Top 10 Factors for a Quality Tile Installation

When working on a tile installation, it is extremely important to focus on the factors that make it an installation that will last. Here are the top 10 factors for a quality tile installation from the CTEF: 1. Work with Skilled Tile Installers OK, this one factor might be a little obvious, but how do you know somebody is skilled? One way to tell is to see whether or not they are a Certified Tile Installer. In our industry, this is a great measure to understand if the worker is informed on the best practices and requirements in tile installation. 2. Incorporate Movement Accommodation Joints in the Tile Installation As the CTEF states, "All tile installations, both residential and commercial, will move with temperature and humidity variations. To accommodate this expansion and contraction activity, the use of expansion joints per the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation method EJ171 are essential and required in all tile work. As stated in the Handbook, “The design professional or engineer shall show the specific locations and details of movement joints on project drawings.” Be certain that all parties involved in the project including the architect, the specifier, the designer, the salesperson and the tile installer know and understand the critical use and placement of expansion joints." 3. Work Only with Premium Materials to Install Tile The materials you use are just as important as the methods you use to install them. Quality materials last longer and provide more durability in your installations. Always read the manufacturer recommendations for installation and ensure the materials you use are meant for each other. D&B Tile delivers only high-quality materials from tile to thinset and more. Each of our vendors are put through a rigorous selection process to vet their quality. And all of our tile experts can help make sure you're using the right materials for the job. 4. Confirm that Tile Installation Surfaces are Flat Prior to installation, you should check the flatness of the subfloor. If the surface is not flat enough, you'll need to address that before starting your installation. Otherwise, the quality of the installation will be compromised. 5. Verify that the Tile Installation Surface is Rigid According to CTEF, "Ceramic tile installations require a stiff or rigid surface. In some cases, installations, including natural stone, may require additional subflooring, wall studs or bracing. Realize that the substrate for natural stone tile installations must be twice as rigid as that for a ceramic or porcelain tile installation. "Tile contractors should always follow the applicable recommendations of the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation, the ANSI (American National Specifications for the Installation of Ceramic Tile) as well as the recommendations of the manufacturer’s products being used in the project." 6. Minimum Mortar Coverage Must Be Provided Acording to industry standards, you must have the following minimum mortar coverages:
  • 80% mortar coverage in dry areas
  • 95% mortar coverage for natural stone
  • 95% mortar coverage in wet areas
  • 95% mortar coverage in outdoor areas
Remember, this means on both the surface area and the back of the tile. 7. Ensure that Tile Site Conditions Are Controlled Follow these recommendations from CTEF, "Jobsite conditions can have a serious impact on the success or failure of a tile installation. ANSI A108.02 section 4.1 (excerpted) states, “Installation work shall not proceed until satisfactory conditions are provided.” Many products used in tile installations require that the temperature be maintained within a specific range and duration. Be certain to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure a long-lasting installation. In addition, insist on a mockup so you can view a sample of the actual installation which includes items such as tile color/variation, grout joint size/color and gauge the variation from tile to tile which ensures that the final installation meets your expectations." 8. Use Only the Correct Tile Installation Methods and Materials As mentioned earlier, the quality of product is extremely important but it is also extremely important to ensure you are using the right methods and materials for the job. Each is unique after all. Visit with your D&B Tile rep to discuss the project specifics and we'll be happy to walk you through the appropriate methods and materials for a successful installation. 9. Allow for Adequate Cure Time As the CTEF says, "Allow a tile installation to cure sufficiently per the manufacturer's recommendations before exposing it to moisture, traffic, temperature changes or overlaying products. Otherwise, it will not perform as a quality tile installation. The amount of time required will vary based on site conditions and the specific materials being used." 10. Make Use of Crack Isolation Membranes as Needed Crack isolation membranes are a necessary addition to any subfloor that is exposing cracks in the surface. This will prevent the cracks from growing further and ultimately protect your installation from cracking. We offer many crack isolation membranes as well as noise suppression membranes from Protecto-Wrap that will ensure your installation is not only safe, but also quiet.