ORGANIC TERRACOTTA INSTALLATION

Organic terracotta tiles are a handmade product. Due to this process, variations in size, shade, irregular edges and the appearance of fine cracks or chips, and distressing are inherent to this product and can vary from piece to piece. As well as variances in the body flatness, meaning some may require special attention when installing. This is common and will be part of your tiles variation. Details that are visible up close, will be appear subtle upon full installation. If properly installed, Organic terracotta 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 or Saltillo grout
  • Grout haze remover
  • Grout sponges
  • 3/4” Grout trowel
  • Tile spacers (1/8” to 1/2” recommended)
  • Shims
  • Construction level
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Diamond blade wet tile saw for cutting
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Buckets
  • Rags

CARE AND HANDLING

  • Handle cases of tile with care and keep all boxes upright.
  • Do not drop or mishandle cases of tile.
  • 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.
  • For “distressed” Saltillo terracotta tile, identifiable by a heavy textured, pitted surface, note that grout will adhere as a permanent fixture to the surface texture. Consider the above when selecting your grout color.

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ORGANIC TERRACOTTA 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.
  • Organic terracotta 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, dust or debris 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.
  • Ensure that your terracotta tiles are completely dry.
  • Do not wet your tiles prior to sealer application.
  • 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 3/4” can be used. The average grout line is 1/4” - 3/4”. This grout line accommodates the size variations from tile to tile.
  • If the grout line is too tight the tile could chip at stress points while the grout dries.
  • 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.
  • For floors wet areas, it is recommended to use wider grout lines to enhance traction and prevent slipping.
  • Wet Areas: We recommend filling any holes with grout using the traditional technique applying grout to the face of the tile to avoid water permeating the tile.


Grout Bag Method

    • If your preference is to leave the natural surface voids unfilled, try the “grout bag” technique.
    • First, mix your grout according to the manufacturer's instructions and fill the grout bag with the mixed grout.
    • Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle and apply pressure to force the grout out of the bag and into the joints between the tiles.
    • Be sure to fill the joints completely, and use a grout float to smooth out the surface of the grout.
    • Wipe away any excess grout with a damp sponge.
    • Buff the tiles with a clean cloth to remove any remaining haze.
    • Allow the grout to set for the recommended amount of time.

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ORGANIC TERRACOTTA INSTALLATION

IMPORTANT | PRIOR TO SEALING TILES

  • Organic Terracotta tiles come unsealed and require sealing.
  • It's recommended to use a non-toxic, low-VOC sealer to maintain the tiles' VOC-free state and increase their lifespan. However, the choice of sealer depends on the project.
  • Keep in mind that the sealer you select may not fully protect against stains and scuffs.
  • Before sealing the entire floor, test the sealer on a few tiles.
  • Avoid shaking the container if using the Ultra Low VOC Sealer.
  • During sealer application, do not let sealer drips form or fall onto your terracotta tile.

PRE-INSTALLATION SEALING GUIDELINES

1

When applying the sealer, use a chemical-grade sponge, roller, or brush to avoid shedding fibers. Pour your sealer into a clean plastic bucket. Make sure to keep about an inch of depth of sealer in the bucket.

2

Start by sealing all of the tiles. Apply the sealer in straight lines, from one end of the tile all the way to the other end of the tile.Only seal one tile at a time. The sealer line applications should slightly overlap, leaving no lines of unsealed tile between the sections of sealed tile.

3

Apply a single coat of sealer to one tile, making sure to coat the surface completely. Move on to the next tile and repeat the process, taking care not to miss any spots. Be mindful of any debris or marks on the tile surface while applying the sealer. Avoid sealing over any debris or marks, as they may permanently adhere to the tile.

4

After the first coat has been applied to the tiles, allow 4 hours for it to dry completely before applying the second coat.

5

When applying the second coat of sealer, it won't absorb as quickly and you may notice some streaking. The streaking will eventually even out with additional coats, leaving a smooth finish.

6

Only 2 coats of sealer are required. If additional protection is desired, wait 4 hours before applying any subsequent coats. Confirm sealer dryness prior to applying the additional coats. If you are satisfied with the results, you have completed the preliminary seal.

7

Allow any tiles completely dry and do not walk or cover the surface until confirmed dry. Prior to adhering your tile, confirm sealer dryness.

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ORGANIC TERRACOTTA INSTALLATION

GUIDELINES

1

Organic terracotta is the most varied tile we offer and requires greater skill for installation. Glue the tiles on a flat, dry surface with a high quality, flexible tile adhesive.

  • Use a trowel with recesses of 10-20 mm (1/2 - 3/4in).
  • Ensure that the adhesive is applied to the entire surface of the back of the tile.
  • Remove excess glue from between tiles quickly.
  • Glue will require at least 24 hours to dry properly.

2

Clean the tile surface with water after bonding using a sponge and / or cloth. Wring the sponge every time while cleaning. Avoid getting tiles too wet as this may affect later steps. Allow the installation to dry completely.

3

The tiles should be thoroughly cleaned prior to grouting. After the tiles are clean and dry, apply 1 to 2 coats of grout release to the tile surface.

4

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 the 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.

5

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

6

Once the installed tile is completely dry, 1 to 2 coats of Ultra Low VOC sealer can be applied to the surface using the sealing guidelines below.

  • When selecting a sealer for your project, depending on the type of sealer you are using, the tile may slightly darken during application.
  • DO NOT change sealer types from initial sealing and top coat sealant, Poly-based sealants and Solvent-based sealants have a negative reaction if applied together.
  • In most cases sealed tiles will lighten once the sealer dries, but in others, where a penetrating sealer is used, the color will remain darker than how it started.

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ORGANIC TERRACOTTA INSTALLATION

IMPORTANT | POST INSTALLATION SEALING

  • Do not apply late in the day or when dew, rain, fog, or mist is likely (moisture will damage the sealant application)
  • Apply at temperatures above 50 degrees F. Do not apply if temperatures below 45 degrees are expected within 24 hours.
  • Cold weather or excess humidity or a sudden temperature drop will greatly affect any finish at the time of application.
  • Dampness can dull the gloss. Do not seal in direct sun. Use a clean brush or roller.
  • For maximum durability, we recommend at least two thin coats.

POST INSTALLATION SEALING GUIDELINES

1

Confirm that your grout is 100% dry.

  • In most cases, grout will dry fully 1-2 days following installation.

2

Pour your sealer into a clean plastic bucket. Make sure to keep about an inch of depth of sealer in the bucket.

3

Lightly dip a portion of a big sponge into the bucket, only allowing one side of the sponge to absorb sealer.

4

Begin wiping the installed tile with the dampened side of the sponge.

5

Depending on the type of grout used, you may have to apply extra sealant to the joints.

  • Conventional, sanded grouts are very absorbent.

6

Evenly coat the entire area.

  • If your sponge starts to deteriorate, replace it, as debris from a sponge can get stuck to your tile.

7

Allow any installation materials to completely dry and do not walk or cover the surface until confirmed dry.

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ORGANIC TERRACOTTA INSTALLATION

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.
  • Patina is the natural change in visual appearance as material ages. Organic Terracotta tiles gain a worn-in patina look, often featuring deepened coloration and increased color variation.

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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