About Level Concrete Floor Before Installation
Direct bonding tile or stone to concrete is the most common method of installing tile around the world today. It’s no surprise that concrete slabs are rarely poured and finished perfectly for a tile installation. Often a certain amount of floor leveling or flattening will need to be performed to assure the tile or stone finish has a flat plane as its substrate. It is important to follow a few critical guidelines when addressing out of level or out of plane concrete as stated below.
- Proper floor preparation before applying any levelling products is generally required to assure good adhesion and bond. Perform a water drop test to make sure water readily absorbs into the concrete. If it beads up and sits on the surface without soaking into the concrete, then mechanical scarification is commonly required to open the concrete pores. A primer may be required so always consult with the manufacturer about the specific product being used.
- Do not try to accommodate for uneven concrete when setting the tile or stone by adjusting the amount thin-set mortar. Excessive thin-set mortar thickness will usually cause excessive shrinkage that can lead to cracking or indent fracturing that transfers through the toile or stone surface. This was such a wide spread problem, that the tile industry stopped using the term “medium bed” mortars and replaced it with “Large and Heavy Tile (LHT)” mortars. This eliminated the confusion over what methods and mortars were suitable by industry professionals including installers, general contractors and architects.
- Environmental conditions and cure times need to be monitored to assure that materials are being applied and allowed to cure properly. Newly poured concrete will generally need 28 days to reach an industry accepted amount of curing before installing tile. Any leveling performed will also need a certain amount of curing so read and follow the manufacturer’s instruction printed on the product or published in product data sheets (PDS).
- Read and follow all directions on the product labels and data sheets (PDS). When all instructions are followed, a tile installation will almost certainly perform as intended for a long time.
Don’t get caught off guard assuming the concrete is ready for tile as you might be in for a wild ride as depicted in the cartoon…