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Answers from Atlas Concorde to questions about ceramic tiles, part 2





11. WHAT CAN BE USED TO CUT OR DRILL HOLES IN A TILE?

There are two types of machines used for straight cutting of tiles. The so-called "manual" machines, where the tile is placed on a platform and a hard-alloy roller or cutter, mounted on the rails, cut through the top layer. Then the tile "breaks" along the section line (the process is similar to glass cutting using a glass cutter). The second type is the electrical machines with a diamond wheel. Diamond is used because ordinary milling wheels are not suitable for cutting such a material. A disk, spinning at high speed, cuts the tile completely. Such machines can also be used to process the edges of tiles, cut out a sector, and perform other operations. Profile cutting of tile is carried out in water under huge pressure and is only done at the factory. To drill holes in a tile, special nozzles in the drill containing diamond chips are used.

12. WHY DID ALL THE SEAMS IN MY BATHROOM TURN YELLOW?

Probably, the seams were rubbed with cheap cement-based grout, which is basically unsuitable for damp areas. This kind of grout absorbs moisture into its top layer, thereby leading to the formation of salts, and possibly fungi and bacteria. Special epoxy-based grout should be used to grout seams in the bathroom. After diluting the grout with water (or better with latex), the grout should be immediately used since structural changes begin – epoxy (polymer) components rise to the top layer of the seam, coming in contact with air and water, they solidify to become a protective layer that does not absorb water. The quality of grout can be easily checked by splashing water on the seam – the color of grout should not darken.

13. WHY IS IT THAT ON THE BACK SIDE OF WALL TILES THERE IS NO LOGO OR NAME OF THE FACTORY THAT PRODUCED IT? THIS IS UNLIKE OTHER TILES I HAVE SEEN?

The tile you chose is most likely a double-fired tile (bicottura) and is made in two stages as we wrote in the relevant article. In the first stage, " biscuits" are made and on their back side there is the stamp of the factory. As production cooperation is very common in Italy not only among the factories of one industrial group, but also among factories belonging to different companies, the base of tiles is often produced in furnaces of one factory, while the upper layer, which determines the actual design of the tile series, is applied and fired in another factory. After producing the tile base, the factory can supply it to a number of other factories that sell tiles under their own brand names.

14. WHY DO SOME STEPS GO WITH CUTS WHILE THE OTHERS WITH LEDGES? WHICH ONES ARE BETTER?

Notches or holes on the steps are designed for better coupling with the base, especially in areas where there may be water presence. No matter how firm a ceramic is, over time, especially during heavy use on stairs in a public place, the top layer will be erased. In this case, the ledges are erased faster. Moreover, the step loses its appearance. From this point of view, cuts are much more durable and meet their technical and aesthetic quality. Many manufacturers refuse to manufacture steps with ledges despite the fact that production of steps with cuts is more expensive since the tile has to undergo further machining.

15. I HAD SOME TILES INSTALLED ON THE ENTRANCE TO MY COTTAGE. THEY BECOME VERY SLIPPERY ESPECIALLY AFTER THE RAIN. WHAT DO I DO?

The most appropriate way out is, unfortunately, the more expensive option – to re-install the tiles by buying other ones with the right characteristics. A significant part of the expenses can be easily shifted to the "experts" that chose this tile for you. In other case, it is necessary to use special rubber or plastic floor rugs: they come in different colors and are made in the form of a lattice. However, this certainly changes the visual appearance of some flooring.

16. HOW DO I CALCULATE THE QUANTITY OF TILES TO BUY?

When ordering for tiles, make sure you buy the quantity that would be fully enough for surface facing (taking into account cut-off tiles whose parts cannot be used any longer) and still remain (1-2%), to allow for possible further reconstruction or breakage. A landscape architect or the responsible worker should be the one to make such calculations. If you want to calculate the number of tiles needed by yourself, then you should add 10% to the installation area (for simple installation), or 15% if the tile is laid at an angle to the main planes and many different architectural elements (such as half-columns, niches in the walls, etc.). Then allow for 2% maintenance margin and round up the resulting number to a whole box.

17. THE WORKERS SAID THAT ALL THE TILES I BOUGHT ARE CURVED, OVERHEATED AND THAT THEY CUT BADLY. THEY SUGGEST I CHANGE TO A PARTICULAR ONE.  WHAT DO I DO?

If you bought poor quality material, then you need to report about the defect BEFORE beginning installation, and of course providing a defective sample as evidence. In this case, the seller must take back or replace the tiles. Overheated tile probably means that the tile is fragile, which is basically not possible, because all tiles coming out of the conveyor pass strength control – we described this in the book. It is only unsuitable tools that may find it difficult to cut tiles. Machines meant for cutting tiles are designed for the strongest material (including gres tiles). If the tile splits off or breaks, then this is rather a question on setting up the equipment and on the skills of workers.

18. CAN TILES BE LAID ON METAL SHEETS, PARTICLEBOARD AND PLYWOOD?

Yes, they can – using special adhesive mixtures. But it should be clearly understood that no matter how good the glue and the selected tiles are, if the base is mobile, subject to deformation or sagging from the weight of the tiles and adhesive, then such a tiled surface will quickly lose its visual appearance.

19. I BOUGHT A WALL TILE AND IT HAS ONE EDGE CUT FORMING A 45° DEGREE. WHAT IS THIS?

This type of edge is called a Jolly edge and this is usually indicated on the box. Jolly-edge tiles should be more expensive. These tiles are used for laying on the outer corners (for example, facing of semi-columns), adjoining with edges at 90° angle, they form a smooth, neat, and durable seam. Of course, they can also be used for normal installation since the front surface of the tile remains unchanged. When ordering for a material in multiple pallets, the factory usually packs some boxes of jolly-edge tiles in every pallet. The tiles can be ordered separately.

20. WHAT IS THE WEIGHT OF 1 SQUARE METER OF TILE?

Bicottura is the lightest tile. It is the thinnest and the least dense of all types of tiles. One square meter weighs about 13 kg. The heaviest are the thick gres tiles. With a thickness of 8.5 mm, 1 square meter of 30x30 tile weighs about 19.5 kg, while a 30x60 tile with thickness of 9.5 mm weighs 20.5 kg. At the end of the manufacturer’s catalog, there are special tables describing the packaging standards and weight of various tile types.

See also:
First part: Answers from Atlas Concorde to questions about ceramic tiles
Third part: Answers from Atlas Concorde to questions about ceramic tiles, part 3

This information was provided by Atlas Concorde
http://www.atlasconcorde.it


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