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CTEF Blog - About Tile Education and Installer Certification

Never Assume You Have Sufficient Mortar Coverage. Check It.

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 4, 2018 9:00:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Installing Tile TIps, Ask Scott

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Is the mortar coverage under the tile you install really important? You bet. Do you just assume that you are getting sufficient coverage?  I hope not.

As often as mortar coverage comes up in articles about tile installation, you'd think that the problem would go away.  Unfortunatelyit hasn’t, especially in exterior and shower areas, for natural stone tile, and even high profile commercial installations.

If you want your tile installation to function as it should, then don't assume you have sufficient mortar coverage. Check it. That's the best way to avoid costly callbacks and ensure a successful installation .

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How to Install Tile with Electrical Radiant Heating

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 4, 2018 8:30:00 AM / by CTEF Blog Team posted in Installing Tile TIps

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Tile is a natural for radiant heating.

However, installing tile with radiant heating can get overwhelming when you realize that the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook includes multiple methods that address this type of installation. The details vary somewhat depending on the structure you are working on and which type heat source your radiant system uses - hydronic or electrical.

  • On ground concrete
  • Above ground concrete
  • Wood subfloor / joist system

Fortunately, Mark Heinlein CTI #1112 and National Tile Contractors Association Training Director, Technical Trainer / Presenter shares his expertise in this article.

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ANSI Standards: A Tile Installer's Best Friend!

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 20, 2018 10:30:00 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 Do You Protect the Tub in a Bathroom Tile Remodel?

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Installing Tile TIps, Ask Scott

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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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Back Buttering Tile: How Important Is It?

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 16, 2018 9:30:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Installing Tile TIps, Ask Scott

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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:

  • Back butter is defined as, “the spreading of a bond coat to the backs of ceramic tile just before the tile is placed.
  • Bond is defined as, “The adherence of one material to another.
  • Coverage is defined as, “A measure of the amount of material required to cover a given surface.

According to the CTEF Certified Tile Installer Manual, Transfer is defined as, “The required adhesion of a bonding material to the tile.

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Why Do You Need Expansion Joints When Installing Tile?

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 9, 2018 8:00:00 AM / by Scott Carothers posted in Installing Tile TIps, Ask Scott

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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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How Not to Install Tile on Floors, Walls and in Showers

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 25, 2018 8:30:00 AM / by CTEF Blog Team posted in Hiring a Tile Installer, Installing Tile TIps

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Sometimes, the best way to explain how important it is to work with a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) is to show you how not to install tile on floors, walls and in showers.

This article focuses on a real-life situation where those doing the work (aka tile placers) clearly did not have the knowledge, expertise or experience to deliver a high quality tile installation. They were not CTIs.  Although originally published on 9/27/2016, it continues to speak directly and strongly about unqualified labor and the perils of poorly installed tile.

Let's explore this master bathroom installation to better understand what went wrong.

>> See Hiring a Tile Installer? Here's What to Look For.

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How Topical and Penetrating Sealers Protect Your Tile and Stone

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 4, 2018 8:30:00 AM / by CTEF Blog Team posted in Installing Tile TIps

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Wondering how to best protect your marble tile? Consider a sealer and more specifically a penetrating sealer to keep your stone flooring looking beautiful.

To illustrate why, here's a tile installation situation Mark Heinlein CTI #1112 and National Tile Contractors Association Training Director and Technical Trainer / Presenter recently addressed with the help of Scott Carothers.

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

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 21, 2018 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 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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Does Your Tile Slope To the Drain?

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 13, 2018 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 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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