Installation Guide – How to install encaustic tile and cement tile and instructions for cleaning and maintenance of encaustic tiles  

Follow these basic guidelines for seamless installation of encaustic tiles and concrete tiles.  If properly installed, cement encaustic tiles will result in a beautiful, durable, easy to maintain surface that can be enjoyed for many years.

Cement tiles show variation in colors and design; cement tiles will not be identical piece to piece. This is a result of the handmade process and the nature of cement. Mixing the concrete tiles from different boxes during setting is suggested to produce a beautiful naturally rich appearance. Details can be seen in a close-up, but will be invisible when encaustic tile installation is completed.

The final application of sealer must be done when the installed cement tile is completely dry.  Test application of sealer to be certain of your desired finish.

How to Install Cement Tile

1) Tiles must be installed over a flat, level, stable and completely dried concrete surface.

2) When installing we recommend to install first the center tiles, then the borders tiles and finally the field tiles that will surround the pattern. Be sure to handle the tiles face to face to avoid scratching the tile surface.

3) Use a high quality thin-set adhesive based in cement, such as our PermaFlex 500 thinset. Follow adhesive manufacturer’s instructions.

4) Make sure that PermaFlex 500 adhesive is applied to the full back of each tile (100% coverage). It is recommended to apply the back buttering to get a better adherence.

5) Do not beat with a mallet or rubber hammer to set tiles, level your tiles using hand pressure. Remove excess adhesive from the surface with a damp cloth or sponge when it is fresh to avoid any stains. Tiles should be cut using a sharp diamond blade in conjunction with water to avoid chipping of edges.

6) Bongtiles are pre-sealed, therefore, sealing with a penetrating sealer is not necessary before applying the grout. Be careful with dark color grouts, it could stain the tiles especially in light colors. We recommend testing in a single tile to see the result before applying it to the complete area.

7) Cement tiles are installed edge to edge with a minimal grout line using non-sanded grout to allow expansion, for large grout line use a sanded grout. Recommended grout joint width is 1/16″-1/8″. Joints should be full and free of all voids and pits. Once grout has been applied and starts to dry, remove excess grout immediately.  Do not affix duct tape, gaffer tape or acid tapes directly onto cement tiles surface. Tape can discolor or stain your cement tiles.

8) After installation, wash floor with a PH neutral detergent, such as our StoneClean 104 tile cleaner. Use a single disc floor machine with a white pad to remove any residue, remove excess dirt and water. Do not use any acids or alkalines to clean tiles. Use Stoneclean 104 Cleaner and fine sandpaper to remove any stain or residues. Do not allow water or other liquids to spot, pond or ring on the surface tiles.

9) After cleaning process has been completed and accepted, it is recommended to re-seal the tiles and grout lines for extra protection, especially in water places to avoid any water filtration and moisture. Apply VERY thin coat of the sealer and allow cement tile sealer to dry completely, refer to manufacturer instructions. Use a dry absorbent white cloth, clean mop. Follow sealant’s instructions and remove all excess sealant from the tile surface.  (Our Bongtiles installers have found that spreading the HydraGUARD cement tile sealer with a paint roller, paint pad or rag, is most effective.  It is not advised to leave any sealer topically on the surface of the tile.  The general idea is to wipe it on and quickly wipe excess off in order to avoid streaks.)

Maintenance of Decorative Cement Tiles

10) For ongoing maintenance, clean regularly with a neutral detergent or StoneClean 104 and buff tiles with a soft white pad. Every 02-3 year sealing will make the tile surface to be durable and beautiful.