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Should you soak encaustic tile?

QUESTION

I am a member and need a few questions answered about an encaustic cement tile installation. I only have about 35 sq. ft. installed, but the homeowner on a job insists I should have soaked the tiles prior to installation to create a proper bond. I am trying to check with the manufacturer for their recommendations but they are in the UK and I’ve had a delay due to time zone differences. The setting material manufacturer said that since the back of the tile was wet, they are confident it would be well adhered. Are there any standards for installing encaustic cement tiles? 

ANSWER

I don’t believe these tiles need to be soaked before installation. The best way to check bond to the substrate is to remove one to see how well it was adhered. Since the dealer does not have a comprehensive installation recommendation and this tile does not meet the ANSI A137.1 Standard Specification for Ceramic Tile, the decision on whether or not to soak the tiles prior to installation should be reviewed with the tile and setting material manufacturers. Request written installation instructions from each manufacturer along with their warranty on this project.

Robb Roderick

Robb Roderick has been in the tile industry for nearly 25 years. He has worked with homeowners, builders, architects, and interior design professionals on projects in both residential and commercial settings. Prior to coming onboard with NTCA, Roderick was a member of the association for several years and is a CTEF Certified Tile Installer. He graduated from Missouri State university in 2000 and has also served in the United States Army as a medic. Roderick tours the country bringing NTCA Workshops and CTEF Educational Programs to local audiences nationwide. 

Mark Heinlein

Mark Heinlein is Training Director for the National Tile Contractors Association. He is Certified Tile Installer #1112 and currently a Ceramic Tile Education Foundation evaluator for the Certified Tile Installer program. Heinlein was the owner of Mark Heinlein Surfaces of Negaunee, Michigan.