Sealing, Fitting & Maintenance Advice
Cement and Zellige tiles are individually hand made and slight variations are normal, such as shade, slight imperfections, crazing and irregular/chipped edges. Small chips are rare these can easily be sanded out with fine paper. These characteristics are part of the appeal of these tiles and do not compromise the durability and look of the tile but add to it.
Cement Tile Laying.
Cement tiles are fitted in a very similar manner to any ceramic type tile. They can be fitted on concrete, timber floors and in conjunction with underfloor heating. There a few points to note:
– Keep the tiles very clean when fitting, use water and a sponge.
– Cutting is with a diamond disc, usually on a mini grinder or a wet saw.
– The concrete must be dry/cured.
– On timber floors and for floors with underfloor heating there are systems that ensure little movement and a good bond, you tiling contractor should have this knowledge.
– Always use a Flexible tile adhesive.
– It is important to get a good contact when using adhesive, it is recommended to trowel the floor or wall and the back of the tile. Hollow points can cause tiles to crack. This is especially important outdoors as cavities can fill with water then expand when frozen and crack the tile.
– Use a small grout joint, large joints will disrupt a pattern.
– Do not use a rubber mallet when fitting this can cause crack that might only appear after time.
Cement Tile Sealing and Grouting.
– Clean the tile thoroughly using water and a non metal scouring pad any heavy scratches can be sanded using a fine sandpaper
– Before grouting seal the tile, use enough sealer to waterproof the tile 2 to 4 coats normally. Ensure the tiles are completely dry and spotlessly clean before this sealing, as sealing tiles that are damp or dirty will leave staining or streaking on the surface. Any cement residue left on at this stage is very difficult to remove after sealing.
– We recommend using a grey or light grey grout, darker grouts stain a light tile easily and usually contain dyes that can stain the tile when grouting. Lighter grouts can stain darker ties also so it is very important to seal the tile properly.
– Use a Lint free cloth to apply sealer. Apply light coats of sealer ensuring each coat had dried fully before applying the next coat. Usually the tile requires 2 to 3 coats in total. N.B. When putting on final coat clean off any excess sealer with lint free cloth, this will leave an even finish of sealer. A circular rubbing motion with the cloth helps distribute the sealer better. When applying the sealer pour on cloth first then apply, pouring the sealer directly onto the tile can cause uneven distribution. Please note that too much sealant can cause staining. This is due to excess sealant sitting on top of the tile and absorbing dirt and stains. It is important that the sealant is applied thinly and evenly and allowed to absorb into the tile.When the tile stops changing colour and the colour stays enhanced this is usually a good sign that they are sealed well. If thy look dry and change colour when wet this means they need more sealer.
– Sometimes there can be some small marks on these tiles as they are handmade. These may appear after sealing the tiles. It is advisable to use a very light sandpaper to help remove these marks. The area can then be resealed.
– Clean with neutral soap
– Do not use any Acid or aggressive cleaners.
– Stains can be cleaned with a scouring pad or solvent.
– Outdoor areas will require sealing with a product that contains a UV protection a freshen up with sealer every 1 to 2 years will keep the tiles looking their best. N.B. failure to maintain the products outdoors can cause colour fading and frost damage.When sealing outdoors make sure it occurs in dry conditions as if the sealer is rained on this can cause the sealer to bloom leaving cloudy patches.
Zellige Tiles are fitted in a similar manner to ceramic tiles, we recommend a minimal to no joint for grout . As these are hand made and fired in artisan kilns we recommend grading the tiles before fitting and any warped or imperfect tiles can be used as cuts. Foe external angles we like to see a mitred edge but this depends on the fitters skill level. For finishing on a flat wall a grout joint then paint is a nice finish. They can be cut on a normal tile cutter but for a clean cut a diamond disk on a grinder or a wet saw works well.