Porcelain stoneware is one of the most popular types of flooring. Due to the combination of high strength, durability and decorative properties, it is used both in interior decoration and in landscape design. At the same time, laying porcelain stoneware is not an easy task, since the material has a large mass and a solid structure that makes processing difficult.
Preparation of material for work
Before installation operations, each element of the batch should be audited. The integrity of the structure and the cleanliness of the surfaces are evaluated. It is important that the back side is degreased and ready for gluing. Difficulties may arise only with the processing of the material.
The highest quality cut with clean edges will allow you to get a factory stone sawing machine or waterjet machine, but you should not count on this at home. But you can limit yourself to electric tile cutters or a grinder with a diamond blade for tiles.
Porcelain stoneware is quite amenable to non-standardprocessing with the creation of holes. To do this, you can use a special model of a tile cutter provided by a ballerina, and a powerful electric drill with an appropriate cutter head.
Preparing the work surface
It is recommended to lay any tile material on a clean, even and technically stable base. The specific list of preparatory measures will depend not only on the type and condition of the rough coating, but also on the option of laying porcelain stoneware, since the installation conditions are different.
For example, the technologies of fixing on the underfloor heating system and gluing to the old tiled flooring suggest differences in installation approaches. So, in the first case, preliminary laying of hydro and vapor barrier with a reliable layer of insulation is required. In the case of tiles, it may be necessary to dismantle flimsy elements that are detected by tapping.
All existing or newly discovered defects are treated with putty or primer, according to the characteristics of the corresponding base - concrete, wood, ceramics, etc. The most favorable surface for the installation of porcelain stoneware is a screed from a self-leveling mixture.
What to glue porcelain tiles on?
Again, much will depend on the operating conditions of the coating. As a universal solution, thick-layer compositions can be recommended, which are designed specifically for large tiles, porcelain stoneware and stone. By the way, the mounting layerwithout wavy ribs to increase adhesion, the height will be 10-12 mm. If minor defects remain on the rough base even after the preparatory work, then you should use a leveling adhesive for laying porcelain stoneware, which is able to eliminate depressions and bulges up to 5 mm. The effect of smoothing is provided, but you should not fully rely on the repair and restoration function of the adhesive mass. For such tasks, it is better to provide priming mixtures.
As for external conditions, it is important to take into account climatic characteristics - temperature and humidity. If we are talking about installation on the street in order to form a tiled path, then preference is given to highly elastic and frost-resistant compositions. Firstly, such a base will not lose its properties during strong temperature changes, and secondly, the tile will remain stable under mechanical stress.
Home environments can also be exposed to moisture and heat. For example, high-quality laying of porcelain stoneware in the bathroom is possible on a two-component epoxy mixture, which, due to its monolithic structure, is highly moisture resistant.
General styling technique
Traditional and basic installation method assumes installation direction from the corner. To hold the masonry line, it is necessary to stretch the rope parallel to the intended seam. The material should be laid along this contour, strictly fixing the edges at the joints with the help of mounting spacer crosses. These are plastic elements that allow you to adjust the tile joints to the same format throughout the site.
Glueapplied with a height of 8-10 mm, but it has already been said that the thickness of this layer can reach 12 mm. The classic way of laying porcelain stoneware on the floor does not require a large amount of adhesive solution. The quality of fixation will depend on how correctly the tiler performed the ribbing of the laid adhesive. This simple operation can be performed with a notched metal spatula with a tooth length of 10-15 mm. For porcelain stoneware, 12 mm will be enough.
The presence of ribs or waves on the adhesive solution will increase the tenacity and adhesive qualities of the installation. The tile should be pressed carefully and without sudden movements, not forgetting the correct position of the elements of the coating.
Due to the complexity of machining, this mounting option is rarely used with porcelain stoneware. But if there is a clear goal of a diagonal cover and there is a tool ready to cut the elements in half for side installation, then this configuration can be implemented.
Most often, the layout is used in compliance with the seam. It is simpler in the installation technique, and in the visual effect it loses a little to alternative methods. Starting from the edges, it is necessary to lay out the halves of the tile cut diagonally so that the entire line is closed. At the left corners, already in the form of rhombuses, the installation of solid elements will continue.
The main difficulty lies in the fact that the laying of porcelain stoneware diagonally in the completed form should ensure symmetry on all sides of the coating. That is, corner beveled fragments on each sidewill be the same size. To compensate for excess or reduction in size, you can use transitional rectangular fragments that visually look like bumpers or sills.
Features of laying on a wooden floor
The problem of mounting on a wooden base is its instability. Even in the presence of perfectly laid logs, their integrity and strength, massive slabs deform the base with their load over time. Therefore, the work will consist of two stages - stripping the existing coating and laying the screed. As for the completion of the wooden floor, it is necessary to completely replace the damaged and rotten elements with new ones, polish the surface and, if necessary, install a rigid substrate.
The second step is to perform the screed. As noted above, a self-leveling mortar is the best option. Too thick a coating for laying porcelain stoneware is not worth doing, but it is necessary to ensure a smooth surface. After the polymer coating has dried, you can proceed with the installation of tiles using the general technology.
Visually, such a coating creates the effect of solidity, but there is no question of the complete elimination of gaps. The tiler does not purposefully create joints of a certain size and fixes the elements end-to-end, but 1-2 mm will still separate two fragments. Moreover, the difference of this technology is rather not in the configuration of the relative position of the tiles, but in the initial preparation of the material.
Quality seamless stylingporcelain stoneware is only possible with rectified processing. This is a special refinement of the edges of the material in the factory, thanks to which the elements, in principle, can be joined together without the risk of deformation. After all, do not forget that intermediate seams of 5-10 mm are also made for technological holding of a gap that protects the material from overvoltage.
Rules for laying large format slabs
Fundamentally, the installation technology is slightly different from laying conventional porcelain stoneware, but there are some nuances that will help extend the life of the coating:
- On a large site, it is recommended to use only square elements - for example, 600 x 600 mm format.
- It is recommended to stick the material on a mixture of reinforced fixation. This adhesive is highly resistant to dynamic and static loads.
- Before laying large-format porcelain tiles, a 3 mm primer layer should be applied, which during installation will perform a leveling function, and during operation will level the loads from heavy tiles.
- After laying, it is advisable to physically fix the elements of the coating during the curing of the adhesive, using special tile fittings - nuts with clamping washers and wedges.
Gap processing is an important technological operation that makes expansion joints stronger and tighter. But for this you need the right composition.grout. If polymer and silicone products are used for ordinary tiles, it is desirable to treat ceramic granite coatings with cement mixtures.
How is grouting done? With the help of trowels and spatulas, the design of which provides for a special leveling groove for temperature-shrinkage joints. The density of the embedment will depend on the gaps with which the porcelain stoneware was laid. With your own hands, you first need to put a small mass of mortar into the seam, and then gently tamp it. When it is obvious that there are no voids left in the applied groove, you can finish the work with decorative molding with a trowel.
Cleaning installed tiles
After installation work and grouting, consumables will certainly remain on the front surfaces of porcelain stoneware. If the adhesive and grout traces have not yet dried, then you can try to get rid of them with alkaline and degreasing solutions. Clean rags and napkins should be used to gently wipe the contaminated areas.
If this does not help, then leave the marks wet for several hours, then repeat the operation. Porcelain stoneware is sometimes installed over large areas with a delay in the grouting and cleaning procedures. In such cases, already hardened pieces of adhesive masses remain, which are not easy to remove even by washing with strong chemistry. Only a grinding tool or hard brushes will help. The main thing in this treatment is not to damage the surface of the tile, using gentle felt and felt nozzles.
Advice from experts on workingprocess
In the work with laying tile materials and especially with porcelain stoneware, there are many nuances and subtle points, many of which have already been considered. But there are a number of tricks that will facilitate the installation technique and make the coating even better:
- If you plan to lay out complex mosaic or patterned drawings, then you need to start laying from the center of the room.
- After applying the adhesive, you must remember the period of polymerization (hardening). The longer the time the composition is in the open air, the worse the adhesion will be when laying the tiles. Porcelain stoneware must be fixed immediately after applying the adhesive, so the piece-by-piece masonry method will be optimal.
- The geometry of the coating can be maintained not only with the help of spacer crosses, but also with a level, timely correcting height differences.
Thick and heavy slabs of ceramic granite require a lot of effort and time during the installation process. At the same time, without the skills of a tiler, there is a high risk of being disappointed with the result. Nevertheless, laying porcelain stoneware with all the difficulties will justify itself during operation. This is the most reliable, durable and stable coating that is used indoors. Outside, this material is used to lay paths, terraces and playgrounds that retain their appearance for decades.