When laying tile such as ceramic or porcelain, one of the best surfaces you can use to lay on is concrete. Today we are going to see how to lay floor tiles on concrete! 

If prepared correctly and laid well, a concrete bed can be a great surface to work on which provides minimal problems and will last for many years. To find out how to lay floor tiles on concrete, find out everything you need to know below!  

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how to lay floor tiles on concrete

WHAT TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT WHEN LAYING STONEWARE ON CONCRETE 

There are a number of important factors that must be taken into account when laying material such as stoneware on concrete to ensure your installation is a success 

THE CURING OF THE CONCRETE  

One of the most common mistakes with it comes to laying any tile material on concrete is not allowing for enough curing time. Curing of concrete, is defined as leaving enough timemoisture and temperature to allow the concrete to achieve the desired properties for its intended use.  

The concrete will begin to set almost immediately after being unloaded or poured into the formworkhowever this process is long and can often take many days or even months until it has fully driedIt’s therefore important this is taken into consideration and enough time is given to achieve a stable infrastructure. The most widespread recommendation among manufacturers is to wait at least 28 days for the concrete curing process to be complete before beginning any coating work. 

PREPARATION IS KEY! 

When working on any surface, it’s important to make sure the surface is properly prepared, meaning it must be clean. This is no exception for concrete and in order to achieve a good bond to place your stoneware we must start here. Make sure your surface is free of any dust, thoroughly cleaning the surface to remove all dirt and debris.  

Ideally, use a field vacuum, such as RUBI’s AS-30 PRO vacuum cleaner 

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REMOVING IMPURITIES 

The presence of greases, oils or chemical products in the concrete that have been spilled during other phases of the work, have a high risk of causing problems when it comes to placing stoneware on concrete. 

Oils or greases can make easily cause adhesive problems with your mortar, causing tiles to easily peel off after laying. 

REMOVING UNEVENNESS   

Often enough, some of your concrete will seep into the slits of the plates used for the formwork while setting, leaving you with traces or hardened concrete on top of the surface.

Make sure that you remove these to make sure your surface is level and even to prevent issues further down the line. 

 To do this, the ideal tool to use is a diamond grinding cup, which can be found in the RUBI catalogue. In removing this, you will obtain an even surface with the right flatness for a great tile installation!  

GET RID OF UNWANTED STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS 

Within a concrete structure, you can easily find other elements such as steel rods that protrude from the surface due to not being well buried in the reinforced concrete.  

In these cases, you must remove them with a metal disc grinder or RUBI’s RSQ discsuitable for this type of work and this type of material. 

Even if you cut the rod flush, it’s advisable to treat any exposed metal with an anti-corrosion coating to protect it 

CREATING A DRAIN 

If you need to install a drain in the concrete, it’s important to take into account the width of the concrete slab to avoid weakening the structure. 

CRACK REPAIR 

During the time the concrete has been left to cure and set, there may be changes and factors that can promote cracks in the surface. Changes in the temperate, settlement movements, humidity recommendations that can’t be met or an inaccurate ratio of water and cement 

These are all variables that can cause cracking on the surface, which can lead to further problems later on. It is recommended to repair and seal these cracks with suitable products such as epoxy resin, to leave you with a professional finish and avoid future complications. 

SEALING THE FLOOR 

Concrete is an extremely porous material, meaning it has a much higher risk of absorbing liquids or air to into its pores.

Therefore, it’s generally advisable, once the concrete is fully dry and has been cleaned. Use a primer that can be added to seal the pores and prepare the floor to better bond with your adhesive.

This will help to prevent water penetration and avoid problems that can be caused with porous materials 

THE USE OF LEVELLING SYSTEMS 

If you are setting a concrete floor to tile on an indoor project, to make sure your floor is level and an even surface, we recommend using a self-levelling compound.

Once you’ve covered the entire area with your self-levelling compound, leave it for a minimum of 24-hours to dry before you plan to start laying your tiles. 

USING A SUITABLE ADHESIVE 

Finally, when placing stoneware on concrete it’s important to choose the most suitable type of adhesive. Placing traditional stoneware over other materials such as porcelain will require a different adhesive with different manufacturer’s instructions.

Therefore it is important to select the correct adhesive for this installation. 

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