Michael Byrne has been a tile installer since 1968 working on residential, commercial, industrial, artistic and specialty installations. He is the author of three books, numerous videos and hundreds of articles on tile installation. His new book, “Tiling for Contractors,” is published by JLC Books. Michael has worked as an independent consultant on installations in North, Central and South America, the UK and Europe, and is one of the founders and was the first president and executive director of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF). He is the owner of a consulting, expert witness, and publishing company on Kiawah Island, SC, and can be reached at email@example.com.
Today’s residential and light commercial structures are designed to be flexible, and the materials used in construction must be able to withstand a certain amount of flexing. Currently, tile installations need to be done quickly, with minimal time and expense spent on damp curing, and with installation labor that may not always be highly trained.
Fast-track construction, poorly specified projects, careless workmanship, and lack of appropriate inspections can result in floors that are not flat and level and which must be corrected. One way to repair such conditions is to use a self-leveling underlayment (SLU).
The success or failure of a tile installation can hinge on how well the adhesive has been applied. Tile industry standards require 80% uniform coverage for dry-area, interior applications, and 95% uniform coverage for wet-area and exterior applications.
Crack isolation methods and techniques have been practiced for thousands of years to prevent excessive tile cracking. In ancient times, crack isolation involved locating a layer of sand beneath the setting bed so the tile installation could float over any movement below. To deal with expansion, regularly spaced grout joints were filled with tar which was covered with fine sand. The sand bed method is still being used today, although primarily on exterior applications where thick stone or cast concrete tiles are installed without grout.
Tile backer boards were invented as a response to a dwindling supply of tile installers who could produce mortar beds, but unlike properly built beds of thick, reinforced mortar, backer boards do not provide structural strength.
Although admired primarily for their beauty, ceramic tiles have always been perceived – falsely – as a waterproofing material. Ceramic tiles are not affected by moisture, which makes them the ideal finishing material in wet areas.
Tile is one of the most flexible of all shower materials because, unlike factory-made, cast or laminated units that are available in a limited range of sizes and shapes, showers made with tile can be built to any size or shape. As well, showers made with tile can be the most durable if built properly.
Green construction is not just a fad - it's the result of dwindling resources and concerns over health and safety. Unfortunately, like an individual who drives 20 miles to drop off a dozen aluminum cans at a recycling center, some efforts are misguided and actually increase waste. On construction job sites, green building practices are gaining traction but there is still much that can be done.
Are you up-to-date on your self-leveling underlayment choices and techniques? Columnist and author Michael Byrne details the DOs and DON'Ts of surface preparation, mixing, distribution, curing, and more.
Many installers learn the hard way about stone tile installation, and often give up on stone after their first major problem, but to the installer who wants a challenging creative outlet, and a more profitable business, stone tiles present many opportunities.
In this issue of TILE Magazine, we delved into the topic of Gauged Porcelain Tile. Through various case studies and a detailed technical focus by Jim Whitfield at MAPEI, learn more about the evergrowing topic that is currently dominating the tile market. Also, don’t forget to check out our product showcase, which highlights the newest tile tools and accessories that have been introduced.
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