Six Top Tile Installation Questions

Six Top Tile Installation Questions

Posted by TOA's Blog Team on Sep 24th 2020

Installing tile can be challenging given specialized tools and materials, and unexpected situations. Below, you'll find the six top questions most frequently asked about tile installation.

Tile Outlets' Top Six Tile Installation Questions

1. Why does my grout dry differently than the sample?

When it comes to tile installation questions, a number of possibilities can lead to grout drying differently than the samples you might have looked at. Here are a few of them:

Is the thinset dry?

It is important to give the thinset under the tile a minimum of 48-72 hours to dry prior to grouting.

How pure is your water?

Did you know that tap water from the hose bib - or from elsewhere in the house - contains both chlorine and fluoride?  Both can contribute to the color of the grout drying lighter than advertised.

Your best option is to use bottled water or a grout admix for optimum color results.

Have you overwatered your grout?

When you either add too much water when mixing the grout or over wash the grout joints, you overwater or overhydrate the grout. That's a problem because the excess water could pull out the color pigment in the grout which can cause some areas to be lighter than others.

Do you follow manufacturer guidelines?

It is always best practice to follow manufacturer guidelines listed on the company website or on the back of the bag for details.

>> See Do You Ignore Grout Manufacturer Directions?

You may want to read our article titled Grout and Thinset Mixing Best Practices.

Consider using siliconized caulk for these areas that allow the area to expand and contract without cracking

2. Why does grout crack in the corners of my shower/tub walls?

The corners in a tile installation are a stressful place because a great deal of horizontal and vertical movement can happen. Unless you include movement joints to accommodate the stress, you will have cement-based grouts that crack in these "high stress" areas.

Consider using siliconized caulk for these areas that allow the area to expand and contract without cracking.

By the way, when selecting the proper grout for your project make sure it also has a coordinating caulk for these areas. This way your grout and caulking will all have a uniform appearance.

>> See  Quick and Easy Movement Joints... the Right Way

>> See Frequently Asked Questions About Grout

3. The grout dried much differently than I expected.  What can I do?

If you discover that the grout dried differently than you expected, you have two options:

Remove the Grout

You can remove the grout and start over with your grout.

To do this successfully, you must be sure that you have removed all the grout from the joints prior to the installation of new grout.

Apply a Grout Stain

Another option (and the most popular) is to apply a grout stain.

Grout Stain is a waterborne epoxy and can be applied directly on top of the existing grout.  It comes in a number of color options and seals the grout as well.

>> See Why You Need Grout When You Install Tile and Stone

4. I dropped a dish on my tile and it chipped the glaze.  Do I need to replace it?

A chip in the glaze of the tile can actually be a relatively easy fix. No, the tile does not need to be replaced (unless you absolutely feel it is necessary).

If you have an extra tile, take it to your local hardware or paint store. Then ask them to color match some enamel to the color of the tile.

This will work perfectly for small chips and blemishes without the need to remove the tile.

Tile installation is careful work.

5. I want to retile my shower floor.  Do I need to remove the tile in order to do so?

In short, the answer is no.

First, you need to make sure the existing tile is firmly bonded to the floor (no hollow spots).  If the tile is solid, it can be “roughed up” by the use of diamond grinding which will open up the pores of the tile.

A drain extension can be purchased to raise the drain cover so it is flush with the new tile installation.

Finally, with a premium modified thinset such as TEC Full Flex #391, the new tile can be laid directly over the existing.

It is important to note that, if your shower has a shower pan that is over 20 years old, this will not add longevity to the pan underneath. However, it will certainly upgrade the look of the shower floor at a fraction of the cost.

>> See TEC Specialty Products Available at Tile Outlets of America!

6. My tile has a crack running through it.  What caused it? And how can I fix it?

Settlement cracks happen (especially in the first several years of the build).  In most cases, these cracks are non-structural settlement cracks.  It could be a result of settling of the home, concrete shrinkage, stress, sometimes poor construction.

If your tile is laid directly on top of the concrete slab it is likely to crack in the same areas as the slab.

How many tiles are damaged?

The solution is to identify how many tiles are damaged. Check to see if you have any loose tile in the garage, attic, etc. to do the repairs with.  If you are fortunate to do so then you have won half the battle.

Carefully remove the damaged tile

Next, it is important to remove the damaged tile without damaging others around them.

First, begin by removing the grout between the tiles that are damaged. Then carefully begin to remove the damaged tile.  Scrape the thinset off the floor down to the concrete slab.  Here you will likely see the crack that damaged the tile floor.

Add ECB membrane

Finally, go to your local Tile Outlets of America and purchase the ECB membrane.

This roll is available in a 1’x50’ or a 2’x25’.   Cut the roll and apply over the crack using the bonding primer.  This will keep the crack doing further damage to the tile in this particular area.

Mix up your thinset, reset your tile over the membrane.

>> See Why Underlayment Matters to a Tile Installation Project

Special thanks to Tile Outlets' Gary Tuhro for putting together this article about tile installation questions.

>> See  Gary Tuhro Focuses on Tile Installation Professionals in Sarasota

What Would You Add to Tile Outlets' Top Six Tile Installation Questions?

We would love to hear.

As always, be sure to come to visit us at any of our three Tile Outlets of America locations in Ft. Myers, Tampa, and Sarasota or our website at

Thanks for reading!

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