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HANDMADE CEMENT TILE

How to Install Cement Tile



Handmade cement tile offers a range of design possibilities. Whether you choose bold Cuban tile patterns in contrasting colors or classic cement patterns in harmonizing colors, or if they are to be installed as floor tile or wall tile in a kitchen backsplash, the end result is sure to transform any space into a focal point.

To that end, cement tile must also be installed properly for it to be enjoyed for many years. We've assembled the following guidelines for your convenience and reference.

Pre-Installation Notes

  1. Each cement tile is hand-made and you should expect slight variations in thickness, size, and shade. It's important to note that these characteristics add to the products natural appeal and do not compromise the performance of the tile.
  2. Make sure to pull pieces at random from different boxes in order to achieve a better blending of the material. This is very important for plain or solid color cement tile.
  3. For patterned tile installations, do a dry layout to ensure any pattern irregularities or stark color differences can be blended with different tile.

Installation Steps

Photo demonstration of a cement tile installation using thinset mortar.

  1. The tiles should be installed edge to edge (butt jointed) and laid on a perfectly leveled and clean surface.
  2. The tiles can be cut using a wet saw with a diamond blade.
  3. When installing a pattern we recommend installing the center portion first, the borders and lastly the field tile that will surround the pattern.
  4. Tiles can be installed either with a pre-mixed adhesive, such a Mapei Type I, or with regular thinset mortar. In either case use a high-notched trowel to spread the adhesive on the surface as well as on the back of the tile in order to achieve adequate adhesion.
  5. When using thinset mortar the back of the tile must be dampened. When using a pre-mixed adhesive the back of the tile should be cleaned lightly.
  6. The tiles must be laid by hand and handled carefully to avoid damaging the edges. Once laid level the tiles using your hands. Using a rubber hammer to do this could damage the tiles surface. Cement tiles can not be grinded down after they are installed, so it is very important that they are perfectly leveled during installation.
  7. Any residue of mortar left on the surface of the tile must be cleaned immediately to avoid staining.
  8. Do not step on the tiles until the mortar has dried.

Grouting

  1. You may use colored or white grout. If you decide to use colored grout, then we recommend that it be a similar color, or lighter than the lightest color used in the pattern.
  2. The grout should be fluid enough to completely fill the joints.
  3. Apply the grout with a rubber float or a rubber squeegee, always moving diagonally across the joints.
  4. Any excess grout should be removed with a damp cloth or sponge before it dries.
  5. If tiles are installed before construction is finished, then make sure you protect them appropriately by covering them with a large piece of cloth, fabric or a tarp.

If you have questions, you can refer to our Cement Tile FAQs page, or our Cement Tile Installation Guide for additional information. Also, please feel free to call our offices Monday through Friday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST) at 888.739.4972, or email us at Avente Tile.

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