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Natural Stone & Porcelain Tile Help & Advice

Tiling On Concrete

Whether you're fixing Jura limestone natural stone tiles, or Berlina Oak wood effect porcelain tiles, you need to assess whether your substrate is concrete, and prepare it suitably to ensure your tiling project is a success.

Failure to assess and prepare your substrate correctly may result in the floor tiles cracking, coming loose, or the tile adhesive de-bonding from the substrate.

If the tiling surface you're faced with clearly isn't wood, it may be a sand and cement screed, calcium sulphate (anhydrite) screed, or concrete 'slab' floor. Generally concrete floors are thick foundation slabs of approx 150mm, where as a screed (sand and cement or anhydrite) will be laid on top of a concrete floor.

Is concrete the same as cement? No, cement is an ingredient of concrete. Concrete is made of cement (a very fine powder made from limestone, sand, clay, and iron ore), and aggregates.

If you're tiling in an area where moisture is present and inevitable, such as cellars, a damp proof solution may be required. If you choose to fit a traditional plastic damp proof membrane, a screed will need to be laid before you can proceed with fixing your floor tiles. An alternative option which doesn't require a screed and enables you to fix floor tiles directly onto a concrete base is Tilemaster FAST One Coat DPM, an expoxy based fast curing surface damp proof membrane.

Key Considerations

Below, we’ve listed the key things you need to take into account before tiling on concrete surfaces and the actions you need to take.

  1. Is the cement dry? If the cement is new, the general rule is allow a drying time of 1 day for every 1mm thickness. For new and old cement floors, it's prudent to perform a moisture test.
  2. Is the cement damaged? Damaged cement should be replaced. Cracked cement should be filled, or a suitable anti-fracture matting such as Kerakol Idrobuild Tex should be fitted.
  3. Is the concrete surface free from contaminants? Dust and dirt should be removed from old concrete surfaces. New cement floors may have laitance, a surface layer of fine particles which is displaced as water evaporates.
  4. Is the cement floor flat, level and smooth? An even and consistent surface will make fixing floor tiles easier and quicker. To solve any issues with uneven concrete bases a self-levelling screed can be used.
  5. What primer should you use? The use of a bonding agent such as Kerakol Primer A is key to ensuring adhesive can perform to its optimum. We don't recommend using PVR as a primer.

And there you have it, everything you need to know about tiling on concrete. So now you know it’s possible and how to do it, why not order a free sample of your chosen tiles or call us on 0161 277 6850 for help in choosing them.