10 tips on how to become a better tiler
1. Apply your cement grooves in one direction, allowing air to escape when installing tiles.
The cement cannot be applied any old way. Too much mortar would prevent it from drying and keep your floor from being level. On the other hand, not enough mortar will not ensure proper tile adhesion.
Using the proper amount of cement, take a notched trowel to spread the mortar paste in the same direction on your substrate. This way, air will be able to get out when you will put your tiles on the cement. Otherwise, the grooves which intersect would form air pockets which would prevent your tiles from sinking well into the paste.
2. Choose the correct wheel for your tile cutter.
If you don’t have a water saw, then a tile cutter is indispensable for installing tiles. But without the adequate wheel for your ceramic, your tool loses all its value!
The choice of the wheel is very important. Indeed, it will allow to ensure precise and straight cuts and also ensures the longevity of the wheel.
You should choose the right size of your wheel in accordance with the type of ceramic you are using. For example, for a porcelain stoneware, the most adequate wheel will be the 8mm one (see the table below, found on the back of every Rubi wheel box).
If you have any doubt about the type of your ceramic, you should know that it is generally written on each box of tiles that you buy, no matter the country of manufacture. If you threw the box away, contact us, it will be a pleasure to help you.
3. Choose the correct blade for your water saw.
If you have a water saw, then you will also have to choose the right blade.
Like the wheel for the tile cutter, the blade has to be chosen in accordance with the type of your ceramic but also with the frequency of your use and the model of your water saw.
4. Clean your blade to extend its longevity.
The first thing you need to know is that when you buy a water saw, you should also buy the blade that fits the best with your project. Secondly, you will have to buy an abrasive block to clean your blade.
The block will work like a magic charm! When your blade won’t cut anymore and you think that it is finished and unusable, your little abrasive block can give it a new life, or at least, increase its longevity.
For this, you just have to install the blade on the water saw and simply run it quickly through the block. The diamonds become free and clean, allowing abrasion once again.
5. Moisten your substrate and ceramic before installing it, in order to not “burn” your paste, creating better adhesion.
Depending on your mortar, think about moistening your floor or walls, as well as your tiles with a well wrung sponge. At the same time, this will remove excess dust. Doing this will prevent the substrate from absorbing the water from the adhesive. It also allows for a better grip, especially when you have to use a thin-bed mortar, like for Schluter waterproof membranes (⅛ thick).
Dampening your tiles makes your cuts easier!
6. Allow the plywood boards room to expand.
If you choose to install your ceramic tiles on plywood, be careful not to put the sheets too close to each other in the second layer.
You have to leave 1/8” between each sheet and 1/4” between plywood and the wall to allow for expansion due to humidity changes. Indeed, air is very dry in the winter because of the heating, and humid in the summer.
7. Use foam rod for movements and expansion joints.
For expansion joints, the caulking doesn’t have to be in contact with the floor or the wall; this risks creating micro-cracks.
For this, you need to put a foam rod at the bottom before applying your silicone. This will allow joints to be more elastic and remain in place despite movement, without even changing the silicone’s appearance.
8. For an outdoor installation, make expansion joints every 8 to 12 feet (every 100 sq.ft)
Making expansion joints outside is imperative because of temperature changes.
In Quebec, the extreme seasonal temperature differences cause extensive expansion and contraction of materials, which can make joints or even ceramic crack if there aren’t proper expansion joints in place.
Employing expansion joints every 100 sq.ft. should prevent this problem.
9. Use Pro Grout Ease for the grout installation to make the maintenance of your ceramic or textured stones easier.
Pro Grout Ease is a Proma product which make grout installation easier while protecting tiles. It dries quickly and is 100% water soluble. It allows for easy cleaning in case of residues, and prevent the grout from staying on the tiles’ surface.
This product is extremely convenient when you have very textured tiles or porous natural stones that grout could stain.
10. Install waterproof membranes on each wall of your shower.
In a shower, waterproof membranes don’t only help to trap water but steam too.
Frequent hot showers cause an accumulation of humidity. The water vapour can pass through the joints to the substrate, creating condensation, since one side is wet and hot, and the other, dry and cold. Conditions like this are ideal for growth of mold.
That is why we always recommend to put membranes on each shower’s wall, and not only where there is a direct contact with the water.