Stone (All Types)
Glazed Ceramics (Including glazed porcelain)
Terracotta (extruded unglazed)
Exterior E.g. Patios, Pool Surrounds etc.
Exterior Claddings - Appropriate Products
Finding an Installer
A good tiler and installer is critical in a great finished product. Some tips for finding a reputable installer are:
- Get written quotes. Ensure when you get quotes that you understand exactly what is, and isn't included in the quote. A good installer will normally give you a complete price for the job, including any necessary preparation. If you are unclear, ask questions.
- Ensure the installer that is quoting knows exactly what product you plan to use. Different products (e.g. porcelain, rectified products and stone) will cost more to lay than standard-sized glazed ceramics. If you wish to have matching, or non-standard grout, please ensure that the installer knows prior to quoting.
- The cheapest quote is not always the best. Check inclusions and exclusions.
- Ask for references. Installers may also have photos of previously completed work.
- Most importantly - Check that the installer has a current QBCC licence. If the contractor is not licensed, you will NOT be eligible for QBCC representation in the event that problems occur with the installation. Licensed contractors are required to give a 6 year guarantee on all work. To check if licences are current go to www.qbcc.qld.gov.au and look up the License Search page.
Make sure that you receive a paid-in-full invoice on completion of the job.
Tips to Tiling Your Own Floor
DIY tiling can be made easier with some planning and reading beforehand. If you’re tiling the walls as well, it’s best to tile your floor first. Once your floor preparations are complete, here are five tips to help create a beautiful tiled space:
1. Mix tiles from different boxes. With ceramic and porcelain tiles there will be variations within batches, (Australian Standards allow for this variation, it is not considered a fault of the product, it is a naturally occurring phenomenon of the manufacturing process). Batch variation occurs between different runs of the same product, including runs of different sizes of the same product. Batch variation includes both size and colour. Batches run out, even though the product may be ongoing, so ensure you order enough initially that you can complete your project with the same batch. Variations within a batch will be more minor and include both size and colour so by mixing your tiles from several different boxes you ensure that any shade variation is evenly spread across the job. Remember that with natural stone there is variation piece by piece, which is naturally occurring.
2. Know where to lay your first tile. This is a very important step. Ensure you have carefully measured the space you are tiling and mark a line through the centre of the room in a grid-like pattern, then work outwards. Dry lay tiles without gluing first to see how they fit. For example, if the floor tiles are a larger style they may be moved away from the grid lines to ensure your floor and wall tiles line up seamlessly. Tiles must not be butt jointed. Grout joint size should be determined by Australian Standards, manufacturer’s specifications and required visual aesthetic.
3. Apply your glue correctly. Ensure the glue is appropriate for the tile and the substrate. Mix the adhesive and spread the glue using the correct notched trowel. The type of tile determines which trowel should be used (refer Australian Standards). When applying glue, use enough pressure to make even beads and apply enough glue to lay 2-3 tiles at a time, ensuring a minimum of 90% glue coverage on each tile. Use a flat edge trowel to butter the back of tiles more than 400mm in size (this would include, for example, 300x600mm tiles).
4. Lay carefully. Use marked lines to lay your first row of tiles and don’t cover your lines with glue as these are your guide. Place each tile firmly into the adhesive with a backward-forward movement to ensure adhesion and to eliminate and prevent air pockets/voids underneath. Watch the spread of glue. Work along the room in sections ensuring you don’t spread out too much glue at any one time. Scrape up the excess glue before it dries. There should not be any lumps. The amount of glue should be consistent under all laid tiles. Do not use glue to get fall for water run-off, ensure substrate is sloped or use a screed mix prior to tiling.
5. Spacers are your friend. Spacers keep the gaps consistent and your tiles nice and straight with even grout lines. Standing the spacers upright on their corners makes them easy to remove when the glue dries. Use trims for edge protection of tiles. Areas such as hallways are where it’s recommended you use tile trims to create a clean border between the tiles and other surfaces, also around perimeters of outdoor tiled areas, and external vertical corners. Use the appropriate grout (sanded wide joint, flexible thin joint or epoxy) for the situation and the tile.
Wet area waterproofing – refer Australian Standards
Expansion joint placement – refer Australian Standards
Disclaimer: This post contains general tiling information only. If you need advice, contact one of our team today we are ready to help you and answer any of your questions.
Floor Tiles De-mystified
Are you looking at your tired bathroom or kitchen and dreaming of something newer, or perhaps you have decided to rip up that old carpet through the house and create a bright tiled space? Maybe embarking on a fresh new house but not really sure where to start? So many tiles, so many choices, how many do I need, how do I measure the space, how do I decide which type goes where?
- Part 1 - Assessing your area & purpose
- Part 2 - Measuring areas
- Part 3 - Tile sizes and layout
- Part 4 - Rectified v's pressed edge
- Part 5 - Natural Stone v's unglazed v's glazed tiles
- Part 6 - Stone look v's wood look v's patterned
- Part 7 - Tile finishes (and can I mix them up)
- Part 8 - DIY or Tradie
- Part 9 - Glues, grouts and use of trims
What is a porcelain tile?
Porcelain tiles are merely a form of ceramic tile. Whilst the preperation of both types of tiles is similar, it is the pressing and firing process which results in the porcelain tiles having the superior characteristics of being much stronger and less porous with a water absorption rate of 0.5% or less.
What are the main types of porcelain tile?
a. Polished, honed or semi polished: as the name suggests, an elaborate technique is used to finish the tile after the firing process. Generally, this process means that the tile must be sealed, unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer. A polished surface is not actually a glaze, so do not be fooled into thinking that polished porcelain is glazed.
b. Glazed porcelain: various techniques are employed by different manufacturers to glaze a tile. Once a porcelain tile has been glazed no further treatment is required in the sense that these tiles are considered non-porous.
c. Matt, or natural porcelain: generally speaking, this type of product comes out of the kiln in this form and undergoes no further processing. Normally, sealing is not required.
d. Rock finish or structured porcelain: This type of porcelain is extremely textured and quite often used for external purposes. Normally sealing is not required.
Sealing Porcelain Tiles:
a. First and foremost, you should ask your tile merchant whether the product you have purchased requires sealing. You then need to determine what kind of sealer is best suited to your porcelain tile. Generally, the sealing of porcelain tiles is seen as an aid to the prevention of staining. As a rule, due to low levels of porosity found in porcelain tiles, it is generally accepted that a penetrating sealer be used for this purpose. Normally it is polished porcelain that requires sealing, as the process of polishing can cause minute surface micro pores.
b. Pre sealing, prior to grouting, should generally be carried out where dark coloured grout is to be used on porous tiles. This will ensure that the grout colour does not bleed into the tile. In some instances, you may wish to pre-seal dark porcelain tiles where light grout is to be used.
Cleaning Wax Residue From Your Tiles:
In the production process, wax is often added to the surface of the tile to protect it, to keep it clean and to keep it safe from scratching when in transit. There are various effective products on the market to clean this residue from the surface of your tiles and you should ask your merchant which product is best suited to your porcelain.
Laying Your Porcelain Tiles:
In all cases, the appropriate type of adhesive must be used. The substrate must also be adequate for the material to be used, that is, the flatness of the surface is paramount. If not, tile lipping may occur. In the case of floors, uneven surfaces may be leveled out with the use of a floor leveler. Your tile fixer will be able to guide you through any concerns you might have, so don't be afraid to ask questions.
Cleaning and Maintenance:
a. Once again, it is best to ask your supplier what kinds of products should be used to clean and maintain your porcelain. Significantly, different types of stains may require different cleaning products and/or cleaning procedures. If you are unsure of what type of cleaner is most suited to your porcelain tiles, it is recommended that a spot test be carried out with a general purpose cleaner in the first instance. Your tile merchant should be able to assist with the selection of the most suitable type of cleaner.
b. With regard to maintenance and sealing, a good quality sealer should last 5 to 10 years. This can be ascertained from the manufacturer of the sealant used.
During manufacturing, this is a process whereby porcelain tiles are cut, generally with a watered diamond blade, to ensure that all tiles are consistent in size.
Cost of Laying
In many cases, the end result of laid porcelain requires a very straight and level surface or substrate . Some tilers will therefore charge a higher rate for laying and leveling of porcelain, if the substrate is uneven due to the extra work and material required.
It is recommended that a qualified tile layer be used for any tile laying job.