• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

Part 2: A Comprehensive Guide to Tiles

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | In Part 1 of this series, we discussed some of the different styles of tiles that are available to you. In this next installment, we cover tile installation.

Installation of Tiles

Tile adhesive is recommended for tile installation, and is available in two forms: wall and floor tile adhesive, and powdered and ready-to-use adhesive.

Tile installation Image Source: ManoMano

Tile adhesive is pre-mixed and formulated from OPC, fine sand, and additives to improve its essential properties for tile laying.

Cement is a strong material, but it does not work well for tile installation. 

Cement-installed tiles become loose and, sometimes, easily fall out. Whereas using a suitable tile adhesive can help avoid such problems, because it keeps the tiles in place for decades. It is also dependable when installing wall tiles.

Tiles can be adhered to existing tiles, polished cement, or wooden substrates.

Differences Between Wall and Floor Tile Adhesive

Wall tiles are thinner, lighter, and have a different glaze than the floor tiles. Because of their light constitution, wall tile adhesive does not require as much bonding strength. Therefore, the load-bearing capacity of wall tile adhesive is less than floor tile adhesive.

Adhesive being applied before installing the tiles
Adhesive being applied before installing the tiles. Source: Victoria Plum

Floor tiles are heavier, thicker, and more resistant to vertical pressure. As a result, when purchasing floor tiles, a strong floor tile adhesive is needed.

Tile adhesives are available as powders or as ready-to-use pastes.

Powdered adhesive requires mixing with water to form a slurry, which provides a strong mix. Therefore, powdered adhesives are suitable for floor tiles.

Whereas the ready-mixed paste does not require any preparation, however it is not as strong. Ready-to-use paste adhesives work best for securing wall tiles.

Advantages of Using Tile Adhesives

  • Tile adhesive allows tiles to be easily adjusted over time. It gives the final look of tiles laid in line with an aesthetic appearance.
  • Applying tile adhesive with a notched trowel ensures a complete spread on the back of the tiles, reducing the likelihood of broken tiles.
  • Complete adhesive contact on the back of the tiles and the substrate results in solid bonding strength and long-lasting tiling work. Instead of cement mixture, Tile adhesive is specifically designed for tile installation and comes ready to use, saving time and effort.
  • Using tile adhesive with a notched trowel requires less material than cement. Unlike the sand-cement mixture, the tile adhesive layer is much thinner, resulting in a lighter load on the building structure.
  • A high-quality tile adhesive is a pre-mixed cement-based powder that is simple to apply and does not require curing (a process of maintaining satisfactory moisture content and temperature in freshly cast concrete for a definite period after placement).
  • In contrast to the large granules of cement, tile adhesive is excellent and quickly laid down. It makes it more difficult to spread evenly, and often a hollow space is left under a tile, which produces an odd sound and is easily broken.
  • Tile adhesives are designed for specific applications such as laying tiles, glass mosaics, and large-size granite (up from 60X60cm). It is also intended to lay tiles on polished substrates on a drywall system over existing tiles in external areas, such as parking lots, industrial sites, swimming pools, and many more.

Installing Tiles

A successful tile installation ensures years of increased home value, beauty, and trouble-free performance as a homeowner. The following are a few steps to take when installing your preferred type of tiles.

 Preparing the Surface

Ensure that the surfaces to be tiled are clean, smooth, and dry and free of wax, soap scum, and grease. Patched, repaired, and levelled areas should be patched, repaired, and levelled if damaged, loose, or uneven.

Remove any mouldings, trims, or other items that may interfere with the installation.


 Find the centre point of the wall when tiling in areas such as bathrooms, walls, and others. Draw a plumb line in the centre of the wall with a level. Later, align a row of loose tiles from the centerline across the bottom of the wall, leaving uniform joints between the tiles.

Tile Positioning

Before you set your preferred tiles, find a suitable adhesive to use.

Mix tiles from different cartons as you set for a combined effect. To ensure a proper bond, use the appropriate adhesive for the surface before setting your tiles.

After you’ve found a suitable adhesive, read all the instructions and warnings on the package before you begin using it. Make the adhesive and use it within 30 minutes.

Pre-mixed wall tile adhesives should be applied directly without mixing. Determine the correct trowel type (V or square-notch) and size (depth of notches) for the installation tile. For any recommendations, it’s best to consult the setting material package.

Grouting Joints

The tile should be well set before grouting joints to avoid breaking the bond. Refer to the adhesive package for specific time requirements, but you should generally wait about 24 hours before beginning grouting.

Remove all the spacers that were used for the setting. Determine your preferred grout colour; however, for the best results, choose a colour that complements the tiles.

Immediately remove any excess grout from the surface with the edge of the float. Tilt the float 90 degrees and scrape it diagonally across the tiles.

Continue compacting, then scrape off excess until you have grouted for about 30 minutes or until the mixture stiffens.

Tile maintenance and cleaning is paramount
Tile maintenance and cleaning is paramount Source: Architects Diary.

 Tile Maintenance 

  • Porcelain tiles are resistant to damage and easy to clean.
  • Clean porcelain tiles based on how much traffic they receive. Once a month, use a vinegar and water solution or a tile-friendly cleanser to remove dirt and day-to-day buildup.

Ceramic floors are simple to maintain.

Sweep your ceramic tiles to make room for mopping. Use a string mop and a mild dish detergent mixed with hot water to work from one end of the tile to the other.

  • If you have glazed tiles, use a mop; if you have unglazed or textured tile, scrub with a soft bristle brush.
  • You should avoid Oil-based products, waxes, and abrasive scrubbers containing bleach or ammonia.
  • Rinse thoroughly with hot water and pat dry with a towel or microfiber cloth.

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Part 1: A Comprehensive Guide to Tiles

Ceiling Designs for Your Home