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Top Five Tips for Rapid Setting Tile Installations

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Top 5 Tips for Rapid Setting Tile Installations

Many projects, especially repairs and renovations, must be installed and opened to traffic in a matter of hours - not days. Any delay in a commercial project opening for business or returning to service is very costly. And, if the installation fails later because of the rush to finish, it’s an even greater problem. Early high-strength, rapid-setting installation systems are specially formulated for these situations. Here are our top 5 tips for your next fast track installation.

Tip #1: Prepare all of the Materials Needed Ahead of Time The single best way to save time is to plan ahead, such as having enough manpower to mix and install very rapid-setting underlayment and mortars. Account for extra breakage when you order the tile and pre-cut the tile ahead of time if possible. Make sure you have sufficient installation products on hand by using a tool like the Material Calculator on the CUSTOM website or mobile app. Good preparation always includes doing a mockup with all the products to be used. Many tile surfaces can trap grout particles permanently, so test the grout on the tile to see if a grout release or sealer will be needed. If so, consider pre-sealing the tile to save time during the installation. Don’t skip this step, especially when working with a polished or unglazed porcelain or porous stone. You could lose much more than the short amount of time saved.

Tip #2 Use Rapid Setting Surface Preparation Products Regardless of schedule, the substrate must be properly prepared before installing tile. Only a stable, flat surface will allow rapid – and durable - installation of tile. For large format tile, with over 15" on any side, requirements for floor flatness call for no variations greater than 1/8" in 10 feet or 1/16” in 24”. Some installers use thin-set mortars to correct floor flatness. This is an incorrect use of mortar and can lead to failure; it’s also much more costly in time and labor. The easiest way to achieve flatness is to use an underlayment such as CUSTOM’s LevelQuik® RS Self-Leveling Underlayment. Rapid-setting LevelQuik can be poured and ready for tiling within just a few hours. For walls and small areas, use a high strength patch. Custom’s Skimcoat and Patch is ready to tile in only 30-90 minutes.

Tip #3: Use Easy-to-Install Mats and Membranes for Crack Isolation and Waterproofing When crack isolation is part of the installation assembly, there are several options that allow very short wait times prior to tiling. Solutions range from fabric with fast-drying primer to liquids that can be sprayed to increase speed. To achieve extra heavy service levels and protect against cracks up to 3/8”, install self-bonding CrackBuster Pro Crack Prevention Mat Underlayment. For crack isolation plus waterproofing, choose RedGard Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane, a versatile liquid option. Apply one coat for crack isolation, two coats for waterproofing. Allow about 45 minutes for each coat to dry, depending on temperature and humidity. Another option for crack protection and waterproofing over new concrete slabs is SpiderWeb® II Uncoupling Mat. It’s bonded to the substrate with thin-set mortar so tile can be installed immediately.

Tip #4: Install Tile with a Polymer-Modified Mortar that Develops Early High-Strength Not all rapid setting mortars are created equal. Some are based on simple acceleration of the Portland cement hydration process and they dry quickly, but don’t really develop enough strength to allow early traffic. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requires dry-set tile installation mortars to achieve shear bond strength greater than 50 psi in 4 hours to accommodate foot traffic and allow for grouting. High strength mortars develop strengths over 400 psi when fully cured. • Custom’s ProLite® Rapid Setting Large Format Tile and Stone Mortar is formulated for fast-paced installation of large and heavy tile. ProLite meets the high bond strength requirements of ANSI A118.15FT and will not slump or sag. • The most demanding conditions call for MegaLite Rapid Setting Crack Prevention Mortar, which offers ultimate flexibility and bond strengths greater than 650 psi! • Ensuring full mortar coverage on large tiles can be time consuming, so consider setting tile with a flowable mortar like Complete Contact-LFT Rapid Setting Large Format Tile & Stone Mortar. Complete Contact flows to help fill the gaps between trowel ridges and can eliminate the need to back butter the tile. It also exceeds the strict requirements of ANSI A118.15F. Remember that these mortars harden quickly as advertised for grouting within 2-3 hours. Don’t mix too much at one time – only mix what can be used in 20-30 minutes.

Tip #5: Use a Fast-Curing Grout Standard cement-based grouts are ready for traffic the next day but can cure very slowly when the weather is cold or damp. Choose a grout that won’t delay your critical project. Fast-setting Prism® Color Consistent Grout cures quickly allowing foot traffic in just a few hours. Prism produces dense grout joints without mottling, shading or efflorescence, regardless of temperature or humidity. For installations requiring very high chemical and heat resistance, CEG-IG™ Industrial Grade Epoxy Grout is rapid curing to both set and grout tiles. CEG-IG cleans up quickly with just water and holds up to the harsh conditions found in commercial kitchens, which often require fast track installations. When time is money, a rapid-setting tile installation system can actually reduce the overall cost to the end user. That’s because it helps keep businesses like restaurants, retail stores and health care spaces open with minimal downtime. Using a system of eligible CUSTOM products can also qualify these fast-track installations for up to a Lifetime System Warranty.

If you'd like to know more about rapid setting systems, or how CUSTOM products can help you with your next project, give us a call or download our app. Or, visit our website——and read our white paper on rapid setting installations. And be sure to “like” our video, share it and subscribe for the latest tips on tile installation. Thanks again for joining us at Custom Technical University. See you at our next edition of CUSTOM's Top 5 Tips!

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