Installation day is coming, know this to prepare
Since you are going to hire experts for the installation of the ceramic flooring you just selected, you must be wondering why you should bother knowing about the technical details of the process. But you need to think ahead, because the flooring process can get quite stressful for you and your family without preparation. . If you’ve never supervised installation before in your life, you have all the more reason to familiarize yourself with the process, so that you can anticipate the things you might need on installation day. This is where we come in.
In this section, we offer you all the information you should know about the flooring process. We hope this will help ensure that the installation process is done smoothly and efficiently.
Let the pros do the job. Now that you’ve selected the ceramic tiles of your choice, and have decided upon the design of your new floor, you will want your floor to be installed perfectly. That’s a job only a seasoned professional can do. Installing a ceramic floor is a difficult, labor intensive and exhausting job.
We strongly recommend you call upon one of our reliable, seasoned, dedicated professional to install your ceramic floor. That way you can be assured of a beautiful, efficient and correct installation. Also, your understanding of the basics of installation will increase your knowledge of the process and enhance your confidence in the professionals working in your home.
Ceramic tile installers are craftsman with time tested skills. Expertise has been handed down from one generation to the next over dozens of centuries, and you will be quite relaxed after hiring such highly skilled help.
The substrate is where it all begins. With time, new types of tiles and manufacturing processes have been developed, but when it comes to installing those tiles, we still use the age-old method of hand-operated tile setting. The method may be ancient, but the materials we use nowadays are definitely advanced and help increase the life of your floor.
Substrate is the tile foundation, or to put it simply, it is the concrete floor beneath your tile floor. It needs to be made even and smooth to facilitate perfect tile setting. The substrate is often prepared with plywood and drywall, besides concrete.
Preparing the substrate is quite a subjective process and different methods are used for different floors. Each substrate has its own unique set of issues; yours included, and is prepared according to industry and manufacturer guidelines. So you can rest assured it’s done to recognized standards.
Firstly, the substrate needs to be cleaned of dirt, moisture and oil to improve adhesiveness.
Next the installers will level the surface of the substrate. This step is self-suggestive. It’s important to provide a strong support base for the tile, and to ensure that the individual tiles will appear flat when installed. If the substrate is not level or flat, the result could be tiles not being set correctly that can cause chipping or cracking when weight is applied.
When high water resistance is needed, the substrate has a waterproofing layer applied to it; for example, in bathrooms, kitchens and exteriors.
Through thick and thin, tile setting has progressed. There are basically two methods of tile settings that are used, one of them, thickset or mud set method, is almost obsolete now.
Thickset or mud set method: In this method, a thick layer of mortar is applied to a waterproofed and steel reinforced substrate. This provided a strong, flat base onto which the tile was installed.
The main disadvantage of this method is that it is an involved and labor-intensive process. An alternative method was searched for – and found.
Thinset method: Today, many tile installers have opted for the industry accepted and more efficient thin set method, where the tile is adhered directly onto a backer board that is nailed to a plywood or concrete substrate using a much thinner layer of mortar.
This backer board is called a cement backer unit (CBU), which provides a supportive and water resistant layer between the porous substrate and the mortar and tile applied on top of it.
The best-laid ceramic floors are planned. Good planning is required before actually starting the tile setting process. And by planning we mean a layout plan is prepared, which shows the dimensions of each room and is instrumental in calculating the amount of tiles and other stuff required. This is basically a virtual simulation of the entire setting process, thereby highlighting all the issues that might be encountered in the process.
It also reveals tight spots where special expertise is required to overcome the problem. And it makes it a lot easier for the professional to work out the strategy for potentially complex areas such as stairs, transitions and cabinets. The installers will also use the layout plan to determine the pattern and orientation of the installed tile.
A chalk line is commonly used to lay down a guide for the installer to work from. This leaves a temporary line that can be used as a straight guide.
Forget point “A”, installers start at point “T”. To get a better idea of how the tiles would fit in your room, a single row or column of tiles is laid directly on the substrate without adhesive.
The next step is to add another row or column, at a right angle to the first, forming the shape of a ‘T’, giving the installer a starting point for their tile setting. Once the installer has determined the correct layout, the next step is to apply the adhesive mortar to the substrate.
Next, grout comes into play. Grout is not applied right after the setting of tiles. The tiles are left for 12 to 24 hours to cure, and then the process of applying grout is started.
Grout is available in a wide range of colours, and in the following forms:
Sanded grout is commonly used for grout joints that are wider than 1/8th of an inch. This type of grout joint is typically used with floor tile because it helps strengthen tile joint and it will not sag after it is cured.
Unsanded grout is used with narrow grout joints typically found with wall tile and many natural stone installations.
How long before you can walk on your new floor? If you are already wondering about this question, let us tell you that you need to wait for at least 24 hours before you can walk on your new floor. This is how long it takes for the mortar and grout to cure; thereby making sure you don’t ruin your flooring the first time you walk on it!
Sometimes it take even greater precautions; such as mopping the floor daily to prevent the grout from cracking, pulling moisture from the underlying mortar, or curing unevenly.
Congratulations! You just completed learning how your brand new ceramic flooring will be professionally installed.
What to know and do before installation day
Furniture is first on your to do list This goes without saying, but we’ll say anyways. Remove all furniture and other objects and materials from the areas where the installation will take place. Some installers will move your furniture, but there may be an additional charge for doing so.
Take care before moving cabinets and empty the contents of china cabinets, closets and the like.
Be aware that the area of installation must be climate controlled (heated or air conditioned). Indoor humidity should be maintained between 45-65%.
Make a decision on your old floor covering. Your old floor covering will have to be taken up and disposed of, and so we recommend that you check with us about the cost and the method of disposal.
If you decide to to remove your present floor covering, do it at least one day prior to installation to allow for cleanup and floor preparation. If removing old carpet, please leave tack strips in place and pull the staples out of the floor from the original pad.
Now turn your attention to the trim. Moldings and baseboards have to be removed for installation. You might ask your installer to take care of this at an additional charge. Plus they don’t claim any responsibility for any damage done to the baseboards during to the process.
Also, get your painted baseboards, woodwork and paint retouched after the installation is complete.
Next on the list is the subflooring. Ask our professionals if you should get a new subfloor or preparing the existing subfloor would be enough. The professional you hire would take care of the subflooring work for you.
Know this about your doors . While getting your floor installed, you’ll notice that there’s a chance that some of your closet doors, bedroom and basement doors might not clear the new floor and swing free. This is basically the job of the installers to take care of, but at times you might need the service of a carpenter to shave of those extra inches. Some installers will remove doors in order to install the new floor and re-hang them if possible.
Check up on the clean-up. This is something people generally don’t think of beforehand. Installing new ceramic produces waste materials. Usually these materials are collected by your installer and left at your trash collection site. Check with us before the day of installation so you’re clear about the cleanup. There may be added costs to do so.
What to know and do during installation day
Plan on being home. Don’t leave everything in the hands of the professionals; be available because the installation crew will have questions. It’s your home after all. Your presence will insure that the correct ceramic is installed in the right areas. Because it is difficult to estimate the length and circumstances of each job, some installers may not be able to give you an exact time of arrival. We suggest you be flexible and keep in touch with us.
We insist on wall-to-wall safety. Your installers will use a variety of tools and techniques that can make the work area hazardous. Please make sure that your children and pets are kept out of the work area on installation day.
Walk through the job. Be clear with all details, and ask the chief installer as many questions as you want. We recommend, prior to the completion of the installation; you walk through the job with the chief installer.
What to know and do after installation day
There’ll be a lot of dust on the installation day, so if you are allergic, try to establish good ventilation as soon as possible after installation.
When it comes to preparing for your ceramic tile installation, knowing all these steps and precautions will play a monumental role in defining your experience of the tile setting process. We hope your experience is a positive one, and everything goes without a hitch.