Laying & Maintenance of Ceramic & Porcelain

Preparation 

1. Ceramic and porcelain tiles should be installed on a clean, level and rigid floor. If you are unsure about your substrate or have unique requirements, call a Union Tiles consultant to conduct a site inspection and provide an installation specification tailored to your particular requirements. 

2. Inspect the tiles that you have received. Ensure you are happy with the shade and sizing of the tile. All tiles are created from natural materials and thus vary in size and colour from batch to batch as they are produced.  

N.B. Should you not be satisfied with the product received – do not install the tiles and call your Union Tiles consultant immediately. You will not be able to return used goods for credit.  

3. Choose your installation pattern. There are an endless number of options, and the pattern should reflect the overall tone and look you are trying to achieve. Be aware that it is NOT recommended that tiles are laid with a 50% overlap. 

4. Map out your installation. Measure to find the centre of a room on two opposite walls and use these points to snap a chalk line across the room. Do the same on the other walls to create a perpendicular line, and check to make sure they are square. 

5. Dry fit your tile starting from the centre of the room, leaving enough space for grout joints and expansion joints. The goal is to work as many full tiles as possible and avoid unsightly small and/ or skew cuts at the perimeter of the room as seen in the example below.

6. Perform a dry lay of your tiles in another room to understand the different faces of the tile and how to mix the faces to give the desired effect. This means unpacking the tiles from their boxes and placing them on the floor without adhesive. It is recommended to take tiles from several boxes and mix them together. Generally, more expensive tiles will have more faces and will look more 'natural'. Greater care must be taken with cheaper tiles with fewer faces to avoid placing repeated faces together, as shown below:

Installation 

1. Begin laying the tile from the centre of the room, using your reference lines as your guide. 

2. Spread tile adhesive with the notched edge of a trowel. Larger tiles require more adhesive and a larger notched trowel. Take note of the instructions on the tile adhesive bag. Do not exceed the limitations of the open time or the maximum thickness of the adhesive. 

3. As you lay your tile, you can use plastic spacers to help ensure you have straight grout lines. You will remove the spacers before the adhesive dries. For rectangular tiles, it is highly recommended to make use of self-levelling spacers to eliminate lippage, especially when tiling using a staggered layout. 

4. Clean up any excess tile adhesive immediately using the manufacturer’s instructions. 

5. Allow the tile adhesive to set according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Grout the tile. 

6. Provide perimeter and movement joints for all wall and floor tiling. Generally, movement joints between tiles should be provided every 5m internally, and every 3m externally. Floor joints should also follow the movement joints of the slab below. The joint should be 5mm wide, raked out, and be left ungrouted. Use a polyurethane flexible joint sealant to fill joints. 

7. Clean the tile surface with a damp sponge and clean water. 

MAINTENANCE TIPS  

As with any flooring material, general cleaning techniques of porcelain and ceramic tile depend on the surface, texture and condition of the surface. Water and a soft sponge will usually be enough to clean the surface of ceramic and porcelain products. If you clean with something other than water, however, opt for a neutral pH cleaner that will not affect the finish. Ask your Union Tiles consultant about a neutral cleaner. Always test the cleaner on a small area first. If tile or stone is heavily soiled, we recommend that a professional cleaning company determines the proper cleaning technique.