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CTEF Blog - About Tile Education and Installer Certification

Scott Carothers

Scott Carothers

Recent Posts

Are Credit Card Grout Joints Specified? Check Tile Industry Standards.

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 23, 2024 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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Yes, credit card joints - as in grout joints the thickness of a credit card - are popular, but given tile industry standards, they aren't possible, appropriate, or even recommended.

Many installers have had customers who have seen tile installations in a magazine or brochure which is exactly what they want in their homes. Unfortunately, the “look” they want to achieve with credit card thickness grout joints most likely will not be possible using the tile that has been selected.

Let's explore why.

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Back Buttering Tile: How Important Is It?

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 7, 2023 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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Do you back butter your tile?

Back buttering tile is a highly opinionated and widely debated topic among tile installers. Although it's recommended for natural stone tile, it's not always necessary or required to get adequate mortar coverage on ceramic and porcelain tile. So, how important is it?

To begin this discussion, we first need to define several words.  According to the NTCA Reference Manual:

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Do You Have Enough Mortar to Accommodate Tile Warpage?

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 10, 2023 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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When you install tile, do you ensure that you have enough mortar to accommodate inherent (actual) tile warpage associated with large format tile?

Tile sizes are changing; getting larger, longer, and proportionately having more inherent warpage. Likewise, changes are being seen in tile installation methods, using thin set and large and heavy tile mortars to accommodate tile warpage.

Let's review what's involved.

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Understanding Efflorescence aka that Ugly White Powder on Your Tile

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 12, 2023 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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We've all seen it: that really ugly white powder that grows on cement grout and also tile, stone, brick, and concrete, particularly when it's installed someplace with moisture (i.e., in a basement or outdoors). That white residue is called efflorescence.

This article goes into detail about efflorescence, including situations that readers have shared with us since the article was originally published in September 2016.

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Don't Patch Your Tile Substrate With Thin Set

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 1, 2023 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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What Do You Use to Patch Your Substrate so It Is Ready for Tile?

You've surely been in the position as a tile installer to deal with job site conditions that require the substrate (floors and walls) to be patched making it “tile ready”.  No question, it's critical to get the substrate flat enough to accommodate tile.  This is particularly true if the tile is large format.

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How Do You Protect the Tub in a Bathroom Tile Remodel?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 20, 2023 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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As a conscientious tile installer, do you take the time to protect bathroom fixtures before you start your installation?

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How to Correctly Trowel Mortar When Installing Tile?

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 13, 2022 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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If you're asking how to trowel mortar when installing tile, realize that you are asking a fundamentally critical question. It's so critical that readers like you have made this CTEF Blog article the one with the highest readership since we originally published it on June 7, 2016.

You see, when thin-set mortar is incorrectly applied, the installation will many times fail. More likely than not, the tile will break - as you see in the image below.

Not a good situation for the customer and a terrible one for everyone involved in installing tile correctly.

Let's focus then on how to properly apply the mortar.

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ANSI Standards: A Tile Installer's Best Friend!

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 1, 2022 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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How familiar are you with the ANSI Standards for the Installation of Ceramic Tile? (ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute.) If you aren't, and you're in the tile installation business, it's time you pay attention. ANSI Standards are a tile installer's best friend! 

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How To Select the Right Trowel Notch To Obtain the Required Mortar Coverage

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 11, 2022 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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If you're in the tile business, you're surely aware of how important it is to obtain the required mortar coverage.

And, you've probably noticed that achieving that coverage has become more challenging as tile sizes and the diversity in tile types increases.

Diversity is wonderful for enabling stunning tile installations. However, each of these products has different requirements in order to achieve the required mortar coverage, and that's where selecting the right trowel notch comes into play.

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Do You Ignore Grout Manufacturer Directions?

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 9, 2022 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott

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I certainly hope you don't ignore grout manufacturer directions which just about guarantees that your tile installation will fail. In fact, that's true for just about all the products tile installers use. For the sake of this article, though, I'll focus on grout and more specifically High-Performance Cement Grouts.

Here's why you need to take the grout manufacturer's directions seriously.

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Certified Tile Installer Mike Corona says,

You don't become a tile installer or a business owner overnight. It takes time, enthusiasm, pride, reliability, respectfulness, a willingness to learn, and dedication. No two jobs are the same; each one has its own unique nuances. As a qualified installer, you need to be able to communicate how to deal with those nuances and qualify yourself to not only meet but exceed expectations. Being qualified will exponentially increase your value and you will have endless opportunities.

Mike Corona CTI #923 Corona Marble and Tile

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Mike Corona CTI #923
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