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When installing tile over my newly poured concrete, how long should I wait before installing ceramic tile?
Industry standard is 28 days between concrete pouring and ceramic tile installation. Increasingly tighter timelines in the construction industry make it difficult to schedule the traditional 28-day wait to install tile over newly poured concrete. One successful system consists of a liquid membrane, with crack-isolation properties, that can be applied over concrete that is just three days old. The membrane is followed by a quick-setting mortar that allows tile or stone to be installed the same day.

Can ceramic tile be installed over my existing particle board?
Because ceramic tile is rigid and somewhat brittle, a strong underlayment is the most important part of the tile installation. Interior-grade plywood and particle board are not considered a strong enough floor underlayment. Therefore, we do not recommend laying floor tile over particle board. The particle board should be replaced with a suitable substrate before installing ceramic tile.

Can I use mastic to install my floor tile?
It is preferred to use a thin set mortar for floors, but in residential use, you can use mastic with tile up to 6×6 on floors. If you are installing tile in an area that is going to be exposed to water conditions, use a mastic that is water-proof so that it will hold up well. This is very important. If you are applying floor tile in areas not exposed to water you can use a mastic that is not water-proof. Epoxy adhesives are also available but their drying times can be difficult to control.

Can I install ceramic tile over lightweight concrete or gypcrete?
No. Tile installation is not recommended over gypsum products. The moisture in the setting materials will deteriorate the gypsum cement.

What is the maximum spacing for floor joists under a tile installation?
On standard wood frame construction, joists should be spaced a maximum of 16 inch on center.

Can cement board be installed directly to the floor joists?
No. Cement backer board is not a structural member. It must be installed over an exterior plywood sub floor, 5/8 inch minimum thickness.

Why is it necessary to tape the joints on cement board?
On walls it is definitely necessary. Fiberglass tape and thin set mortar are used to put the tape in place. On floors, it is not normally necessary, but sometimes is recommended depending on the application. Refer to manufacturers and proven industry standard instructions.

When laying tile on my bathroom floor, is it necessary to remove the toilet?
Yes. It gives a much nicer look. If you tile around the toilet instead of removing it, when the toilet needs to be replaced, it will be difficult to find a toilet that will fit in the same space as the old one.

Do all tile setters adhere to the recommendations and standards set by NTCA?
No. The National Tile Contractors Association is not a governing body and the industry allows builders, suppliers and tile setters to follow the minimum guidelines set within the Building Codes. The Building Codes DO NOT properly address the correct methods of ceramic tile and stone installation. Builders and tile setters often get away with less than adequate workmanship.

I’m worried that I might drop something and damage a tile. Is ceramic or porcelain tile a smart choice?
The good news about ceramic and porcelain tile is that in the event a tile is damaged it can be extracted and replaced without a great deal of effort or cost. Usually, there are some extra tiles left over after installation that should be saved just for such an event. Be sure to ask the tile installer for any usable extra tile.

Should I use a sealer on my floor tile?
Ceramic and porcelain tile in either glazed or unglazed form do not need to be sealed. As these products are impervious to moisture and you can not change or alter the appearance or the sheen of a ceramic or porcelain tile by adding a sealer, a sealer in not recommended. However, tile installers often use pre-grout sealers on ceramic tile to keep fine color pigments from embedding into the microscopic pours of the tile during the grouting process. The pre-grout sealer is removed after grouting. Sealers are designed to protect porous products and to provide wearable surfaces to porous products. All natural stone products and cementitious grouts are porous products and should be sealed with a penetrating / impregnating sealer. Some stone products are also sealed with enhancing sealers to deepen and darken the stones’ natural colors.

What effect does tile size have on installation consideration?
With the introduction of large dimensioned rectified tile (24 inch x 24 inch) the quality of the tile has become more an issue, especially as it relates to floor preparation.