Installation - Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: What size tiles should I choose?

Q: I have a small area, am I better to use a small tile?

Q: Can I use a large size tile in my shower?

Q: Can I install my own tiles?

Q: Do I need a Professional?

Q: How do I choose an Installer?

Q: Is the preparation important and why?

Q: Can I tile onto a wall that is not flat and level? 

Q: Am I better to use a large or small dimension tile if my wall is not flat or level?

Q: Can I tile onto a wooden floor?

Q: Can I tile over existing tiles?

Q: Can I tile over new concrete?

Q: How do I know the right products have been used?

Q: Can I use a gloss tile on my bathroom or shower floor?

Q: What grout colour should I choose?

Q: Is a tile shower reliable?

Q: Is waterproofing prior to tiling important?

Q: How much fall do I need in my tile shower?

Q: Can I heat floors, how and at what cost?

Q: Should I seal the tile and grout joints?

Q: How do I maintain and clean my tiles?

 

Q: What size tiles should I choose?

A: You can choose whatever size you like that best delivers the look and design to suit your project and personal preference.

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Q: I have a small area, am I better to use a small tile?

A: No. You can choose whatever size you like. Usually a large tile will make a small area look larger. The set-out is an important consideration. Feel free to ask us for assistance.

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Q: Can I use a large size tile in my shower?

A: Yes. If you are told otherwise by your installer this is usually because they are not familiar, skilled or equipped to do otherwise, we suggest you select an installer who is skilled and equipped to do the work required.

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Q: Can I install my own tiles?

A: With the correct advice, products, tools and attention to detail you can install the tiles yourself. Beware that if there is a problem, you will not have any guarantee. Also, you will need to be aware of Local Body Authority requirements, especially with regard to waterproofing. Tiling is a ‘Professional’ task and it is highly recommended installation be carried out by a qualified professional.

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Q: Do I need a Professional?

A: It is highly beneficial to use a Professional, they have the knowledge of the industry, systems, requirements and have the experience and tools to complete the job to an acceptable standard. They can also offer you a warranty for their workmanship. To rectify a poor job in most cases involves full replacement. It is therefore critical you identify and engage a reputable, competent tradesman. It is a good idea to view some of their previous work and/or talk to a number of their previous Client’s. Tile New Zealand maintains a directory of Preferred installers.

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Q: How do I choose an Installer?

A: Tile New Zealand maintains a directory of Preferred installers, Tile New Zealand carefully selects and maintains the installers in this directory by visiting their projects, encouraging the use of our quality installation system with system warranties, offering training, Accreditation and support and receiving feedback from our clients. It is important to use an installer who IS good and is not simply suggested to you by someone (even your builder) who may not have the knowledge or be totally familiar with what is an appropriate/acceptable standard.

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Q: Is the preparation important and why?

A: Correct and adequate preparation is critical to allow a satisfactory and complete installation. The finished project is very dependant on the substrate being suitable for installation and adequate curing times being allowed for. Surfaces should be an appropriate substrate, properly secured, rendered straight, flat and level, cleaned and prepared ready for installation of the chosen product. If the area is considered a ‘wet area’ the surface must be prepared and presented according to Local Body Authority requirements and the chosen waterproofing Manufacturer’s specifications prior to commencing any installation of tile. It is critical the membrane achieves complete waterproofing of the substrate typical for the intended use of the area. It must be noted the ‘tile’ installation in no way contributes to the waterproofing of the area. Tile New Zealand recommends use of LITOKOL High Performance System from Italy.

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Q: Can I tile onto a wall that is not flat and level?

A: Correct and adequate preparation is critical to allow a satisfactory and complete installation. The finished project is very dependant on the substrate being suitable for installation. Surfaces should be an appropriate substrate, properly secured, rendered straight, flat and level, cleaned and prepared ready for installation of the chosen product. If your wall is not flat and level it will be difficult to achieve a good looking result, tile corners may protrude (this is called lipping) and you may have difficulty when installing internal and/or external corners. It is highly recommended to ‘prepare’ the substrate/wall flat and level prior to commencing tile installation. Tile New Zealand recommends use of LITOKOL High Performance System from Italy.

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Q: Am I better to use a large or small dimension tile if my wall is not flat or level?

A: A common thought is a smaller tile will be easier to use on a wall which is not flat or level. This is actually not correct. It is more likely a larger tile will be easier to install and achieve a better look as it is more capable of ‘bridging’ uneven areas. Usually a larger tile is also thicker and stronger. If a large tile is used and uneven areas are ‘bridged’ the possibility of voids arises, this may not be a problem unless the surface is to be subjected to heavy loads and/or fastening of wall hung cabinets and the like. A smaller tile will not bridge uneven areas and is more likely to follow the flow of the substrate/wall, this resulting in an uneven surface. It is highly recommended to ‘prepare’ the substrate/wall flat and level prior to commencing tile installation. Tile New Zealand recommends use of LITOKOL High Performance System from Italy.

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Q: Can I tile onto a wooden floor?

A: Yes, with the correct preparation and materials. There are basically two options. You can use a two part high performance adhesive such as LITOELASTIC to tile directly onto the timber. The timber will need to be clean and stable. (You will need to confirm floor joists and spans will be acceptable). This option is best suited when there are concerns of adding extra height to the existing floor and/or in smaller areas not subject movement or high traffic. The other option (preferred method) is to install ‘tile and slate underlay’ (a specifically made cement sheet) over the existing timber floor. This is glued and nailed on to the floor, the tiles are then laid on to the underlay with a flexible cement based adhesive such as K77. In most cases use of this product will add 6.5mm to the height of the floor. Tile New Zealand recommends use of LITOKOL High Performance System from Italy.

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Q: Can I tile over existing tiles?

A: Yes, providing the existing tiles are solid and fully adhered to the substrate. The existing tile surface should be adequately cleaned and in most cases ‘primed’ or ground ready for tiling over. The new tiles can then be laid over the existing tiles. You will need to use an appropriate adhesive such as  K77. Naturally, your existing floor level will be raised by the thickness of your new tile (usually around 8mm – 15mm) and the thickness of the adhesive (usually around 2mm – 5mm). Tile New Zealand recommends use of LITOKOL High Performance System from Italy.

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Q: Can I tile over new concrete?

A: The new concrete must be allowed to cure for a minimum of 28 days prior to tiling over.

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Q: How do I know the right products have been used?

A: The best option is to ask your Installer before installation what products he intends to use and if he and/or the Manufacturer offer a warranty/guarantee of their use and installation for your application. If you are in any doubt it is a good idea to contact a Distributor/Re-Seller of the product stated and/or the Manufacturer to confirm the products are correct for the intended use. Tip: Make sure the products actually used are those discussed. Tile New Zealand recommends use of  LITOKOL High Performance System from Italy.

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Q: Can I use a gloss tile on my bathroom or shower floor?

A:  This is an individual choice. As human’s we have a natural ability to ‘recognise potential dangers and take care’ when encountering different conditions. Gloss and/or polished tiles offer no more issues of concern than an acrylic shower or bath. If you choose to use a gloss and/or polished tile in your shower (for reason of look, design, maintenance etc.) but are concerned about slip resistance when wet you might consider using a mat in or adjacent to your shower. When dry, gloss and/or polished tiles usually have very good slip resistance.

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Q: What grout colour should I choose?

A: The grouting of your tiled area is the finishing touch. There is a reasonably large range of grout colours to choose from. This is an important decision as the colour of the grout will change the overall look of the area. You will need to decide if you would like to emphasise the grout joints or blend them as close as possible to the tile. You will also need to consider the width of your joints (this may vary according to the size of the tile chosen) and the amount and nature of the traffic your surface will be subject to. Naturally, lighter grout colours will be more subject to discolouration or staining but this can be reduced by using a high quality grout such as LITOCHROM which can be improved by mixing with IDROSTUK. Further protection can be added by sealing with a quality sealer. An excellent option which does not require regular maintenance or sealing is to use STARLIKE Epoxy grout rather than cementitious grout.  STARLIKE is hard wearing and stain resistant. Tile New Zealand recommends use of  LITOKOL High Performance System from Italy.

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Q: Is a tile shower reliable?

A: A tiled shower which has been designed, prepared, waterproofed and installed with the correct products and methods will last many years. It should outlast every other fitting and fixture in your home. There is in most cases nothing that can ‘wear out’. While it is not exempt, ‘tile’ is a very easy product to clean and maintain.

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Q: Is waterproofing prior to tiling important?

A: If the area is considered a ‘wet area’ the surface must be prepared and presented according to Local Body Authority requirements and the chosen waterproofing Manufacturer’s specifications prior to commencing any installation of tile. It is critical the membrane achieves complete waterproofing of the substrate typical for the intended use of the area. It must be noted the ‘tile’ installation in no way contributes to the waterproofing of the area. Tile New Zealand recommends use of  LITOKOL High Performance System from Italy.

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Q: How much fall do I need in my tile shower?

A: Usually no more or less than any other shower. Usually a fall of 1:50 is preferred. This means 1mm fall for each 50mm of distance. For example a 1000mm x 1000mm shower with the waste in the centre would typically require 10mm fall from the shower perimeter to the centre of the waste. It is most important to ensure an appropriate waste and plumbing system is provided to accommodate the flow of water delivered by the shower head/s.

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Q: Can I heat floors, how and at what cost?

A: Tile, wood, laminate and carpet floors can all be heated. The best option is under-floor. Usually you only have one chance to put this down and this is prior to installation. This is either done with wire and electricity or water and gas. It is often an efficient way of heating your home or parts of it. The cost depends on the area you are wanting to heat and the system you choose to use but under-floor heating is promoted as an extremely competitive heating solution and also discounts the need for other heating provisions. It is simple to use and maintain, with thermostat options you can choose what time of the day you would like the area to be heated or set the system to be fully automatic. Tile New Zealand maintains a directory of Preferred installers.

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Q: Should I seal the tile and grout joints?

A: Yes. It is always a good idea to seal cementitious grouts. For ease of maintenance and protection against stains, the cost represents only a small part of the total job and is well worth it. The sealing of the tile and the grout joints is one of the final steps for the tiled area. The sealer is absorbed and fills in any pores which left unsealed will otherwise absorb dirt and/or stains. Usually the new installation and grout should be allowed to dry/cure for several days prior to applying a sealer. Sealer’s can last anywhere between 5 to 15 years depending on the product selected, cleaning, maintenance and the conditions and traffic the area is subject to. There are specific sealers made for ceramic, porcelain, stone tiles etc. Manufacturer’s instructions should be followed for application and care. An excellent option which does not require regular maintenance or sealing is to use  STARLIKE Epoxy grout rather than cementitious grout.  STARLIKE is hard wearing and stain resistant.

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Q: How do I maintain and clean my tiles?

A: There are many tile cleaners available ranging from everyday cleaners to heavy duty cleaners, which you use depends on the nature or source of the stain, type of tile/product etc. Usually, regular cleaning with an everyday type cleaner is all that is required. However, if you have natural stone or similar surface it is best to contact us and we can help you identify the best maintenance program for you.

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