In a wet area, tub surrounds, showers, and counter tops, it is absolutely necessary to use some type of moisture barrier. There are many types on the market including Kerdi, Cement board, Hardibacker board, Ditra Mat, and etc. These underlayments need to be glued to the plywood substrate using the right kinds of glues, it also helps to screw or nail the underlayment down to reinforce the adhesive bond, and tile installation is then ready to begin. We use many different types of underlayments to perform our installations. We vary the underlayment to each structure and the type of tile that is to be used, making sure that the very best installation will be completed. We also do custom mud work, which helps the final look of the tile job tremendously if the walls are out of square or the floor is uneven. In a shower, a pan is needed to prevent leakage. We recommend vinyl pans, which can be sized and seamed to fit each and every shower floor. Care is needed when installing them to make sure your beautiful new tile shower will not leak and will last for many years to come.
Dry areas are not nearly as critical as wet areas to install, but care is still needed to be sure the tile is glued down correctly and have no failures. On all wood floors it is necessary to use an underlayment, which helps to prevent swelling of the underlying wood in case of spills or minor leaks, such as a dishwasher leak. Again, we vary the underlayment to each structure and the type of tile that is to be used, making sure that the very best installation will be completed. Installing an underlayment such as wonderboard or fiber board is not necessary to use over a concrete floor, but sometimes they need to be leveled in case the floor was not poured evenly or correctly.
There are many types of underlayments on the market, and more seem to be introduced every year. Some work far better than others and we have our preferences. Unless the customer wants a certain type of underlayment, we will choose what type of underlayment and adhesive we feel is best for the tile installation.
Tile Adhesives come in several different varieties to suit all applications. From extreme exterior installations where water and temperatures range through freezing to scorching hot, to consistent interior climates where less rigid adhesives are required. We prefer Customs or Mapai brand adhesives as their quality is superior and we can always rely on. These adhesives will withstand the proper tests of time that all installations demand.
Grout adds the finishing touch to all tile installations. Grout is used to fill all voids from joints left between tiles, and also to fill small holes in tiles like travertine or tumbled marble. Grout often causes discoloration problems and it is often difficult to keep the grount joints clean and remain the color that was first installed. To help with this burden we have found that it is always of importance to seal all light colored grouts, along with any grout that you do not want to change colors at all. After years of cleaning, grout will always go darker unless it is kept sealed. Grout is sold in many fine colors and are sure to match any tile installation. Sealing your tile showers, tub surrounds, backsplashes and floors makes cleaning a breeze. We highly recommend you do Not use any dark colored grout in wet areas especially showers, as the grout will change colors here also due to the water constantly spraying on it, and often gets a white haze. This is completely avoided by using a good sealant.
There are several different types and brands of sealers both for stone and ceramic type tiles, and again we have our preferences due to years of experience with tile installations, we know what works the best on all types of grouts and tiles. There are sealers that will not be seen after they are applied but will fully penetrate all the pores in the tile and grout surfaces and there are sealants that will change (darken) the color of the grouts. These sealants will fill the pores and block out water, stains, and bacteria from getting down beyond the surface. There are also stone enhancing types of sealers, which give a slight sheen enhancing the color and they rejuvenate the appearance of all natural stone installations. There is even a sealer that gives stones a "wet look". These sealers bring out all the deep beauty of natural stone tiles and make these types of tiles look truly amazing.