Wondering how to set large format wall and floor tile? That was the focus of the product knowledge demonstration that Merkrete representatives conducted at all three Tile Outlets of America stores.
Merkrete / Parex USA has successfully provided installers of tile with one billion square feet of tile and stone installation systems since 1971. It continues to push the envelope every day to exceed the expectations of contractors and do-it-yourselfers alike.
Demonstrating How To Set Large Format Floor and Wall Tile
Tile Outlets of America was fortunate enough to be able to host an informative, hands-on class held by two outstanding representatives of Merkrete / Parex USA.
Barrie Semmens and Gary Powell joined us for an hour long workshop that discussed the basics of setting large format tile.
The class focused primarily on the two different thin-sets that Merkrete offers for setting large format tiles. These would be the 720 Marble Pro and the 820 Merlite. The 720 Marble pro is designed for floor installations, while the 820 Merlite is designed as a lightweight, non-sag wall mortar.
At first mention, Barrie stressed the importance of starting with a level substrate. Too often, contractors will try to use extra mortar to compensate for an uneven surface, and this is not the solution. Another thing to avoid would be putting backer board or cement board down to correct an uneven surface. This will not cause your floor to be level and will cause problems in the long and short run. Merkrete offers a product called Underlay C, which will allow the use of up to 3” of surface preparation for floors.
While Barrie was going over the basics of preparation, Gary was working on mixing up a bag of 720 marble pro.
- This is done with 5 quarts of room temperature water per 50 lbs. thinset.
- Using hot water is not advised and will cause the chemicals in the thinset to react much quicker which you don’t want.
- Allowing time for the thinset to slake is important as well. This allows time for all the chemicals in the mix to dissolve and get properly saturated.
If after slaking the thinset seems too dry, rather than adding more water which will weaken the mixture, re-whipping it with your mixing paddle will loosen the mortar to a workable consistency.
Demonstrating a Large Format Floor Tile Installation With 720 Marble pro
The first example given was with the 720 Marble pro that Gary mixed up. This demonstration focused on how to install large format floor tile. (Pictures # 26-31).
Make sure you don't have opposing directions in your trowel marks as you see in the image above. This will weaken the bond with the tile. You want all your trowel marks to go in the same direction.
While spreading the thinset, the focus was on not only the coverage of thinset (Residential wet thinset transfer should cover 80-85% of the tile, commercial wet thinset transfer should cover 90-95% of the tile), but also the direction of the notches.
Merkrete also recommends ‘back-buttering’ your floor tiles. This involves using a ¼ to 3/8 inch trowel along the back of tile before setting as you can see below.
Doing this allows for maximum adhesion. The image below shows two different size floor tiles set using the 720 Marble Pro.
Demonstrating a Large Format Wall Tile Installation With 820 Merlite
The next step was to show a wall installation. (If you're looking for wall tile ideas, check out Reimagine Your Bathroom With 5 White Wall Tile Introductions.)
Gary worked once again with the mixer, this time using a bag of the 820 Merlite.
Once slaked, it was ready to be used to adhere large format tiles to the wall.
First, it was spread on to the wall as you can see in the images below.
Using thinset on the wall it is very important to run the trowel marks horizontally.
Once the proper amount of thinset is applied to the wall, the tile (with no back-buttering) can be set directly into the mortar.
This technique will allow the installer to set a maximum of two rows of large format tiles per day on wall installations. Staying within those limits eliminates any risk of the tiles sagging or falling off the wall all together.
The tile that was installed in this example, would not sag or move from where it was placed.
They also touched on the versatility of Merkrete's Integra grout. This is a thinset AND a grout all in one, and presents a useful advantage in a number of applications, especially thin glass installations. The Integra grouts come in a variety of commonly used colors and is primarily used in mosaic installations, where usually, great concern would be taken making sure the thinset is not seen through the glass. This concern is eliminated when using Integra grout, as the color of the thinset beneath the glass is the same color as what’s in the grout lines.
Download the Merkrete App for Tile Installation System Information
After the hands-on workshop was finished, the representatives from Merkrete passed out some gifts and information. They also informed us of the Merkrete app which is available for free download on all smartphone devices. The app can come in handy with useful information on a number of different products and installation systems.
This 4:19 minute video taken during the Merkrete session in Tampa provides you with highlights. Note that sound isn't great; however, it gives you a chance to see Barrie and Gary as they demonstrate how to use their products.
Thank you, Barrie and Gary, for taking the time to demonstrate proper installation techniques for large format wall and floor tile using Merkrete's 720 Marble Pro and 820 Merlite products!
What questions do you have about installing large format tile? Have you used 720 Marble Pro and 820 Merlite? Let us know.
We look forward to seeing you when you next visit Tile Outlets of America in Fort Myers, Sarasota and Tampa.