STEP2 . Tile Preparation
Prior to laying the flooring, an area should be set aside for unpacking and enable you to sort the tiles to allow for colour/texture and thickness variations. Whilst we recommend that the tiles used are always calibrated, there will still be some variation in thickness [which is typically +/-2mm]. When laying the floor use the thickest first and blend the thinner tiles as work progresses.
You also need to clean and prepare your surface before you tile to remove any grease, dirt, or fingerprints, that could inhibit tile adhesion. If tiles are to be sealed it is recommended that they are cleaned prior to installation to remove any dust or dirt that may be present, and when completely dry a sealing application can be applied to the face of the tile. This will also make it easier to clean away adhesive and grout, from the surface.
STEP 3. Assessing the Floor
The floor must be checked to ensure it is of sound structure, level and smooth and free of any dust, oils or grease. Any holes or hollows should be filled and levelled.
Timber floors comprised of tongue and groove boards should be overlaid with WBP marine plywood fixed with stainless steel screws at between 200 to 300mm centres. If the floor has movement and flexibility, 2 layers of marine plywood laid in opposite directions will limit this. Concrete floors should be assessed for smoothness, if the surface is rough, either the flooring can be laid in a thick bed adhesive, or the floor can be levelled with either sand/cement screed or a self-levelling compound. Ensure all concrete/screed/self-levelling compounds are fully cured before fixing tiles.
However, other alternatives are the use of uncoupling matting and membrane products. This type of system uses the separating layer to provide an uncoupling buffer between the tile and the substrate, enabling the substrate to move independently to the tiles.
Substrates will expand and contract naturally due to humidity and/or temperature fluctuation and this is especially true where under floor or under-tile heating has been installed.
Any movement, whether shrinkage or expansion, can cause stress cracks that can transfer through to the tiled surface, causing the tile to either fracture, or de-bond from the background. Uncoupling matting helps to prevent these lateral stresses from transferring through to the tiled layer by absorbing these stresses and transferring them evenly over the floor.
STEP 4. Setting out the floor for tiling
It is generally best practice to identify either the centre of the room or a focal point as the start. The centre of the room can be found using a tape measure to identify the mid-point of all walls and chalk lines struck from opposite centre points. Where the chalk lines cross will be the centre.
Alternatively, the starting point may be the edge of the wall in a room, with thought given to door access points to eliminate or reduce cutting of the tile.