When can I walk on my newly-laid tile floor [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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04-16-2003, 11:21 AM
1. I read somewhere that it may take up to three days before I can walk on a newly-laid tile floor: allot 1 day for thinset to cure, 1 day for grout to set and 1 day for sealer (if used) to dry. Is this a good rule of thumb ? Do the pro's agree ?

2. I'll be tiling a densely-populated house, an area that is used heavily and I feel I need to make a comprehensive traffic diversion plan.
a) Will wood planks, or sheets of plywood over newly-laid tiles protect them ? b) Is it safe to lay the planks directly over the new tiles, or should they be supported directly by the subfloor ? Or should the area be cordoned off completely and declared absolutely off-limits for however how many days for all the necessary physical and chemical changes to take effect ?

3) The base of stairs poses a special problem. I didn't think DW and kids will appreciate going through the window and via rope just to get to the first floor. (May be exciting on first day, but surely novelty will wear off on second day !). I'm planning to tile about half of the landing area closest to the bottom riser, about midway, so all inhabitants have an untiled "landing area". And then when it's safe to step on the new tiles, I'll continue tiling the space that was left opened. How do the pro's handle the base of stairs? Any preferred method ? :confused:
As usual,

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04-16-2003, 01:10 PM
Here is my suggestion.
Use a rapid setting thinset.Laticretes Rapidset is a good one.The thinset will cost a little more ,but for your situation it will be invaluable.
With Rapidset you can kick everybody out of the house,set your tile and grout it 3 hours later.wait 3 more hours and put down a tarp to protect the grout from staining.You can allow light traffic on the floor using this method.
If you start setting by 8AM and it takes you 2 hours to lay the tile,you can grout that area By 1 PM and allow light traffic by 5PM.
No running back and forth and no heavy objects rolled across the floor etc.
I would do your layout the night before and have everything ready to go.A sheet of plywood directly over the tile wont hurt either so long as it is 5/8's or better it will help to spread the weight over a larger area.
This Method has served me well on Many jobs,so it should be just the ticket for you.

Also,wait 7-10 days before sealing your grout.Protect your grout from staining in the meantime with cardboard,plywood,tarp,whatever you have handy. It doesnt hurt to wetmop the floor 1x per day while the grout is curing either.

Hope this helps :)

John Bridge
04-16-2003, 05:30 PM
This is gonna be one of the other few times when Todd and I diverge on philosophy. I think rapid-set thinsets are too rapid for newbies. Heck, they're too rapid for me. :D I would not want you to undergo the increased pressure. You are nervous enough about getting things right.

Keep the mob off your newly laid floor for 48 hours. It's best if you can grout it before you open the floodgate again, in which case you would keep them off another 24 hours. Tell everybody to go to the neighbors' ;)

04-17-2003, 09:26 AM

Thank you for the advice.

Todd, great info there for a "fast track" procedure. Do you have a similar set of suggestions for countertops and back splash ? (I'm pretty sure, that would be next if I live through my first adventure).

Anyway, this time, I think I will take John's advice to be more prudent.

I will keep the 48-hours off limits guideline in mind...and the plywood if, even after that...if necessary.

More questions:

Will I regret tiling one side of a hallway (leaving space for mob traffic on one side) then go back to it 4 or 5 days later and tile the unfinished side as soon as the tiled side allows some light pedestrian traffic ?

The more general question : if I have to stop tiling, because I needed to sleep, or my back needed a break, how soon should I go back to continue from where I left ? Hours ? Days ?
What are the risks ? Maybe the floor will turn out uneven, etc. ?
For pros, this will probably be rare, if ever. Just wanted to hear your opinion....

As usual,

04-17-2003, 09:49 AM
You can tile your floor in sections, stopping for the important beer and sleep breaks. :D Just remember to remove any thinset from untiled areas before it sets up.

Grouting is another story. Color variations have occured that can traced to a "cold joint." Of course, variations can occur in different batches from the same bag or lot, depending on how careful you are in mixing and washing. If you have to stop, try to do so at a natural break in the tile area, or under appliances, where the variation will be less noticable. And, if a color variation occurs and someone comments on it, say, "That's the latest look!" or "Put down my beer and get out of my house!" :D (Chances are you won't have a problem, just be consistant in your technique!)

04-17-2003, 10:24 AM
Well now,I think it can be done by a newbie.Just mix very small batches of the rapidset at a time,enough for maybe 8-10 s/f till you get used to the timing .However, Johns Method will be less stressful and of course is standard operating procedure even for me given the option.Theres nothin wrong with sleeping bags and kids on the floor for a few days.It builds character and gives them a lil more appreciation for thier space. :D

04-17-2003, 10:34 AM

That's beery good news !

Another question - How long should I wait before I put heavy furniture on the new tile floor ? Dining room hutch, piano., etc.

04-17-2003, 10:42 AM
72 Hours Minimum and that is a minimum.Personally, i would wait until youve got it all sealed.Move them one time and be done with it :)

David Taylor
04-17-2003, 11:17 AM
I think one procedure has been overlooked - that is, leaving out tile so that people can still utilize the area (to get in rather than the window approach).

To do this, just place a tile without thinset where you think a person would be able to walk normally (every three feet?).

Just before bedtime, put these tile in and in the morning walk on the other tiles. You'll still be grouting the area all at once.

Maybe you can do without using a particular room for two days. In this weather, you'll have no need for the fridge - you can keep the beer outside and there are likely plenty of trees for the inevitable. ;)

As far as using speed-set, I tend to stay away from it. It sets quickly, but few remember that it still has to dry and cure just like regular mortar does.

John Bridge
04-18-2003, 04:26 PM
Yes, tiling in sections is okay. I tiled half my house when my twins were toddlers. I had to actually barricade myself off. My sections were very small. :D

People can get across a grouted floor a couple hours after it's been washed. You have to be careful that no one spills anything icluding water. Don't let pets on the floor until the next day. Their toe nails will gouge the grout.


I remember trying a new speed set years ago. They called it "quick set." Hell, I hardly got it out of the bucket and it was gone. I mentioned it to the guy in the tile supply warehouse. He said, "I told you it was quick. What does it say on the label? It says quick!" :D

04-18-2003, 05:51 PM

Thank you.

And not to worry, I'm staying away from quickies! :D
Although quite exciting, a bit too risky for me....

04-19-2003, 10:10 AM
As a final note on the subject i just want to point out that:
Quicksetting morters while not for the faint of heart have saved me immeasurable miles of driving.40 miles to a site 1 way and a job under 100 s/f can be completed with 1 trip.This adds up to a savings of 1500-2000 miles a year for me.Do I Like It.You Bet!! :)
Does it save the custumer Money,Yes it does!!
There is place in my arsenal for it now and forever!!!!!!!!!!

Of course i am very used to using it and yes ,it is Very Quick!! :)

Sonnie Layne
04-19-2003, 12:34 PM
Probably too late in my response, but last time I had a problem with a house full that couldn't stay out of the house for a couple days, I set the tile, leaving voids like stepping stones. Went back and set the voids. Used blue tape to mark those freshly set tiles so everyone could see where not to step. Worked fine.

04-20-2003, 07:38 AM
David and Sonny,

Thanks for those suggestions. I think I will do exactly that.
Marking with tape is a great idea.

04-20-2003, 11:27 AM
Hmmm...Step ON the tape or OVER the tape...I get sooo confused...think I'll just step on half the ones with tape and half of the ones without it...I'm sure to be right half of the time! :D

Sonnie Layne
04-22-2003, 08:25 PM
guess I'd use thumb tacks at your house, then :)

04-23-2003, 04:37 AM

I'd get the message after the third or fourth tack! :D