Proper Laying of Porcelain Tiles: Fundamental Principles

Proper Laying of Porcelain Tiles: Fundamental Principles

In the realm of modern construction, two key methods of laying porcelain tiles are distinguished, each differing in its technological process.

  • Installation on suspended ventilated facades and subfloors, requiring the use of specific structural solutions. Porcelain tiles are affixed to these structures.
  • External and internal cladding of floors and walls. In this case, tiles are laid using specialized adhesive mixtures.

The installation of suspended facades and subfloors should be carried out by qualified professionals. However, wall and floor cladding can be undertaken independently by owners of country houses, apartments, and other renovation or construction projects. If you are planning to lay porcelain tiles, here are some recommendations for working with adhesive mixtures.

Preparation of Porcelain Tiles for Laying

First, draft a plan of the surface where you will lay the porcelain tiles. Estimate the required number of tiles per square meter and calculate the total area of laying. When purchasing porcelain tiles, procure an additional approximately 10% of the material to compensate for potential errors in calculations and losses during transportation. Remember, some of the tiles will inevitably need to be cut.

When selecting porcelain tiles, pay attention to the uniformity of the pattern, format, and color of the entire batch.

Before starting work, thoroughly clean the tiles of the protective layer applied by most manufacturers to protect the tiles during transportation. Technical wax can be easily removed with warm water and detergent, while technical paraffin can be removed with a spatula.

Preparation of the Base for Laying Porcelain Tiles

The surface for laying (walls or floors) must be perfectly level and dry. Prime the surface, choosing a composition suitable for your base material. This is particularly important for soft bases (drywall, plaster, cement). Apply the primer evenly using a brush or roller, then immediately level the surface with putty, smoothing it with a trowel.

Before laying the porcelain tiles, clean the base of oil, dust, remnants of old glue, and paint to improve adhesion. Check the tiles for cracks and strength.

Choosing Adhesive Mixture for Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are characterized by low water absorption, which requires the use of adhesive mixtures with higher adhesion. Cement mortar is not suitable for such tiles. It is recommended to use only high-quality adhesives with a maximum number of polymer additives. When choosing an adhesive, consider the characteristics of the base and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Laying Porcelain Tiles

Divide the cladding so that either cut or whole tiles are placed along the edges of the surface. For this, mark a central line on the base, parallel to its long sides. Lay the tiles to the left and right of the center so that either the center of a whole tile or the joint of two tiles falls on the line. Place cut tiles along the edges of the cladding.

Before laying, apply the adhesive mixture to the base, first smoothing it with a flat trowel, then with a notched trowel. Lift the newly laid tile once to check the adhesion of the adhesive to the tile surface. Use crosses for laying porcelain tiles to maintain equal width of the joints.

To prevent the tiles from cracking under load, avoid creating voids in the adhesive layer between the base and the tile.

Grouting Joints and Cleaning the Surface

After laying the tiles, remove any excess adhesive from the joints and begin grouting once the adhesive has set. The choice of grout depends on the width of the porcelain tile gaps and the color of the cladding. For floors, gray shades of grout are recommended as lighter ones get dirty faster.

Mix the grouting mixture with water to the required consistency and spread it with a rubber spatula. Remove the excess and sprinkle the surface with dry grout to remove moisture. Wipe the finished surface with a wet sponge soaked in a special cleaning solution, trying not to wash out the grout from the joints. Avoid walking on the cladding for 3-5 days. The surface can be washed with standard cleaning agents two weeks after tile cleaning.