Joints, adhesives and grout
The manufacture of ceramic tiles has made great advances in recent years, as has also happened with adhesives, grout, and all industrial building materials in general.
This is why it is so important to be updated with the constant changes in the products and in their installation procedures, properly verifying the compatibility between the different elements.
Joints are spaces that must be respected when installing flooring or ceramic coating.
There are three types: between tiles, which separate a tile from the other; perimeter, which separate the tiles from the walls and all other elements present in the settings (for example: door frames, columns, etc.) and structural, which are those that take place every few square meters (25 or less) or linear (6 or less) and must reach deeper than the thickness of the plates continuing on to the substrate. The purpose is to absorb all joint movements that may occur between different components.
They should be clean, dry and filled with an elastic material. A joint that contains leftover material or has been filled (even partially) with an inappropriate material, loses its capacity to act as if it was not done.
The aesthetic tendency to use larger size tiles makes the number of joints decrease, making them a critical aspect of the installation, if not properly executed.
In the market, there are well recognized manufacturers who cover all possible needs in the field of adhesives as grout.
We refer to them with any questions that may come up.
However, as a simple review, it must be remembered that the primary role of adhesives is to fix the ceramic tile to the substrate, so it is very important to search for professional advice and choose the most suitable mortar.
This fixation can be performed by two principal means: mechanical and chemical. While all the mortars incorporate additives to improve their basic composition properties such as impermeability, workability, longer pot life, the ability to retain moisture with porous surfaces, etc., there are other additives that give special characteristics according to the purpose for which they are made.
All adhesives must have some ability to deform, for example: to copy small changes in the movement of the tiles or the substrate avoiding pieces to loosen up. This is because all elements of the building system expand and contract to some extent.
Special adhesives must be used that fix by chemical bonding in cases where surfaces are coated heated slabs or subjected to repetitive cycles of large temperature ranges (for example between noon on a summer day on a deck or outdoor patio and the evening) where no precautions are taken together with the humidity. This can seriously degrade the adhesion to the point of producing the tiles to loosen up.
Finally, a precaution to be taken into account is to use double-spread. This is to put adhesive on the tile and on the substrate in special cases, and on tiles with a greater area of 900 cm2 per piece.
Grout used to fill joints between tiles. This process should be very well executed with quality products. The impermeability of the adhesive ensures that no water reaches the ceramic tile through the joints (the glazed ceramics are virtually impermeable due to the nature of its components).
We recommend installation with experienced updated professionals who have the tools for a correct installation process. It is important to use appropriate cutting machines to avoid the risk of having large material waste and to achieve clean cuts, which affects the aesthetic completion of the job