All About Moroccan Handmade Cement Tile

Installation Instructions
What to Expect

Installing cement tile is a simple process, but it must be done with care in order to achieve the best results. Please followthese instructions to ensure a durable and long lasting cement tile installation.

A. Installation

Recommended products: Any thin-set mortar used for tile setting
Rhodium Floors uses: AcrylPro Ceramic Tile Adhesive

  1. Tiles can be installed either with a pre-mixed adhesive, or with regular thin- set. In either case use a high-notched comb trowel to spread the adhesive on the surface as well as on the back of the tile in order to achieve adequate adhesion.
  2. When using thin-set mortar the back of the tile should be dampened. When using a pre-mixed adhesive the back of the tile should be cleaned lightly to ensure adhesion.
  3. When installing a pattern we recommend installing the center design first, the borders, and lastly the field tile that will surround the center design.
  4. It is recommended that tiles be pulled from various boxes during installation to ensure a naturally rich installation.
  5. The tiles must be laid by hand and handled carefully to avoid damaging the edges.
  6. The tiles should be installed edge to edge (butt jointed) and laid on a perfectly leveled and clean surface.
  7. Lay the tiles with a 1/16-inch spacing between tiles.
  8. Once laid level, press on the tiles using your hands. Using a rubber hammer to do this could damage the tile’s surface. Cement tiles cannot be grinded after they are installed, so it is very important that they are perfectly leveled during installation.
  9. Any residue or mortar left on the surface of the tile must be cleaned immediately to avoid staining.
  10. Do not proceed with installation process until mortar has completely dried.

B. Cleaning the Tiles

Recommended products: Water, 220 grit sandpaper, Hydrogen Peroxide or oxyclean
Rhodium Floors uses: 220 grit sandpaper with water

  1. Wet the tiles with water.
  2. Lightly sand the tiles to remove any haze and dirt.
  3. If care was taken while installing the tiles, no other stains should exist.
  4. If stains are present, soak a cloth in hydrogen peroxide and let sit on the stain for 15-20 minutes. This will not harm the tiles in any way.
  5. If tiles require more cleaning, it is acceptable to lightly scrub the tiles with Oxyclean.

Cement tiles must be sealed with one coat of sealer before grouting. This will help prevent any staining from the grout and will add to the strength of an installation. Please see the instructions for sealing on the following page.

C. Grouting

Recommended products: Any non-sanded grout white or colored
Rhodium Floors uses: Polyblend Non-Sanded Grout in white or off white

  1. Make sure that the sealant is completely dry before grouting.
  2. Grout color should be equal to or lighter than the lightest color in the tile; we recommend that you take a tile with you when choosing the grout color.
  3. The grout should be fluid enough to completely fill the joints.
  4. Dampen the tile installation with water before grouting.
  5. Apply the grout with a rubber float or a rubber squeegee, always moving diagonally across the joints.
  6. It is important that any excess grout be removed with a damp cloth or sponge before it dries, Darker grout can stain the tile, so keeping the tiles clean while grouting is prudent.

D. Sealing

Recommended products: In general, a penetrating or impregnating sealer is used, however not all provide the best results. The purpose, area and other factors of the cement tile installation may affect which type of sealant in best for your tiles. Please inquire with our sales team for sealant recommendations.

Recommended Sealers: We recommend using both V Seal’s 101 Penetrating Sealer and their TK6 NanoCoat Topical Sealer. You can buy these directly from the company. After testing many sealants this one has proved to work perfectly with our tiles and has a beautiful finish available in matte or semi-gloss. It’s also very easy to apply.

  1. Make sure the sealer is well mixed before applying to the tiles.
  2. Apply the sealer with a wool roller or sponge without excess. Apply a few layers until it saturates the tile.
  3. Allow each coat of sealer to dry before reapplying another coat.
  4. After each coat is applied, rub the installation with a dry cloth to equalize the tone.
  5. If tiles are installed before construction is finished, make sure you protect them appropriately by covering them with a large piece of fabric or tarp.

Ongoing Maintenance

Cement tiles should be cleaned on a daily basis with water and a PH neutral soap or detergent.

DO NOT USE bleach or any chemical cleaners on cement tile.

Simply wet your tile and apply the soap/detergent with a sponge, Swiffer®, or similar cleaning tool. Rinse with water.

Stain Removal

Many stains can be removed with Hydrogen Peroxide. Saturate a clean cloth or white paper towel and let it sit on top of the stain. Hydrogen Peroxide will not harm the tile.

Deeper and difficult stains can be removed using a poultice method. Place a poultice powder on top of a stain (indirectly, using a paper towel to place the powder on). The poultice will then draw out the stain by absorbing it.

Miracle Seal has a great stain removal guide using their products.

You may find more information on MiracleSeal.com.


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Cement tile is an ancient craft and has become a flooring staple throughout history. It has been widely used throughout the world and dates back as far as the Eighth Century. First used by the Moors, this non-fired tile has reached almost every corner of the world. Moroccan Mosaic & Cement Tiles are perfect for anyone who is interested is using this versatile, eco-friendly, and culturally established tile in their own space. But first, what exactly are cement tiles? Moroccan Mosaic & Cement Tiles are 100% hand made in Morocco, from the hand-mixed pigments to the design frame to the final product!

How Cement Tiles Are Made:

  1. Color mixtures are hand mixed with natural pigments, marble powder, sand, and cement.
  2. A design frame, or divisional, is placed inside a tile mold.
  3. Color mixtures are poured into sections within the divisional.
  4. The divisional is lifted out of the tile mold.
  5. Cement is packed on top of the pigmented design layer.
  6. The tile is individually hand pressed in a hydraulic press.
  7. Tiles are submerged in a water bath to harden.
  8. The curing process begins, and the tiles are left alone to dry.

Hand made products offer more to a product than beauty. Each individual tile is a work of art. Cement Tiles are an intimate part of a home, a friendly welcoming of any business, and provide a truly unique atmosphere to any space and design. Because they are a hand made product, no two cement tiles are identical. Cement tiles often hold quirks and individuality of their own. People who are unfamiliar with hand crafted cement tiles are sometimes taken aback by the imperfections that a tile may display, but this is apart of the charm that traditional cement tile holds. These quirks are explained in depth on the following page. Each individual tile holds quirks of its own, and together cement tiles add character and a personal touch to any space. When considering cement tile for your own project, it is important to embrace the quirks and charm within the tiles

Color Saturation

The hand-mixed pigmented concoction is made of marble powder, cement, sand, and natural pigments. The concoction is a liquid suspension, meaning the particles will settle over time (in this case, during the curing process). This can cause some areas of the tile to have more or less saturation. Yes, it may stand out while examining one tile, but these quirks will not be seen within the installation of the tiles.

Color Drift

When the design frame is lifted from the tile mold each section come together as a single layer of color. This process will sometimes create some color drift between the different sections of color. Some might call these “smudges” or “fuzziness.” We call them character! These imperfections visibly disappear in a cement tile installation.

Halo

When tiles are set out to cure and dry, some cement tiles develop a halo around some or all of the outer edges. This occurs as moisture is released from the porous material. This normal attribute adds a softness to the cement tiles. A tile setter should pull tiles from various boxes during installation to ensure a rich softness in a finished installation.

Haze

After the tile is pressed in the hydraulic press, cement tiles are held together mostly by friction. The tiles are placed in a water bath to harden. The water sometimes leaves residue on the tile, sometimes called a haze. A responsible tile setter will understand how to remove the residue prior to installation. Please see our installation instructions for more details.

* IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION WHEN INSTALLING CEMENT TILE *

It is important that your tile setter follows our detailed installation instructions and contacts us should they have any questions. Cement tiles are sold as raw, unsealed tiles. Please handle your tiles with care, and store them in a safe and dry area until you are ready to install the tiles. When handling the tiles, make sure that your hands and work area are clean to prevent dirtying your tiles. All cement tiles MUST BE SEALED! This is the bare necessity of cement tile installations. When properly installed and sealed, your cement tiles will provide you with a beautiful, durable, and easy to maintain surface, whether on a wall or floor. Please inquire with our team for more information about the sealing process.

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