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Tile laying Instructions

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In order to preserve the natural beauty of these carefully crafted, high quality Rocell tiles it is important to follow the guidelines given in this leaflet and make use of a professional tiler to lay tiles.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are made of natural organic materials and fired at very high temperatures. Ceramic technology can reproduce any colour and any chromatic texture or design. Slight variations in colour and size are inherent characteristics in the industry.

Random Designs

In order to enhance the natural beauty of tiles, most Rocell tiles come in random designs. This means that each tile is different to others of its kind in varying degrees to give a natural look to the floor, once laid. These designs come in uniform, low, medium and high randomness.

Laying Recommendations

The laying of ceramic tiles must be carried out by an experienced professional tiler. Always use appropriate tools and equipment. The tile cutter, tile nipper, notch trowel, rubber mallet, rubber trowel and cross spacers are essential tools for laying tiles.

Polished Tiles

All polished tiles by nature contain micro pores on the tile surface. These micro pores appear as a result of heavy polishing that tiles undergo during the manufacturing process. Due to heavy polishing these tiles are prone to staining, and extreme care should be taken when installing and maintaining these tiles. We recommend sealing or applying an anti-permeable agent such as FILA MP/90 application or a permanent sealant on all polished tiles in order to protect them.

  • 1. Surface Preparation

    Tiles can be installed over most structurally sound substrates. The chosen surface, whether it's a floor or wall, must be perfectly levelled with no defects in planarity. For this purpose any damaged, loose or uneven areas must be repaired, patched and levelled using a regulating or levelling mortar. The surface to be tiled must be completely free of dust or any other substance that could negatively affect tile adhesion. This will promote better bonding strength of the adhesive on the substrate. We recommend that damp areas be waterproofed prior to installation of tiles.

    Step 01

  • 2. Planning and Mock Laying

    A tiled surface is a "construction system" that requires careful planning before its actual assembly. A tiling plan should be drafted in accurate detail. The installer should examine the surface to be tiled carefully, check all measurements and carry out a mock laying of the tiles. This means that tiles should be laid in the same order in which it will be finally laid, according to your tiling plan. The tiles should not be bonded to the floor until you have achieved the desired outcome. A mock lay is absolutely important and necessary.

    During installation, there should be enough light to allow you to easily spot any sort of defects, especially the appearance of projecting tile edges. During this phase, work should be performed with more lighting than that which will illuminate the area once the work is finished. The use of spotlights will prove helpful in this regard.

    Step 02

  • 3. Applying Adhesive

    Select the right type of adhesive suitable for the substrate to be tiled. You should take into account the properties of the substrate to be tiled as well as the characteristics of the chosen ceramic tiles. Carefully read and follow all instructions and precautions on the adhesive or mortar package. Rocell recommends high quality Technokolla range of adhesives for tiling any surface. Cement mortar can also be used as a low cost alternative to adhesives, but this method is not recommended.

    Mix only enough to be used within 30 minutes. Use the type of trowel recommended on the adhesive package. Spread ¼ of a coat on the surface of one grid area using the flat side of the trowel. Next, use the notched side of trowel to comb adhesive into standing ridges by holding trowel at a 45-degree angle. Then remove the excess adhesive leaving a uniform, ridged setting bed. Do not spread a larger area than can be set in 15 minutes.

    Step 03

  • 4. Cutting Tiles

    Measure tiles to be cut carefully and mark with a pencil or felt-tip pen. Make straight or diagonal cuts with a tile cutter, curved cuts with a nipper.

    Step 04

  • 5. Setting Tiles

    Tiles require careful handling to avoid nipped edges, chipping or scratches on the surface of the tiles. Rocell strongly recommends that tiles should be installed with a joint no less than 3mm between pieces for non-rectified tiles.

    For rustic designs the minimum joint recommended is 3mm and you can increase the joint up to 10mm depending on your preference. For the installation of rectified material it is recommended that cross-spaces of at least 1.5 mm be used. It is recommended that rectangular tiles, when arranged in a staggered layout, be installed at 3/4 piece intervals. However, we do not recommend installing tiles in staggered layouts such as brick laying or fish bone patterns.

    Begin installing tiles in the centre of the room, one grid at a time. Finish each grid before moving to the next. Start with the first tile in the corner of the grid and work outwards. Set tiles, one at a time, using a slight twisting motion. Don’t slide tiles into place. Insert tile spacers, as each tile is set, or leave equal joints between tiles. Fit perimeter tiles in each grid last, leaving a 8mm gap between the tile and the wall, which will help to absorb any movements after installation. These joints must be left empty, or else filed with a compressible material. When the grid is completely installed, tap in all tiles with a rubber mallet or hammer and wood block, to ensure a good bond and level plane.

    Remove excess adhesive from joints with a putty knife, and from tile with a damp sponge. Do not walk on tiles until they are set (usually in 24hrs).

    During the installation phase, before setting is complete, it is recommended to continuously check the pieces that are already installed, since there is still time to fix any faults.

    A rubber mallet can be used to tap down projecting tiles and a suction-cup can be used to pull up pieces that are sunken in excess.

    Structural joints

    Designed to absorb movement in the building and must always be respected. Structural joints should be completely filled and sealed with a compressible material.

    Special Installation instructions for Polished tiles

    Extra care should be taken in handling the tiles in order to avoid any loss of shine or scratching during the construction process.

    Step 05

  • 6. Grouting Joints

    Joints should be grouted once tiles are firmly bonded to the substrate. Generally, you should wait approximately 24 hours before grouting. Before starting, make sure that installation joints (between tiles) are empty and free of bonding materials and traces of dust and grime. Any intermediary substances may make installation joints less effective in addition to hindering the adhesion of the grout.

    The grouting material should be applied with a rubber trowel. The use of metallic trowels should be avoided at all times, since they may damage the glazed surface of tiles. Grout is available in a wide array of colours, which makes it possible to match the shade of any setting created.

    Make only enough to use in about 30 minutes and spread grout on the tile surface, forcing down into joints with a rubber grout float. Tilt the float at 45 degree angle. Remove excess grout from surface immediately with the edge of the float. Tilt it at a 90-degree angle and scrape it diagonally across tiles. Wait 15-20 minutes for grout to set slightly, then use a damp sponge to clean grout residue from the surface and smooth the grout joints. Rinse sponge frequently and change water as needed. This operation should be done in a timely fashion, since any grouting material left in contact with the glazed surface of tiles for too long may hinder cleaning. This is especially applicable to those models where the surface is in relief.

    Allow to dry until grout is hard and a haze forms on the surface of the tile, and then wipe with a soft cloth. Rinse again with a sponge and clean water if necessary. Wait 72 hours for heavy use.

    Step 06

  • 7. Finishing the Job

    It is absolutely necessary that already installed ceramic floor tiles are protected properly until the building project is complete. The floor should be guarded against possible damages due to the presence of abrasive materials and the ongoing movement of tools. This will not only help protect the tiles, it will also make subsequent cleaning easier.

    Step 07

  • 8. First Cleaning

    After completing all the various stages of laying, there is one last operation to be carried out: Cleaning. Proper cleaning will highlight the aesthetic quality of the material that has been laid while ensuring that it is fit to be cleaned over and over again through the years. It is advisable to apply a floor cleaning detergent to small surfaces at the concentration recommended by the manufacturer. Then let it work for a few minutes before removing it with a rough cloth. It is necessary and essential to rinse the surface with plenty of clean water.

    Before proceeding with this type of activity, it is necessary to check the resistance of the tiles to the detergent and the type of cleaning to be carried out. It is advisable to carry out a resistance test on a small surface area of the floor, so as to avoid damaging the surface.

    Step 08

  • 9. Ordinary Cleaning

    Tiled floors are among the easiest surfaces to maintain. However, they do require some care to retain their original beauty over a period of time. Sweep or vacuum your tiled floors regularly and wash or mop floor often to remove any dirt or grit. Clean the floor with clean lukewarm water, adding a mild detergent diluted in accordance with the instructions. Use a micro fibre cloth for cleaning.

    All detergents available in the market can be used at the concentration indicated in the instructions with the exception of HYDROFLUORIC ACID (HF) and its components. Hydrofluoric acid will completely remove the glazed surface of tiles, thus causing irreparable damage.

    Step 09

  • Maintenance of polished tiles

    Daily cleaning should be done using clean water and a mild detergent. Wax or oil's should not be applied on tile surfaces due to the minimal porous nature of these tiles. The application of these substances may result in "blotchiness" on the surface when viewed against the light. Stains of an organic nature such as wine, coffee or grease may be removed using a concentrated bleach (the kind of bleach used for floors).

    For further clarifications on how to lay tiles, please contact our nearest sales outlet and obtain further instructions before proceeding.

    All merchandise should be inspected prior to installation since no claims will be honoured after installation.