Archive for category Installation Tips
Here is a close up of a StarGlass Grout install using the color bronze. Believe it or not this is the Anatolia Bliss Series Cappucinno with a stone enhancer applied to it. The stone enhancer really makes the tile stand out. You can see the glass beads in the grout joints….Way COOL!
You can really see it shimmer!
It is possible to spend only a weekend creating a beautiful tile shower. Everything you need should be easy to find at any hardware store. The first step is to take your old blocks off well so the new slabs can look beautiful. You should wear safety gear such as goggles and gloves while you use a reciprocating saw, which you will need when cutting the edges of your old shower tile and the old backer board. Do not to cut very deep into the wall because there may be plumbing or even wiring behind the tiles.
Using a hammer, crush your old blocks and the backer board. Clear any debris. Put in your new backer board but ensure that the factory edge parallels the edge of the bath pan. Leave some space from the top of the shower pan to the board so no water gets between them.
Apply thin set mortar on the backer board with a trowel. Try to get it as even as possible and then make ridges in your mortar with the trowel’s notched edge. Apply the mortar in small sections so it does not dry while you are placing your tiles.
Once you start placing your slabs, press them evenly but lightly so the mortar is not forced to the sides of each tile. Sort of twist each one into place, embedding them in your mortar. Make sure to use safety gear while cutting the blocks around plumbing and corners. Use a wet saw for this task.
Because it is so important to have the right amount of space in between each tile, place plastic spacers in between them. This is a crucial step when installing a new blocked shower so the tiles are evenly placed. When you are done, let the tiles set for 24 hours. The plastic spacers should remain in place while your slabs are drying.
When the tiles are dry and it is time to grout, press the grout in between them. The best tool to use is a grout float. Scrape the extra grout with the grout float and also use your sponge to wipe the blocks clean. Wiping diagonally will give you the best result. If there is a thin layer of grout on the slabs after it dries you should use some type of soft cloth to get it off.
The last step is to seal the grout by painting sealer on top of it once the grout is dry. Use a sponge brush. Following these step-by-step instructions will give you a beautiful new bath in no time.
Before you install a radiant heat mat over the old bathroom tile and install new tile over the mat, you should check the floor for deflection. This is the maximum amount the floor can move under the anticipated load (you). Ceramic tile is hard and will break or dislodge if the surface bends under the load. Here’s a simple test:
Stand in the middle of the bathroom floor and jump up and down. If the floor moves it has a deflection problem and is not a good candidate for tile over tile installation until you reinforce the sub-floor.
Avoid That Sinking Feeling:
Since you’re tiling over tile, you must plan in advance to avoid making the vanity, toilet and tub look like they’re “sinking” into the new floor. Fortunately, many of the new radiant heating mats are no thicker than the depth of the mortar you would ordinarily apply for most tile installations. Combine this with a tile thickness of ¼ inch and the maximum elevation above the old floor would be only ½ inch. One way to keep the bathroom fixtures from looking swallowed up by the new floor is to remove and reinstall the baseboard. Better yet, why not buy new baseboard tile to complement the new floor? The raised height of the new floor will also require you to adjust the length of the door(s) and possibly install a new threshold.
Remove or re-attach broken tile pieces. If you remove them, wait until the floor has been sanded and thoroughly vacuumed before you fill the spaces with mortar. If any of the tiles have checks wider than 1/8”, you should consider a crack isolation membrane. This membrane is a roll on product that you apply to the old tile. The membrane allows the new floor to move independently of the old. Next, sand the old tile so the mortar has a good bonding surface. A belt sander would ensure a consistent bonding surface. Please make sure you wear a face mask and safety glasses while sanding. The tiles may have been fired with toxic lead glaze. After sanding, vacuum the tile and wipe down with an all purpose cleaner. Pay special attention to the areas untouched by the sander.
Roll out the mats prefabricated to your specifications by the manufacturer. Some radiant systems, like Quickmat, are self-adhesive and require no mortar to secure them to the old tile floor. If you’re re-tiling the only bathroom, keep a board and some scrap 2 x 4’s handy to protect the mats when the bathroom is being used. Throughout the installation process, use a digital ohm meter to check the resistance of the heating mats. This will help you monitor the mats for short circuits. Have your electrician connect the heating mats to the power source and install the thermostat. Depending on the local electrical inspection procedures, you might have to wait until the job is inspected before you start laying tile.
Trowel out the mortar over the mats. Some manufacturers recommend latex- modified or epoxy-modified mortar and grout instead of water-based multi-purpose adhesives. Mortar beds thicker than 3/8 inch should work fine for most systems; they just take slightly longer to heat up. Since you won’t be covering the entire floor with heating mats, make sure the mortar applied over open areas, (under the toilet) is level with the mortar covered mats. Don’t bang the trowel on the mat or heating wire to remove excess mortar from the trowel. This could sever the heating wire. At this point, you would lay the tile. If you have no experience tiling, practice on your neighbor’s bathroom floor.
Fire It Up!
Your new radiant heated bathroom floor looks beautiful and you can’t wait to get warm feet. Go ahead, but only for 10 minutes. Don’t put the system into full operation until the mortar is fully cured. This can take up to four weeks. See why thorough planning is so important?
We are getting alot of questions about the Stone Care Grout inks. These are handy for small jobs. It is important to clean the grout first then apply the Grout Ink. To view more visit: http://ping.fm/ijmpu
We have been getting a lot of phone calls as to what type of grout you need to use with glass tile. There are 2 different types of cement grout, sanded and unsanded. Which, by their name is self explanatory. Sanded grout has actual sand grains in them which will SCRATCH your glass tile surface. Not saying that it would be totally visible, but when the sunlight or undercounter light shines on the glass tile it will be noticeable. The next type of cement grout is unsanded, which by its name has no sand particles in it and will not scratch the glass tiles.
Also, the specialty grouts like Star Quartz, Star Glass, and Laticrete Spectralock PRO are all perfectly OK to use with Glass Tiles. At this point it becomes a cost question, but the benefits of the specialty grouts outway the costs of traditional cement grouts.
There have been a lot of questions about paper faced glass tiles. Most glass tile manufacturers that make a transparent glass will build the mosaic on what is called a paper faced kraft paper. When glass became popular about 4-5 years ago the mesh backing is what was used. Mesh backing was fine for the ceramic or stone mosaics, but when applied to the glass tiles and then installed, you still could see the mesh backing through the tile.
Now, like I mentioned a lot of glass tile companies use the kraft paper faced product which is applied to the FRONT of the glass tile. You would install the mosaic with the kraft paper out (facing you) and once the thinset has dried you take a wet sponge and wet the kraft paper.
When you are wetting the paper, it does not have to be soaked, just take the wet sponge and cover the kraft paper with the water and let it set for a few minutes. If the paper seems to dry out, keep getting it wet. Once the glue is deactivated it will peel off with ease. If it is not peeling off with ease, then the paper is not wet enough.
If there are any quetions please feel free to email me.