CEMENT TILE INSTALLATION GUIDELINES
Care and inspection
1) Please inspect your order carefully. Grow House Grow will not be responsible for any material that has already been installed.
2) Once tiles arrive, store in a dry area. Do not let boxes or exposed tiles get wet prior to installing. Moisture or dampness before sealing may cause stains, color fading, cracking, pitting, or efflorescence.
3) When working with our tiles, take care not to damage the finished surface, edges, or corners. Carry tiles face-to-face to avoid scratches.
4) Because Grow House Grow’s tiles are cement-based, some may have a light dusting or residue on their surface. Before installation, we recommended wiping the pattern side with a clean cloth.
5) Cement tiles may show variation in color and design, and will not be identical piece to piece. This is a result of the nature of cement, the natural pigments we use, as well as how they are handmade. We suggest mixing tiles from different boxes during setting to produce the rich and naturally varied appearance these tiles are known for.
6) Tiles should be installed over a level, stable, and completely cured subfloor.
- 6.1) An isolation membrane can be used to prevent cracking or fracturing caused by movement of the subfloor. Never install tiles over uncured subfloors.
- 6.2) A waterproof membrane is recommended for installation in all wet areas to prevent water from leaking into the subfloor or space below.
- 6.3) Radiant heating systems can be used with cement tiles. We recommend using a membrane as well as ensuring the subfloor, mortar bed, and tiles are completely dry during installation to avoid efflorescence.
7) Pattern placement: begin with placing the room’s center tiles first, then move to border tiles (if any). Next, install the remaining space with tile from the center area outward.
8) Use a high quality thin-set adhesive, such as Laticrete or Mapei. When in doubt, contact your adhesive manufacturer for the appropriate product for your space. 3/8” mortar bed is recommended.
9) Make sure that adhesive is applied to the full back of each tile (100% coverage). We recommend using the back buttering method in order to get better adherence.
10) When setting the tile, level each piece using hand pressure only. Using a mallet or rubber hammer can cause thin cracks to form which will show up when applying grout or sealer. Cement tiles should not be ground down after installation. Remove excess adhesive from the surface with a damp cloth or sponge while it’s still fresh to avoid any stains.
11) Cement tiles can be cut using a wet saw with a sharp diamond blade.
12) When using tile outdoors, installing them under a roof will help avoid color fading caused by direct sunlight over time. In areas where a roof isn’t present, tiles can be polished with wax for extra protection.
13) After installation, wash the surface with a pH neutral detergent. For floor installations, a single disc floor machine with a white pad can be used to remove any excess residue, and to polish out excess dirt or water. Do not use acidic or alkaline products to clean tiles.
14) Use a pH-neutral cleaner and fine sandpaper to remove any remaining stains or residue. Do not allow water or other liquids to pool on the tile surface.
Sealing, Grouting, + Waxing
15) Allow tiles and mortar bed to dry out completely before beginning the sealing and/or polishing process. We highly recommend testing your preferred sealer on an individual tile to ensure it creates the desired finish.
16) Cement tiles are porous and will arrive unsealed. Therefore, sealing with a penetrating sealer is necessary before grouting; we recommend Miracle Sealants (511 Porous Plus) and Drytreat (Stain-Proof).
- 16.1) Apply two coats of penetrating sealer prior to grouting. Remove excess sealant from the tile surface using a dry white cloth, clean mop, or a solvent resistant sprayer. Allow two to three days for sealer to cure before grouting of joints. Next, apply a final coat of sealer to create a protective film over the tile surface. Take care to follow all steps according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- 16.2) For extra protection, we recommend polishing the tiles with wax to avoid penetrating stains.
17) Do not use dark or dyed grouts unless they match the color of your tile, as they can stain lighter pigments. We recommend testing with a single piece of tile before applying it to the entire area.
18) Cement tiles are installed edge-to-edge with minimal grout line using un-sanded grout to allow for expansion. For larger grout lines, sanded grout can be used. The recommended grout joint width is 1/16″-1/8″. Joints should be full and free of all voids and pits. Grout should be applied in small areas and immediately cleaned. Do not spread the entire floor with grout like with porcelain or ceramic tile. Do not affix duct, gaffers, or acidic tapes directly onto cement tiles as they can cause discoloration or staining.
19) Never grind or buff tiles with an abrasive pad or disc—this can damage the tile’s surface.
20) Once cleaned, we recommend re-sealing the tile and grout lines for extra protection, especially in spaces that are particularly moist or damp.
21) For ongoing maintenance, mop regularly with clean water and a pH-neutral detergent. Adding a cap-full of liquid wax to the water can offer extra protection. Tiles may also be buffed with a soft white pad.
22) It is recommended to address spills and stains soon after they occur, as allowing them to sit for long periods of time will make them more difficult to remove. For tough stains, Miracle Sealants Poultice Plus can be used to deep clean your tiles (resealing of deep cleaned will be necessary).
23) Very heavy foot traffic or outdoor installations may require additional maintenance. A natural patina will occur as the floor is maintained and wears.
24) The use of properly sized walk-off mats at entrances with heavy traffic, as well as regular sweeping or dust mopping, is important to remove abrasive grit that may cause unnecessary wear.
25) Resealing floors every 3-5 years is recommended. For wet and/or high-traffic areas, floors can be resealed more frequently. Speak with your installer regarding the best maintenance schedule.
26) Prior to resealing, cement tiles can be deep cleaned with Miracle Sealants Liquid Poultice (see above), or refinished with fine grit (e.g. 400+) wet-dry sandpaper. Sanding correctly will remove a micro top-layer to reveal fresh pigments below the surface.