Cement tile installation and maintenance
LILI CEMENT TILE
Cement tile has become very popular as of late, and for good reason. The unique style and vibrant colors offer endless design possibilities that can work in any space. Lili Tile is the most popular cement tile manufacturer Louisville Tile offers. While it looks great, it is important to know the installation challenge that come with installing cement tile and how to overcome them.
- Tile must be installed on a level, clean, dry surface. Humid subsoil can cause deposits on the surface of the tiles.
- Do not let the boxes get wet. You should store the material in a dry area. Moisture can cause staining.
- Cement tiles are products of of natural materials; therefore, slight tonal variations may be present from tile to tile. It may be necessary to vary tiles during installation in order to disperse the slight variations.
- If the tiles are to be laid on a concrete slab, ensure the slab is completely cured to prevent white efflorescence spots from appearing later on the surface as water evaporates through it.
- Adhesive must be applied evenly on the floor or wall surface evenly and thoroughly using a large toothed trowel.
- Lay the tiles without hammering, leveling them using hand pressure. If you choose to install with space, leave a thin gap- joint of 1/16" thickness between the tiles for grouting.
- Cement tile must only be cut with a wet saw.
- Installed tiles should be left to dry for 48 hours before sealing.
- After installation, wash floor with a neutral detergent. Any extra residue or mortar should be removed immediately.
- Make sure to seal with an impregnating or penetrating sealer (Dry Treat Stain-Proof Premium Impregnating Sealer), after the installed material is dry and after cleaning and before grouting. Do not dip the tile in sealer prior to installation. Seal tiles with several coats until the tiles are no longer absorbent. Make sure all excess sealer is wiped off before the next coat of sealer. Allow 2 to 3 days for sealer to cure. This acts as a grout release to prevent the tiles from getting stained by grout.
- Do not use dark color gout as joint filler, dark color pigments have been proven to stain cement tiles.
- Use only unsanded grouts.
- Laticrete PermaColor, PermaColor Select, and TEC Power Grout are not suitable for grouting cement tile.
- Fill the joints between the tiles using a fine plastic scraper without spreading the grout on tiles. Use a rubber grout float for clean spreading.
- Any extra grout must be cleaned immediately with a wet sponge.
- After waiting for 24 hours for the grout to dry, it is recommended to seal once more after grouting.
- Tiles should be regularly mopped with clean water and when necessary, neutral cleaner.
- Tiles can be buffed with a soft white pad.
- A capful of liquid wax may be added to the water to improve the tiles' natural sheen.
- Extremely heavy foot traffic or outdoor installations may require additional maintenance.
- Tile may be refinished, much like hardwood floors, to restore the tiles to their like-new finish.
- Never use acids to clean the tiles as they will damage them.
- Use walk-off mats near entries to avoid entry abrasion.
- Sweep regularly.
- Cement tile is a handmade product, surface scratches are to be expected.
- Do not allow water to accumulate in areas. Excess moisture can stain, pit and crack the tile.
- Over time, a natural patina will occur as the floor is maintained and naturally wears.
- If using topical sealants, your tiles will require periodic stripping and resealing.
STAIN REMOVAL TIPS
- Most stains can be removed using all-purpose cleaners.
- Difficult stains will need to be removed using oxalic acid.
- Wet stained area and rub in circular motion using a white pad and oxalic acid crystals.
- Rinse and remove any acid and residue.
CEMENT TILE ALTERNATIVES
Want the look of a cement tile without the installation challenges and additional upkeep? Louisville Tile now offers porcelain tile that mimics the look of cement tile! MLW Stone Nola, Nola Black and Artista are all great options for those that love the look of cement tile, but also want something easier to maintain. Louisville Tile stocks several of the MLW series, see your local showroom for more information.