After all your preparation has been completed, your layout lines are drawn and planning done, you are ready to start laying the tiles.
Safety first: wear disposable rubber gloves to prevent skin contact with adhesive and reactions.
There are many different types of adhesives for different surfaces. There is no such thing as one adhesive that can be used over all surfaces. Make sure you get proper advice as to the correct adhesive. They will all seem to stick but if not the correct product your tiles may crack or may not adhere and will become loose over time.
Talk to a Tile Trends consultant to determine the correct adhesive for your job. Use a cement based adhesive like ASA Fixall or ASA Superfixall over older sound concrete floors; a flexible adhesive like ASA Conflex over newer concrete and tile and slate underlay covered floors or over floor heated floors. On walls use a non slump adhesive like ASA Mastik or Megafix. If tiling over a water proof membrane be sure to use the correct adhesive, Mastik is not suitable. This point is very important as using the incorrect adhesive over different waterproof membranes will result in a failure. ASA Megafix adhesive is part of the waterproofing system and is suitable to be used over ASA Dampfix membranes. Mix the adhesive as per instructions using an electric drill and paddle to minimize any lumps. Start mixing smaller amounts first until you know how long it takes for it to be all used up. Spread only as much adhesive for the amount of tiles you can lay in 5 to 10 minutes. Laying adhesive too far in advance will cause the adhesive surface to dry out and a film to develop over the top reducing adhesive effectiveness. If this occurs you will need to remove and reapply another fresh layer of adhesive.
Safety first: wear disposable rubber gloves to prevent cuts from sharp tiles.
Using your notched trowel lay the adhesive onto the clean surface. Generally a 10 mm notch tile is used for floor tiles and a 6 mm or 8 mm notch trowel for the wall. It is very important to make sure there is enough adhesive on the substrate to cover the entire back of the tile. If the tile is not fully supported by adhesive it could crack when weight is applied. Use the notch trowel to form rows of ridges.
To ensure good contact, push and slightly twist the tile into the adhesive. Using a rubber mallet or hammer tap the tile lightly into the adhesive so that all ridges of the adhesive are squashed down flat. Continually check that the tiles are level using your flat edge. Wipe away any dirt on the tiles using a bucket of clean water and a sponge.
REMEMBER: The first tile you lay in the centre of the floor area will determine the positions of all the other tiles, so make sure you get this tile dead centre and level.
When tiling on walls, use a temporary straight strip of wood attached to the Fixing tilesbottom of the wall at a height a couple of centimetres lower then the size of the bottom tile. Place your spirit level on top of the wood strip to ensure horizontal accuracy. Apply adhesive to the wall and stack the tiles on top of the temporary wooden strip. Use plastic spacers to give you even spacing between the tiles and continuously check your lines are true and straight making adjustments where necessary. Once all the full tiles have been laid accurately mark those required to fit around the perimeter or any curves.
Only once the tiles have set firm, remove the wood strip and fill in the bottom gap with a cut tile. Grout 24 hours after the adhesive has dried.
Safety first: wear protective eyewear when cutting tiles and a dusk mask if using an electric cutter.
IMPORTANT: Cut tiles at the latest stage possible just before you are about to lay them to prevent wastage from mistakes.
Floor tiles are usually thicker and harder to cut and than wall tiles therefore it is a good idea to use a floor tile cutter to minimize waste and cost. Tile Trends stock a good range of cutters and we can show you which one would be best suited to your project.
To mark the correct dimensions of the tiles that need to be cut you can either use a template cut from cardboard as a cutting guide, or make a pencil marking directly onto the tile. Use a set square to ensure your cuts are accurate and true.
Tiles around the edge of a wall usually need to be cut to fit. If using a tile Cutter, score along the tile marking against a set square. Ensure you have scored right through the glazing then push down to snap. Do not use the cutting wheel to snap the tile. It is very easy to cut tiles and we are happy to show you how easy it is, just ask.
To hide cut edges out of site, place the tile to be cut against the wall upside down. Mark on the edges of the cut line, remember to allow for grout space and if a perimeter tile space for the expansion joint is necessary. Cut the tile and then rotate it back 180 degrees.
For odd shapes such as beams and fixed apparatus, carefully nibble away at the tile using a tile nibbler until the tile slides into place or you are happy with the end result. For more complex curves or edges such as the curves around a counter top, sinks and other fittings, use a rod saw which can make more accurate and smoother cuts.
Allow for the adhesive to dry for 24 hours before grouting. Once the adhesive is completely dry you are ready to start. Mix the grout as per instructions being careful not to make the grout too soft but not too stiff either. Using a rubber squeegee force the grout mixture into the gap. Once a joint has been packed firmly, wait a few minutes so the grout begins to dry in the grout line then start to remove the excess grout from the tile using a damp (not wet) sponge. Really ring your sponge out each time as you do not want to introduce more water into the grout as this could wash the colour out. Change your water often when cleaning the Clean upgrouting off the tiles and avoid grouting too much of an area before wiping tiles clean as grout should not be left to dry on the tiles. It is normal for a grout haze to appear over the tiles however, buffing with a clean, dry soft cloth will remove this haze after the grout has dried. Leave the grouting to dry off completely before sealing, usually at least 48 hours.
Spacers can be left in the grout line as trying to remove them can damage the tiles.
Use Grout Sealer from Tile Trends to seal the dry grout. Grout sealing will protect the grout from staining. It is very important to wipe the grout sealer off the tile immediately after applying as if allowed to dry on the tile itself it is very difficult to remove. Two coats are generally applied about Â½ an hour apart. Follow the directions. If you have had a tiler do the job they generally do not seal the grout as it would mean another trip back costing you more. It is a simple job you can do yourself and is a must. Tile Trends stocks different sizes of grout sealers.
Some types of tiles may require sealing of the tile surface. Generally this is only needed for light coloured, unglazed porcelain tiles. Polished porcelain has a slightly porous surface and is susceptible to staining if not sealed correctly. Tile Trends has a full range of porcelain sealers and our consultants can advise you on how to apply them.