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Unread 12-04-2019, 12:27 PM   #1
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Tile Conditioning

I've installed other types of flooring that require the flooring material to be "conditioned" (i.e. - stored in the room that it's going to be installed in for 48 hours prior to installation), and was wondering if this it true for ceramic tile as well? Right now the upstairs bathroom is ready to be tiled, and the tile and wetsaw are out in my (mostly) unheated garage, where the cutting will take place.
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Unread 12-04-2019, 12:56 PM   #2
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I would not set tile in a room temperature room using tiles that are at or below water freezing temps. You are asking for trouble in terms of cracking and bad bonding. I believe this is the common thought in the industry, but I am not actually "in" it.
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Unread 12-04-2019, 03:48 PM   #3
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I've had porcelain tile literally break apart as I cut them on the wetsaw outside when the tile and the cooling water were not close to the same temperature.

It's better if you can setup a wet room to cut your tile and have things in the same environment as where you're going to set them. It's also not fun to have the cooling water really frigid! Not as big a deal in the summer, but even then, a really hot tile that had been sitting in the sun going down on a cool slab, or being cut with the wetsaw's water at a significantly different temperature could be an issue.

As opposed to say wood that can change a fair amount with humidity differences, a tile is brittle, and really small changes can affect things prior to it being cut and installed. FWIW, the engineered wood flooring I put down did not want you to open the packages prior to installing it...it could handle humidity changes after installation, but the joints were so precise, that it was stated it may not lock together if it came from an opened package that had sat open for a bit.
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Unread 12-05-2019, 08:23 AM   #4
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Flooring like vinyl and wood must be at room temperature (and in the case of wood, room humidity) before installation or they will expand when they heat up and cause tenting. Tile is not as picky because it doesn't expand as much as vinyl but it should still be 45F or warmer when you install it to prevent the tile cracking during cutting or powdering of the grout after installation. Of course there are situations where that's just not possible and tile is one of the most forgiving floorings when it comes to temperature range but issues can arise at freezing or below.

Speaking of grout, all of your setting materials list a temperature range at which they must be maintained too. For cement products, that temperature minimum is usually in the 45F range too. Below 40F, the cement reaction slows to a crawl and it will take much longer to cure. For organic adhesives like mastics and ready to use grouts, it's important to keep them from freezing and then re-thawing. Similarly, temperatures above 95F should be avoided for both the tile and setting materials. The tile can shrink when it cools and crack the grout. Mortars and grouts can set up too quickly at the expense of developing long term strength.
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Last edited by Metropolitan Ceramics; 12-05-2019 at 09:42 AM. Reason: CX showed me the error of my ways...
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Unread 12-05-2019, 08:39 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice guys. What you are saying certainly makes sense, and I'm coming up with a plan to address these issues.
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