Lessons In Tile Installation

We’ve removed and replaced many tile floors and walls in the last ten years and it seems like we’ve learned a lesson each time. From these lessons, we’ve developed and cultivated our own thoughts and techniques learned a new for  tile installation. If you’re thinking about having tile installed or replaced in a room, let us share with you some ideas and insights.

The first step in the process of tiling a room is to identify what your floor tile will be used for; is it a wet area, a mudroom, a dining room or an outdoor patio? There are different types of tile that are more appropriate for different areas. For example, if you want to install tile outdoors in Denver, your best choice is porcelain. Porcelain has a very low water absorption rate, meaning that it will not break in freeze/thaw environments. Some natural stone, on the other hand, is porous and will absorb water, so when it freezes it has the potential to break. Natural stone is a great choice for your kitchen floor because of its natural feel and warm look. When it is sealed well, it will repel even the most stubborn of stains, such as coffee or grape juice. Glazed ceramic tile is suitable for floors, as well as shower walls, because the glaze repels water and will stand up indefinitely. However, you wouldn’t want to use ceramic in a steam shower because the water vapor will penetrate the grout joints and the ceramic will absorb the water and lead to issues that just aren’t very much fun to talk about, let alone deal with or replace. Your best choice for a steam shower is porcelain, but that is only after the steam shower has been properly water proofed and prepared.

After you’ve decided where you want to install tile and the best materials for the location, it’s time to visit our showroom and select your new tile. We will determine the appropriate underlayment and subsurface preparation and provide you with a proposal. Colors, patterns, price, quantity etc. all need to be discussed. It’s our job to work with you and ensure that your project ends up being exactly what you’re looking for.

When the tile has arrived, it’s time to get started. Let’s say we’re installing new Travertine in your kitchen and you currently have sheet vinyl installed over a plywood subfloor. We’ll carefully remove and dispose of the sheet vinyl and staple wire lath to the plywood subfloor and begin installing the Travertine. The wire lath installation method involves troweling thin-set (a specialized type of concrete) over the wire lath and then installing the tile on top of the thin-set. The pudding-like thin-set will encompass the wires of the wire lath when the thin-set is still wet –forming a mechanical bond. The thin-set will also penetrate the pours of the back of the Travertine–another mechanical bond. After the thin-set has cured, it’s permanently bonded to the wire and the tile, and of course, to itself thus creating a very strong “system” that will easily last for the lifetime of the space it’s installed in.

The next day, after the thin-set has cured, we’ll come in and wash and grout the tile. Within about 72 hours of grouting, we will return and apply sealer to the entire floor including the grout joints. Sealer is not “bullet proof”, but it’ll buy you time when spills occur–clean the mess quickly and your floor will be as good as new.

Deciding what kind of floor you want, and where, can be a big decision. We want this process to go as smoothly and effortlessly as possible, and on top of that, for you to absolutely love the end product. So leave the technicalities of tile installation to us, the experts; but do be sure to spend time researching the tile you’re looking for. Contact us today to get started on making your tile dreams a reality. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

*Please Note: Some older floor coverings may contain asbestos which you should not disturb.  There are safe alternatives to deal with this, and will be happy to help you figure it out

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