Laying the tiles correctly is indispensable to guarantee a perfect end result in both technical and aesthetic terms. These tips, based though they are on years of experience, are purely indicative, and the specific responsibility for proper installation should be entrusted to professional tile layers.
To get the best out of the characteristics of the material, the following suggestions should be followed when laying tiles on floors:
Make sure the base is suitable for the use of the flooring, especially when it is to withstand heavy loads. Expansion joints should be provided for, which are necessary for large surfaces, respecting the structural joints of the building.
Do not place the material in water before laying.
Spread 3 – 4 square metres of the material on the ground, taking the tiles from different boxes to check the overall effect.
The tiles can be laid either with glue or with mortar, leaving minimum joints of 2-3 mm and using spacing crosses. If the glue laying system is used (suitable for areas subject to high foot traffic or the passage of heavy loads), the surface must be perfectly flat so that the tiles can be fixed securely to the base.
For the choice of the adhesive, and for applying the adhesive, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.Take the tiles from different boxes in order to mix them.
If it is necessary to cut the tiles, do not mark them with pens, especially permanent markers. If the tiles are to be laid with mortar, tap the material until all the cavities and air bubbles have completely disappeared from the mortar and until liquid cement comes up through the spaces between the tiles.
CUTTING AND MAKING HOLES
For particular types of workmanship, use suitable, professional tools, always checking their cutting capacity in advance and replacing worn parts when necessary. For precision cutting, use a traditional damp cutter or tile cutting tool. To make holes, use a water grinder for porcelain stoneware.
To avoid exposing the tiler to potentially damaging dust, the ceramic material should not be cut dry.
GROUTING THE JOINTS
When laying tiles with traditional adhesives, grout the floor after 24/48 hours, or after 4 hours if rapid drying adhesives are used.
If coloured sealants are to be used, use only ready-prepared products, following the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. Cement grouts in tone-on-tone shades are to be used, and it is advisable to avoid light-coloured grouts on dark materials and vice-versa: in such cases, a test should be carried out on a few tiles before laying.
Grout small areas at a time, using a rubber-coated spatula, removing excess amounts with sponges and cloths dampened with clean water, or use specific equipment to remove the excess grout while it is still damp.
CLEANING AFTER LAYING
After the laying and grouting operations, the floor must be washed carefully to remove any residue. Clean a few square metres at a time, using any anti-scaling detergent, except for products containing hydrofluoric acid, as established by the EN 14411 standard, suitably diluted in water. Rinse several times with clean water, using a suction cleaner to remove excess water.
Once the floor is perfectly clean and dry, it should be protected with PVC and PLURIBALL sheets to avoid damage during the finishing works on the construction site. Wait at least 48-72 hours before walking on the floor as normal.
Porcelain stoneware is a low-maintenance material that does not require particular attention. How and how often it is cleaned will depend on the use and extension of the flooring.
For effective maintenance, it is advisable not to let dirt settle on the surface for too long, and to use detergents specifically for the use of the flooring and the main kind of dirt present.
In normal conditions, it is sufficient to use a neutral or alkaline detergent and rinse with clean water. Care must be taken if concentrated chemical products are to be used, and the manufacturer’s instructions must be followed carefully.
For polished materials, especially with a light, even colour, if they are to be used in areas that get dirty easily, it is advisable to apply a protective treatment, to make simple maintenance even easier.
The treatment is easy to carry out, and must be applied to perfectly clean, dry flooring, using products specifically for porcelain stoneware, following the manufacturer’s indications.
These products, on the pack of which it must specifically be stated that they are suitable for “Porcelain Stoneware”, are sold by numerous companies and are easily found. It is advisable to avoid using general, universal products, suitable, for example, for granite, marble, stone, cotto, etc.
Extraordinary maintenance will be required only in the event of accidents that cause marks and/or soiling due to particular substances that require specific professional detergents to remove them.
Best results are often obtained by using the detergents together with floor washing machines.
This might also be of your interest...
Resistant, modular and on the cutting edge of technology, Coem…