What type of tile should I install? When out shopping around for tile or stone a lot of questions will come up? Here are some help helpful hints to get you started. You need to educate yourself so that the end result of your installation is a successful and joyful one.

Before you decide on new floor covering consider what kind of ware and tear the room will have. Know your square footage. To get the square footage simply measure the length x width. This will help when figuring out how much your tile will cost. Remember to include the cost of the grout, the installer and the sealing of the tile and or grout.

Not all tiles can be used in the same place. There are wall tiles made just for walls and decorative tiles that should only be used on horizontal surfaces. Some floor tiles are not made for high traffic areas. Some tiles are not made for out side and some tiles when they get wet get are really slippery. Investigate. Know your tiles limits.

Marble is beautiful. Marble comes with either a polished or honed surface. These surfaces etch easily. Any acid base products, such as vinegar, orange juice, lemon juice etc. will etch marble. I do not recommend marble on kitchen counters. I have even seen a few kitchen granite counter tops that were etched by orange juice or wine. Ask questions, know your stones limits.

If you have any doubts about the tile you are going to use, take a sample piece home and do your own tests on it. Then you can see for your self what will or will not happen to the surface of the tile or stone that you are going to install.

Now you've picked out your tile. Ask, "Do I need to pre seal my tile before it is grouted? Does the tile or grout need to be sealed after installation? If so who does the sealing". Ask questions. To seal or not to seal? That is the questions.

It's really simple. Put water on the tile, stone or grout surface to be sealed, for at least 10 minutes. If the water enters the surface then it needs to be sealed, period. Even a stone like slate that is not that porous is a lot easier to clean grout off of if it has been pre sealed.

I also highly recommended that you start sealing with one product, from start to finish. Sometimes contractors use grout releases. But in my profession opinion it is just as wise to pre seal with the same product as you are going to finish with.


TILE QUANTITIES FOR THE JOB

Always order more tiles then the net amount of the area to be covered, at least 15%. Order 20% if the tile is to be set on a diagonal. (I recommend rounding it up to the next full box for easier long-term storage at the household). The extra matching tiles will allow for any breakage that may occur and for you to retain material for possible future tile repairs.

The complete order should always be on the site before starting any tile installation. Believe me, entirely too many a homeowner has fervently wished she had just eight or twenty-two more tiles for a later repair, a transition to an additional room, or a "tie-in" to some redecorating being done years later in the home.

Frequently extra tile is stored in garages, attics, basements, etc.


GROUT QUANTITIES FOR THE JOB

We recommend anywhere from 1/8" (non-sanded grout) to no more than 1/2" (sanded grout) on regular tile.

For Mexican Pavers we recommend a 1/2" to 3/4" grout joint to make up for the variation in sizing and thickness. In fact they sell grout made just for Mexican Pavers. (It takes at least 72 hours for grout to dry and cured.)

For a great look to any installation, we recommend that you choose a color of grout that best compliment the color of the tile. Grout should be installed level with the tile. On Mexican Pavers fill all " chips, cracks & lime pops " as you are grouting.


INSTALLATION TIPS for Mexican Pavers

Mexican Pavers, what are they? The following is educational information about the care and purchase of Mexican Saltillo Pavers.

Mexican Saltillo Pavers are a natural clay tile, hand made by gifted artisans with primitive methods. Rustic by design, the beauty and characteristics of these tiles are variations in size color and texture. The " striping " is cause by the drying process in Mexico, the chips, cracks, lime " pops " and paw prints are all typical and only add to the natural beauty of this handcrafted look.

Custom Saltillo Pavers can be installed inside or outside. They are the very best in imported Mexican tiles. They are available for purchase in various sizes in their natural form or pre-sealed in either a matte finish or shiny finish or custom-colored to match in any decor.

Very Important! DO NOT SOAK or set tiles in wet mud or install over an uncured mortar bed! (Because of the moisture, this could cause the lime "pops" to pop or create efflorescence.

If you have purchased natural form Custom Saltillo Pavers we recommend that you pre-seal them either before installation or after installation. But before grouting, using either Charlotte Mexican Paver Sealer, 2 to 3 coats (this products leaves a shiny finish) or Charlotte Impregnator Sealer, 1 to 2 coats (this product leaves a matte finish). Our Custom Saltillo stained tiles are already pre sealed and ready to be installed immediately upon arrival to your job site.

We recommend a 1/2" to 3/4" grout joint to make up for the variation in sizing and thickness. In fact they sell grout made just for Mexican Pavers. (It takes at least 72 hours for grout to dry and cured.)

For a great look to your Custom Saltillo Paver installation, we recommend that you choose a color of grout that best compliment the color of the tile. Grout should be installed level with the tile. All of the natural voids and imperfections "chips, cracks & lime pops " should be filled with grout as you are grouting.

Note: Saltillo Pavers are not frost resistant.

Never use any type of adhesive tape on the Mexican Saltillo Pavers. The adhesive may pull the finish off of the Paver when it is removed. Some carpet pads made of certain rubbers may leave marks on the tile and may also adhere to the surface of the Paver like glue.

Be aware that Saltillo Pavers, when installed outside, will age and change as a result of the changing climate due to the sun, ultra violet lights and the weather. They do not withstand frost.


Finding a great installer:

Next you want to find a great installer. Ask for references. Ask to talk to someone who has installed either the same material as you or something very similar. Check on his California State Contractors License (it's different state to state) by calling 1-800-321-CSLB (2752) or go on line to www.cslb.ca.gov. Know your contractor. Know the laws.

When your wondering about the price of two different bids, the most important question you can ask is how are they going to install your tile or stone. Now that you have your installer, talk to them about the installation process they are going to use.

If you have any technical questions concerning your installation you can always call the Ceramic Tile Institute of American, Inc. @ 310-574-7800. They have the CTIOA tile installation handbook, which shows all the proper installations for your type of job. The where, when and why of tile installations.

Now that you have picked out your tile, grout color (sanded or non-sanded grout), the grout size, your installer and you know the installation procedure you are going to use, go for it.

Your installation is in. Hurray.


SEALING

Once your tile and grout have cured for a minimum of three days you can then go ahead and finish sealing it. In real cold areas you may have to wait a little longer.

Once your tiles have been sealed (if needed), installed and grouted with the grout curing for at least 72 hours you now need to seal the grout. Using either Charlotte Mexican Paver Sealer or Charlotte Impregnator Sealer apply as many coats as need depending on the porosity (Absorption) of the grout and tile. If using the Mexican Paver Sealer we recommend that after the tile and grout is sealed and allowed to cure for 24 hours you then apply four coats of Charlotte Floor Polish. This is the product you learn to maintain.

There is an old wise tail that you need to wait 30 days before sealing. This was back in the old days when all the products for sealing was oil or petroleum based. Most water base or even the solvent base sealers they use now days allow vapor transmission. Of course, ALWAYS read the directions. ALWAYS do a test if your not sure and when in doubt there are a few good companies out there that can do the job for you.

You can also e-mail me and I will be happy to answer any question you might have.


MAINTENANCE

Now that you have a beautiful finished job the most important question is " How am I going to take care of it"? This is where I have been having fun for the last fifteen years. I love to show people how to clean and maintain surfaces and how to keep everything looking as clean and as beautiful as the day it was installed. Really!

To clean tile floors use Charlotte All Surface Cleanser. Charlotte All Surface Cleanser is a pleasant lemon fragrant product that was formulated to be used for everyday cleaning. This product deodorizes and cleans all in one easy step. Safe to use on tile, grout, marble, granite, slate, limestone, sandstone, flagstone, porcelain, Formica, and linoleum.

On all tile floors sealed with Charlotte Mexican Paver Sealer we always recommend applying four coats of Charlotte Floor Polish. The sealer protects the tiles and grout from staining and the Floor polish protects the sealer. The Floor Polish makes taking care of your tile floor easy and effortless.

Charlotte Floor Polish is a clear, durable, floor finish that resists black scuffmarks and when properly maintained leaves a beautiful high-sheen finish. May be used on all types of sealed adobe clay tiles, slate, unpolished natural stone and quarry tile.

For heavy duty cleaning use Charlotte Heavy Duty Wax Stripper & Degreaser. This product is a concentrated, non-ammoniated stripper designed to remove heavy accumulations of waxes and floor finishes. Dissolves soil and grease and can handle he toughest jobs. May be used on all types of sealed adobe clay tiles, slate, quarry tile, resilient, vinyl and linoleum floors. Great for cleaning tile and colored grout on floors and counter tops.

We also recommend "Magic Sliders" on all surfaces that touch your floor. Never worry about damage to your tiles by chairs or furniture again! Charlotte swears by these furniture protectors for guarding floors against scratches. Order our special "Magic Sliders" made of a material that protects your furniture from damaging any surface. The surface slides everything as if it had wheels. Moves up to 3200 lbs. No more scratched floors. Works on any kind of surface such as ceramic tile, Mexican Pavers, marble, slate, limestone, sandstone, quarry, wood floors, linoleum and carpet. Comes in sixteen different sizes, four to a pack. All sets contain double-faced adhesive for permanent installation.The Grip Tip and 10mm and 60mm concave styles contain nails or screws. Simply peel off the paper backing and press the Magic Slider onto the base of a clean surface. They are simply the best investment you could make for the care of your new tile or stone installation.

With the proper products and the proper maintenance program, your tile installation can look as beautiful as the day it was installed, for years to come.

REALLY!

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