Planning ceramic laminate tile fitting work.

Before commencing ceramic laminate tile fitting work, you must plan the process in order to optimise performance and ensure correct performance and the final quality of the tiling.

You must assess the envisaged environmental conditions during the construction process and how that will affect the supports and adhesives, especially when fitting tiles outdoors.

You must ensure there is sufficient space to work comfortably with the ceramic laminate tiles. You must thus prepare a work table to perform the laminate tile cutting, drilling and gluing operations. You must also ensure there is sufficient space to handle the laminate tiles due to their large size.

For renovation projects in particular, the work table should be set up in the largest room so there is sufficient space to handle and perform the auxiliary cutting and drilling operations.

You must assess the condition of the spaces to be tiled, the support and the fitting surface.

1. Marking out the area to be tiled.

Marking out the area before starting the fitting work is an essential operation for the technical quality and appearance of the finished ceramic laminate tiling.

Suitable marking out of each project simplifies the cutting work, prevents the need for replacements and adjustments, resolves problems with specific areas and joints, minimises material losses, improves performance, and avoids asymmetries and incorrect optical effects.

Marking out consists of selecting the joint pattern for the ceramic laminate tiles and their combination or layout in a particular shape. There must be an installation joint adapted to the limitations of the surface to be tiled with an exact calculation of the layout.

The marking out and layout of the ceramic laminate tiles must be adequately dealt with in the construction plans. However, if that information is not detailed or there are no construction plans since it is a renovation, the following instructions should be taken into account.

The space to be tiled must be marked out in order to avoid narrow strips and optimise the cutting geometry; and also to adequately deal with problems in specific areas.

Ceramic laminate tiles are generally fitted in large spaces in which the large-size format is particularly useful. However, in very small spaces, such as a bathroom, special care must be taken when planning the marking out, dealing with problem areas (doors, windows, pillars, etc.) and especially the location of holes made for water connections and other fittings.

The design and sizing of the movement joints in the area to be tiled must be included.

The sequence in which the laminate tiles will be fitted must be planned in order to avoid stepping on those already laid.

Control and diagnosis of the fitting support

The condition in which the fitting support is provided is extremely relevant to the design of a ceramic system. In the case of ceramic laminate tiles, it is even more important so stricter dimensional stability, rigidity, mechanical resistance and dimensional regularity are required.

When preparing the supports, the specifications in the UNE 138002 standard must be taken into account, in particular section 6.1.1 on the stability of the base support and section 6.2 on the specifications of the layers with additional functions in the system.

Maximum stability conditions must be required for the supports, whether they are concrete slabs, ceiling slabs, the building envelope and partitions or intermediary layers with additional functions.

In addition to the general conditions for provision of the fitting surface stipulated in section 6.3 of the UNE 138002 standard, when fitting ceramic laminate tiles, the flatness of the fitting surface must be 1.5 mm measured along 2 metres.

Tools and equipment to fit ceramic laminate tile

The process of fitting and installing ceramic laminate tiles requires some equipment and tools similar to those used to fit any other kind of ceramic tiles, such as notched and other types of trowels, rubber and other types of floats, sponges, rulers, spirit level, set square, levelling rods, glue mixer, grinder, discs, drill bits, etc.

It also requires other equipment, tools and machines developed specifically to fit ceramic laminate, such as cutting tools specifically for ceramic laminate tiles, suction cups or a frame to handle ceramic laminate tiles.

In any case, the specific equipment and tools required to correctly fit Absolut ceramic laminate tiles do not involve heavy investment by the fitter and are easy to use.

Selecting the adhesive and grouting

Due to their technical characteristics and size, selecting the adhesive and grouting is an essential factor when fitting ceramic laminate tiles

The adhesives used to fit ceramic laminate tiles must be selected in accordance with the guidelines in table 21 in the UNE 138002 standard. As stated in that table, at least C2 S1 adhesive must be used for ceramic laminate tiles with a side length of more than 70 cm without fibre on the back when fitting them on indoor floors and walls.

The adhesives used to fit ceramic laminate tiles must be selected in accordance with the guidelines in table 21 in the UNE 138002 standard. As stated in that table, at least C2 S1 adhesive must be used for ceramic laminate tiles with a side length of more than 70 cm without fibre on the back when fitting them on indoor floors and walls.

When placing laminate tiles with fibre on the back on a tiled façade, you must use type R2 adhesives that are highly deformable.

When the laminate tiles are reinforced on the back with meshes and resins, you must check the compatibility of those materials with the adhesives used to fit them.

The grouting materials should be selected from table 16 of the UNE 138002 standard. Type CG2 materials should be used. When they must be water and steam tight or are for bathroom or food use, type RG materials should be selected.

Installation joints and movement joints

1. Installation joints

Installation joints are an essential element in producing the final quality, durability and good performance of ceramic tiles. Due to their large format, installation joints are even more important when fitting ceramic laminate tiles.

Installation joints are the physical separation between adjoining ceramic laminate tiles. They are necessary to make the tiling more hard-wearing (they help absorb forces created by instability in the supports and the dimensional variations in the laminate tile itself), increase steam diffusion capacity, help water evaporate from the adhesives and allow individual laminate tiles to be repaired and replaced. Installation joints also play an important role in the look of the end result of tiling with laminate tiles

The width and layout of the installation joints must be adequately dealt with in the construction plans. However, if that information is not detailed or there are no construction plans since it is a renovation, the following instructions should be taken into account

Under no circumstances should the surface be tiled with ceramic laminate tiles without a joint or with two pieces joined together.

The recommended installation joint when fitting full-format Absolut ceramic laminate tiles is a minimum width of 3 mm indoors on stable supports. A 5 mm open joint should be used when specified in the construction plans on unstable supports, tiled façades or over underfloor heating in certain cases.

2. Movement joints, design and sizing

Movement joints for ceramic laminate tiles are the responsibility of the construction management and must be specified in the plans.

The recommendations in section 7.8 of the UNE 138002 standard can be followed when designing and sizing movement joints. The correct design and creation of movement joints does not remove the need for installation joints.

2.1. Structurals joints

Structural joints must always be respected and must be continuous along laminate tiling. DB-SE-AE in the Spanish Technical Building Code stipulates the technical specifications.

2.2. Contraction joints

Contraction joints make it possible to subdivide the total surface area into regular areas with a surface area that can absorb shrinkage movements or thermal changes in the support without affecting tiling with ceramic laminate tiles.

For outdoor use, the separation between contraction joints must be less than 3-4 m in a straight line or a maximum regular area of 16 m2.

Indoors, the separation between contraction joints must be less than 4-5 m in a straight line or a maximum regular area of 25 m2. They must also be placed at door openings.

2.3. Expansion joints

Expansion joints only affect the thickness of the area tiled with ceramic laminate tiles in order to subdivide into smaller regular areas in order to prevent build-up of tension from expansion and contraction of the tiling.

For outdoor walls, the separation between expansion joints must be less than 3-4 m in a straight line or a maximum regular area of 16 m2. They must also be placed underneath each frame.

For indoor flooring, the separation between contraction joints must be less than 4-5 m in a straight line or a maximum regular area of 35 m2. They must also be placed at door openings and changes in flooring.

2.4. Perimeter joints

These are joints at changes in plane and edges of areas to be tiled in order to prevent a build-up of tension. On flooring they must affect the thickness of the screed and tiling. They must be at least 8 mm wide.