Cement Tile Installation and Care
Read all instructions before ordering and starting the installation. Contact us if you would like a referral to a professional installer in your area. Cement tiles are designed to provide lasting beauty for decades. Each tile is hand-made and unique, and color will vary from tile to tile.
Tesselle cement tiles can be installed on floors, walls, ceilings and counter tops. Outdoor installations are only recommended for climates where temperatures do not fall below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) as tiles may crack when exposed to cold weather. Ensure that there will be proper drainage. Some colors, particularly saturated blues and greens will gently fade over time with direct sun exposure. Add a layer of paste wax (see below) to extend color life. Colors closer to the natural light grey color of cement will show less color change.
- Inspect your tiles. Remember, Tesselle Cement Tiles are designed to provide lasting beauty for decades. Each tile is hand-made and unique, and color will vary from tile to tile.
- Store in a moisture-free environment, and allow tiles to dry prior to installation.
- Remove any residue on the tile with a clean cloth.
- Tesselle cannot be responsible for product that has been altered.
- Please read our California Proposition 65 Information and wear a face mask that prevents inhalation of dust particles while handling the tiles during unboxing, cutting and installation.
- Tiles must be installed over a flat, level, stable and dry surface. Moisture, water evaporation or excess of water can cause stains or cracking on the tile surface; this is a natural reaction of cement-based products. Cement tiles are not recommended for outdoor applications where temperatures fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that subfloor is fully cured.
- A waterproof membrane is recommended in all wet areas to prevent leakage of water to spaces below or the subfloor.
- Do not install during excessively hot weather or in full, direct sun.
- Mix tiles from different boxes during the installation process.
- We recommend installing the center tiles first.
- Tesselle Cement Tiles look best with a joint width of 1/16".
- Tiles should be cut using a sharp diamond blade in conjunction with water to avoid chipping of edges.
- Use a high quality thin-set adhesive based in cement, such as a Laticrete or Mapei products.
- Make sure that adhesive is applied with full coverage on the back of each tile.
- Level the tiles with hand pressure, not a mallet; tiles will crack after installation if a mallet is used.
- Remove excess adhesive from the surface with a damp cloth or sponge when it is fresh to avoid any stains.
- Handle tiles with extreme care, and make sure that they are kept in a clean environment until sealer is applied.
- Tip: if your cement tiles are being installed next to a material of a different thickness, Schluter makes a variety of attractive products to address these transitions.
Sealing and Grouting
- Allow tiles and mortar bed to dry out completely, uncovered, before starting to seal or polish the tiles.
- Do not step on tiles until mortar bed is dried.
- Seal tiles prior to grout application. Select a penetrating sealer. If you want to maintain the look of the raw tile, we recommend Miracle 511 Porous Plus or Stain Proof by Dry Treat. If you would like to enrich the colors and make them look more even, we recommend Miracle 511 Seal & Enhance. Wax can provide a glossy finish. Both provide a beautiful result. Test on a single tile first. Apply two coats, allowing each coat to dry completely. Follow manufacturer instructions. Never apply abrasion. For outdoor installations, ensure that a sealer that provides UV protection is used.
- Apply grout. Choose a non sanded grout that is free of any dye in a shade that is no darker than the lightest color in your tile design. Note that dark colored grout has the potential to stain light colored tile.
- Once grout starts to dry, remove excess grout immediately. Do not affix tape.
- Clean and re-seal.
- A layer of paste wax can be added for extra protection.
- For installations in pools or fountains, ensure that penetrating sealer is waterproof and additionally apply an acrylic concrete surface sealer on top.
- Clean tiles with a pH neutral detergent, such as Zep. We recommend Miracle Liquid Poultice and Miracle Heavy Duty Cleaner (Acid Substitute) for high traffic areas and occasional deep cleaning.
- Some stains can be removed by hydrogen peroxide.
- For red wine stains, use Wine Away.
- For specific, hard-to-clean stains, tiles can be lightly wet sanded with an extra fine sandpaper (400 grit or finer). Use water when sanding to avoid scratching the tiles and to prevent residue from getting into the pores of the tile and grout. This area should be cleaned, allowed to dry completely and then resealed.
- For ongoing maintenance, clean regularly with a neutral detergent and buff tiles with a soft white pad. Re-seal and re-wax as needed, as often as every 6 moths for high traffic areas.
- Clean spills and stains immediately.
- A natural patina will occur as the floor is maintained and wears.
- Avoid water accumulation
- Avoid sustained direct sunlight for saturated colors