Some common mistakes I see or hear about when installing slate floors.
1.) Not preparing the floor adequately – All surfaces should be structurally sound, clean and dry, free of oily and waxy films, and free from any other coatings that could reduce mortar bonding strength.
2.) Using the wrong mortar – Use an appropriate cement based mortar that is suitable for both the substrate and for slate.
3.) Not getting 100% coverage of mortar on the back of the tiles – Any void spots will dramatically weaken the installation – The slate tile will be subject to a bending force (tension on one side and compression on the other) when a load is applied, instead of solely a compressive force. Void spots beneath the tile will cause a hollow sound if the tile is tapped.
4.) Not installing movement joints and/or an anti-fracture membrane – Speak to your contractor about whether these are required for your particular installation.
5.) Poor layout – Installations should be designed so that the minimum of cuts are required. Keep the tiles whole, as much as possible.
6.) Uneven installation – Slate tiles should be installed to ensure that each tile is level with the next to avoid tripping hazards and poor aesthetics.
7.) Sealing the slate prematurely – If the installation is sealed prior to the mortar curing, moisture may become trapped within the slate that can lead to efflorescence. This would require the good sealer to be stripped off, the efflorescence removed, and then a sealer re-applied once the installation has fully cured.
8.) Adding more water to the mortar, after it has partially cured in the bucket instead of using only freshly mixed mortar – Using partially cured mortar can result in poor bonding and future failure of the installation.
9.) Not installing a waterproofing membrane when required – Speak to your contractor about whether this is needed for your installation.
10.) This is my favorite – Installing slate tile upside-down! I noticed a couple of tiles in a store in Vancouver last weekend very noticeably installed the wrong way up. A special machine groove on the tile indicates ‘this side down’!
This is just a quick list (in no particular order) that I compiled. What have I forgotten? Do you have any slate installation errors to add? Please post a comment with problems that you have experienced or heard about.
Tile flooring is extremely versatile and can be installed in almost any situation above, below, or on grade. Many tile floors are frost, heat, and moisture resistant and can be installed outdoors for porches, pool decks, patios, and so on. Glazed tiles and wet tiles can become slippery and are not recommended in areas where this may be a problem. Ceramic tile is great in kitchens, entryways, or other areas that require a tough, durable surface. Refer to the PEI rating to find the best ceramic tile flooring for your situation.
How is tile flooring installed?
The most common method involves affixing the floor tile to the substrate using an adhesive or mortar, then filling the joints with grout. However, there have been advancements in tile floor installation, and some manufactures offer click or snap together floor tiles, which are much easier for a self installer to tackle.
Is tile flooring recommended for a self-installer?
Tile flooring is not usually recommended for a self-installer. This is because it is a complicated process and requires special tools to cut and install the tile. Click or snap together ceramic tiles are much easier to self-install.
How many floor tiles do I need?
1. Divide the floor into rectangles. 2. Measure the length and width of each individual rectangle. 3. Multiply the length by the width of each individual rectangle. 4. Add your total for each rectangle together to get the total square footage. 5. Add an additional 5-10% (depending on the manufacturerâ€™s recommendations) of the total square footage to cover the waste factor.
How do I choose the right grout for my tile floors?
You should choose a color that blends with the colors in the floor tile. The color of the grout will slightly vary in each installation due to different environmental factors and installation methods, so finding an exact match may be difficult. Darker grout tends to be easier to keep clean, but modern grout is often stain and mildew resistant so maintenance is very simple.
Will there be variations in floor tiles in the same box?
Yes, floor tiles will have slight variations in color, texture, or markings due to the way they is manufactured. This adds character and style to your tile floors. You should always inspect your purchase before installation to make sure you are happy with it.
Can I walk on my tile floor and mop it immediately after installation?
It is not recommended that you walk on your tile floor after installation until the grout and any other adhesive used has had ample time to dry. This will vary from product to product so be sure to check with the manufacturer for their recommendations.
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