How to lay ceramic tiles

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Find out the best way to lay ceramic tiles for superlative results.

Effective installation is crucial for ensuring the durability of ceramic tiling. Proper substrate preparation and the right choice of adhesives and grouts for the type of ceramic tile and specific project conditions (indoor/outdoor, floor/wall, light/heavy traffic, etc.) are critical for achieving a long-lasting installation. It is therefore very important to hire a qualified tile installer and to use products that meet the latest national and international standards.

The place of installation
The intended location of the installation is a very important aspect. The type and intensity of loads that the tiled surfaces will be subjected to during use must be taken into account when choosing the tiles, which must guarantee the necessary durability. The risk of contact with aggressive substances must also be taken into account.

The substrate
The substrate must guarantee the flatness of the tiled surface and must have the necessary mechanical strength to withstand expected loads during the use of the surface, including accidental loads. At the time of installation, the substrate must be clean, flat and adequately set, i.e. dimensionally stable and free from discontinuities and substances liable to inhibit bonding.

Which tiles?
Tiles must be chosen with suitable technical characteristics for the place of use and the anticipated traffic over their entire lifetime. The same applies to thicknesses and sizes.

Narrow joints or wide joints?
Tiles are installed with open or wide joints (the joint width depends on the size of the tile and the specific characteristics of the project) for a number of reasons, most importantly to absorb the stresses that the tiling may be subjected to due to instability of the substrate and dimensional variations caused by temperature changes.

Source: “Discover Italian Ceramic Tiles”. Confindustria Ceramica e Edicer SpA. 2013