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CTEF Blog - About Tile Education and Installer Certification

Substrate Preparation 101: Banish All Tile Bond Breakers!

[fa icon="calendar'] May 24, 2022 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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How concerned are you with protecting your tile installations from the horrors of bond breakers? If you're serious about it, you will spend time inspecting and preparing your substrate so as to prevent any situations from developing. Yes, substrate preparation includes determining whether the floor or wall surface will be bondable, and, most importantly, this needs to be completed prior to installing tile.

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Why You Need to Eliminate Spot Bonding When Installing Ceramic Tile

[fa icon="calendar'] May 10, 2022 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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I hope you don't use spot bonding or "five spotting" when installing ceramic tile. It's a problem that's high on the list of failure questions received by the CTEF offices when things go wrong. 

It’s also one we featured at Coverings 2018 in the Installation Experience Hall of Failures.

In case you didn't read How to Correctly Trowel Mortar When Installing Tile? or you still think it's okay, let's review in detail why you need to eliminate even the thought of using spot bonding for your ceramic tile installation projects.

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Is Your Tile Layout Centered and Balanced, With No Small Cuts?

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 26, 2022 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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Do you spend time ensuring that your tile layout is centered and balanced, with no small cuts? I hope so since this is the most effective way to ensure that a tile installation has a professionally installed appearance.

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Getting the Coverage You Need Under Large Wall Tile

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 5, 2022 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 with 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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The Ultimate Guide to Underlayment for Tile

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 30, 2021 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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For a beautiful and long-lasting tile installation, you need to ensure that every facet of the job is completed properly according to tile industry standards and best practices. The key element here is the foundation of the installation and that's where underlayment for tile solves a multitude of problems.

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Have You Added Tile Edge Protection to Your Installation Project?

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 14, 2021 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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Why Do You Need Expansion Joints When Installing Tile?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 22, 2021 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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If you're wondering why you need to include expansion joints when installing tile, you've come to the right place. Let me explain why they are so important.

For perspective, we originally published this article in August 2016, and expansion joints continue to come up in conversation, during training sessions, and also in comments.

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

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 8, 2021 8:30:00 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, 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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Does Your Tile Slope To the Drain?

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 27, 2021 8:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Ask Scott, Installing Tile TIps

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When you install tile in wet areas, do you ensure that everything slopes to the drain? If not, please read below.

Let's consider showers.  Showers can be a beautiful part of the bathroom especially when the tile is part of the finished product.  The beauty, though, will not be long-lasting if the installation standards and best practices for tile installation are not followed.

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Back Buttering Tile: How Important Is It?

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 30, 2021 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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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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