CLAY TILE INSTALLATION

Clay tiles are a handmade product. This is a result of the handmade process and the nature of glaze firing. Due to this process, variations in size, shade, and color are inherent to this product and can vary from piece to piece. Expect natural variation; these tiles will not be identical piece to piece. Details that are visible up close, will be appear subtle upon full installation. If properly installed, Clay tiles will result in a beautiful, durable, easy to maintain surface that can be enjoyed for many years.


To ensure that your tile lasts a long time, we highly recommend having a professional handle the installation. Their expertise and experience will ensure that the tile is installed correctly and will maintain its quality over time. For further installation guidelines, reference the Installation Handbook from the Tile Council of North America, TCNA .

RECOMMENDED MATERIALS

  • Flexible tile adhesive, suitable for natural stone
  • Flexible grout
  • Mapei Ultracolor Plus FA
  • Grout haze remover
  • Grout sponges
  • 1/4" - 1/2” Grout trowel (smaller tile, smaller trowel spacing)
  • Tile spacers (1/8” to 3/8” joint recommended)
  • Wedge spacers
  • Construction level
  • Tape measure
  • Diamond blade wet tile saw for cutting
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Buckets
  • Rags
  • Wax pencil or chalk line

CARE AND HANDLING

  • Handle cases of tile with care and keep all boxes upright.
  • Do not drop or mishandle cases of tile.
  • The unglazed back of your tile is susceptible to absorbing moisture, prior to installation, store material in a dry area.
  • Throughout the installation process and handling of the tile, be careful not to damage the finished surface, edges and corners of the tiles.
  • If any tiles have cracks or pops, set them aside and do not install or use them for cuts

INSPECTION

  • Inspect your order carefully.
  • You have the responsibility of assessing the suitability of the product before installing it.
  • Clay Imports will not be responsible for material that has been cut or installed.
  • After installation, we cannot accept claims regarding any variations in color and size.
  • If any tiles have imperfections, set them aside for cuts and do not install.
  • Expect to find a few pieces of tile with chips and glaze flaking. This is an intentional feature of this product. Including tiles with chips, flakes and irregularities will emphasize the handcrafted look of your installation.
  • Though glazed tiles do not require further sealing, using a conventional “grout release” will increase the efficiency of grout application.

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CLAY TILE INSTALLATION

PREPARATION

  • Arrange tiles in desired pattern to determine cuts needed and spacing for grout.
  • Prepare your grid. Based on your specific installation, determine how to best design your layout and draw a grid on the installation surface.
  • Confirm adequate tile amount, including extras for unforeseen circumstances.
  • If you require additional pieces, please make sure to have them before starting the installation process. Please note that any additional pieces may differ in color from your original order.
  • Clay tile, as a product of clay and natural materials, is subjected to color and shade variations and it is recommended to mix the tiles from the different cases.
    • Prior to installation, we advise a blending of the tiles to create a more aesthetic appearance.
  • As a clay-based product, there may be clay residue on the surface. Clean all tiles with a cloth to remove any clay residue before installation.
  • Please be sure to read products usage instructions on all materials used for your installation.
  • For safety purposes, we recommend that you wear safety gear when installing tile. Gloves, safety glasses and close toed shoes can prevent injury.
  • If installing tiles in an exterior, wet location or in a cold climate, proper installation is crucial. This entails specialized waterproofing, a topcoat sealer, and regular maintenance to ensure durability and longevity.
  • Ensure that the surface is well-prepared. The setting surface must be thoroughly cleaned and dried. Avoid installing over oily or polished concrete, unsecured surfaces, or excessive paint overspray.
  • Check your cutting saw to confirm that you're using the correct blade for the material. We strongly suggest using a high-quality, continuous diamond blade wet saw. If you notice excessive chipping, it may be time to upgrade your blade.


SETTING MATERIALS


  • The substrate and setting materials should be chosen based on your specific situation. Consult with your installer, contractor, or architect to determine the right options for you. . This product is compatible with high grade, flexible thinset and mastic tile adhesive.
  • Be cautious not to apply thinset in areas that are larger than what can be set within a few minutes.
  • Protect your work space. Setting materials can stain your walls and potentially harm your countertop or other surfaces near the installation area. Cover all areas that are susceptible to damage with a durable, protective construction covering.


GROUT


  • It is always recommended to apply a grout test on a loose piece of tile prior to full grout application.
  • Dark colored grouts that contain pigments can penetrate the surface of tile and result in permanent staining. We advise against using dark colored grouts.
  • To prevent grout from sticking during installations or for dark grout, use a grout release. Test it in a hidden area before applying to ensure desired results.
  • We recommend referring grout manufacturer guidelines.
  • Depending on the desired look, grout joint spacers up to 1/4" can be used.
  • Tighter grout joints will require a professional. If the grout line is too tight the tile could chip at stress points while the grout dries.
  • We recommend between 1/8”-3/8" grout joint for rectified tiles, due to a natural variation in size. An additional deviation of ± 1/4" is considered acceptable for joint straightness and variation. While it is possible to achieve a tighter grout joint, it may not always be feasible depending on the tile pattern. If you are considering a tighter joint, we highly recommend seeking advice from a skilled installation expert to increase the likelihood of a successful installation.
  • For floors and showers, it is recommended to use wider grout lines to enhance traction and prevent slipping.
  • Narrower grout joints will make the natural variation of the tile more noticeable. Using wider grout joints can help with tile placement and maintaining straight lines.

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CLAY TILE INSTALLATION ROADMAP

GUIDELINES

1

Using a trowel with recesses of 10-20 mm (1/2 - 3/4 in), begin spreading adhesive evenly to the installation surface. Spread adhesive in small sections.

2

Apply a small amount of adhesive to the back of your tile.

  • Ensure that the adhesive is applied to the entire surface of the back of the tile.

3

Begin pressing the tile onto the surface. Adjust the tile as you apply pressure to ensure that the contact is solid and uninterrupted. Do not let the tile contact the setting surface directly. Ensure that the material completely fills the space between the tile and the setting surface, while eliminating any air pockets. Quickly remove any excess glue between the tiles.

4

When installing tiles, use wedge spaces to secure the spacing between them. Clay Imports suggests using a joint spacing of at least 1/8” and no more than 1/2”. When using a wet saw to cut tiles, ensure that the glazed side of the tile is facing up on the cutting table.

5

Once the tiles are bonded, clean the surface with water, using a sponge or cloth. Remember to wring the sponge every time while cleaning. Allow the glue to dry for at least 24 hours before continuing the installation process.

6

Prior to grouting, apply a coat of grout release to the surface of the tile with a clean sponge or non- fibrous cloth. This will ensure an easy grout clean-up. Always apply grout to a loose sample tile prior to full application.

7

Grout should be applied to the tile within 1 hour of applying grout release. Always apply grout to a loose sample tile prior to full application. Once you have confirmed that the grout is suitable, begin applying to the surface. Note that this method of installation will result in grout filling any surface pits of the tile. (For alternative, See Grout Bag Method)


  • Only apply small sections of no greater than 6 square feet at a time.
  • Grout should cleaned from the surface with a damp sponge.
  • Grout should not dry on the tile surface for longer than 10 minutes.
  • For best results, wipe away excess grout at an angle to the tile lines.
  • Continue cleaning until only a mild residue remains on the surface.
  • Caution not to remove too much grout from the surface joints.

8

Following grout application, clean the tile surface thoroughly with a damp cloth. Clean the surface until all grout residue has been removed. Allow 24 hours for grout to dry.

9

Allow the entire installation area to completely dry before drying or covering the surface.

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CLAY TILE INSTALLATION ROADMAP

CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE

  • Regularly cleaning your tile is essential to maintain its beauty and prolong its lifespan.
  • We recommend cleaning your tile occasionally with soap or a household, non-acidic cleaner. This will help remove any dirt, grime, or stains that may accumulate over time.
  • Use a soft cloth or mop to avoid scratching the surface. Simply dampen the cloth or mop with the cleaning solution and gently wipe the tile in a circular motion.
  • For tougher stains, you may need to use a more abrasive cleaner, but be sure to test an inconspicuous area to not damage the tile.
  • Make sure to remove any residue from the cleaning solution. This will help prevent any build-up that could dull the tile's appearance.

Disclaimer: Since the installation of tile greatly determines the integrity of the project and the tile itself, Clay imports does not warranty this product and is not responsible for dissatisfaction of material following installation. Please inspect all tile upon receipt and notify us immediately if you have any quality concerns. This guide is meant to serve as a general resource. Because each project is unique, consult your tile installer before installing your tile.

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