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Installation Tips

a. Choosing and Buying Tiles

1. Before buying your tiles, bear in mind the following:

-the environment of the area to be tiled.
-the use which the tiles will be put to
-the size and shape of the area to be tiled
-design considerations

2. Choose the tiles best suited for your location.
3. Compute the number of tiles required and add 10% to 15% as extra to serve as buffer.
4. Purchase the tiles and ask your supplier for the same size and shade codes.

b. Preparing the Surface to be Tiled

5. Inspect the surface to be tiled and ensure that it is structurally stable and level as uneven surfaces can lead to air pockets which provide poor support for the tiles.
6. If the tiles will be installed on a concrete surface, ensure that the surface has been properly cured.
7. If the surface to be tiled contains gypsum (plasterboard panels and other types of vertical partitions), treat the surface with a primer.
8. Thoroughly clean the surface to be tiles by washing with water.

c. Preparing the Tiles

9. Inspect the tiles for any imperfection and segregate those with defects.
10. Lay out the tiles and check the shade and size.
11. Wipe the tiles with a damp sponge or dip these in water to clean these then stack these vertically to remove the excess water.
12. If using wall tiles, immerse these in clean water for at least two (2) hours prior to installation to ensure maximum water absorption. This is not necessary for floor tiles as floor tiles are less porous.

d. Creating Installation Guides

13. Locate the center of the room by drawing two (2) diagonal lines. Once the center point is determined, lay out the tiles in the desired pattern.
14. Determine the best place to begin your installation.
15. Establish reference lines to align the tiles.

e. Preparing and Applying the Binder

16. Combine the materials for the binder (cement, sand, and water or tile adhesive and water) according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
17. Mix the binder (mortar or tile adhesive) until it reaches the consistency of damp earth.
18. Spread the binder onto the support surface in the required thickness of no less than 3-4 cm.
19. Dampen the surface lightly before applying the binder especially during warm or windy conditions to avoid the absorption of the water in the binder into the surface to be tiled.
20. If using tile adhesive, spread the tile adhesive over a one square meter area with a notched trowel held at a 45-degree angle from the surface. Use a scraping motion to comb the area, ensuring that the entire surface is completely covered.
21. Tamp down the bed of binder to prevent the formation of air pockets within the material, and then level this using a straight edge or measuring rod.
22. Dust a thin layer at the intersection of the reference lines.

f. Installing the Tiles

23. Lay the tiles at the intersection of the reference lines.
24. Push the tiles onto the binder, making sure that the binder does not touch the external tile surface
25. Slide the tile into place and align, making sure that the entire back surface of the tile is in contact with the binder and no empty space is left beneath the tile.
26. Tap the tiles into place to level the surface and ensure complete adhesion between the tiles and binder.
27. Remove excess binder with a wet sponge and water as tile adhesive and mortar will adhere to the surface once dry and will be difficult to remove.
28. Keep the newly tiled surface wet for at least 15 days following the installation to retard the drying.

g. Filling the Joints with Grout

23. Pour the tile grouting material into a clean plastic pail, add water and mix until a creamy, pasty consistency is attained.
24. Spread the paste diagonally across the tile joints using a spatula or rubber backed trowel, limiting contact with the surface of the tiles.
25. Apply the pressure to fill the joints uniformly.
26. When the residue on the tiles begin to form a haze after about five (5) minutes, apply a wet sponge using the same diagonal strokes until the grout is flushed with the tiles.
27. Tool the filler joints by lightly running a sponge along the grout. Wipe any residue with a clean, soft and dry cloth to reveal the tiles’ true color and texture.



• Mariwasa tiles come in various surface finishes: glossy, matte, structured, marble, rustic, glass and gold embossed.
• Choose the type that is suitable for your location.
• Mariwasa tiles are classified according to areas of application. There are tiles that are suitable for residential or public buildings; others that are best for indoor or outdoor use while some look best in the bedroom or kitchen.
• It is not advisable to use glossy tiles in areas which are likely to get wet. Non-slip or structured tiles are more suitable for these areas.
• Check out the rating legend found beside the name of the tile design found in mariwasa brochures.
• Shown in the table below are the areas of applications of the different groups of tiles and their rating legend.


• Mariwasa ceramic tiles are made for floors or walls.
• Wall tiles (GWT) are used exclusively on walls and should never be used on floors as these are not designed for heavy traffic.
• Floor tiles (VFT), however, may be installed on either walls or floors.


• It is not advisable to use big tiles in small areas.

• When using two-toned wall patterns, the darker color is used in the lower portion with the loghter color on top.
• The tiles selected must fit with the furnishings and the range of objects, colors, shapes and activities that exist in the environment. They must also match the shape, dimensions, and lighting available in the area.


• The size and shade codes are printed on the side of the carton box together with the tile description and date of production.
• A bigger number means larger dimension (size code) and darker shade (shade code).
• The size and shade of Mariwasa tiles may differ from other tile brands. Please take note of this when using tiles of different brands.
• Refer to the table below for the Mariwasa size and shade codes.

CONCRETE SURFACES • If any topping has to be done on the surface to be tiled, allow sufficient time for the topping to set. This will take about one week per centimeter of thickness.
• The concrete surface should be kept wet for 15 days to avoid rapid drying as this could lead to stress.
• Reinforce the support layer with a strengthening and load distribution layer (i. e. reinforce a bed of concrete with electro welded metallic net), especially in the case of floors intended for heavy foot or vehicular traffic.


• The surface has to be treated with primer otherwise the chemical reaction between the gypsum in the surface and the binder would have a negative effect on both the strength of adhesion or cohesion of the tile bed itself.


• This is not necessary for the vitrified floor tiles as the level of absorption for this type of tiles is close to 0% thus the drying-out process will not be affected.


• If the surface is vertical, mark-out a similar area on the floor. This is to center the patterns, simplify cuttings, avoid small cuts, and achieve the planned design in an easier way.
• This will also show you the spacing around the perimeter and how the cuts will fall.
• Cut tiles should be at least half the tile width. These should be installed on the least noticeable areas.
• Adopt a grout spacing of 3-4 mm for tiles 200 x 200 mm and smaller, 4-6 mm for tiles between 200 mm x 200 mm and 400 mm x 400 mm, and 6-10 mm for tiles biggerthan 400 mm x 400 mm in size.
• Move the center point slightly or vary the grout width to simplify cutting and/or eliminate xutting on the edge.


• The convention is to start from the center. However, if accent tiles will be used, it may be necessary to install these ahead of the plain tiles.
• Ceramic tiles are considered finishing materials and should not be installed until all heavy construction is completed.
• Rooms and spaces in which tiles are being installed should be closed to traffic until the tile installation is completed and the surface cured.
• If tiles are laid while construction is in progress, it is necessary to protect these with a cover as the expected build-up of dirt and debris from the construction activities is likely to stain the grout and damage the tiles. This cover could be ¾” sheets of plywood, heavy duty Kraft (brown) paper taped together with mask-in tape, cardboard, or a carpet. Do not use plastic sheets as these will not allow the release of moisture while the floor is being cured.
• Inspect the covering often for tears as this could allow dirt to pass and result in stains.


• The convention is to use every second or fourth tiles as reference.


• Use 1 part Portland cement and 3 parts sand for the bed mortar. Use sand of a suitable particle size. This should be clean and free from clay, organic compounds, and soluble salts.
• Use only pure water containing no organic matter. Do not use saline water or water with high mineral content.
• Use only plastic pails or galvanized iron sheets as mixing base. Never use absorptive materials such as plywood, wooden boxes, gypsum board, etc.
• Use mortars and adhesives within the pot life of 3 to 4 hours after mixing. Do not reuse binder that has started to solidify or has partly dried.


• Apply the binder a little at a time and use this within the established limits of the “open time” and “adjustment time” of the binder. Check the manufacturer’s label for specific instructions.
• The open time is the time from the moment the adhesive is spread on the support surface until it no longer sticks to the material. This ranges from 20 to 30 minutes.
• The adjustment time is the remaining time available to correct the position of a poorly placed tile after its installation. In most cases, the maximum adjustment time is around 10 minutes.
• Do not dump the whole pail of mixed tile adhesive on the floor as once wet, this will adhere to the floor and ruin the surface.


• The wet tiles are laid on the bed of mortar against strips of wood or other similar materials that may be used as tile spacers.


• Section-off large areas so that the binder remains workable and tiles can be tapped into place and leveled properly.
• Remove one tile from time to time (recommended frequency is every five square meters) to determine whether the back of the tiles are fully covered. With tile adhesive, check if the adhesive still adheres to your fingers.


• Allow enough time for the tile to set firmly before filling the gaps with grout.
• The typical waiting time is 24 hours after installation. However, consult the manufacturer’s label to determine the ideal time for your specific type of tile.
• Use only pure water when mixing the grouting materials.
• Do not use saline water or water high in mineral content.
• Use a plastic pail or galvanized iron sheet as mixing base. Never use absorptive material such as plywood, wooden boxes, or gypsum board, etc.
• The mixed tile grout remains usable in the pail up to one hour.
• Do not add water or grout to the prepared mix especially if the mix is past its pot life of one hour. This will lead to bonding problems, cracking, powdering, and differences in color intensity.
• Do not mix various colors of grout to attain a different color or shade.
• Thoroughly dampen tiles joints with porous body but do not let this stand in water.
• Grout is made up of either cement or epoxy. Thus, excess grout should not be allowed to dry on the surface of the tile or other adjoining materials as these could permanently stain or damage these surfaces.
• Do not use acid and other chemicals to remove excess grout on tile surfaces.


• In project sites, workers could improvise and use a rubber sandal cut straight at one side to spread the grout.
• Grout should be applied on one square area at a time.
• Ideally, grout should fill up the gaps until just below the tile surface. If the grout is too low, dirt will accumulate in the gaps making these difficult to clean.
• The installed tiles should be cleaned thoroughly. All traces of excess grout should be immediately cleaned up and not allowed to dry on the tiles or adjoining materials.
• Protect the grouted areas by putting protective barriers or coverings. Grouted areas may be opened to normal foot traffic only at least 24 hours after application.
• All concrete products get harder over time, but most of their strength develops in the first twenty-eight days after these are installed. So its worthwhile to wait at least 15 days before subjecting the tiled surface, floors in particular, to the stresses of normal working conditions. In the case of particularly severe stress, such as would be expected in public and industrial environments, the waiting period should be even longer, in order to avoid any risks or inconveniences.

17 thoughts on “Installation Tips

  1. Joe says:

    I saw some mason or tile setter, they mixed the sand, cement and tile adhesive as a binder.. is this right?
    If it is okay, what is ratio of a mixture? is there any difference of a mixture of a binder for the floor or wall?

  2. Siaosi Kulihaapai says:

    I never knew until you mentioned that a binder mixture should be made and applied on the tiles for it stick in on the floor. Making an installation of tiles for yourself can be a fun way, but for most people who are always out for work, it can be another errand to be crossed in their to-do lists. These steps sure are informative but getting a flooring expert who can do the measuring, the mixing and application of tiles will surely save up a lot of time and energy, especially to me. Thank you!

  3. Elvira A. Costales says:

    Very informative and can be tried/applied this installation tips only if the space to be tiled is small just
    a meter or two. Otherwise it is really economical, polished if a tile expert will be the one to do it.

  4. Elmo Ganfield says:

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I’ll send this article to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a great read. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Long Floor says:

    Thanks for sharing this informative post. The tips you have mentioned in this post are awesome. This post is really helpful to the readers about the installations.

  6. nestor oscillada says:

    is it proper to mix tile adhesive to cement 1 is 1 ratio for fixing tiles
    why are china made tiles after 3 to 4 years it disintegrate from the floor leaving the adhesive or cement to the floor
    the tiles is barely clean

    • Tyler says:

      Hi Nestor! It is highly advisable to only use tile adhesive throughout your tile application. This is because the cement dries fast and will cause the difficulty to adjust the tiles after being laid. It also has poor bonding strength which will be the reason of de-bonded tiles later.

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