SUITABLE AND UNSUITABLE SUBSTRATES

FLOORS

Suitable Subfloors: All subfloors that are structurally sound and free of excessive movement are suitable for tiling over. They include:

·        Concrete

·        Terrazzo or natural stone

·        Ceramic tile

·        Non cushioned vinyl and linoleum

·        Cement back boards

·        Double layered plywood (exterior grade)

Unsuitable Subfloors: These are not suitable because they tend to flex, expand and contract or warp. Any excessive movement will loosen the tile and pop the grout. These subfloors must be replaced or covered with a suitable underlayment.

·        Cushioned vinyl

·        Perimeter installed vinyl

·        Single layered plywood

·        Flake board

·        Particle board

·        Chip board

·        Stripped wood

·        Luan plywood

WALLS

Suitable Substrates

·        Concrete or masonry

·        Drywall (dry areas only)

·        Plaster

·        Cement backer boards

·        Plywood (dry areas only)

·        Ceramic tile

Unsuitable Substrates

·        Paneling

·        Wallpaper

·        Masonite

SELECTING THE RIGHT INSTALLATION METHOD

Important: This is without a doubt, the most important statement! “Poorly prepared substrates and the use of improper setting materials are the cause of practically all major installation failures. Certain types of substrates and job conditions require ‘special treatment.’ These treatments are neither expensive, time consuming or complicated. To ignore or deviate from them would be the equivalent of play Russian roulette.”

Here is a description of installation materials:

·        Thin-set mortar – is a mixture of Portland cement and sand used to adhere the tile to the substrate.

·        Latex Portland cement mortar* – is the same as the thin-set mortar except that a special latex or acrylic is added. The latex gives the mortar flexibility and additional bonding strength. The flexibility is required when going over substrates that may experience minor movement. The additional adhesion strength is needed when setting tile over hard-to-bond surfaces

·        Mastic – is a pre-mixed adhesive paste similar to a vinyl adhesive.

·        Membranes – are used to separate the tile and mortar from the substrate. They are made to resist tile damage caused by minor substrate cracks, minor movement and water damage to the substrates.

·        Cement Backer Boards – are lightweight concrete sheets that are used to cover wood subfloors. They are also used as underlayment for “wet” areas such as shower walls and tub enclosures. 

*Caution: Not all latex and acrylic additives are designed to do the same job. For example, some are not recommended over wood. Some are for interior use only. Some are not suited for going over cut-back adhesive, etc. The best way to handle this is to have your supplier develop a cross reference list that matches the proper setting materials with the job conditions.

The beauty of tile lies on more than just the surface. Tile is a timelessly popular surfacing choice thanks to its

durability and cleanability. Whether used on floors, walls or countertops, tile needs minimal maintenance to keep it

looking great for years. The steps below will keep your tile installation looking like new.

Floors

Simple daily cleaning is all it takes to keep tiled floors in their prime. Here are some quick ways to care for tile

floors:

• Sweep, vacuum or dust-mop floors regularly to remove gritty particles.

• Gently remove any stuck-on debris with a putty knife or nylon scouring pad.

• Damp-mop with routine cleaners.

• Allow to dry, or if the tile’s finish is highly polished, wipe dry to avoid water spots.

Important tips for maintaining tile floors:

• Never use abrasive cleaners. Like tracked-in dirt, they may dull a shiny finish. If not using a professionally

suggested product, carefully check the product labels to make sure they do not contain abrasives that may

discolor grout.

• Avoid acidic cleaners, as they may harm grout with prolonged exposure.

• Heavily soiled or neglected floors may require the use of a wide selection of products, depending on the

problem.

• Place a mat outside each door and a rug just inside to collect dirt before it gets onto the floor.

• It is recommended to seal light-colored grouts to reduce ongoing maintenance and porosity.

Walls

Tile walls are typically installed in bathrooms and kitchens, where we often use abrasive household cleaners. A

basic rule of thumb is to always avoid abrasive cleaners when maintaining tiled walls. Abrasive cleaners may dull a

glossy tile’s finish, creating a rough surface that will actually attract soap scum and grime.

Important tips for maintaining tile walls:

• In the bathroom, clean the wall surface with a sponge and a non-abrasive routine cleaner.

• In the kitchen, a regular and thorough wiping with a routine cleaner  will keep tile

backsplashes and walls spotless.

Countertops

Tile’s durable beauty makes it an excellent surface choice for countertops and will survive years of use with style.

As with other surfaces, simply avoid abrasive cleansers and clean up spills immediately. To remove a dried spill,

use a sponge, hot water and a routine or stain specific cleaner. Most stains can be removed with a nylon-bristle

brush or nylon-scouring pad. Also, as food may come in contact with your countertop, make sure the cleaner you

use does not leave a harmful residue.

Notes:  As always, never mix bleach or ammonia with any other cleaning fluid. Always use pH-neutral cleaners. Acid-based cleaners may damage both tile and grout.

Always follow manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular tile or stone installation.