Helpful hints and tiling tips

Plreae click on one of the below for help.

1. Getting started.
2. Preparation.
3. Tiling onto Plasterboard/plaster walls.
4. Tiling onto a Sand Cement rendered wall.
5. Waterproofing a shower.
6. Tiling over existing tiles.
7. Tiling a concrete floor.
8. Tiling onto floor boards.
9. Tiling onto Chipboard flooring.
10. Under-tile heating systems.

And please remember, if the advice you need isn’t here, call any of our stores and we’ll be only to glad to help.


1: Getting Started. Back to top

Materials
1. Your tiles.
2. Tile adhesive.
3. Grout.
4. Tile spacers
5. Preparation products (if required).


Tools Required
1. Clean buckets.
2. Clean sponges.
3. Pencil/ wax crayon.
4. Tape measure.
5. Steel rule.
6. Spirit level.
7. Straight edge 2 meter approx.
8. Adhesive trowel/ spreader.
9. Grout float/ squeegee.
10. Tile scriber.
11. Tile file.
12. Tile saw.
13. Tile cutter.
14. Wet saw (for larger jobs).
15. Wooden batons 1.8 meter plus.

2: Preparation. Back to top

Preparation is the single best way of using your time to give you the desired finish to your tiling.

The finished surface of your tiles will only be as good as the surface you are fixing your tiles onto.

Take time to remove all wallpaper. Any loose flaky paint should be removed.

Existing tiles can be tiled over, just make sure that they are securely fixed to the wall/ floor and thoroughly cleaned and follow the recommendations in chapter 6. If tiles have to be removed, ensure all old adhesive is removed to leave a flat surface to tile onto.

Once all old coverings have been removed, check the surface for any damage. This should be rectified before tiling starts. If you tile over these areas the tiles will be hollow and easily damaged, or leave an uneven surface.

Check the surface with your straight edge to see how flat it is before tiling. If you can see a 3 to 4mm gap behind the straight edge this will have to be levelled before tiling.

Concrete floors can be levelled using a self levelling compound for larger areas, or a floor smoothing compound for smaller areas. For small isolated areas the tile adhesive can even be used.

Any damaged plasterboard should be replaced and all edges should be supported (if the boards can move, the tiles can be pushed of). Any damaged/crumbling plaster should be removed and re-plastered. This should be left for at least one month to dry out before tiling. Sand cement rendered walls can be repaired using a fast setting render, or for small isolated areas the tile adhesive can be used, this should be left to dry before tiling.

For any surfaces that are very absorbent/dusty once cleaned, an acrylic primer should be used.

Recommended Materials:
Floor self leveller:
Floor smoother:
Floor tile adhesives:
PCI Periplan 2 - 30 mm.
Sontex Floor Smoothing Compound 0 - 6 mm.
Sontex Single Part Rapid flex.
Sontex RS2.
PCI Carraflex.
PCI Timberflex.

Wall Render:
Wall Tile Adhesives:
PCI Polycrete.
Sontex W.T.A.
PCI Superfix White (ready mixed).
Sontex C.T.A (ready Mixed).

3: Tiling onto Plasterboard/ Plaster Walls. Back to top

Take a 2 meter approx. piece of straight timber and lay it on the floor. Place a number of your chosen tiles along the top edge of the timber with a tile spacer between each tile. Mark the edge of each tile on the baton, this can be repeated for the “long” edge for the tiles as well see diagram. These can now be used as a tiling gauge for setting out your wall.

Unless you are very lucky no lines in a house are horizontal/ vertical. To make life easier for yourself you need to fix a horizontal baton to the wall to start tiling from. To avoid small difficult cuts you should try to keep the top and bottom tiles as large as possible. Using your tiling gauge work out how the tiles will fit into the vertical height of the area to be tiled see diagram. Once the height of the first tile has been worked out you now need to fix a baton at this height, and using your spirit level, ensure that the baton is horizontal.

Once this has been carried out, find the centre of the area to be tiled. With your tile gauge make sure that there are no small cuts around windows, doors electrical sockets etc. (sometimes this cannot be avoided). Once this has been carried out mark on the wall your starting point see diagram.

You are now ready to start tiling.
Only spread out as much adhesive, as you can use in 20 minutes. Starting from your mark, place the tile firmly into the bed of adhesive. With every new tile, place firmly into the adhesive bed, touching the previous tile. Once placed push the tile away until a tile spacer can be fitted into the space. Repeat this applying fresh adhesive as required.

When you reach the end of the row, place the tile to be cut face down, partly overlapping your last tile and butting up to the adjacent wall. Mark the top and bottom of the tile allowing for the tile spacers see diagram.

Using your tile cutter, line up the two marks and score the tile, then apply pressure and break the tile. Repeat this process until the whole area is completed. Periodically, remove any adhesive from the surface of the tiles with a damp sponge.

The bottom baton can be removed after 12 hours approximately and the last tiles applied. Try to only work in one direction I.e left to right.

Once the entire area has been completed and the tiles are firm, make sure that all the joints are clean.You are now ready to grout.

Mix the grout up in a clean bucket to a smooth lump free consistency, ( there are no hard and fast rules for the exact amount of water to use, simply mix to your own working requirements, to wet and the grout will run out of the joints, to stiff and you will not be able to work the grout into the joints). Apply the grout at 90 o to each joint see diagram, then remove excess with the grout float/ squeegee at 45 o to the joint ( this allows a nice flush finish to the joint).

Once the grout surface is firm to the touch, it is ready to wash off with a clean sponge and water. Firstly, in a circular motion with the sponge damp , wipe across a small area half/ one square meter. Once you have done this, clean out the sponge, wring out excess water and wipe across this area using a clean side of the sponge for each pass until this whole area has been completed. Simply repeat this procedure until the whole tiled area is done. Care should be taken not to use too much water when washing off, as you will simply wash the grout out of the joint.

Once the whole area has dried, usually overnight. Wash the tiles down again once or twice to remove any grout residue from the surface of the tiles.

Once you've done this, and the area has dried out you can finish of around the edges with the appropriate coloured silicone sealant.

Recommended Materials:
Wall Tile Adhesives:

Sontex W.T.A.
PCI Superfix White (ready mixed).
Sontex C.T.A (ready Mixed).


Wall tile grouts:

PCI Aquafug white.
Sontex White grout.


Silicone sealant:

Sontex Silcone sealant.
PCI Silcoferm.


4. Tiling onto Sand, Cement or Rendered Walls. Back to top

This is basically the same as tiling to plaster/ plasterboard. For the best results onto cement based backgrounds, a cement (powder) adhesive is the best. If the surface is particularly absorbent it may have to be primed before tiling (wet your fingers and sprinkle some water on the surface, if it dries in instantly it will need primed with “primer G”).

Recommended Materials:
Acrylic primer:
PCI Primer G.

Wall Tile Adhesives:
Sontex W.T.A.
PCI Superfix White (ready mixed).
Sontex C.T.A (ready Mixed).

Wall tile grouts:
PCI Aquafug white.
Sontex White grout.

Silicone sealant:
Sontex Silcone sealant.
PCI Silcoferm.

5. Waterproofing a shower. Back to top

This is something that could save you thousands of pounds. Most people have never heard of, nor thought of doing this simply little job before tiling their showers. Unfortunately most people have leaking showers and don’t know about it until it has caused significant damage to the walls behind. Simply carry out your preparation as per chapter 2, and follow the simple steps below.

Everything required to waterproof a standard shower is contained in the PCI Lastogum kit.

Firstly prime the whole area to be tanked, applying the primer, liberally with a clean brush and allow to dry. While the primer is drying, cut the blue and white corner tape to fit each corner of the shower cubicle (this is one of the most important parts of the tanking system, as this is where most movement will happen. Movement is what causes the shower to leak).

Using a clean brushing, starting with the corners, apply the Lastogum liquid (it is like thick emulsion paint to use). Apply a strip approximately 100 mm each side of the corner, on to this place the corner tape, with the centre band of the tape running down the corner (the Lastogum acts as the glue for the corner tapes). Once you have placed the corner tape, use a clean paint scraper or similar to push the tape into the Lastogum and remove any air that may have been trapped (this is the only time consuming bit of the job. Once all the corners have been done simply fill in the areas in between with last gum, you are trying to get approximately 1mm of Lastogum per coat.

Allow the first coat to become touch dry (1-2 hours approx.) then apply the second coat this time painting over the corner tape. Ideally paint at right angles to the first coat to get a more even coverage.

Allow this to dry over night and tile as per chapter 3.

Recommended Materials:

PCI Lastogum Kit.  

6. Tiling Over Existing Tiles. Back to top

Tiling over existing tiles is exactly the same as any other tiling job. As with all other jobs preparation is the key. Ensure that all the existing tiles are cleaned down thoroughly. Remove any tiles which are loose or sound hollow when tapped. Theses tiles can either be refitted before tiling, or simply level of the area with a render/ the tile adhesive. Which ever method is used, allow the repair to dry out before starting to re-tile the area. If a Cement (powder) based adhesive is to be used the existing tiles will have to be primed with an epoxy primer before tiling. Simply follow the advice in chapter 3/7.

Recommended Materials:


Epoxy primer: PCI Epoxygrund 303.

Floor Adhesives: Sontex Single Part Rapidflex.
Sontex RS2 + Grout Adhesive Admix.

Wall Adhesives: WTA White. PCI Superfix White.
Sontex Acrylic.

Floor grout: PCI Fastrack Grey.
Sontex Grey Grout.

Wall Grout: PCI Aquafug.
Sontex White grout.

7. Tiling a Concrete Floor. Back to top

Prepare the floor as per chapter 2. Take a 2 meter approx. piece of straight timber and lay it on the floor. Place a number of your chosen tiles along the top edge of the timber with a tile spacer between each tile. Mark the edge of each tile on the baton, this can used as a tiling gauge for setting out your floor.

Look at the shape of your room and look for any awkward corners ( you do not want to tile yourself into any of these), find the main trafficked areas and any long straight runs, this would be best used as your reference to work from.

Once you have decided which wall you would like to use as your reference (this may be a straight wall, the centre line of the room, which ever line your eye will pick up on when you enter the room) see diagram, mark the centre of each length of the room. Using your tiling gauge, work from the centre mark to the edge of the room and see what size of cuts you will be left with (ideally you don't want anything under half a tile, although sometimes this can't be helped). Adjust your centre mark accordingly to leave you with equal cuts either side of the room.

Once you have decided on your reference line again mark the centre of this line as per the diagram and using your tiling gauge work back to the wall, this time set out your straight edge at right angles to your reference line to the nearest whole tile, this is where you will start tiling from.

Mix your adhesive as per the recommendations on the bag. Only mix enough adhesive as can be easily used in the open time for the adhesive (again this will be shown on the bag, but will vary greatly depending on temperature), Using the appropriate adhesive spreader (generally 10mm notch size for the floor), spread only as much adhesive as can be used before a “skin” appears on the surface of the adhesive (this can be tested with the tips of your fingers). Starting from your reference point, place your tiles against your straight edge. If you place each tile against the last tile placed, then open up the joint to allow the tile spacer to be placed between the two tiles.

Simply repeat this until the whole row has been fitted. For your cut tiles at the edge, measure from the last whole tile to the edge of the room and take away double your spacer width from this size (this will give you an equal joint width at the wall). Ensure that all the tiles are touching the back of your straight edge then tile the area between this row of tiles and the wall using the same technique as above. Once this has been completed, remove your straight edge and tile the rest of the room. It is important to start from the same side with each row and work in the same direction.

A handy tip is, as work progresses clean of any adhesive from the surface of the tiles/ tile joint, this will make life a lot easier for you when you come to grout the floor.

Once you have tiled the floor allow the tiles to dry thoroughly before starting to grout. As with wall tiling mix the grout as per the recommendations on the bag, with floor grout you can make the mix slightly wetter than for wall tiling. Apply the grout using a clean grout float/ squeegee at right angles to the joint, remove any excess with the same float at 45 o to the joint.

Once the grout surface is firm to the touch, it is ready to wash off with a clean sponge and water. Firstly, in a circular motion with the sponge damp , wipe across a small area half/ one square meter. Once you have done this, clean out the sponge, wring out excess water and wipe across this area using a clean side of the sponge for each pass until this whole area has been completed. Simply repeat this procedure until the whole tiled area is done. Care should be taken not to use too much water when washing off, as you will simply wash the grout out of the joint.

The following day give the floor another wash with clean water to remove any grout residue.

Recommended Materials:


Floor Adhesives:

Sontex Single Part Rapidflex.
Sontex RS2.


Floor grout:

PCI Fastrack Grey.
Sontex Grey Grout.


8. Tiling onto floor boards. Back to top

The most important part of tiling onto any timber floor is preparation. Generally speaking, there is to much movement in timber floor boards to tile directly onto them. As such they should always have a minimum of a 9 mm exterior grade plywood screwed onto the floor boards, the screws should be placed at 150-200 mm centres. Once this has been carried out the floor can then be tiled using the same technique as for concrete flooring (chapter 7) only using an adhesive recommended for timber. Do not prime the plywood with a PVA primer.

Recommended Materials:


Floor Adhesives:

PCI Timberflex
Sontex Single Part Rapidflex.


Floor grout:

PCI Fastrack Grey.


9. Tiling onto Chipboard Flooring. Back to top

It is possible to tile directly to chipboard flooring, on the condition that you can achieve the following:

The flooring must have been fitted for a period of time, in a finished, heated house to allow the flooring to dry out and become stable. The chipboard must be supported by joists at not more than 300 mm centres. The boards must be screwed to the joists at not more than 300 mm centres. The board joints should be glued. If there is any noticeable movement in the floor, tiles should not be fitted directly to the chipboard.


If all of the above can be achieved, the green top surface of the chipboard should be scored using a Stanley knife before fixing the tiles as described in chapter 7.

Recommended Materials:


Floor Adhesives:

PCI Timberflex


Floor grout:

PCI Fastrack Grey.


10. Under-Tile Heating. Back to top

This guidance should only be used for the Devimat system as supplied by Ceramic Tile Warehouse.

Once the heating mat and sensor has been installed as per the instructions, the easiest method of prepairing the floor for tiling, is to cover the heating mat with a self levelling compound/ floor smoothing compound.

For timber floors the timber should be primed using PCI Primer W, for concrete floors, Primer G should be applied using a clean brush, applying the primer liberally across the whole area to be tiled, and allowed to dry.

The floor smoothing compound should be mixed following the recommendations on the bag then applied evenly across the floor using the flat edge of the adhesive trowel until the heating mat is totally covered. Using your straight edge, feather across the surface to ensure that the surface is flat for tiling to. If a self leveller is used, the leveller should be mixed as per the instructions, poured across the floor and towelled out until the heating matt is totally covered. The leveller will then dry to a flat finish ready for tiling. Once the floor has dried out, the area can be tiled as per chapter 7.

Recommended Materials:


Primers: PCI Primer W.
PCI Primer G.

Floor levellers: PCI Periplan.
Sontex Floor Smoothing Compound

Floor Adhesives: Sontex Single Part Rapidflex.

Floor grout: PCI Fastrack Grey.

   
 

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