Tips for Worry-Free Tile Installation
Once tiles are adhered to a wall or a floor, even if they look great, it is extremely difficult to initially judge the quality of the installation. Over time, if the system is not sound, it could fail, resulting in cracking, lippage, loss of adhesion and even water damage. Getting it right the first time merely requires communicating information to installers from a simple checklist, and knowing how to access the very latest technical information.
To avoid the time, effort and money of a complete demolition replacement and re-installation, not to mention the cost of losing the space for these efforts, project managers need to provide critical information to an installer to help assess the requirements of a space:
- Is the area interior or exterior?
- Will tile be installed on a vertical or horizontal surface?
- What substrate are the tiles being installed over (concrete slab, plywood, existing tiles)?
- Will this be a wet or dry area?
- How much movement will the space encounter? Movement can come from several different sources such as structural conditions, thermal expansion and contraction or heavy traffic.
Providing as much information as possible to all the parties involved in your project is the best way to ensure your installer uses the correct tile installation materials and methods. The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) publishes a handbook that covers tile installation for ceramic, glass and stone tile. This handbook is updated with the latest installation methods annually and is the definitive guide for tile installations.
Manufacturers are also a great resource. Consult with the makers of products that make up your systems such as crack isolation membranes, cement adhesives, radiant floor heating coils, substrates, mortars, grouts and the multitude of other products that are available to meet the unique demands of a space. Laticrete International, Inc., for example, provides detailed installation guidelines for use with their installation materials and offers a 25-year warranty. Also, never hesitate to contact the tile manufacturer. Reputable tile manufacturers have knowledgeable technical support to help ensure their customers have a trouble-free experience using their products.