How to Install Mexican Tile
Before making any arrangements for the installation with your tile
contractor or tile installer, make sure that you thoroughly inspect
your order of Mexican tiles from MexicanTiles.com. Check for quantities,
designs, colors, and damage that may have occurred during transit. If
you notice any discrepancies call MexicanTiles.com customer service
line at 1-619-866-4110.
The following instructions are provided as a courtesy only. MexicanTiles.com cannot be held responsible or accountable for information derived
from the use of these instructions. Contact your professional tile
installer for advice.
Preparing the Wall for the Installation of Mexican Tile
Since Mexican or Talavera tiles are handcrafted; each tile is unique.
It is recommend to pull out tiles from different boxes and laid them
out before they are installed. Tiles should be shuffled from different
bundles to acquire the desired effect.
Mexican ceramic tiles can be installed directly on drywall, plaster, or
for moist areas, onto "green" drywall or cement backer board. Green
drywall is specifically designed for use in bathrooms. It is similar to
working with ordinary drywall, but it's specially formulated to resist
moisture. Green drywall is recommended in a kitchen or bathroom
installation where the environment may get moist, but it is not
recommended for areas that will be wet at all times.
Cement backer board is actually made from a fiberglass mesh and
Portland cement, so it creates a moisture barrier. It is available in
1/2 and 5/8-inch thick sheets (similar to drywall), and is usually sold
in 32 or 36-inch wide panels that are 5 or 8 feet long. Cement board is
cut the same way as ordinary drywall. The installer scores it with a
utility knife and then snaps it at the line. It is then screwed to the
underlying studs, with the screws at about 6 inches apart. It is
recommended to use special galvanized screws that won't rust. The seams
are finished with a fiberglass seaming tape. Cement board is the
recommended option in a shower installation, and even makes sense if
installed for a back splash close to a sink.
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Choosing a Grout Line & Color for Your Mexican Tile Installation
grout line recommended for installing handcrafted Mexican ceramic tile
is of 1/8 inch or greater. Deciding on the grout line size depends on
you and your tile installer. Tip for choosing a grout line size:
group several tiles together by arranging them with different
separations for the grout, until you find a separation for the grout
that will work for your tile project. Some tile contractors will not
work on a tile project that requests a grout line of less than 1/8
inch. We believe that to better appreciate the full effect of
mexican tile, the smaller grout line, the better. The type of
installations with almost no grout line can be seen in most old
constructions. The tiles are arranged in a way that they are touching
each other. In this case the installer needs to shuffle the tiles
constantly to acquire the desire effect.
right grout color will depend on your color preference and also on the
area to be tiled. Typically the most commonly used color for the
installation of Mexican tile is an off-white grout color.
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Laying Out Your Mexican Tile Pattern
Locate the center of the wall and with a carpenter's level mark
intersecting plumb (vertical) and level (horizontal) lines. Dry fit the
first row of tiles by starting at the center and working your way to
the ends of the wall.
The tiles at both row ends have to be approximately the same size, so
you may need to adjust the vertical reference line to make sure the
rows match up.
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Installing Mexican Ceramic Tile
Start in the center, on one side of the reference line, apply a coat of
tile setting is applied with adhesive to a square area of about 3' by
3'. Care should be taken not to cover the lines. Spread the adhesive
with the smooth side of the notched trowel, and then go over it with
the notched side to create ridges in the adhesive.
Since our tiles are warp or concave, you need to add adhesive to the
back of each tile as is being attached to the surface to be tiled. This
will support the tile and will prevent it from breaking under pressure.
This must be done particularly if the tile is going to be installed as
a floor accent.
Firmly press each tile in place and give it a slight twisting motion to
be sure it makes good contact with the adhesive. As you work your way
along, place tile spacers on all four sides of each tile, so the grout
lines will be consistent. Take your time and work on the wall in three
square foot sections.
At the end of a row or around fixtures, you'll probably need to cut
some tiles. The use of a wet saw ceramic tile cutter is the easiest
tool to make straight cuts on ceramic tiles. Using this tool, score the
cut line on a full tile and then snap the tile along the scribed line.
Smooth the edge with a #80 grit sandpaper, the edge of a cut ceramic
tile is very sharp.
Cutting irregular shaped tiles or around obstructions will require
using "tile nippers." These are a heavy-duty hand tools that are used
to "nip" or bite off little pieces of a tile, one at a time, until the
needed shape is cut.
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Grouting Mexican Ceramic Tile
After the tiles have all been installed and the adhesive dry up, for at
least 24 hours. It's time to grout the tiles. Depending on the width of
your grout lines, you will need to choose either sanded or non-sanded
grout. If the spaces between the tiles are bigger than 1/8", use sanded
grout. Sanded grout actually contains sand particles that help make a
stronger the grout joint. Because mexican tile is irregular, most tile
contractors use 1/8 of inch or greater grout line. However, if less
than 1/8 of an inch is preferred; use non sanded grout.
Remove all your tile spacers and mix the grout following manufacturer's
directions. The grout mixture should end up with a peanut butter-like
consistency. If you're grouting in a bathroom or kitchen area, be sure
your grout includes a waterproofing agent. Ask or read the
manufacturer’s information to be sure you get the right grout.
Using a rubber float, apply the grout at a 45-degree angle to the grout
lines. Press firmly; you want to get grout all the way down to the
bottom of the seams. Work in your 3' x 3' areas to be sure you get
uniform coverage of all the grout lines. Wipe off any excess grout with
a wet sponge and clear water.
After the grout has been let to dry for about 30 minutes, go back over
sections with a soft cloth and buff away any grout haze. Let the grout
dry for a day and again buff away any grout haze that has appeared.
It's also a good idea to apply a grout sealer after a week or so. This
will prevent any dirt or stains from getting into the grout and ruining
the appearance of your tiled area.
may notice the crazing effect after the tile area has been grouted or
during the grouting process. This is a natural and inherent attribute
of Mexican tiles. The crazing effect becomes pronounced with time or if
you use contrasting color grout. If you rather not have this finish, we
recommend you purchase tiles from any of our other ceramic tile
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