Tile Floor Installation

A properly installed tile floor should last for several decades.  Sadly, many fail far too soon, due to improper installation.  The potential causes of failure are too numerous to name, but the more common causes include:

  • Subfloor not strong enough to support tile
  • Use of incorrect tile adhesive
  • Improper mixing of thinset mortar with water or additives (e.g. too much water, too little water, not slaking the mixture properly, mixing too fast)
  • Bond-breakers (e.g. dirt, dust, grease, oils, solvents, paint, lacquer, sealer, carpet glue) present on back surface of tile or on the bonding surface
  • Allowing mortar to skin over before setting tile
  • Insufficient coverage of mortar on back of tile or on substrate
  • Failing to install movement joints in a large installation
  • Tiling and grouting all the way to the walls, with no gap for expansion
  • Improper curing of mortar (grouting too soon, temperature too high or too low for the manufacturer’s specifications, not enough water or too much water in mixture)
  • Bonding tile directly to a concrete slab (if slab cracks, so will tile layer)
  • Deterioration of the subfloor or mortar bed (e.g. rotting wood, dissolution of minerals in wet mortar)

Our Floor Tile Installation Services

Columbia Tile & Grout performs two types of installation services: new installations and replacements. The main difference between the two is the demolition and debris disposal associated with the replacement service, but that is a BIG difference, because of the amount of hazardous silica dust and mold spores that can be released during the demolition process. Prior to starting the demolition, much preparatory work must be done to protect the home from contamination. This preparation includes the application of adhesive protection film to adjacent carpeting, placement of tarps along the entire exit path from the work zone, placement of sticky pads just outside the work zone exits, installation of dust containment barriers (Zip Doors and/or Zip Walls), blocking of ventilation registers inside the work zone, and setup of portable HEPA-filter air scrubbers with outdoor exhaust. Our HEPA-filter air scrubbers are capable of filtering out 99.97% of all particles as small as 0.3 micron diameter at a flow rate of 250 – 500 cubic feet per minute. Particles in this range include mold spores, smoke, bacterial cells, and fine silica dust, all of which can be harmful to human health. We also use HEPA-filter vacuums as dust extractors on demolition tools and for cleanup of the work zone.

Reconstruction of the floor often includes leveling the subfloor, installation of Schluter-DITRA underlayment, and installing the tile with Raimondi’s tile leveling system. The result is a tile installation that is:

  1. Both level and flat with no lippage between tiles
  2. Protected from damage caused by minor horizontal movement in the subfloor
  3. Protected from water damage caused spills or leaks above the surface
  4. Protected from water damage caused by moisture rising from below the surface
  5. Stronger than floors of comparable thickness without the DITRA