- Soil preparation
- Characteristics of the concrete slab
- Realization of the screed
- Stages of laying tiles
- Cutting of end tiles
The term "sealed laying" refers to the technique of laying tiles directly on a bed of mortar without glue. This is the traditional method of professionals; it is not the simplest, but it is the most economical (no glue tiling to buy) and also the most effective when it is well done. In a new house, this is the only method of laying that allows tiling to benefit from the ten-year guarantee.
The sealed installation of the tiles or "blowing bath" supposes a repair of the ground at least on the surface: recovery or creation of the slab and, at least, establishment of a screed, that is to say, casting of a thin layer of mortar on a hard flat surface, concrete or mortar.
Characteristics of the concrete slab
1. The slab, whether it is on one level or on a floor (self-supporting slab), must be strong enough to support the load of the tiles (which is generally the case).
2. If the slab is completely dry, having been done for a long time, wet it before pouring the screed, so that the dehydrated concrete does not absorb a large part of the mixing water of the mortar of the screed.
This is one of the most classic causes of problems with this type of installation, the screed never acquiring its strength and losing all the power of attachment, or even disintegrating after the installation of the tiles that are quickly peeled off (a screech characteristic then occurs under the steps when walking on the tile). You can also sprinkle the wet surface of the slab of pure cement, which strengthens the connection between the slab and the screed.
Realization of the screed
1. The realization of a screed is to establish a layer of fine mortar on the concrete slab. To adjust the thickness, it has on the floor slats between which is poured the necessary amount of mortar that is spread with a long rule resting on the slats. Before the mortar has set, the laths are removed and the trowel lapped with the same mortar as that used for the screed. Then smooth with a trowel.
2. In the case of a sealed installation, the screed has a dual function:
- it allows to have a smooth surface and perfectly straight for laying the tiles (which explains why it also has its use for laying with tile adhesive);
- it ensures the link between the tiles and the floor and secures it with the slab; it is the mortar of the screed that seals the tiles on the ground.
3. The thickness of the screed does not exceed a few centimeters (2 or 3). You must take this into account to determine the top level of the tiles, always avoiding as much as possible any threshold effect with neighboring rooms; this consideration is to be taken into account when you make a slab. This is the reason for the feature that you must establish on the walls with a chalk line and a vial level, line that must be exactly 1 m from the finished floor, that is to say integrating the thickness of the slab, screed and tiling.
Stages of laying tiles
1. It is harder to draw an axis here than when you do a glue down. A long wooden or rectilinear metal rule is usually the starting point. You will progress on a board or a piece of panel, not to mark the mortar of the slab at first, then then not to offset the tiles. If it is not possible to do otherwise, you will leave a wall (always leaving a space to compensate for the possible irregularity of it by a plinth tiled). Avoid starting from an angle, except in recent housing and only if the angle is perfectly straight (which is rarely the case).
2. The pose continues logically, always guided by a ruler to ensure alignment of the tiles. Make sure the joints are even, as wide joints (up to 1 cm) will ensure a better cohesion of the tiles if a cement mortar slip is made.
3. Do not walk directly on the slabs. Interpose a board. Marble the tiles as you go with a bat:
- give it small strokes with a hammer or the handle of a mallet, to ensure adhesion between the tiles and the screed;
- Periodically check the perfectly horizontal tile with a ruler and a bubble level. Correct if necessary by lightly tapping the tiles.
4. The jointing is done here with with cement mortar, then sprinkling the tile with pure cement which one will wipe before taking with a wet sponge.
5. You can also make the joints with slip. In both cases (pure cement or slip), remove the traces on the tiles before complete drying of the slip or cement.
Cutting of end tiles
1. Cutting tiles is almost always necessary, even when the equipment is not staggered joints (it would be surprising, in fact, that the distance between two walls corresponds to a number of whole tiles). Different cutting tools are available, however, given the thickness of the floor tiles, the tile cutter (manual or electric) is the most suitable.
2. Two methods are possible:
- taking measurements of the space remaining to be tiled, the transfer to the end tile and the cutting thereof;
- the tracing by superposition of two tiles, method more precise than the previous one.
(photos / visuals: © DIY-Prod, except special mention)
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