Always refer to and comply with the manufacturer’s instructions listed on the thin-set bag.
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Keeping grout clean.
The secret to keeping grout clean is to vacuum your floor as you would your carpets. If using a standard cement based grout, ensure that all grout joints are properly sealed after tiles are installed. Your glazed tiles will not absorb moisture through their top surface, but grout is basically colored cement, and is quite porous and absorbent. Although there are a multitude of sealers the job of sealing is a simple spray on/wipe off procedure that uses proprietary product. Remember that grout seal needs to be reapplied every few years to ensure the integrity of the seal.
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What is the difference between sanded and unsanded tile grout?
Unsanded tile grout is used on ceramic tile that has been installed with a grout joint width of less than 1/8 of an inch wide and should always be used on polished natural stone products. Sanded tile grout is used on tile with a grout joint width equal to or greater than 1/8 of an inch.
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Are there other alternatives?
In addition to the standard sanded and unsanded grout, there are epoxy based grouts and additives available to resist staining. Epoxy grouts require some special tools and techniqes and are mre costly.
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How should tile/grout joints be sealed?
Tile grout joints can be sealed with a penetrating/impregnating type grout sealer or enhancing sealer. Sealing grout with enhancing sealers will change the appearance or color of the grout, wherby invisable sealers do not change the look. Both are designed to prevent moisture from absorbing into the grout where it would otherwise leave a stain. However, sealers do not stop topical dirt buildup, which can be removed easily with a mild neutral cleaner if the grout has been sealed.
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How can you tell if the grout joints need to be resealed?
If you put a few drops of water on the grout and they bead up, the sealer is OK. If the water absorbs into the grout, it is time to reseal.
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Subpages (1): Bathroom
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Darek Koczwara,
Feb 12, 2012, 5:56 PM
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