Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Installing, sealing and cleaning cement tile

"For installation, I'd rather see a stonemason install these tiles than a general tile contractor, because the installation method is much more like setting stone," says Jorge Aguayo, of Aguayo Tile. "Butt joints and be careful sealing because the tiles are porous like stone. I would tend to think that a stonemason would do a better job, unless the tile installer had a lot of experience specifically with cement tile."

Michael Dowd, owner of Paramount Tile in Ft. Lauderdale Florida agrees, "Stone setters understand cement tiles because they are very similar to stone. You have to allow for natural variation of the depth of the tile, use a mud setting, and the sealing processes are similar. Also, the tight grout joint is crucial."

Wilhem Stevens from Original Mission Tile says, "The tiles should be installed on a level and stable cured concrete surface. Water cut the tiles and use 100% coverage of thinset. The grout joint recommended is 1/16" to 1/8."

According to Suzette D├ívila, a distributor in Puerto Rico, cement tile is very easy to clean. “You just clean with water and occasionally with a neutral detergent, and that is all.”  Most people prefer this natural look but she suggests occasionally sealing and waxing for those who want a light shine.  


  1. thanks for so lot of good informations.
    But i interested also about making templates for tiles.
    How can we make them? Which material? Do you have any idea, how i learn this technic? Books, links, courses etc?
    If you send me an e-mail, it will be very glad.
    greetings from istanbul :)

  2. Hello Durumsuz,
    Thank you for reading my blog about tile. You have an excellent question.
    The forms for the molds are generally made from copper, although nowadays other metals are sometimes used as well. The design is drawn, then wood inserts are made to replicate the interior of the design. The metal is formed around this wood and then welded into place.
    It is fairly complicated and can take up to a week just to make one mold, depending on the pattern. But once made, the same mold can be used for over 100 years. There are many antique molds still in use in tile factories.
    Artisans learn this process through apprenticeships, often from their fathers.
    I will see if I can find more information about modern techniques for making the molds and follow up with another posting.
    Thank you for reading Tile Style!