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Cement Tile Installation Guidelines

When properly installed, cement tiles will result in a beautiful, durable, easy to maintain surface that can be enjoyed for many years. These instructions are provided as a helpful guide to installing your cement floor tiles. Stone Import Solutions will not be held responsible for improper installation of your cement tile or specific jobsite conditions. Please consult us or a professional contractor to advise on installation. 

Be sure to have a copy of these recommendations and familiarize yourself and the installer with these recommendations prior to starting installation. You and your installer are responsible for ensuring proper installation and sealing of the tiles. 

1) Inspect your order carefully. Stone Import Solutions will not be responsible for material that has been cut or installed. Throughout the installation process and handling of the tile, be careful not to damage the finished surface or corners of the tiles. 

2) Do not allow the boxes to get wet! Store the material in a dry area. Moisture or dampness can cause the tiles to get stained, have faded color, a damaged surface or effervescence causing a white powdery effect on the surface of the tile from moisture coming through from the bottom of the tile. 

3) Allow interior tiles to season in their final environment prior to installation. 

4) Cement tile is a cement-based product and may have residue on the surface. This will be removed during the cleaning prior to grouting, and buffing process after installation, as well as after implementation of an ongoing maintenance routine. It is recommended to wipe the back of the tiles with a damp sponge prior to placing in thin set to remove concrete dust residue and enable proper adhesion. 

5) Install over flat, level and stable cured concrete surface or suitable stable sub-floor (such as Hardibacker, Durock or Ditra) or wall surface. Wall installation on drywall is acceptable when installed with appropriate non- sag setting materials. 

6) Cement tile, as a product of natural materials, is subject to color and tonal variations and may require blending of tiles. It is recommended to shuffle tile from different boxes during installation to achieve a uniform effect. 

7) Use a high quality, medium-bed thin set adhesive, such as a Laticrete or Mapei product. Contact adhesive manufacturer to recommend the appropriate adhesive. Follow adhesive manufacturer's instructions. Cementtiles are not intended for installation methods employing large quantities of water.

8) Make sure that adhesive is applied to the full back of each tile (100% coverage) using a large notch trowel (At least 1/2” notched trowel). Spread floor and back butter the tiles like a natural stone installation. Make sure all tiles are level so there is not any lipping. Do not beat with a mallet or rubber hammer to set tiles, level your tiles using hand pressure. Remove any excess adhesive from the surface with a damp cloth or sponge while it is fresh. Tiles should be cut using a sharp diamond blade in conjunction with water to avoid chipping of edges. Recommended grout joint width is a tight joint of 1/16" - 1/8". If using spacers, we recommend a soft, flexible spacer.

9) Cement tiles are not pre-sealed at the factory. Therefore, sealing with an impregnating or penetrating sealer for natural stone is necessary. Sealer should be applied to clean tiles prior to grouting. Only use a PH neutral cleaner, do not use any acids or alkalines to clean tiles. Look for cleaning products suitable for use on natural stone. Be sure tiles and setting material are thoroughly dry prior to sealing. Apply sealer in thin layers, until the tiles will not soak up any more. Wipe off any excess sealer before it dries, and allow the sealer to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When properly sealed, water should bead on the surface of the tile. We sell a penetrating sealer, Miracle 511 Porous Plus, in gallon (covers approx. 200-250 sq. ft.) and quart sizes (covers approx. 40-60 sq. ft.). 10) Once sealer has cured, use Laticrete, Mapei or an equivalent unsanded grout, using manufacturer's instructions. 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 a porcelain or ceramic tile. Once grout has been applied and starts to dry, remove excess grout immediately. Grout that sits too long can be difficult to remove from the tile. Do not affix duct tape, gaffer tape or acid tape directly onto cement tiles surface. Tape can discolor or stain your cement tiles. Typically cement tile is grouted with white or light colored grout. If you decide to use colored grout we recommend that it be a color that is the same, or lighter than, the lightest color used in the pattern.

Note: Take special care when using black or dark color grout. Dark grout can cause stains on the tile that can be difficult to remove.

11) After installation, wash floor with a neutral detergent. Any extra residue or mortar should be removed immediately. Do not allow water or other liquids to spot, pond or ring on the surface (ie: Do not leave spillages, drips or wet buckets, cups, footmarks, etc. on the surface at any time). For hard to remove residue, a single disc floor machine with a white pad may be used. Be sure to wet the surface first when using a floor machine or other polisher, and clean any residue immediately.

12) Seal the clean floor, including grout, a second time with the penetrating sealer. Again, tiles and grout must be thoroughly dry prior to sealing.

13) Cover the tile immediately after completion with a protective covering to prevent damage during the remainder of construction.

14) For ongoing maintenance, clean regularly with a neutral detergent and buff tiles with a white pad. A natural patina will occur as the floor is maintained and experiences natural wear. Water spotting will be eliminated through an ongoing maintenance routine. The use of properly sized walk-off mats at entrances and sweeping or dust mopping is important to remove abrasive grit.

If you have any questions, contact us before cutting or installing tiles.

Note: These installation instructions are offered as guidelines only. Stone Import Solutions will not be held responsible for errors, issues or problems due to installation or job site conditions. 

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