Installing porcelain tiles can be challenging due to their weight and difficulty to cut, but when correctly laid, aesthetic results can be achieved that will last for a considerable amount of time. To lay porcelain tiles successfully, a strong and stable base is a must, as they cannot flex, alongside an appropriate slope gradient and drainage solution. An approximate gap of 5mm should be left in between each tile when fitting, with each corner slotted in gently.
This guide will provide instructions on how to get the best finish when laying porcelain slabs.
Calculate the area you wish to lay paving stones on by measuring both its length and width. Multiply the two figures to give you the square meterage, which will provide you with an estimate of how many tiles you need and the volume of sand, cement, and mortar you must procure for the base.
Mark and Prepare the Patio Area
Identify the space you want to use for your patio by placing stakes and dropping a string line. Make sure you follow any special instructions from the UK. Clear away any roots, vegetation, or topsoil within the outlined area prior to starting to dig the sub base.
Dig a hole in the area you're laying your patio, approximately between 150mm and 200mm deep. Utilizing your spirit level, create a gradient slant to make sure that water is allowed to flow away. Try to achieve a decline of 1 in 80, and indicate spots for drainage set-up as well as the necessary drainage materials.
For a hard base, fill the excavated area with a material such as gravel or sharp sand to a depth of 100mm-1500mm, depending on how far down you have dug. Ensure that the material has been evenly compressed with a plate compactor or rammer. If necessary, you can also manually whack it down.
Applying a Layer of Mortar
Adding a layer of mortar to the sub-base is essential for preventing tile slipping and cracking. A mix of 4 parts sand to 1 part cement is recommended. To ensure optimum performance, it's best to lay the mortar in small sections, rather than all at once. This prevents the moisture from evaporating too quickly.
Priming Slurry For Porcelain Tiles
It is highly recommended to use a layer of priming slurry on top of the mortar when laying porcelain tiles. This is due to the fact that the tiles are low-porous and may not adhere well to the mortar – the priming slurry will serve to keep the tiles in place. When laying the first tile, it is advisable to coat its underside with the priming slurry, so as to aid adhesion. Begin in a corner and place the tile, using a rubber mallet to make sure it is fixed in place. Additionally, check whether the tile is level.
Once you are content with the initial tile laying, go ahead and lay the remainder of them ensuring to leave a gap of approximately 3 to 5 mm between each slab - use spacers where necessary. Make sure to remove any excess mortar or slurry off the top of the tiles as you go, so that it doesn't stick. In order to fit the exact area, you may need to cut a few tiles down to the desired size.
Leave the slabs to sit for a minimum of 24 hours. Do not walk on them. To protect from rain, wind, and animal destruction, consider covering the area up with a tarpaulin. .
Fill gaps with a mortar mix or use sand. Pack down with a trowel and sweep away loose mix. Repeat this to fill in any overlooked spots.
For a neat finish, jointing compound is ideal. Depending on the tile type, it may be necessary to seal porcelain tiles. Job done!
Laying porcelain slabs on screed
Experts suggest laying porcelain slabs over a stable mortar foundation for the best outcome. Nonetheless, utilizing a screed for porcelain slabs of equal thickness is permitted. But keep in mind that newly-poured screeds contain large quantities of moisture which can cause the tiles to slide and split as it dries, therefore you might need to wait a few days for it to evaporate before laying the slabs. Once the platform is ready, procedures can then be implemented to lay the porcelain tiles.
Laying porcelain slabs on sand
It is possible to lay porcelain slabs on sand, which some landscapers may prefer in order to properly support the heft of the tiles and improve drainage. Bear in mind that simply laying the slabs on sand may cause instability for patios and other outdoor areas. With sand, you will need to use a special bonding agent since the tiles won't stick to it. The best course of action is to choose a mortar mix with four parts sharp sand or grit to one part cement. Additionally, you should procure the necessary materials and tools, plus maybe even landscape fabric in order to stave off weeds.
Concrete bases & laying Porcelain Slabs
Laying porcelain slabs on concrete is an option; although, should the concrete expand, contract or crack, this will be transferred onto the slabs and may weaken them if the concrete base has not been properly installed. There could also be a delay before the slabs can be laid, and an exterior tile adhesive should be used in order to keep them fixed securely to the base. To ensure that the job is done correctly, you should adhere to the steps detailed above.