Ceramic tiles are distinguished by their classic aesthetics of other cladding materials. Therefore, finishing the house with ceramic attracts many cottage or summer cottage owners. In this article, we will look at the methods and techniques for installing such a coating.
Advantages of ceramic tiles
The ceramic tiles advantage complex is due to the technology of its production. This material is obtained from refractory red clay with a high content of aluminum oxide (17-23%). The raw materials also contain iron oxides (up to 8%), which cause the warm reddish-brown color of the finished product. The clay is loaded in drums, where it is crushed and mixed with other components, including water. The resulting slip is subjected to pressing or atomization (spraying to remove excess water).
The dehydrated mixture is sent to an extruder or press, where a preform for sintering is formed. Then it is dried, covered with enamel (special glassy compounds – fries). In the last step, the part is burned in an oven at temperatures of 950-1250 ° C. This results in the mixture shrinking and sintering. The fries melt, forming a glaze with a shiny, matte, smooth, or stone-embossed surface.
The resulting material has the following advantages:
- 200 MPa resistance ensures coating resistance under static loads
- abrasion resistance
- the classic appearance of the cladding, which resembles decorative features to natural materials (for example, finishing the corridor with a light ceramic sink will create the effect of an old castle)
- glazed/glazed surface with or without a pattern
- the ice resistance of 50 cycles guarantees the preservation of the ceramic properties during freezing/thawing
- a density of 1.4 to 1.9 t / m3 determines the low weight of the facade finish
- resistance to chemicals
- the absence of deformation during temperature changes guarantees high resistance to product cracks
- water absorption up to 6% means good resistance to moisture and, consequently, the possibility of using it for external work
- Environmental friendliness
- safety for the health of residents
- the thermal conductivity of 0.45 to 0.6 W / (m · K) allows to additionally insulate the house, reducing the cost of heating and air conditioning
- service life – several decades
- fire safety – the material is not flammable, does not emit harmful substances when heated
- vapor permeability has a positive effect on the durability of the finish
- several options for finishing the facade with ceramic: “wet” (for glue) and “dry” (with the help of special thermal panels, which are distinguished by high thermal insulation, easy installation by the dry method)
In a separate category of advantages, we highlight the variety of Ceramic tiles types:
- technical: for sidewalks, roads, platforms, terraces, and other coverings with difficult operating conditions
- Waterproof: for swimming pools, saunas, bathrooms, hydraulic systems with high humidity
- cladding: for finishing façades and internal cladding of buildings
- special: for complex architectural projects.
Due to these advantages, ceramic tiles are used to arrange floor coverings, inside houses, finishing facades, paths, swimming pools, fences, low-load sidewalks, and other objects.
Ceramic Tiles Installation methods
Depending on the laying method, the walls with clinker can be finished according to the following options:
- The “wet” method involves the use of special glue for tiles and classic laying technology
- The “dry” method consists of fixing special plates with self-tapping screws when turning the facade
- The “wet” method is the most common. Most of the time, the finishing is done on a prepared surface with several layers. In the first phase, the facade is insulated with foam or other sheet material, reinforced with mesh, and prepared for clinker placement. For this, tiles are used for linear and corner sections. A quick-drying compound is applied to these elements, after which they are pressed against the base and fixed until the glue hardens completely. This technology is also common in wall cladding with other materials: tiles, porcelain slab, mosaics, but it differs from them in some specificities (width of the joint, grouting, clinker placement).
The “dry” method requires the use of thermal panels, which are a combination of clinker finish and insulation. They are attached to each other by means of locking joints, and to the box – with screws or bushings. This method is cheaper and can be done at home by a person with no experience as a tiler. The finishing of the corners with the dry method is carried out with special L-shaped panels, which can only be fixed with the normal geometry of the wall (at right angles). In other cases, instead of corner elements, plaster is used, which is applied to the surface and decorated for masonry by cutting false seams.
Consider the process of laying clinker tiles using the example of a more “wet” method. As with other tile jobs, you first need to prepare the wall surface. The base is level, the irregularities are removed, cracks and recesses are plastered, dust and dirt are removed. It is not recommended to use drywall as a base. The best option for placing clinkers is thick concrete wall tiles.
Then, a primer layer is applied to the base, which will increase the adhesion of the adhesive to the base material. After applying and drying the primer, the main job can be started. As a mortar for laying clinker tiles, special prefabricated compounds are used which are diluted in water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure the mixture is suitable for clinker coating. Observe the reason for which it is intended and under what conditions it can be used. The durability of the coating depends on it.
The first line is placed on a horizontal bar, which serves as a basis for finishing. After preparation, the adhesive is placed with a spatula on the prepared surface and on the tiles. The tile is pressed against the wall until it fits securely and is checked against the level. Then, the adjacent element is placed. Use plastic crosses to form uniform seams. For the pressed elements, the spans between the tiles are 0.5 cm, and for the extruded ones, 1 cm. Thanks to this, clinker-clad houses acquire an expressive architectural style. In the absence of intersections, you can survive by cutting steel bars or foam blocks.
When pasting clinker, the following rules must be followed:
- the surface marking must start at the top of the windows;
- the facade cladding must not be carried out in sub-zero temperatures and in the rain;
- the glue is applied to the wall with a notched trowel to increase adhesion to the finishing material;
- the thickness of the adhesive on the clinker plates is approximately 1 mm;
- the first element adjusts from the corner;
- for external facades, corner elements must be used;
- to ensure a uniform tone of the finish over the entire wall surface, clinker from different packages should be used alternately;
- if the tile adhesive comes into contact with the front surface of the tile, it must be removed immediately with a soft sponge or brush, so as not to impair the quality of the finish;
- it is preferable to purchase materials with a margin, since clinker from another batch may differ in both color and size, which is due to the peculiarities of the technological process of its production;
- the seams between the elements must be cleaned of adhesive residues and then grouted;
- for 2 weeks, the coating must be protected from moisture by covering it with plastic wrap and allowing access to air;
- at joints with door and window openings, the seams must be protected with a sealant to prevent moisture from entering.
In the “wet” laying method, the grouting of joints is carried out on the 4th day after finishing the coating. With the dry method, grouting can be carried out immediately. For this, a contrasting composition is selected, which will create the effect of real masonry or natural stone finish. To fill the joints with semi-dry grout, use a special spatula or a steel bar of suitable diameter. When using liquid formulations, a construction gun is used.
Separately, you must touch the pedestal lining, which works in more difficult conditions than the interior and facade walls. It is affected by humidity, mechanical shock loads, temperature changes are possible. Therefore, in the preparatory phase, it is necessary to use superior quality insulation, the thickness of the tiles must be greater than that of the walls. The base must be reinforced with a self-tapping mesh. The finishing of the clinker façade starts below ground level and is carried out according to the above technology. For grouting, it is preferable to use acrylic or polyurethane compounds.