Tile installation: Best practices in 3 steps

by Ofentse Sefolo
Tile installation: Best practices in 3 steps

Trends may come and go in terms of tiles, but the basics of tile installation always hold true. Here are the top three things to keep in mind:
1.    Substrate preparation
New surfaces must be allowed the stipulated curing or drying times to ensure that the tile installation is not compromised by drying shrinkage movement in the substrate.

Primers further ensure a good bond onto the substrate before tiling commences. There are various primers which are used to prime smooth or rough, impervious, dusty and powdery surfaces.

2.    Choosing appropriate adhesives
With such a diverse range of wall tiles available, ranging from ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, stone-veneer, glass and more, each with its own characteristics, it is essential that the right adhesive is used to ensure a successful installation. Total compatibility of the adhesive with the tile is essential to ensure an excellent bond.

It is also important to consider the tile colour and where the installation will take place, whether on interior, exterior, suspended surfaces or others, as this affects which adhesive to use and whether an additive is required for enhanced flexibility and/or water resistance.

In the case of large-format tiles, back buttering with a thin coat of adhesive may also be required to ensure full contact and a solid bed of adhesive behind each tile.

3.    Installing tile panel movement joints
Tile panel movement joints should be located in both directions at maximum 5m centres for interior surface bed and wall applications, and maximum 3m centres for suspended applications and exterior applications.

Movement joints should also be located in all internal corners, against obstructions fixed to the structural background, over all discontinuities in building materials, and around any fixtures protruding through the tiled surface such as columns or stairs.

These joints should be a minimum of 5mm wide, and must extend through the tile and tile-adhesive layers to the substrate.

Information courtesy of TAL

Interior versus exterior installations may require different adhesives.

New: Hybrid adhesives
In the current market, polyurethane and silicone sealants or adhesives are typically seen as high-performance products. They deliver significant adhesion, good movement capability and are durable. However, these high-performance products also have their limitations and disadvantages.

Michael Berg, national sales and marketing manager at Den Braven, points out that new-technology, silylated urethane-based hybrids adhesives bring with them exceptional performance characteristics beyond those of conventional polyurethane sealants.

“Silylated polyether-based hybrids provide low viscosity, low glass transition temperature, flexibility over a wide temperature range and low odour. In general hybrids are also free of isocyanates, solvents and silicones,” he states.

Further development of hybrids in some cases sees them superseding the performance of other sealants and adhesives. “The new breed adhesives have increased chemical resistance, in certain cases high and instant tack properties, as well as very good weather resistance,” Berg adds.

“Hybrids polymers have better weathering characteristics than conventional polyurethane sealants, and come without the odour and paintability problems of conventional silicone sealants. These new-generation, high-performance sealants and adhesives provide better adhesion, abrasion resistance and low temperature extrudability. They are also isocyanate, solvent-free systems and generally have a very low VOC content, which allows conformation to the South African Green Building Standards.”

Information courtesy of Den Braven


Caption Main Picture: Tile panel movement joints are vital.

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