David M. Gobis, a third-generation tile setter, is an independent Technical Consultant. He has been in the trade for over 35 years and owned a successful contracting business for many years prior to his current position. He is also the author of over 150 trade-related articles and a frequent speaker at industry events. He is a member of the Construction Specification Institute, International Code Council, American Concrete Institute, National Tile Contractors Technical Committee, voting member of The American National Standards for Ceramic Tile Installation and Setting Materials (ANSI A108/118), American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM) C-21 Ceramic Whitewares, and TCNA Handbook committees.
This month’s Spotlight on TCNA article on the new ANSI mortar standards is guest authored by an independent consultant and lifelong tile industry professional involved in standards development and whom TCNA calls on regularly for input and technical assistance on a wide range of topics.
Roughly 25 years have passed since membranes first gained a meaningful foothold in tile installation. In that time, we’ve gone from the availability of several products to what I’m quite sure would be 50 or more, and that is only counting legitimate products designed specifically for tile installation.
Over the years, a plethora of products and innovations have been developed to control noise on the floor above. All of these materials or methods are only one component of a complete system in which each piece plays an essential part of a total assembly. Elimination of any component in the assembly can seriously weaken the sound rating desired.
In our rush to sell and install tile products we often forget to make any mention of the floor care required to keep their investment in that like new condition. The danger of not addressing floor care at the time of sale is we leave the customer to their own devices.
Earlier in my career I would have to describe myself as a skeptic about the added value of using membranes in every tile installation. Product options were very limited and performance standards were non-existent. Over the course of time, construction methods and practices have changed, in some cases dramatically.
Effective sound reduction, while easily achieved in most instances, requires a degree of knowledge and diligent adherence to the specific product manufacturer’s recommendations. When STC and IIC values are provided by a manufacturer they typically come as a result of a very specific assembly.
We really need to consider the basic requirements of the installation if we are to have happy customers and at least partially full wallets and/or pocketbooks. Regardless of what the customer wants or needs, the most basic requirements of a tile installation do not change - proper environmental conditions, a suitable clean surface and appropriate bonding material to firmly support the tile.
The purpose of an underlayment, from a ceramic tile perspective, is to provide a backing surface or other enhancement for direct bonding of ceramic tile. Underlayments can posses many properties, such as sound attenuation, waterproofing, crack isolation, vapor diffusion, or in wood structures, dimensional stability.
In this issue of TILE Magazine, we have tile installation case studies from Portland, OR, Milwaukee, WI, New York, NY, Tromsø, Norway, and Las Vegas, NV. Take a look at this month's Technical Focus on lippage-free tile installation, read the latest Contractor Spotlight, and much more!