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CTEF Blog - About Tile Education and Installer Certification

Scott Carothers

Scott Carothers

Recent Posts

Getting the Coverage You Need Under Large Wall Tile

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 3, 2018 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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What challenges have you encountered getting the coverage you need under large wall tile? There are two aspects to this question. 

The first has to do size. Many projects today call for ever-increasing tile sizes, many of which are rectangular shapes such as 12” x 24”, 18” x 36”, 24” x 48”, and larger creating difficulties for the installer when bonding the tile to the substrate. 

>> See Do You Have Enough Mortar to Accommodate Most Tile Warpage?

The second has to do with walls.

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Want Credit Card Grout Joints? First Check Tile Industry Standards.

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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Yes, credit card joints 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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How to Correctly Trowel Mortar When Installing Tile?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 23, 2018 7:00:00 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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Understanding Efflorescence aka that Ugly White Powder on Your Tile

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 5, 2017 9:30:00 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 originally published in September 2016.

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A Flat Floor vs. a Level Floor: What's the Difference?

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 31, 2017 10:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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Does the word flat have the same meaning as the word level when it comes to floors and, more importantly, to tile installation?  If we look in various dictionaries, flat and level can have almost the same definition which can be confusing. 

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Have You Added Tile Edge Protection to Your Installation Project?

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 26, 2017 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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How often are you including tile edge protection in your tile assembly specifications? Although not required for all installations, edge protection absolutely provides better results.

Ultimately, if you're serious about delivering only high quality installations of ceramic, porcelain and stone tile, you must have the hand-skills to put the entire tile assembly into place along with the knowledge of what products are available to finish the project successfully.

Thinking about protecting tile edges is a perfect example. 

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How to Deal with Flooded Tile Installations

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 20, 2017 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Installing Tile TIps

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Flooded tile installations have been top-of-mind lately given two extreme hurricanes within two weeks. In anticipation of questions, we're pooling together advice about how commonly dry area tile installations act as a submerged swimming pool-like installation for a period of time.

Since we don't have all the answers, we anticipate this article being a work-in-progress. As we come upon new information, Robb Roderick CTI #727 and Mark Heinlein CTI #1112 - both National Tile Contractors Association trainers - and I will add to this discussion. 

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Have You Adequately Prepped the Substrate for Tile?

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 8, 2017 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott

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The quality of the tile work seen by the consumer on the surface is only as good as what is underneath. This seems to be a simple statement, but if the appropriate prep work is not completed, the final appearance may not be acceptable.

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How to Install Floor Tile When It's Natural Stone Rather Than Ceramic

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 11, 2017 8:50:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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If you're considering how to install floor tile, be aware that there's a significant difference between installing natural stone tile and ceramic tile especially when it's over wood framing.

Unfortunately, many consumers, builders and even some tile installers share the mistaken idea that natural stone tile products may be installed over a wood-framed floor in the same way as is ceramic and porcelain tile. This is completely untrue and will many times lead to a very costly replacement.

Why? Because tiles made from natural stone do not have the same strength as ceramic tiles and they require a floor system that is twice as stiff as what is required for ceramic floor tile.

Let's explore in more detail.

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How to Prepare for Tile Shade Variation

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 21, 2017 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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How do you handle tile shade variation? Do you make a point of bringing it up with customers before starting a tile installation project? If you don't, I urge you to do so. You don't want to encounter what I refer to as the "Five-O-Five Surprise."

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