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Hints & Tips

MEASURING
TILES
LAMINATE FLOORING
UNDERFLOOR HEATING & INSULATION BOARDS
ADHESIVES & GROUTS

Measuring

If I supply measurements can you calculate the area?
Certainly, you can email us, call us on 01922 610015 or you can use the area calculator, but remember we can only go off the measurements you provide us with.

How do I measure the area?
Why not use our use our easy area calculator. Otherwise, measure the height and the width of the walls or the length and breath of the floor and multiply the two to calculate the area. If the walls or floors are an unusual shape, try to divide them into squares so that you can measure each square. When completed, simply add the area of each square together to get the total area.

How do I calculate how many borders tiles I need?
You can use the area calculator for borders, alternatively you can email us or call us on 01922 610015 for help.

Tiles

Can I tile onto a wooden floor?
It is no problem tiling onto a wooden floor, but the floor MUST be overlaid either with tile backer board, plywood, No More Ply or an alternative product, and flexible adhesive and grout MUST be used.

The wooden floor must be sound with no flexing. We recommend overlaying the floor with 9mm plywood (minimum), screwed at 200mm centres. If required, apply one coat of primer to the wood and allow to dry, as determined by the adhesive used. Once dry, solid bed fix the tiles using Ultra ProFlex 2part, a cement based flexible adhesive and Ultra Flex Joint or Bostik SGS Flexible, cement based wide joint grouts with added flexibility.

Can I use wall tiles on floors?
Wall tiles are not usually suitable for use on the floor as they are not normally thick enough and the glaze is different. Although some wall tile ranges have a co-ordinating floor tile to combat this problem.

Can I use floor tiles on walls?
Floor tiles tend to be thicker and can easily be used on walls, although we would recommend the use of powdered adhesive or a high grab acrylic wall tile adhesive such as Bostk Showerproof due to the additional weight.

Can I tile over tiles?
Yes, however you must check the existing tiling is firmly bonded to the background, plus clean and degrease the tiles. For the best possible results, roughen the surface of the tile perhaps by using sandpaper, dust off the tile and cover with PVA to create an extra bond. When tiling over tiles, we recommend using Bostik Showerproof high grab adhesive for the wall and ProRapid RS rapid set adhesive for the floor.

Does white grout discolour on floors?
White grout on the floor can look great, but we would not advise it anywhere that has a lot of traffic or if it leads directly from the garden. In these instances, it will be difficult to keep the grout clean, even if using a grout protector. For all other areas when using a light colour grout on the floor, we would always recommend sealing the grout with HG Super Protector.

What are ceramic tiles?
Depending on the manufacturer, ceramic tiles can be made with either a red or white body, and are glazed before firing at normal temperatures.

What are porcelain tiles?
Porcelain tiles are fired at a very high temperature which result in a dense, strong tile with a superior performance compared to normal ceramics, including durability, abrasion, frost and chemical resistance and virtually impervious to water. Consequently, special adhesives may be required as well as special drill bits. Their durable qualities make them ideal for areas exposed to heavy wear and tear.

Do polished porcelain tiles need sealing?
Yes, unfortunately, the process of polishing porcelain tiles opens microscopic holes in the tile surface, which can become dull when dirt and grime fill them. Avoid this, by using HG Impregnator once the tiles have been fixed to protect them and keep the shine. Matt porcelain tiles need sealing too.

What are natural stone tiles?
Natural tiles are cut from the natural stone and can be finished in a variety of ways, the most popular being polished, honed or tumbled. Unlike ceramic or porcelain tiles, natural stone tiles do not have a fired surface, so that sealing your stone is a necessity. A different sealant may be required depending upon the tile chosen. We would advise using HG Stain Protector before tiling and either HG Impregnator or HG Marble Impregnator once the tiles have been fixed on either the wall or floor to give added protection. Please see tile cleaning products or marble cleaning products for more details. All sealers are best applied sparingly with a sponge; making sure any excess is removed within ten minutes.

How do I cut natural products?
Natural products need to be cut with a suitable wet wheel cutter. Please click on Tiling Cutting in the Tile Accessories group on our website to view the available products.

Which tiles can I lay outside?
Ceramic tiles can only be used indoors as they are not designed to be frost proof. However, porcelain tiles can withstand the frost and are much more durable. When laying outside, you will need to apply an acrylic primer to the floor. After this has dried (a minimum of 12 hours), we recommend you use Ultra ProFlex SP a single part rapid set flexible tile adhesive.

How can I prepare an uneven floor?
The surface upon which tiles are to be laid can affect the flatness of the floor. Variations in the floor should be corrected before any fixing takes place, otherwise any imperfections will follow through into the tiling itself and potentially cause mismatched tile edges.

To check the floors suitability, lay a 2 metre straight edge and rotate it gradually through 360 degrees. Constantly check at floor level to see if any gaps appear beneath the bottom edge of the level exceeding 3mm.

Any gaps greater than 3mm should be corrected using Ultra Level IT One, a single part concrete levelling compound.

Laminate Flooring

Is laminate flooring easy to install?
You can install the laminate flooring yourself or have it done for you. All our laminate flooring uses the Uniclic system, which enables the floor to be clicked together at super speed without having to use glue.

Can I use underfloor heating under a laminate floor?
Yes, a carbon heating film can be installed directly below laminate floors, providing a fast direct-acting heating system. It is simple to install, economical to run, maintenance free and comes with a 10-year guarantee.

Which underlay should I use?
Depending on the actual floor upon which the laminate flooring is to be laid, we would recommend the following types of underlay to be used:
Wooden floor boards – use 6mm Underlay Depron
Existing concrete floor – use Damp Proof Foam Underlay
New concrete floor – use Damp Proof Foam Underlay

Will I need to replace my skirting board?
Not necessarily, simply use the colour matched scotia beading to finish the floor to the existing skirting board. The beading is required to complete the floor due to the requirement of an expansion gap when fitting laminate flooring. Alternatively, you can purchase from our full range of replacement skirting boards to match your choice of floor if required.

Can I use laminate flooring in my kitchen or bathroom?
We would recommend the Quick Step Lagune Shipdeck range of flooring which is suitable for damp rooms, but can also be used in all rooms. Any other ranges would be deemed unsuitable.

How do I clean a laminate floor?
Use the Quick Step cleaning kit. For daily maintenance, remove dust and loose dirt using a dry system. For more intensive maintenance, a slightly moist clean is sufficient.

Underfloor Heating & Insulation Boards

How can I find out more information about Underfloor Heating?
View our page on Underfloor Heating for more details.

How do I fit electric underfloor heating systems?
This depends upon the type of system being installed. Please refer to the individual fitting instructions by using the following links below, or contact us by email for further assistance.

Cable Mat Installation
Cable Kit Installation
Mirror Demister Installation
Thermostat Installation

How do I lay tile backer insulation boards?

Concrete floors - Remove all traces of existing finishes back to the concrete substrate, which should be level and dust free. Any new concrete or screed should be well cured prior to the fixing of insulation board.

A good proprietary cement floor tile adhesive should be used, however, where underfloor heating is to be included, use a flexible floor tile adhesive for boards of 6mm or 10mm depth. For thicker boards, standard floor tile adhesive can be used. Do NOT use solvent based adhesives.

Apply the bed of adhesive to the floor using a notched trowel, any slight imperfections to the floor will normally be taken up with the thickness of the adhesive. Boards should be thoroughly bedded, ensuring no voids remain beneath them. Butt the boards close together, laid in a chequered brick bond style.

Wooden floors - 6mm-50mm boards can be laid onto a suitable flexible floor tile adhesive - NOT solvent based. Boards should be thoroughly bedded and laid in a chequered brick bond style.

10mm-50mm boards can be fixed to flat and level timber floor by screwing at 300mm centres with a stainless steel screw and penny washer, until the washer bites into the board surface. 6mm boards should NOT be mechanically fixed.

Run a bead of silicone sealant along the edge of a board and butt the adjacent board up to it, to make a waterproof joint. When the tile adhesive is dry, tape the board joints with fibreglass reinforcing scrim tape.

Adhesives & Grouts

Where can I find out more information on Adhesives and Grouts?
Please feel free to contact us by email, or call us on 01922 610015 for assistance or for further technical information, please visit Instarmac.