In the next step in our CTM tiling journey, Kevin gives a few pointers on tiling
outdoor areas, such as this patio.
Vitrified tiles are perfect for outdoor areas because they’re incredibly tough
and scratch resistant. They’re also slip-resistant, although you can also get
matching tiles for indoors with a smooth surface. They have extremely low
porosity, so they can handle extremes in temperature (frosty nights followed by
sunny mornings) without cracking. They’re also easy to clean with water.
Step 1: Prepare the slab. New concrete must be 6 to 8 weeks old before laying
tiles or salts might rise up to discolour them. Old concrete must be thoroughly
cleaned of oils and paints. Check with the experts at CTM for advice on the
right adhesive for your job.
Step 2: Lay out tiles as a dry run to work out the pattern for laying. Kevin
decided to centre his tiles along the wall, with an even-sized cut tile at each
end. For the edge you can simply overlap the top tile, or use and edge-angle for
a really stylish finish.
Step 3: Mix your glue and scoop it onto the floor for the first row, then spread
it with a notched trowel. Use a straightedge to guide you as you lay the first
row. Place each tile in position, wriggling it down to bed it firmly. Use
spacers to obtain even gaps as you go, then cut the tiles at each end and lay
them. Repeat the process row after row, using the straightedge to make sure the
rows remain straight.
Step 4: Unusual angles can be cut with an angle grinder and diamond blade,
allowing a gap for the grout line.
Step 5: Once your glue has set, mix your grout and force it into the gaps with a
rubber squeegee – about 1 square metre at a time. Clean the tile surface with a
moist sponge. When the grout has completely dried, wipe or lightly brush the
tile surface. For a super-clean job, Kev’s mate Terry recommends mopping the
tiles with a dash of white vinegar in a bucket of warm water. He must have
learned that from his Grandma.
Don’t back yourself into a
corner when you lay tiles, because you can’t walk on them for 24 hours.