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Made since 1850, cement tiles are the most beautiful effect to decorate a floor. However, their installation requires method and precision, especially in the case of recovery materials...

Laying recovered cement tiles

Necessary material

angle grinder
rule of 2 m
level
float
rubber mallet
spatula
metre
square
bucket
shovel
Protective glasses
gloves
kneepads

Difficulty : 3/4
Cost: 50 to 80 € / m2 for a surface of 12 m2
Time: 3 days to 2 people

To create an additional living area while retaining the original character, the basement of this house has been renovated in the style of the 1930s. The cement tiles chosen to dress the slab were purchased from a materials collector. old. They are hand-crafted and feature the decorative bias of interior design. Thanks to the variety of its patterns and colors, this type of coating can be placed on the floor as well as on the wall.

Different types of pose

The installation is carried out respecting the 3S and 3P rule: the support must be dry, stable and healthy; plan, clean and porous. For example, the concrete slab should ideally have a moisture content of less than 3%, which implies drying several weeks before laying the tiles. In addition, the DTU (unified technical document) specifies that the value of flatness defects occurring under a rule of 2 m (flatness tolerance) must not exceed 5 mm. Finally, if the floor covering is glued, thin leveling is to be expected in order to make the surface as flat and homogeneous as possible.

The constraints of the material

On this site, the implementation is carried out on a bed of mortar, the tiles being sealed freshly with a white cement slurry. This method makes it possible to compensate for their differences in thickness, differences that prohibit the installation glued directly on a concrete slab. In theory, these cement tiles are laid edge to edge. But with recovery materials, it is better to provide a joint, even very thin, to ensure alignment and layout.

1. REALIZATION OF THE BED

1. REALIZATION OF THE BED

A resilient peripheral strip serves to separate the slab from the laying bed.

Laying recovered cement tiles: tiles

After drawing the diagram of the installation principle, measure and trace, starting from the center of the room, the location of the various decorations using a large ruler. Here, several rectangular "carpets" with peripheral friezes.

Laying recovered cement tiles: tiles

Start work at the opposite corner to the front door. Shred the sand and the slightly moistened white cement (1 vol of white cement for 9 vol of sand).

Laying recovered cement tiles: recovered

Spread the lean mortar roughly with a shovel and then trowel.

Laying recovered cement tiles: recovered

Pull the mortar to the ruler by leaning on the strips of plasterboard that serve as guides to the dressage.

Laying recovered cement tiles: tiles

Smooth the mortar with a trowel, making wide and circular movements, as regularly as possible. This flexible laying bed will correct differences in thickness from one tile to another.

2. TRACÉ DU CALEPINAGE AND TILE INSTALLATION

2. TRACÉ DU CALEPINAGE AND TILE INSTALLATION

The part to be covered is not perfectly rectangular. Draw a precise layout according to the actual dimensions of the different elements to balance the cuts along the walls.

Laying recovered cement tiles: tiles

Check one last time the squareness, accuracy of the layout and the visual coherence of the chosen layout. The goal is to "content the eye" in a room that has relatively irregular contours.

Laying recovered cement tiles: recovered

Determine the location of the peripheral friezes. They allow to delimit the different tiled areas.

Laying recovered cement tiles: laying

Lay down a row of friezes from one end of the room to the other. It serves as a reference for all tile laying, and allows you to check whether to start with a solid or cut tile.

Laying recovered cement tiles: recovered

Clean the tiles with a mild detergent. Then let them soak in the clear water: filled with water, they will adhere better to the mortar.

Laying recovered cement tiles: tiles

Spread the slurry of white cement regularly using a stainless steel trowel (or a coarse tooth comb). Be careful, it dries quickly: avoid spreading too much in advance.

Laying recovered cement tiles: tiles

Position the tiles and level them by dragging them and / or tapping them. The installation is done with a very fine joint: about 1 mm.

Laying recovered cement tiles: laying

Continue laying, making sure the tile is flat and the joints wide, playing with the slight differences in size from one element to another.

Laying recovered cement tiles: laying

Level the tiles precisely, with respect to each other, avoiding to hit them with a rubber mallet too hard.

Laying recovered cement tiles: recovered

Before going further, check the perfect alignment of the first row with a ruler 2 m long.

Laying recovered cement tiles: cement

Place the tiles of the frieze perpendicular to the carpet and the starting row. Continue laying the rows of carpet.

Laying recovered cement tiles: laying

Spread the slurry on the run, in order to work in a comfortable position. Immediately dispose of the excess on the tiles with a damp, thoroughly rinsed sponge.

Laying recovered cement tiles: cement

To achieve the angles, cut at 45° two identical tiles and put each half-tile with a very thin joint.

Laying recovered cement tiles: recovered

The first part is over. The coating of the piece continues with, for each zone, the realization of a fi nding laying bed, set.

Laying recovered cement tiles: cement

Cutting with grinder
The cutting of the tiles is done with a grinder, water preferably to prevent heating and dust emissions. Wearing glasses is recommended to protect against a possible glare. For more precision, especially when cutting corner tiles, the grinder can be mounted on a frame.

3. INSTALLATION OF PERIPHERAL DECOR

3. INSTALLATION OF PERIPHERAL DECOR

As before, set up a laying bed composed of fine sand and white cement. Adjust, smooth and tighten the mortar.

Laying recovered cement tiles: laying

Continue the installation by stalling on the part already done. The technique is identical, only the decor changes. Always check the alignment of the tiles.

Laying recovered cement tiles: laying

The use of the mallet makes it possible to precisely level the tiles between them. The quality of the pose depends on the final result.

Laying recovered cement tiles: tiles

It is useful to place yourself regularly at the other end of the room to check the alignment consistency.

4. JOINTING AND FINISHING

cement tile laying finish

Spread the grouting mortar with a trowel, with emphasis on filling the joints. Immediately remove the excess with a damp cloth. Then, clean with clear water.

After complete drying, apply 24 hours apart two coats of a microporous water repellent treatment.

New or old cement tiles?

Cement tile is an almost indestructible floor covering, very fashionable between the two wars, which decorated at the time the entrances, the kitchens and the bathrooms.

It consists of a succession of layers of fine mortars of cement (mixture of sand and cement) and, for the decoration, of colored metal oxides. It is quite easy to find lots in good condition among traders in antique materials, antique dealers, some junk dealers or even on the Internet.
The difficulty, apart from their state of conservation, is to obtain a lot corresponding to the totality of the surface to be covered. Because they have often dressed small pieces, it is almost impossible to treat a large space with a single lot. But we can create beautiful "carpets" of floor decorated with friezes and borders with tiles of different sizes and patterns, or even favor new cement tiles... Indeed, after some disappointments related to imported products with poorly ensured follow-up, it is now possible to find new tiles at a few manufacturers, mostly located in the south of France.


Video Instruction: Thinset on Concrete