The first step in your ceramic tile installation involves the cleaning of the substrate. Dirt, moisture, and oil can interfere with the adhesion of the tile, so care is taken to remove all foreign debris prior to beginning.
Next the installers will level the surface of the substrate. Why is this step necessary? It’s to provide a strong support base for the tile, and to ensure that the individual tiles will appear flat when installed.
Flat, obviously, is the goal. If the substrate is not level or flat, the result could be tiles not being set correctly that can cause chipping or cracking when weight is applied.
Once the substrate has been leveled it may have a waterproofing layer applied to it. This is important in installations where the tile is frequently exposed to moisture, like kitchens, bathrooms, and exteriors.
CHALK KEEPS THINGS STRAIGHT.
A chalk line is commonly used to lay down a guide for the installer to work from.
This leaves a temporary line that can be used as a straight guide.
So, you may be wondering, how long before I can walk on my new floor?
The mortar and grout need 24 hours to cure before walking on the tile.
This ensures that the tiles won’t shift or become loose before the adhesive thinset mortar and grout have a chance to set.
In some installations the tile may be mopped daily for several days to prevent the grout from cracking, pulling moisture from the underlying mortar, or curing unevenly.
And that is how your new ceramic floor would be professionally installed.
What to know and do before installation day
FURNITURE IS FIRST ON YOUR TO DO LIST.
Remove all furniture and other objects and materials from the areas where the installation will take place. Some installers will move your furniture, but there may be an additional charge for doing so.
Before moving, you’ll also need to empty the contents of china cabinets, closets and the like.
Be aware that the area of installation must be climate controlled (heated or air conditioned). Indoor humidity should be maintained between 45-65%.
MAKE A DECISION ON YOUR OLD FLOOR COVERING.
Please consider how your old floor covering will be taken up and disposed of. We recommend that you check with us about the cost and the method of disposal.
If you prefer to remove your present floor covering, do it at least one day prior to installation to allow for cleanup and floor preparation. If removing old carpet, please leave tack strips in place and pull the staples out of the floor from the original pad.
NOW TURN YOUR ATTENTION TO THE TRIM.
In many cases, moldings and baseboards need to be removed for installation. Your installer may do this but at an additional charge and they will probably not be responsible for damage or breakage due to dry or brittle wood.
Painted baseboards, woodwork and paint may need retouching after the installation is complete. If necessary, this is your responsibility.
NEXT ON THE LIST IS THE SUBFLOORING.
Your existing subfloor may need to be prepared to receive the ceramic, or a new subfloor may be required. We suggest you discuss this with us and, if subfloor work is necessary, that it be done by qualified professionals. It is important that the subfloor be as clean and level as possible.
KNOW THIS ABOUT YOUR DOORS.
When your new floor is installed, there’s always the possibility that the doors, especially closet, basement and bedroom doors, may not clear the new floor and swing free.
Some installers will remove doors in order to install the new floor and re-hang them if possible. They probably won’t shave or cut down doors to insure clearance. You should check with us as to their policy and the cost. You may need to arrange for a qualified carpenter to provide this service after the installation of your new floor.
CHECK UP ON THE CLEAN-UP.
Installing new ceramic will produce waste.
Usually these materials are collected by your installer and left at your trash collection site. Check with us before the day of installation so you’re clear about the clean up, if there are added costs to do so, and ask about the plan for remnants.
What to know and do during installation day
PLAN ON BEING HOME.
Be prepared to be at home the day of installation and be available in case the installation crew has questions. Your presence will insure that the correct ceramic is installed in the right areas. Because it is difficult to estimate the length and circumstances of each job, some installers may not be able to give you an exact time of arrival. We suggest you be flexible and keep in touch with us.
WE INSIST ON WALL-TO-WALL SAFETY.
Your installers will use a variety of tools and techniques that can make the work area hazardous. Please make sure that your children and pets are kept out of the work area on installation day.
WALK THROUGH, DON’T RUN.
We recommend that, prior to the completion of the installation, you walk through the job with the chief installer. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and be clear on any final details.
What to know and do after installation day
If you are sensitive to dust and odors, good ventilation should be established for 48 to 72 hours after installation.
When it comes to preparing for your ceramic tile installation, we want you to know. Know all about the steps to take and the issues to consider. That way, installation day is a positive experience and the first of many days of enjoying your beautiful ceramic tile.