What is a cement tile?
Cement tiles are real tiles made of material. Manually manufactured with real know-how, cement tiles cannot be produced by machines until today.
How are cement tiles made?
Whether the tiles are with or without patterns, their manufacture remains the same. Looking at a tile in profile, we can see that it is made up of two materials. Their production is always done in reverse.
Therefore, the manufacture of cement tiles begins with the decorative part to finish with its sole. The colored cement, composed of white or pink marble powder with or without coloring pigments, is spread in the form of a uniform layer in an extremely solid and qualitative mold. This layer is approximately 3mm to 4mm thick.
For patterned cement tiles, a metal piece redrawing the shape of the pattern is placed at the bottom of the mold. This metal part is called a “divider”. The first layer with the determined color is therefore placed in the different compartments of the divider, one after the other using an equally metallic horn. For an equal distribution in each compartment of the divider, the mold is stirred thanks to a force of about 20kg. This is the most delicate step in the production of patterned tiles. The divider is finally removed before the first layer hardens so that the different colors are in contact without intermingling.
The next step, for plain and patterned tiles, is to absorb the moisture by fixing this first layer with a dusting of dry sand mixed with white cement.
Then, the filling of the mold ends with the sole (previously mentioned) which gives the cement tile its thickness. It is made of a mixture of cement and sand, slightly damp. Thanks to a wooden template as well as a cover with a certain weight, the total thickness of the tiles can be controlled so that it corresponds to the general template (about 17mm thick).
Then, the decorative layer as well as the sole should form only one unit. For this, the cement tiles are compressed with a force of around 40 tonnes generated by a hydraulic press. The pressure allows the additional water to be removed without changing the material.
Finally, the last step is demolding. This is the decisive step in the manufacture of cement tiles. The goal is to take off the tile from its mold without breaking or veiling it.
How to choose your cement tiles?
Cement tiles can bring authenticity and material to your interior. Thanks to the different models of tiles available, it is now possible to adapt to any interior, any room. Whether in a kitchen, living room, living room, dining room, bathroom or WC, all formats and patterns will allow you to refine your atmosphere.
Thanks to the many patterns, you can dress your floor with a graphic, modern, traditional, vintage or even eclectic touch. Cement tiles are also produced in collaboration with design studios allowing you to obtain a floor as well as a trendy and signature atmosphere. Whether the cement tiles are 20cm x 20cm square or hexagonal, choose the authentic touch that will give a graphic and original harmony with any pattern.
The laying of cement tiles
It is strongly recommended to have the cement tiles installed by a professional. Indeed, given the fact that these material tiles are handcrafted, the installation and delicate requiring several steps all as important as each other. A qualitative installation allows a flawless floor.
Firstly, when delivering or collecting your tiles, store them in a dry and holy place. When you open your boxes, remember to mix the tiles so that the shades are distributed randomly. It is important to note that the cement tiles are, most of the time, rough and untreated. Their surface is therefore covered with a fine particle of cement powder which is reassembled during drying.
The layout: placing the cement tiles
Patterned tiles placed side by side generally form a frame or a decoration. They can also be bordered by a frieze. This is why it is important to first place the cement tiles dry. The goal is to achieve the best harmony.
To remove the fine particle of cement powder, you can lightly polish the tiles with an extremely fine sandpaper. This will also facilitate the execution of the joints.
Different ways of laying cement tiles exist
The traditional pose
The traditional installation must be carried out on a mortar screed (very thin, about 150 kg / m3). In order to remove dust and dirt, the tiles must be wet. In the screed, the tiles are then placed and gently pressed to equalize them using a traditional bat (wood of 50cm / 50cm approximately) tapping four tiles at the same time (Attention, especially do not use a black mallet) . Each tile must be cleaned as soon as it is laid.
Installation with cement glue
The first step is to make a fairly thick mixture of adhesive mortar.
Then spread the adhesive mixture with a wide-toothed comb. Thicken the layer slightly to the width of the tile as well as a sufficient length. Lay the tile on the floor.
Repeat the step on each tile. Between each tile, provide a joint with a thickness of 2mm (the thickness of a trowel). Then tap each tile by hand so that they are level with the tiles already laid.
Using a slip or with dry cement moistened and swept, make the joints. CAUTION: above all, do not use colored or pigmented seals.
Finally, gradually, clean the burrs of adhesive mortar.
How to treat cement tiles?
Different types of treatments exist for soils. Use a specific treatment for cement tiles.
When to treat cement tiles?
BEFORE STARTING TREATMENT, MAKE SURE THE SOIL IS DRY, CLEAN AND DUST-FREE.
The treatment process can start at different times depending on how the tiles were laid. Indeed, after a bonded pose, the treatment can be carried out a week later.
First step: the cleaner
For this first step, wear rubber gloves, goggles and a mask. You will also need a bucket, a broom and a mop.
In 1 liter of water, pour 300 to 400 ml of cleanser. Using the brush, pass the cleaner and let it act on the cement tiles for 5 to 10 minutes. Then rinse with clean water using the soggy mop.
Depending on the weather, 24 to 48 hours are necessary to dry.
Second step: The micro-porous waterproofing (water-repellent – oil-repellent)
To go to the second stage, also make sure that the soil is dry, clean and dusted (the humidity level must not be higher than 1.5%)
Take the same protections as for the first step, namely a pair of rubber gloves, safety glasses and a mask. You will also need a container to hold the waterproofing material and a lint-free cloth made of white cotton.
In two layers spaced 4 hours apart, using the cloth, apply the undiluted waterproofing m2 by m2. Take care to remove any excess thinner as it is applied. Let your soil dry according to the weather, between 24 and 48 hours.
Third step: The Wax
Same as the first two steps, be certain that your floor is dry, clean and dusted. For this step, you will need a clean bucket and a clean, lint-free cloth.
Pour 100-200 ml odorless White Spirit into 1 liter of wax. Using the clean, lint-free cloth, apply the solution small area by small area or m2 per m2. Once your floor feels dry to the touch, you can then polish it.
As with waterproofing, remember to remove any excess solution. You can then let your soil dry between 24 and 48 hours depending on the weather.
How to maintain your cement tiles daily?
To keep your cement tiles intact and thus avoid rebirth or stains, only use cleaning products that are neutral, non-acidic. For example, you can use liquid Marseille soap. On the other hand, you cannot use a soap containing linseed oil.
Occasionally, it is also advisable to clean your cement tiles with a waxing shampoo. Over time, your floors will age.