Tile Types and Tile Installations F.A.Q



Ceramic Tile Installations:

Whether designing a tile floor to match contemporary décor, or creating a countertop and backsplash in a Southwestern style kitchen, there is a ceramic tile manufactured to suit every taste. Due to their durability, ceramic tiles are also excellent for outdoor use.  When properly installed and grouted, it will not deform or break in extreme temperature conditions.  Tile will beautify an outdoor grilling station, patio, or portico.  It can also add charm when lining a pathway through your garden or backyard.  

Maintenance is minimal with ceramic tiles once the grout and sealant are applied.  The tile is impervious to water and can even be hosed off without damage.  A new coat of sealant should be reapplied annually to ensure continued protection of the tile, and there are literally hundreds of products readily available in any supermarket to assist with cleaning the tiles.

Repairing ceramic tile is much easier than repairing other building materials.  Installed ceramic tile is strong, but it is possible to break.  When a tile breaks, remove the broken pieces and clear the area to create a flat and smooth surface.  Then simply reinstall the replacement tile, re-grout the tile and apply the sealant.  Be sure to purchase a few extra tiles to keep for emergency repairs.

When it comes to designing a space with ceramic tiles, you are only limited by your imagination.  Be sure to go online to look at pictures of other people’s projects to get ideas for your own.  A well-designed tile project can make your home more comfortable for yourself and add tremendous value to the market price. 

Please visit http://www.PrecisionMarbleandTile.ca today to see pictures and videos of our previous jobs and to read testimonials from previous clients.  We will be happy to give you a free estimate for the job you are considering.  And as always, we look forward to helping you create a space you will love!

Glass Tile Installations:

One of the most beautiful and versatile types of tile is glass tile.  Glass tile is popular due to the wide variety of colors and textures available as well as their imperviousness to water.  Glass tile is used in a number of ways including the creation of intricate mosaics, dazzling kitchen backsplashes, and elegant decorative accents. There are several methods for making glass tile, and each of the methods results in a different look and fell of the finished product.

Smalti:  Smalti tile is a glass glaze that is made up of silica melted with sodium or potassium carbonate.  Metals are added to the glaze as stabilizing agents and metal oxides are added for color.  Smalti tiles are known for their shimmering beauty and impressive array of available colors.  Smalti tiles are of ten used in artistic mosaics.

Fused:  Fused glass tiles are most commonly translucent tile with a layer of opaque color visible through the tile.  Fused tiles come in all shapes and sizes and are usually treated with an etching or other coating of increase their durability and add a touch of artistry.

Sintered:  Sintered tiles tend to have a very uniform look.  Their finish is milky in appearance and scratch resistant.  Sintered tiles are most commonly found as small 1x1 inch squares and are known for their versatility.

Cast: Cast tiles are made by melting down chunks of different colored glass in a special mold.  The result is a unique layered and blended look using the Casting method.

Glass tiles can be used in a number of different ways.  Precision Tile Installers is a company that has been installing glass tiles for more than 20 years in the Toronto area.  We have created numerous beautiful glass backsplashes in kitchens, shower surrounds and artistic decor in bathrooms, as well as many other unique projects such as swimming pools and outdoor patios.

For you next glass tile project, trust the professionals of Precision Tile Installers. View before and after pictures of recent projects as well as videos of tile laying jobs recently completed.  We are true craftsmen and professionals who take pride in a job well done.  We always offer free estimates and we look forward to helping your create a space you will love.

Porcelain Tile Installation

Porcelain tiles are a very popular tile due to their strength and resilience.  Porcelain is actually a type of ceramic that has a water absorption rate of less than .5% and is made by firing Kaolin clay at extremely high temperatures, around 2600 degrees Fahrenheit.  Because porcelain is fired at such high temperatures, it is usually stronger than ceramic and even some natural stones.  This durability makes porcelain tiles a preferred tile for high traffic areas.

Porcelain tile is usually thicker than ceramic tile and appears almost translucent when held up to the light.  The tiles are also more resistant to staining and moisture than traditional ceramic tiles and better able to withstand a wide range of temperatures without cracking. 

China, Italy, Spain and Turkey are among the largest producers of porcelain tile.  There is some variation in quality and design from each of these countries, and there is a definite difference in price.

Italian porcelain tiles are the “original” porcelain tiles and also the most expensive.  Historically they have been the highest quality tile, however many Italian companies have started outsourcing their production to China, which has lowered the quality of some Italian porcelain tiles.

Turkish tiles are usually less expensive than Italian tiles while retaining a very high quality as Turkey has a very strict code of standards adhered to when producing porcelain tiles.

Spanish tiles are famous for having the most beautiful colors and a wide array of available designs.  They are a high quality tile with very fine cut to produce sharp corners and straight sides with no rough edges or chips.  Porcelanosa is one of the nicest, most unique and well known Spanish tile.  They have the thickest and heaviest tile on the market.  Porcelanosa is a bit more expensive than other tiles, but the quality of their colors and textures cannot be matched.

Chinese tiles are much cheaper than the other countries’ tiles.  They are also of a somewhat lower quality and may be more apt to break or chip.  Some Chinese tiles will not have the same color throughout the tile so that chips are very noticeable as compared to a chip off an Italian, Spanish or Turkish tile.  However, the price is significantly lower and the difference between the tiles may not be significant enough to justify paying the higher price.  Also, many Italian factories are outsourcing their work to China, so the difference between the two countries’ tile production is becoming less significant.

Once you have decided which type of tile is right for you, you may consider hiring a professional tile installation company such as Precision Tile Installers of Toronto.  Precision Tile Installers has been installing all types of porcelain and ceramic tiles for over 20 years.  We have a stellar reputation for superior craftsmanship, attention to detail, and customer satisfaction. 

Travertine Installations

Using Travertine tile in your home may be a wise decision that will increase the value and comfort of your home. Travertine tile is made from a naturally occurring sedimentary rock called Travertine.  Travertine is found in many places around the world, but the Italian Travertine is probably the most famous and commonly used.  Italians have used Travertine as a construction material for thousands of years because it is very durable and beautiful.  In today’s construction, travertine is used for flooring, cladding on buildings, showers, wall coverings and counter tops.

Travertine is related to both marble and limestone and is formed near hot springs, geysers, or limestone caves as carbon dioxide saturated water breaks down calcium carbonate and re-deposits it.  The surface of the stone is very porous which is due to tiny air bubbles created by living organisms that were trapped in the rock.

The stone can be white, yellow, beige, creamy, gold, or red in color, depending on the minerals that have mixed with stone.  There are a number of finishes available that dramatically change the look and feel of the stone.  Filled Travertine tiles have been filed down and filled so that the porous holes in the rock are smoothed over and an even surface is created.  The stone can have a glossy, shiny or matte look depending on how it was processed; honed Travertine tends to have a matte finish while brushed or tumbled tile has a more rugged, natural appearance.

Travertine tile is vulnerable to acids such as orange juice and vinegar.  Because of this vulnerability to acidic foods, Travertine is not a preferred material for a kitchen counter.  Wherever it is used, the stone should be well sealed to protect it from moisture and spilled items. 

If you are considering installing Travertine tile into your home or business, you may wish to hire a professional tile installation company such as Precision Marble and Tile.  Precision Tile Installers has been creating beautiful living spaces throughout Toronto and the GTA for over 20 years.  Please visit us online to browse images and videos of before and after projects, as well as to read customer reviews of our work.

At Precision Tile Installers, we always offer free estimates for your job.  We pride ourselves on superior craftsmanship with every project we work on.  We look forward to helping you create a space you will love.

Marble Tile Installations

Marble is a beautiful natural stone that will add tremendous value and elegance to your home or business.  Marble is created when limestone is subjected to intense pressure and heat within the earth causing the crystals in the rock to reorganize into exquisite colors and patterns.  Often times there are fossils, primarily coral, that are incorporated into the makeup of the stone.  Marble is rich and diverse in colors and can be found in deep reds, creamy yellows, sparkling whites, verdant greens and traditional black.

Due to the natural veins and patterns, marble is a popular stone to use for flooring throughout a home and is often used when remodeling bathrooms.  Because marble is a form of limestone, it is susceptible to acidic and abrasive materials, and therefore is not as suitable for kitchen countertops as other stones such as granite or porcelain. 

If marble tiles are bent or stretched they will crack easily.  Therefore, having a perfectly even sub-floor is critical when installing a marble tile floor.  This can be accomplished using dry pack cement or another type of leveling concrete. 

How the marble tile is installed will have a dramatic effect on its appearance.  For instance, the easiest way to install the tile floor is to have each side of the tile parallel with the walls.  However, installing the tiles in a diagonal pattern will often result in a gorgeous looking marble tile floor.  Be sure to consult with your professional marble tile installer prior to the installation to ensure your complete satisfaction with the finished product.

Once the marble is installed it will require regular cleaning to keep it polished and shining.  Be sure to use a non-abrasive and non-acidic cleaner, which you will find in any store that sells natural stone products.  When using the cleaner be sure to use a rag to rub away the dirt rather than a brush to scrub away dirt since marble can get scratched.

Precision Tile Installers has been working with marble and marble tile since 1989 in Toronto and the GTA.  We are marble experts and pride ourselves on beautiful craftsmanship, strong work ethics, reasonable rates, and excellent customer service.  For more information or to request a free estimate, please visit http://www.PrecisionMarbleandTile.ca


Understanding Tile Installation Methods

Home owners don’t understand when a contractor quotes a project what’s involved.  The price per square foot between a Ceramic tile and a Granite tile varies, one of the reasons would be a Ceramic tile can be cut with a tile cutter which does not take much time to do.  A Granite tile on the other hand needs to be cut with a water saw which takes a lot longer.  Size is another difference in price. Installing Granite or Stone on top of existing Ceramic tiles can be difficult, Granite and Stone are much heavier than Ceramic, and makes it difficult for the installer to even the tiles as they will begin to sink making it hard to level.


Wire mesh and Dry pack Leveling

This system is the number one floor preparation system in the world.  By this I mean every floor in a house especially the basements are never straight.  With bigger tiles (12”, 2’or 3’ feet) tiles, it’s extremely important to have a straight floor.  Drypack is Portland cement and concrete sand mixed at a 1 to 4 or more with a little bit of water not making it to liquidy but damp.  This is a very skilled application which an expert would be qualified to perform.  If you are planning to install heated floors or need to raise your floors to ensure they are flush with you’re a joining rooms, this application is the best way to go.  Contractors, Designers and Custom Home builders find this process to be a life saver as well as a money saver.  In the long run Wire mesh and Dry pack Leveling makes your floors stronger and straighter.


Secret of Quality Showers and Tub surrounds

Before installing any tile whether it be Ceramic, Porcelain Natural Stone, Marble or Granite etc., it is important to pick a water proofing board, whether it be green or grey, water proofing material must be applied.  Ask your professional installer for the different methods of water proofing.  For a long lasting shower or tub make sure the boards are properly screwed tight to the studs, allowing no flexibility.  This is very important for the long life of your tiles. Next is using high end wall glue and floor mixes.  Ask your installer to pick the best of the best, do not go cheap.  If the materials are not strong enough they will allow your walls to brake down sooner.


Installing Bathroom Wall and Floor Tiles

Squaring a floor or walls takes a certain skill, line need to be snapped with a choke line or draw a pencil line with a level.  Apply your mortar or adhesive with the flat part of your trowel.  Then with the notch end spread the mortar.  The bigger the tile the bigger the notch should be, from one quarter to half an inch.  Spread and follow your lines, once you have done one line, nice and straight you can start adding your spacers.  This will allow each joint to be even, and consistent.  Once you get to the end of your wall or floor, cut your tile, either with a tile cutter or a water saw.  Follow these steps until you have finished your walls or floors.  Allow 24 hours before grouting; make sure nobody walks on the floors.


Grouting Walls and Floors

Once you have picked the color of your grout, make sure you know where to put the sanded or unsanded grout.  If you have a ceramic type tile, the grout joints tend to be one eighth or bigger, so you must use sanded grout.  The reason for this is there is silica sand in the grout which allows your joint to remain fuller and higher between the tiles leaving you a better finish.  We tend to use un sanded grout with tighter joints, like Granite, marble, travertine (the stone family of tiles).  The joints are usually smaller.  The un sanded grout is creamier which allows it to penetrate deeper in between the tiles.  Sometimes we are forced to use un sanded grout because sanded grout might scratch the softer stone family of tiles.  When grouting use a rubber flout only.  Mix grout according to the manufactures instructions, making sure it is not to hard or to liquid.  Spread on a forty five degree angle, leave for two or three minutes then with a sponge and a pale of luke warm water gently start washing the excess grout making sure your sponge stays flat.  You will have to repeat these steps until all the excess grout is off the tiles.  Allow 24 hours to dry before using any sealers.


Tile Care

Granite entryways show a genuine elegance. Granite is durable; because it is very resistant to stains, unpredicted drops of heavy object and heat. Having granite floor tiles makes for a luxurious investment and is functional for your home. You can install them in many areas such as entryways, kitchens and bathrooms. You can commit a lot of money in granite tiles. With this investment you want to maintain their care on a regular basis.


To protect your tiles from high traffic and heavy object damage you should re-apply sealant once a year to maintain the glossy shine. You can do other periodic things to keep your granite floor tiles looking extraordinary.


Granite entryways show a genuine elegance. Granite is durable; because it is very resistant to stains, unpredicted drops of heavy object and heat. Having granite floor tiles makes for a luxurious investment and is functional for your home. You can install them in many areas such as entryways, kitchens and bathrooms. You can commit a lot of money in granite tiles. With this investment you want to maintain their care on a regular basis.

To protect your tiles from high traffic and heavy object damage you should re-apply sealant once a year to maintain the glossy shine. You can do other periodic things to keep your granite floor tiles looking extraordinary


Small chips lead to big cracks or even breaks so you must look over the edges and the grout. Replace anything that is damaged as soon as possible. Check the seams for any dried out sections in the grout that are damaged. An uneven spot when the granite was installed can do this.


Make sure you wipe up any spills as soon as you see them. If you drop something on them pick it up immediately. Also any dirt or mud should be mopped up ASAP then swept to keep any small particles of rock from getting into the granite or scratch the surface.


Daily cleaning should be performed in order to make sure the tiles look amazing for a long time. You should dry mop the tiles every day. Use a dry mop or a duster, over the granite tiles at least one time per day. This keeps dust and rock particles from accumulating on the tile. Be sure to only use approved granite cleaners. Never use abrasive cleaners, detergents or bleach. These cleaners may discolor the granite tile. Recommended granite cleaners, either from the granite manufacturer or Precision Marble and Tile. Warm water and soap is great for everyday cleaning of our tile. Be aware though there will be a residue left behind that will need to be rinsed a few times.


If you find large discoloration, or stains then be sure to consult a professional cleaner who has the proper equipment to make sure the job is done correctly, without damaging the granite floor.


Removing Tile

A common question is if New Tile can be installed over Old Tile. This depends on the cituation, however if budget permits you should always remove your old Tile. Failing to do so could cost you thousands of dallars and causing you to Re-Tile your floor again. Let us consult you BEFORE you make that decision.


Ceramic floor tiles are meant to be permanent so removing them is never going to be easy and you likely aren't going to be able to save the tiles for reuse. However, if you don't mind damaging the original tiles, with a lot of effort, you can remove ceramic tile.

Things You'll Need

  • Long handled floor scraper (or a roofing shovel)
  • Eye protection
  • Stiff bladed putty knife
  • Grout saw (or rotary tool and carbide tipped bit).
  • Hammer
  • Gloves
  • Cold chisel

Ceramic Floor Tiles on a Concrete Base

Remove ceramic tiles set with mastic on a concrete base by first breaking up the grout around them (with a hammer and cold chisel) and then breaking the tiles with a sledgehammer. After the tiles are broken, slide a long handled floor scraper under the edge of the tiles and push forward. The pieces of tile should peel off the concrete base.
Scrape off any mastic residue. Clean and vacuum the area and level the concrete.

Ceramic Tiles Set in Thinset on Concrete

Use a power-chipping hammer available from tool rental centers to first break up the grout around a single tile, and then work your way under the tile itself, breaking it up. Once you have removed the first tile, move on to the others. The job is easier if you start at an edge or a transition rather than in the middle of a tile bed.

Clean the area as best you can and then level the floor with concrete specifically designed to bond with old concrete.

Ceramic Tiles on a Backer Board base

Removing tile set on a backer board base requires removing both the tiles and the backer board.

Start at an edge or transition and remove the grout around a single tile (hammer and chisel) and then break up and remove the tile itself.

Remove three or four tiles in a section so that your have an area about six inches by six inches of the (now beaten up) backer board exposed.

Use a hammer to pulverize the backer board so it can be removed and you have an opening revealing the sub floor.

Slide a long handled floor scraper (or a flat tipped or roofing shovel) about six inches under the backer board but above the wooden sub floor, then push forward while lifting and turning the shovel. Continue lifting up the backer board by sliding the shovel under it, until the board (and the attached tiles) has all been removed.

Repair any gouges made to the subfloor and then level it.

Removing an Individual Ceramic Tile

Removing an individual tile is much easier than trying to remove and entire tile bed.

Use a grout saw (or a hammer and chisel) to remove the grout all around the damaged tile.

Break up the damaged tile by carefully striking it with a cold chisel and a hammer.

Slide a stiff bladed putty knife under any pieces of tile that stick to the base and pry them off.

Clean up and repair the base in preparation for installing the replacement tile.

Tips & Warnings

Knowing how much work it is to remove a ceramic tile floor, consider that you can install most types of flooring right over top of existing ceramic tile with a minimum of base preparation. Always wear wrap around eye protection when trying to remove ceramic tiles and grout. Broken pieces of tile have razor sharp edges and you don't know where chips going to go fly when you're beating on the tiles with a hammer.



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