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installing floor or wall tile in vancouver FAQ

Whether you’re a novice installer or an experienced pro, if you’re working with floor and wall tile in the Vancouver area, it pays to have Star Tile Co. Ltd. on speed dial. We are your trusted source for practical advice and the best brands. Learn more about the tile selection process as well as maintenance tips for your existing grout. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

What Kind of Ceramic Tile is Best for My Project?

You can use a floor tile on walls, but rarely are wall tiles strong enough for floor use.

The strength, quality, glazing and finish all play a large part in determining the selling price and functionality of ceramic tiles. Read through the following to get an idea of the best type of tile to use for your upcoming project.

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The quality of a ceramic tile is split up into two distinct categories:

First Quality
This quality rating means the manufacturer has sorted the product and you are getting the top selections.

This quality rating means the tiles may contain minor imperfections. On the plus side, these tiles are usually at least 25% cheaper. These imperfections can include warped tiles, pin holes in the glaze, colour problems or weakness in the strength of the glaze or bisque.

Glazed Surface Ratings
Glazed surfaces are also rated. The rating is of vital importance when choosing floor tiles. All manufacturers should rate their glazed tiles and most distributors are aware of the following ratings:

1) A "1" rated glaze is for wall applications only.

2) A "2" rating means the tile can be used on very light floors only and should be restricted to bathroom floors and bathroom countertops.

3) A "3" rated glaze is the normal residential floor tile.

4) A "4" rated glazed tile is stronger and will wear longer.

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ceramic finishes


Non-Slip Finishes
These are available on many floor tiles and are recommended for all floor areas where standing water is possible, such as entryways, front steps and around bathtubs.

These tiles are a must for all exterior applications. These tiles will stand the stresses of freezing and thawing. Tiles that are not frost-proof can internally delaminate and be completely destroyed in exterior applications.

Dye Lots
These refer to a batch of colour that was produced at one time. Whenever possible, try to get all one dye lot to prevent shading problems. Most outlets try to prevent dye lot mismatching. Most manufacturers have a code on the box to identify a production batch.

Choose the Tile that is Right for You
There are thousands of ceramic tiles to choose from. Be sure you select the correct type of tile that has been designed for the installation you have in mind. The quality of tiles on the market today is generally excellent. If you keep the above points in mind when you’re selecting the tile, your chances of being happy with the finished product drastically increase.

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using mosaic tile in the kitchen


Ceramic Tile Counter
Kitchen countertops and backsplashes are ideal areas for the use of mosaic tile. They offer modern colours, outstanding patterns and a lifetime of good looks. The tile may be used on the wood of a new counter or directly over existing Arborite. The Arborite top must be sound and not bubbling or coming away at any point. If it is loose, then we recommend that you remove it. The surface must also be clean and free of dust.


Step #1 – Starting
Calculate the square footage of the area to be covered as well as the lineal footage of the nosing. If the backsplash is being covered, you will also need to determine the lineal footage of the cove base (the cove is the tile that blends to the back of the countertop).

Once you have your tile, the next step is to lay it out dry. Start in the middle of the counter and work out to each side, adjusting to minimize cutting and/or reduce small piece cutting. Start with the nosing and work back with cuts at the back if necessary.

Step #2 – Laying the Tile
Once you have your layout settled, remove the tile and spread adhesive over a small area at the front edge and back corner of the countertop. Apply the nosing and cove base, pressing firmly into place. Complete the nosing and cove base and then spread approximately 10 square feet of adhesive for a regular field tile. Apply the tile, starting at the front. Work to both sides and back, making sure all cuts are at the back and sides.

When working around the sink, you should remove the sink and taps to avoid getting adhesive on them. Cut tile around these openings.

Step #3 – Grouting Tiles
After the tile has been allowed to set firmly for approximately 24 hours, apply a mixture of grout to the joints using a grouting float and working diagonally across the tiles. Make sure there are no visible voids, pack joints fully and remove excess grout. Be sure to use rubber gloves throughout this procedure. Now, using a sponge, wipe the tiles diagonally, smoothing down joints to the desired depth. A thin film will form over the tiles. After 50-60 minutes of drying time, the tiles may be polished with a clean, soft cloth.

Step #4 – Sealing the Grout
After the grout has cured for at least 72 hours, apply a grout sealer. This will keep the joints clean and stain resistant.

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tile around your tub


How Do I Install Tile Around My Tub?
Ceramic tile can be easily applied on most sound and smooth surfaces, such as plywood, plaster, gypsum wall board, Wonderboard (glass fiber reinforced concrete construction panel) or concrete. Ceramic tile may also be applied over an existing tile surface providing it is clean and sound. All surfaces must be completely dry and free of all dust and dirt. Oil-based painted surfaces must be scratched or sanded. Latex paints should be removed completely. New plaster must be fully cured. In excessively damp areas, apply a thin waterproofing adhesive with the flat side of a trowel and allow it to dry overnight (not necessary when using Wonderboard or similar products). In very damp areas, we strongly recommend the use of Wonderboard (or similar product) as a backing material.


Step #1
If the bathtub is level (within 3/16" on all three sides), measure up one full tile (or sheet) plus 1/8" (grout joint) from the lowest point and make a level line all around the tub. Draw a plumb line in the centre of the back wall, from the ceiling to tub, that intersects the level line. If you want to reduce cutting in corners and eliminate cuts smaller than one half tile, you should adjust your plumb line by mapping your tiles and allowing for grout joints. Repeat this procedure on end walls. A batten may be used to assist in placing your first row of tiles.

Step #2
Apply your adhesive with a 3/16" v-notched trowel. Hold the trowel at a 45 degree angle when spreading the adhesive. DO NOT spread more adhesive than you can cover in 30 minutes (approximately 20 square feet). Read the label on the can of adhesive for detailed directions.

Step #3
Apply tile to the adhesive within 30 minutes and press firmly into place, using a slight twisting motion. Start at the plumb line in the centre of the back wall—on top of your level line—and work towards the closest end wall. Place the bottom row on last and make cuts where necessary. The plumb line reference should keep your tiles squarely aligned. Once you have completed the back wall, repeat the procedure on end walls. At this point, you may also install your soap dish.

Step #4
When the tile is firmly set (wait approximately 24 hours), you can apply a mixture of grout to the joints using a grouting float and working diagonally across the tiles. Make sure to use rubber gloves throughout this procedure. Now, using a sponge, wipe the tile diagonally in order to smooth down joints to the desired depth. A thin film will form over the tiles. After 50-60 minutes of drying, the tiles can be polished with a clean, soft cloth. To make your tub completely waterproof and allow for the contraction and expansion of the tub, a silicone rubber bathtub caulk should be applied where the tile meets the tub.

Step #5
After the grout has partially cured for at least 72 hours, apply a grout sealer. This will keep the joints clean and stain resistant.

DIY ceramic tile floor


Ceramic Tiles – The Ultimate Floor for the DIYer
Ceramic tiles are suitable for both interior and exterior use, come in a multitude of patterned and textured surfaces and can be either glazed or unglazed. For exterior use, ensure that the tiles are frost-proof.

Ceramic tiles are extremely functional and allow for minimal maintenance, requiring only a periodic washing. Ceramic tiles are suitable for entryways, kitchens, bathrooms, patios, fireplace hearths and facings. In fact, they are suitable anywhere a lifelong wear-resistant surface material is desired. There are numerous sizes, types, and colours available. The design possibilities are virtually limitless.


Step #1 – Surface Preparation
Homes built in the last 20 years will likely have plywood flooring over the joists. If so, ensure the plywood is rigid, flat, smooth, dry and clean. To keep movement in the plywood subfloor to a minimum, make sure it is nailed every 6 inches. If not, nail where necessary using ring shank (screw) nails.

In the case of concrete floors or concrete construction panels (Wonderboard etc.), the surface must be flat, smooth, dry, clean and free of cracks. If the surface is painted or sealed, sand with rough sandpaper and finish by scouring with a wire brush. Now vacuum all loose material.

Step #2 – Where to Begin
Measure and work the centre points of two opposite walls, disregarding any offsets, alcoves or other breaks of the wall. Draw a line on the floor between these two points to get the first centre line. Follow the same procedure for the other two walls, but check the intersection of the two lines with a carpenter's square to make sure it is 90 degrees.

Next, place a row of loose tiles along one centre line from wall to wall, allowing for approximately 1/4" grout joints. Tiles will have to be cut to fit spaces left near the walls. If the spaces left are less than one-half tile, move the centre line one-half tile closer to the opposite wall and draw a new centre line. Repeat this process with the other line. Doing this will ensure wide border tiles around the perimeter of the room and eliminate small cuts.

Step #3 – Laying the Tiles
Starting in the centre of the floor and working towards the walls, spread either the adhesive or thinset mortar. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the bags or containers. Work in small areas of about 10 square feet at a time, so that the tiles are laid into position before the surface of adhesive or thinset dries.

Next, press the tiles firmly into position using a slight twisting motion, so that no voids are left uncovered with adhesive. As you work towards the other end of the room, slide a block of wood, large enough to cover several tiles, over the tiles, while you tap it with a hammer. This process beds the tiles into the adhesive or thinset and makes them level with each other. From time to time, check with your square and straightedge, to make sure the grout joints are straight. If some of the tiles are out of line, don't panic, just wiggle them into position.

As you go along, clean off any adhesive or thinset that gets on the surface of the tiles, since this is very difficult to do once the adhesive or thinset has cured. Tiles can be cut using a tile cutter or wet saw.

To avoid breaking the bond of the adhesive, you must avoid walking on the newly tiled area for at least 48 hours. Should you find this absolutely impossible, the use of walking boards (flat boards spread over the tile surface) is strongly recommended. Doing this prevents the application of heavy point loads on individual tiles and considerably reduces the risk of disturbing the tile before the adhesive or thinset has finally set.

Step #4 – Grouting
Once the adhesive or thinset has been fully cured, you are ready to grout. To prepare for grouting, first remove any excess adhesive or debris from the joints. If you don’t do this, the grout can crack or fail to bond in these areas. Mix the grout in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions on the bag or container.

It is advisable to mix only a small amount of grout at a time. It is also advisable to wear rubber gloves when working with coloured grouts, as they tend to stain hands quite easily.

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Star Tile is your source for kitchen and bath renovations along with maintenance and tips.


Stop by in person or give us a call.

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