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How to install ceramic tile

Ceramic tile, kiln-fired clay items, has now become a popular choice for flooring, due to its characteristics such as durability and ability to resist fading, staining, scratching, and other chemical and thermal reactions. Ceramic tile installation is a skillful combination of art and science. It can be easily installed by anyone with the help of the right tools and the installation booklets provided by the manufacturers. Basic tools required to install ceramic tile include a tape measure, hammer, chalk line, fiberglass tape, rubber gloves, tile tongs, dust mask, safety glasses, tile cutter, and marking pen.

While ceramic tile installation is not a complicated task, it does involve some detailed steps such as preparing the tile surface, setting the wall, applying adhesive or mortar, setting the tile, and caulking. Ceramic tile can be installed on any surface such as drywall, plaster, cement block, and even on existing ceramic tile. Tile surface must be flat, smooth and free of dust and debris. Also, if there is any loose paint or cracks on the surface, it should be scraped off and repaired with some waterproof substance.

Laying the wall is perhaps the most important step in the installation process. It includes the determination of the level line, the starting point of planning and checking if any irregularities have been caused by accessories such as kitchen cabinets and bathtubs. The next step is to evenly apply the ceramic wall adhesive over the surface with a notched trowel. Pro-mastic and pro-flex platinum are the most widely used adhesives for ceramic tiles.

After having applied the adhesives, carefully place the tiles one by one on the surface. Equipment such as tile spacers can be used to allow adequate spacing between tiles. Sometimes to fix tiles at the edges it may be necessary to cut. A masonry drill can be used for cutting. To make curved cuts, a micro cutter or a wet saw can be used.

Before the tiles are allowed to set, they should be leveled with a hammer. When the tiles are set, fill the space between the tiles with grout. Seal all grout joints to prevent porosity of the grout. The last step in the ceramic tile installation process is caulking. This is mainly done to prevent water from getting on the edges of the bathtub or in the corners of the wall.

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