Pre-Installation Prep

Identify your substrate

Prior to installation, it is important to identify your substrate. A substrate is the surface which sits beneath the tiles - the installation method will vary depending on your substrate and tile. We recommend employing the services of a professional installer who has experience installing on to your substrate type as well as your chosen product to achieve the best results.

Moisture Test

All substrates should be free of dust, laitance, dirt and movement. If your substrate is a newly installed screed, it is imperative that the screed is fully cured.

Either your professional installer or screed manufacturer will conduct a specialist test to understand the readiness of the screed by testing the moisture content within the screed.

It is important to conduct the test in an area that is likely to be the wettest. Curing times depend on the screed and site conditions - we provide approximate guidelines within our 'substrate specific advice' guide but you should always be led by your screed manufacturer or installer.

In order for tiling to commence, the RH should be less than 75%.

Unpacking Tiles

We recommend unpacking your order as soon as possible - please see our 'Unpacking Guide' for further information. It is important to remove all tiles from their crates so your professional installer can see the full spectrum of shades within your order.

Acclimatising & Cleaning

Limestone and Marble blocks are cut into tiles using water cooled gang saws, the tiles then undergo the appropriate finishing process and are packed immediately. Often the stone tiles retain a lot of this moisture and will not have a chance to dry until they are unpacked in a well ventilated and heated room -
as the stone starts to dry out, you will notice the colour lighten. It is important to install the tiles once fully dry to ensure you can blend the tiles tones and variation to achieve the best result.

In some instances, the tiles may require an initial clean to free them of surface dirt following the manufacturing process. This should be actioned prior to allowing the tiles dry - cleaning information can be found here.

Nominal Measurements

Due to production methods, it is normal to expect a slight variation from the size and thickness stated on the website. This can be more be apparent in large format tiles.

Uncalibrated Natural Stone Tiles

Some natural stone tiles are uncalibrated. This means the thickness of the tile can vary slightly - tiles need to be graded prior to installation. Always ensure the first tile laid is the thickest tile to set the level of the floor correctly. A thicker adhesive bed will be required for thinner tiles. Please ensure your adhesive is suitable for the bed thickness required.

The product page will mention if the stone is uncalibrated.

Non-Rectified Porcelain Tiles

Unlike rectified tiles, non-rectified tiles are not cut or ground down after the firing process. Due to the shrinkage that can occur during the firing process, it is normal to expect slight variation between the sizing of each tile vs a rectified tile. To accommodate this, it may be necessary to make the grout joint slightly wider.

Typically, non-rectified tiles are patterned or glazed tiles whereby the rectifying process would affect the look of the finished tile.

Warped Porcelain Tiles

During the firing process, it is normal for porcelain to obtain a slight bow or warpage - this is not a defect and is overcome by installation with levelling clips. Your professional installer is likely to use levelling clips as standard practice, however they can be purchased economically online.

To achieve the best result, the tiles should be staggered no further than 30% of the length of the tile.

Dry Laying Tiles

Tiling should always be calculated from the centre of the room. It is best practice to dry lay your tiles initially in order to ascertain the optimum grout joints (minimum 3mm) and also to avoid any narrow cuts. This process also helps to achieve the best blend of tones and variation prior to fixing the tiles - you can inform your tiler of tiles you would prefer to use for cuts.

Commissioning Underfoor Heating Systems

Prior to tiling, a full commission of the UFH needs to take place, this includes both a hydraulic pressure test and thermal conditioning. The hydraulic pressure test must take place prior to the screed being poured. Following the screed curing, the screed must be thermally conditioned (run a full thermal heat cycle) to relieve stress and reveal defects. Any surface laitance/residue must be fully removed prior to this commissioning in order to assist and aid any residual moisture to escape.

Always check the commissioning process with your UFH manufacturer and screed supplier.

Movement/Expansion Joints

Both walls and floors are subject to micro-millimetre movements, therefore it is necessary to include perimeter joints, and in some cases expansion joints.

A perimeter movement joint is required where tiling abuts columns, steps and perimeter walls (minimum 6mm).

Expansion joints are required to force any movement to a controlled area of the room. Floors should be divided up into bays of size no greater than 40m² with an edge length no greater than 8m.

Please discuss this with your professional installer prior to installation to ensure British Standards are adhered to for your project.

Levelling Existing Substrates

In the instance of an uneven surface, a levelling compound such as Keratech Eco R10 can be installed (suitable for thicknesses between 1-10mm) - full application advice can be found on the Keratech Eco R10 product page. Always ensure the levelling compound is suitable for your substrate.

Cleaning During Installation

Cleaning throughout the installation process is essential to acheive the best aesthetic result.

Tile Cutting

In order to achieve the cleanest cuts, it is recommended to use the best cutting tools possible, as well as using a skilled operator who has extensive experience in cutting natural stone or porcelain tiles.

Manual Cutters - Also known as 'score and snap' can be ideal for simple, straight-line cuts on porcelain tiles (always check the specification of the machine to ensure it is suitable for the dimensions of the product). It is important to ensure you have the correct scoring wheel attached to achieve the best results.

Electric Cutters - Also known as a 'wet cutter' are used for natural stone tiles and porcelain. It is imperative that a high quality diamond blade is used at all times - blunt or worn diamond blades can result in edge chipping. Always check the diamond blade is suitable for the type of tile you are cutting. The diamond blade picks up water as it spins, keeping both the blade and tile cool. This ensures a better cut, less friction through the tile (preventing cracking), less dust and a longer lasting blade.