How-To: Let’s Talk Trowels

One of the most important aspects of a tile installation is the thin-set, and having even coverage under each tile. If there are voids, the tile may break, crack, or even pop up after a while. The best way to avoid this is to choose the correct trowel for the job, and applying the thin-set correctly.

Size Matters

To get complete coverage you will need the correct trowel for the job. Trowels range from completely flat (no notches) to 3/4″ x 5/8″ notch sizes. Mosaics and very small tiles up to 4″x4″ will require a small 3/16″ x 5/32″ to 1/4″ x 3/16″ v-notch trowel. Installing small format tiles from 4″x4″ up to 8″x8″ require a standard 1/4″ x 1/4″ notch trowel, but if you are doing anything over 8″ you will need to step it up to a 1/4″ x 3/8″ or possibly even a 1/2″ x 1/2″ notch trowel. 1/2″ x 1/2″ Trowels are the largest trowels we sell, and they are appropriate for large format tiles (any tile with a side greater than 15″), or tiles going over a very uneven sub-floor.

Trowel Sizes

Trowel Sizes

 Do Not Swirl It

The norm with tile install used to be to make a swirling motion (see below) when applying the thin-set, but that leads to much less coverage under each tile. Applying thin-set in one direction, and applying firm pressure to the tile in a side to side motion helps close the ridges more effectively and give you 100% coverage under each tile.  The video at the bottom of the page gives great visual examples and explains in detail why combing thin-set in one direction is best.

Right Way

The Right Way

Wrong Way

The Wrong Way

 

Why We Love Prism Grout

There was a time when grout was grout, if you wanted an upgrade, you just sealed what you had and that was the end of it. Those days are no more with Custom Building Products introduction of Prism Sure Color Grout. Here at the Flooring Warehouse Outlet we only use Prism in our displays and on the floors in our showroom, Prism is our go-to choice for premium grout.

Prism grout is a polymer modified cement based grout formulated with glass rather than the sand you would find in typical “sanded” grouts, thus giving it a smooth silky texture making for easy workability and a beautiful final product. Prism can be used in grout joints from 1/16″ up to 1/2″ wide, and has a very lightweight composition. Prism comes in 17 pound boxes that cover the same area as a standard grout’s 25 pound bag, each box contains 3 individually sealed interior bags. When doing large areas it’s best to dry mix the bags together before you start mixing up a batch of grout, that way you have %100 color uniformity. Prism grout is very color consistent and will not effloresce. Prism Sure Color Grout is very easy to work with and sets up fast, the video below explains installation and some of the benefits of Prism.

 

 

Try Prism grout for yourself so you can see why we love it so much!

New Shipment! 18×36 Porcelain Tile!

This just in! a whole truckload of high quality HD 18×36″ Porcelain floor/wall tiles! 3 Colors to choose from!

These pictures do not do this beautiful tile justice, come by and see them for yourself!

Portland HD Silver

Portland Silver

Portland Silver HD 18×36 Porcelain Tile $1.97 sf

Portland HD Gray

Portland Gray

Portland Gray HD 18×36 Porcelain Tile $1.97 sf

Travertino HD Noce

Travertino Noce

Travertino Noce HD 18×36 Porcelain Tile $1.97 sf

 

 

Portland Silver Bathroom

Portland Silver

Indoor Vs. Outdoor Tile What Is Best Outside?

If you are looking to tile an outdoor space such as a pool deck, patio, or even a screened porch; there are a few things to consider before choosing your tile. Factors such as skid resistance, size, composition, and even color will come into play. Most indoor tile is suitable for outdoor use, but you do need to take into account that the conditions will be more harsh than they would inside, so be sure to ask the right questions when selecting a tile.

Is the area going to get wet? Is the tile rough enough to avoid slipping? – Texture is quite important when choosing an outdoor tile, you don’t want to be coming in the door with an arm full of groceries only to slip and fall on your front entry tile that is just too slick.

What size tile will this installation allow? – If you are doing a pool deck, porch, or similar areas, chances are the concrete is not the flattest it can be. This limits the size tile you can use, unless you do a substantial amount of prep work such as leveling, concrete board, or flashing the subfloor.

What about color? – Color plays a major role in outdoor tile spaces, not only in terms of design, but also usability. If you chose a dark slate-look tile for your uncovered patio and go outside barefoot on a 100 degree summer day, you may start to regret choosing such a dark color…

Is it frost proof? – This does not factor in too much here in Florida, but yes it does get cold (sometimes). So frost proof tile may be something to look at. Many floor tiles are frost proof, but not all are, and that could spell trouble come winter when there is a lot of freezing and thawing, thus leading to cracked tiles.

Choosing outdoor tile can be frustrating, and overwhelming, but hopefully these tips and tricks outlined above will help guide you on your tile buying journey!

 

Rodano mix

Rodano Mix

What is Second Choice Tile?

When tile is being being mass produced, much like anything else, it has to undergo many different quality control tests. Inspectors check for imperfections, flaws, and just down right defective material as it comes off of the equipment. Just like many other products, the tile industry has certain tolerances on the quality of the final product, and they are graded very easily by referring to them as first, or second choice. First choice tile is tile that has no major flaws, or defects. Second choice tile is something that didn’t pass quality control and can have imperfections throughout any part of the composition of the tile. First quality tile is nothing to be worried about, if there are any imperfections in the tile, they are rare, and should not affect the final installed products, but lets look at second choice tile, what are the possible imperfections?

Off-Size – From tile-to-tile pieces vary in size more than the industry tolerance of 1/16″

Off-Shade – Tiles may be different shades from tile-to-tile, sometimes noticeably, and sometimes it can be made to look like a natural variation

Wrong Color – Some tiles simply come off the production line a different color than the design called for

Chipped edges – While forming and baking the tiles a corner can sometimes get chipped, but most times it is simple as a chip in the clay underside that you would never see once installed

Glaze Imperfections – These imperfections can range from small pin-holes in the glaze to long lines that span the entire body of the tile, most are not very noticeable but some tiles may not be usable

While these attributes may seem pretty daunting, it is very possible to install second choice tile, and make it look like first quality. Many experienced tile setters have run across defective lots in their careers, so most can combat these defects with ease. When buying the tile to be installed, if it is second choice, make sure to buy at least an extra 10-15% on top of the recommended waste from your tile setter so you can cull out the ones with obvious defects, and of course make sure to tell your installer that you purchased second choice material before they start, no one likes a surprise like that! The bottom line: Second choice tile is not a terrible thing, as you may be able to get if for much less per square foot, and installed to your liking.

 

Denver Bone & Beige

 

The Ins And Outs Of Large Format Tile

Over the past few years, the trend among the tile industry has become “the bigger the better”, meaning consumers are getting the largest tile they can find installed in their homes and businesses. Floor tile ranges in sizes from 1×1″ all the way to 36×36″ and sometimes even larger tiles can be found. Large format tile is considered to be any tile with a side being greater than 15″. These types of tiles take a bit more effort to install, you’ll need an upgraded thin-set for large format tiles, wider notch trowel, as well as a better substrate to work with.

Things to consider before going with a larger tile:

How flat is the floor? – Large format tile will not be able to hide imperfections in the substrate like a smaller tile will, it is important to make sure the floor is as smooth and flat as possible.

Is the tile rectified? – Whether or not the tile is rectified (see my post ‘what is rectified tile‘ if you need a definition) plays a big part in your decision to use larger tiles, rectified tile will show imperfections much more than a standard tile. The sharp edge of a rectified tile is very unforgiving and any unevenness in the tiles will be very obvious.

Do you have the necessary tools? – A larger notch trowel will be required for these larger tiles, as well as a saw capable of handling the size tile you choose.

Does your layout support an upgraded size? – Take home a box of tile and lay it out, see if it works well visually. Some room layouts simply will not look good with larger tiles, and if your walls have a lot of jut outs, and/or angles it may be hard to make those intricate cuts in a larger tile.

How close are the grout joints going to be? – Again, this goes back to the flatness of the substrate, if you are doing very tight grout joints, the substrate must be very flat with a larger tile, otherwise you will end up with a lot of lippage from tile to tile.

 

Laguna Teja 18x18 Floor Tile

New Shipment of Over 15,000 Square Feet of Wood Plank Tile!

Arrived This Morning, A New Shipment of Over 15,000 Square Feet!

6×24 Yukon Series Wood Plank Tile, Available in 3 Colors!

Yukon Beige 6×24 $1.99/sf

Yukon Beige 6x24 Wood Plank Porcelain 1.99sf

Yukon Beige Display

Yukon Gray 6×24 $1.99/sf

Yukon Gray Wood Look Porcelain

Yukon Gray Display

Yukon Brown 6×24 $1.99/sf

Yukon Brown Wood Look Porcelain

Yukon Brown Display

In Stock and Available Now!

To Seal Or Not To Seal?

When choosing your new floor, whether it is Marble, Travertine, Granite, Ceramic, Porcelain, etc. The thought may cross your mind… “Do I need to seal this?” Natural stone always needs to be sealed, even if they are polished. All natural stones are quite porous even with that nice shiny polished finish, so they need a good penetrating sealer applied to protect them. Porcelain or Ceramic tiles on the other hand, do not need to be sealed, as long as they are glazed tiles. The glaze itself is a sealer and makes the face of the tile impervious. Grout may also be sealed with a penetrating sealer to give it an added layer of protection.

Once sealed, the care of the product changes a bit so you do not destroy the sealer when cleaning. All sealed surfaces must be cleaned with a PH neutral cleaner, to preserve that layer of sealer. If you use harsh chemicals on a sealed surface it can strip that sealer right off, and cause a number of other problems.

Here at the Flooring Warehouse Outlet we carry a wide array of Aqua Mix brand sealers and cleaners from standard sealers to heavy duty cleaners and problem solvers. Our knowledgeable staff is here to help you choose the correct cleaner, sealer or specialty item that is a good fit for your application.

 

Click Here To See The Aqua Mix Product Line

Image Credit: Custom Building Products

 

New Shipment! Entire Container Of 20″ Rectified Porcelain Floor Tile

Just arrived!

One whole shipping container filled to the top with 20×20 Rectified Porcelain Floor Tiles!

Over 15,000 square feet, in two colors.

CO711 20×20 Rectified Porcelain $1.29/sf

CO711

CO712 20×20 Rectified Porcelain $1.29/sf

CO712

 

CO711+12

 

Stop by today and check them out!

What You Need To Know About Dye Lots

Dye lot is a term used quite often in the world of tile. A dye lot is more or less a production run, most dye lots are a code with numbers and letters from the manufacturer that identify certain batches of tile. When purchasing tile it is important NOT to mix dye lots, as you may end up with miss-matching tile that varies in shade, size, color and even texture. For some tiles it may be acceptable to mix lots, but most of the time from lot-to-lot, they are very different. It is in your best interest to ask if all the tile you are buying is coming from the same lot, and if you are at a home improvement store (we won’t name names here) that you be vigilant in getting all the same lot, some stores have a bad reputation for selling tiles that are the same name, but very different lots.

Most dye lots can be broken down into 4 separate codes; be cautious though, because not all manufacturers use the same formula and codes. The first thing you’ll see on the box is usually the name of the tile, then you will typically see the quality, which tells you if the tile is 1st or 2nd choice material (2nd choice often does NOT pass quality control and has imperfections, but we will dive into that on another blog entry). Second you normally see what is called the PEI rating, a scale of 1-5 that tells how impact resistant the tile is. 1 being wall tile that cannot hold up to any foot traffic, and 5 being heavy commercial/industrial floor tile. The next bit of numbers or letters is typically the shade, now there is no rhyme or reason behind these codes, every tile has different codes. Then the last bit of info on the box should be the caliber, this is the size of the tile. As companies change production runs they often get new machinery, have it re-calibrated, and will also sometimes make different tile lines on the same machine, so they identify the particular size that particular batch was run at. You’ll find a great example of dye lot information on the image at the bottom of this post.

This explanation is just a rundown of the basics so you are more prepared going into your tile buying journey, there are variations to the way companies code their boxes, so some things may not hold true 100% of the time. Of course, if you have any questions about anything please do not hesitate to reach out to us, all our contact info can be found on our Contact Page here

CAM00451

Example Box Label