Installation, Sealing, Cleaning and Ongoing Maintenance Instructions for Cement Tiles by Marrakech Design
Please note that this is by no means a complete guide to installation and maintenance but some advice on aspects which we from our experience have found to be particularly important.
Installing the tiles
Step 1 – Fixing / Setting the tiles
Since the tiles are hand-made and therefore subject to color variations we recommend that you batch mix them randomly from different boxes when laying them out in order to balance color and tone variation to achieve the best overall aesthetic appearance.
Make sure that the surface that is to be tiled is prepared correctly regarding level, cleanliness, appropriate priming and perfectly dry.
Before laying the tiles ensure they are free of dust and any loose particles by wiping with a damp sponge. The biscuit / rear of the tile should be pre-wet prior to fixing / setting. This can be easily achieved using a spray bottle set to mist or spray.
Installation of cement tiles requires back buttering / a double spread of adhesive. Use adhesive / thin-set mortar and a notched trowel and apply the adhesive / thin-set both to the substrate and to the back of the tile ensuring a 100% even coverage. (Under no circumstances attempt a "Dot & Dab Method")
The pattern of the tiles looks best with small grout joints (1-3 mm); In some countries building regulations/ insurance company policies require wider joints e.g. in wet areas – please check local regulation before installation. 3-4 mm joints is necessary when using under floor heating mats or cables. Our recommendation is to wait 10-12 weeks before you start using the underfloor heating.
When installing press the tiles down firmly into place and set level by hand only – do NOT use a hammer or rubber mallet since this may crack the tiles. Work in small areas at a time, working clean and avoid getting the adhesive / thin-set on to the surface of the tile as this will result in staining the unsealed tiles – wipe off any excess adhesive / thin-set or other dirt immediately so as to avoid it curing / setting on the porous surface. Once the tiles are fixed / set allow to stand until the surface of the tiles is dry. Wipe off any dust or dirt before proceeding to Step 3. The tiles need to be clean and dry before sealing.
Step 2 – Sealing.
Please note that the first coat of sealer must be applied before grouting, otherwise grout can penetrate the porous surface of these tiles.
The tiles have to be sealed in order to protect them from water and dirt and to give a reaction time. You have an option to either maintain the original look or to enhance the appearance to produce a wet look.
There are numerous products on the market for this purpose e.g. Miracle 511 H2O Plus from Miracle Sealants Company, Stain Stop by Lithofin and Mattstone H2O by LTP.
We have found Miracle 511 H2O Plus to be particularly efficient and easy to use – see www.miraclesealants.com (in Sweden www.mpdiy.com). Follow the instructions on the container. While protecting against dirt and staining as well as giving you a reaction time to wipe up any spills this sealer will maintain the original look of the tile.
Enhanced Wet Look
To see if you want an enhanced look we recommend you wipe the face of the tile with a damp cloth or sponge to emulate the enhanced look. The water will naturally dry out but it is extremely difficult to remove enhancing penetrating sealers if you decide you are unhappy with the appearance. If after the test you decide want an enhanced and somewhat darker wet look finish we instead recommend you to use Miracle 511 Seal and Enhance. (LTP has a similar product).
Be aware that sealing in itself does not prevent excess grout (see step 3 – grouting) from sticking to the surface. It is thus of paramount importance that any excess grout on the surface of the tile is wiped off immediately and meticulously after grouting.
Step 3 – Grouting.
Before grouting tiles should be allowed to dry for at least 24 hours.
Mix the grout strictly according to the manufacturer's instructions in order to facilitate applying to small grout joints (1-3 mm). Apply the grout to small areas at a time so that any excess grout on the face of the tiles can be wiped off immediately. Use a Micro fibre cloth / sponge or soft Scotch-Brite pad if necessary.
We advise against using very dark colored grout with pale tiles and vice versa.
Step 4 - After Grouting
Once the grout has dried a second coat of sealer should be applied to offer maximum protection.
Step 5 – After treatment
Once the tiles are dry we recommend an after treatment with either concentrated stone soap (uncolored, neutral) or a product like Miracle Stone Soap or Lithofin Easy Care.
Step 6 - Ongoing Maintenance & Cleaning
The tiles should be cleaned regularly using a pH Neutral cleaner such as Miracle Tile & Stone Cleaner (diluted stone soap if available in your market) or a product like Lithofin Easy Care. Repeated cleaning with stone soap will also help maintain a satin finish to the tiles and to an extent acts as a continuous topical / surface sealant of the tiles.
Depending on the amount of foot traffic and the type of sealer used the tiles may have to be re-sealed periodically with a penetrating sealer.
Never use acidic cleaners or other acids on cement tiles.
Having now sealed your tiles with an impregnating sealer further enhancement and protection can be afforded by adding a topical sealer like Miracle Mira Matte to add a slight sheen. By applying several coats the sheen gradually increases. However, please be aware that this topical sealer whilst adding beauty to the floor will eventually wear dependant on the level of foot traffic and as such will periodically require further applications or even stripping and re applying
Tiles can be installed outdoors but there are special considerations. Please consult Marrakech Design prior to purchasing tiles with this aim.
Complaints and claims
Inspect your tiles prior to installation. No returns or claims will be accepted once the tiles have been fixed / installed. Please note that Marrakech Design will never assume any responsibility for faulty workmanship.
These instructions/guide to installation are intended to provide helpful advice and guidance only. Any advice, opinion or recommendations given in this report are given on the understanding that Marrakech Design shall not be liable either in law or in tort, for any damage or problem arising out of the use or misuse of such advice, opinion or recommendations. In all cases local building regulations should be checked prior to installation.