The success of a porcelain stoneware floor by Cercom is due to the technical and aesthetical features of the materials as well as to a combination of elements (bed, binding layer, expansion joints, etc.) which build up a real system. The laying operations, carried out in the correct sequence, are also as important as the choice of tiles. When choosing the most suitable adhesive and the application method refer to the instructions of the manufacturer. However, the designers has to establish the correct way of application of the tiles depending on the structure and the foreseen utilization of the floor. The design of all tiled surfaces should be entrusted to an expert designer, who must calculate the dimensions of the sub-base, the cement-based layers, the bedding layer, the falls and the entire laying system, taking into account the structure, the intended use of the spaces, the expected loads and the mechanical, thermal, physical and chemical stresses which will impact on the tiled surface. The designer must also determine in the laying specification every detail of the site, including type and method of laying , materials, particle size, mixing proportions, size of joints, location of structural, expansion and perimeter joints, etc.
1. Carefully choose the aesthetic and technical requirements of the tiles (in relation to the style and intended use of the spaces), the tile formats to be used, the laying scheme, and the width and colour of the joints.
2. Laying edge-to-edge without joints is strongly discouraged, indeed it is not practicable for exterior applications. In the case of modular laying of different formats, allow the following joint widths: 2 mm ”1 /16 for rectified products; 4 or 5 mm ”3 /16 or ”3 /16 for NON-rectified products.
3. Notification at time of ordering: always specify if the material requested is intended for multiformat laying to allow our sales office to send the client material with matching gauges and colouring.
4. Cercom stoneware tiles may be laid with traditional mortar or with adhesive.
5. Carry out laying to a professional standard, following the instructions of the designer, the site manager and the laying specification.
6. For best management of the site, it is essential to pay careful attention to the working times of the materials used, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
7. Check materials before they are laid-out. Claims on materials already installed will not be accepted.
8. Lay some pieces of product (at least 3 sqm) to check the overall effect. Lay the material taking it from several boxes and carefully check its size accuracy, shade and material sorting.
9. The hight level of vitrification belonging to group Cercom tiles bears modest caliber tolerances, therefore in the lay-out is advisable to leave at least 3 mm – 1 /8” grout line between each tile.
10. Do not mark the upper part with pencils or felt pens.
11. Wait 48/72 hours before walking on the floor. A fine product laid in a bad way will not yield good aesthetic results.
12. When laying, you are recommended not to stagger the strips by more than 25% of the lenght.
GUIDELINES FOR LAYING RECTIFIED MATERIALS
Installation of ground, closed-joint products requires the installer’s full attention, with special reference to the level of the laying plane and to the continuity of the joints. For optimal installation results, Cercom recommends maintaining a joint at least of 2 mm – ”1 /16 for single format installations and combine mixed formats. No joint setting, especially in large size product, is strongly advised against by all major adhesive producers for the following reasons: t difficulty in withstanding possible structural movement due to lack of joint; t different shrink/expand behaviour, in case of high thermal excursion; t difficulty in obtaining an effective and long lasting grouting. Cercom does not recommend closed joint tiling and is not liable if this method is employed. Cercom recommends a minimum 2 mm – ”1 /16 joint when tiling with rectified edge tiles.
1. If the cement and sand grout is not used, it is advisable to use grout with the same colour shades (it is preferable not to employ dark grout such as black, blue, red grout on light-coloured materials).
2. Fill the joints with grout only when the floor can safely be walked on, having first removed all kinds of residue from the joints.
3. Carry out grouting to a professional standard, following the instructions of the designer, the site manager and the laying specification.
4. Grout small surfaces at a time (4/5 sqm) and remove the exceeding amounts by means of sponges or wet cloths (with clean water only) or use suitable machines for removing the excess grout.
5. Cement-based grouts without additives: at the end of the day, clean off the grout residue with a slightly damp sponge. Unless otherwise indicated by the manufacturer, “after-laying” cleaning if the flooring should be carried out after 4-5 days (to allow the necessary hardening of the grout, in the joints), by first wetting the joints with water, then using suitable acid-based detergents. Do not wait too long before carrying out this cleaning: after two weeks it already becomes too laborious. Do not do “after-laying” cleaning if the temperature of the tiles is high: in summer, do it in the cool hours of the day.
6. Epoxy grouts and grouts containing additives (with latex etc.) follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, because the rapid hardening of these grouts can necessitate very laborious claning, especially if the tiles have a rough, anti-slip or structured surface.
CLEANING-PROTECTION AND ROUTINE CARE OF PORCELAIN TILES
The first cleaning after the tiles installation will influence the cleanability of the surface for its entire life. Floors and wall installations well planned and correctly layed represent very durable surfaces. Common-sense precautions are nevertheless necessary, as well as a good technical knowledge of the materials.
CLEANING AFTER LAYING
The cleaning after laying is an extremely important phase from which depends all the future applications and the maintenance of the floor. With an acid base cleaning after the floor installation it is possible to remove the regular dirt that can be found on the jobsite: cement, glue, paint stains… It is worth to know that more than 90% of the claims is due to a not proper cleaning after laying with acid base detergent. Sometimes this phase is even missing. Before cleaning an installed floor with an acid base product it is strongly suggested to pour water on the surface in order to wet the grout joint and protect them from the corrosive action of the acid. Otherwise it may happen that the acid solution included in the cleaning product could erode the grout. In case the first cleaning is made after the floor has been used, it is necessary to remove the dirt that could be found on the floor using alkaline based product, and then proceed with the post laying cleaning. After this process it is necessary to profusely pour water on the floor and, as a final step, remove as much dirty water as possible. The cleaning after laying needs to be done once the grout in the joint is fully dry (48 to 72 hours), properly following the indication of the manufacturer of the cleaning product used. The cleaning after laying made with acid based products such as Fila’s Deterdek, Mapei’s Keranet or Kerakoll’s Deltaplus needs to be done only once and has the advantage of maintaining an uniformity in the colour tone of the entire floor.
You are recommended to use ordinary neutral detergent diluted in water. Avoid using acid or alkaline products, waxes and/or impregnants. During ordinary cleaning it is recommended to use extremely abrasive items (such as scourers and iron or steel sponges) as little as possible. This recommendation must be adhered to rigorously in the case of tiles with a glossy surface finishing as they are more susceptible to the risk of scuffs, scratches and loss of shine, etc. In the event of heavy dirt or particularly textured surfaces, use an alkaline detergent and rinse after washing. For large surfaces, the use of a floor washing machine is recommended. During every-day cleaning procedures, it is necessary to remember that certain types of dirt (dust, sand) increase the abrasive effect of foot-traffic. Therefore we recommend that you avoid bringing in this type of dirt, which comes in from the outside, by placing a door-mat at the entrance.
In the event of dirt resistant to the ordinary cleaning, use a suitable detergent for that particular kind of dirt.
METALLIZED FLOOR AND WALL TILES
For the cleaning and maintenance of the tiles with iridescent metal effect surface it is strictly recommended not to use acid or alkaline detergents. Please use exclusively products with neutral PH. In any case please test each cleaning product in advance, if possible on a piece of the material not laid and avoid to leave the detergent on the tiles for more than 10-15 minutes. Always rinse heavily with water after cleaning.
Last but not least, please remember never to use stain remover such as anti-rust products or sprays, because they contain hydro-fluoric acid: this would case irreparable damage since no floor tile in the world, whether produced by us or others, withstands this acid. The following are the most suitable cleaning products for the various types of dirt.
The cleaning characteristics of the materials may vary significantly depending on the laying method, conditions of use, type of surface and environment. Generally speaking, the higher the non-slip characteristics of the tiles, the more difficult they are to clean. The maintenance and cleaning operator should always test each cleaning method empirically in advance (if possible on a piece of the material not laid). In the case of particularly heavy use, incorrect laying or inappropriate cleaning, Cercom declines all responsibility for the effectiveness of cleaning and maintenance operations. Cercom can under no circumstances be held responsible for events, damage or defects caused by incorrect laying, negligent cleaning and maintenance or the use of inappropriate materials and adhesives. The information within this paragraph are purely indicative. For more specific information please refer to the proper documentation available on the catalogues and websites of the main cleaning products manufacturers like for example Fila Industria Chimica spa (www.filachim.com), Mapei S.p.A. (www.mapei.it), Kerakoll S.p.A. (www.kerakollgroup.com).
TREATMENT OF HONED AND POLISHED PRODUCTS
Polish and lap are process that foresee the removal and polishing of the superficial part of the glaze or of the tile body. In all glazed floor tiles available in the market, this process, even with vitreous or with very low absorption materials, can involve the opening of superficial micro porosity which, in contact with particular kind of dirtiness, can be hard to clean or present haloes hardly removable. Cercom recommends, after the washing after the laying, that must be made using an acid cleaner like Deterdek of Fila, Keranet of Mapei, Delta Plus of Kerakoll, to effect an antistain protection with certified products such as MP/90, FilaJET or FilaPD15, in order to prevent that the material can absorb the stains maintaining unchanged the aesthetic and technical features of glazed porcelain. We remind you that any treatement the producer maker before laying, will be completely removed by washing at acid base that must be done after the laying and therefore no efficace anti stain can be granted.