Glue the tile in place to seal any cracks

Glue tiles to screed and old tiles

Not all tiles are created equal

After you have chosen the tiles you want, you have to base all further purchases on these tiles. There are tiles - to name just a few types - for example as earthenware, stoneware, fine stoneware, cement or natural stone tiles. Flexible adhesives are suitable for many types of tile, and fine stoneware tile adhesives are also flexible adhesives. In addition, there are fast-acting and dispersion adhesives, which are particularly unproblematic with constantly dry sub-floors.

Glue tiles to tiles and natural stone tiles

If you want to glue tiles to tiles, you definitely have to use a flexible adhesive. Make sure that it is actually a flexible mortar with the appropriate logo and C2 certification. High-quality, but also expensive branded products definitely keep their promises. If you have to be sure that the tiles actually lie evenly in the tile bed, use fluid bed adhesive. For many natural stone tiles you need special adhesives, which the tile retailer can tell you about.

Glue tiles to the screed and walls (plaster)

Tile bonding on screed and walls (plaster) is not that different from tile bonding on existing tiles. Only the preparatory work differs in the products. Accordingly, you can use the instructions for tile gluing for laying tiles on conventional walls and screed floors as well as for gluing tiles on old tiles.

Step-by-step instructions for gluing tiles from walls, screed and old tiles

  • Tiles, possibly base tiles
  • tile glue
  • Reason for detention
  • Grout
  • Joint silicone
  • Tile crosses and spacer wedges
  • water
  • Drill (€ 80.31 at Amazon *)
  • Whisk
  • possibly angle grinder with wire brush
  • possibly belt or orbital sander
  • Mortar (€ 7.79 at Amazon *) bucket
  • Rubber mallet
  • Toothed trowel
  • Joint strip with hard rubber
  • possibly a water squeegee with rubber
  • Silicone syringe
  • angle
  • Bevel
  • saw
  • Miter box
  • Spirit level
  • Chalk line
  • Folding rule
  • Tile cutting tool
  • Sponge or sponge board
  • Protective goggles (for grinding)
  • Rubber gloves for grouting
  • possibly knee pads (floor tiles)

1. Preparatory work

a) Glue tiles to old tiles
Tiles have an extremely smooth surface. Glazes protect against moisture penetration, including tile adhesive. Therefore, you can apply a special primer. This should be intended for substrates that do not absorb water or hardly absorb water. If you are not afraid of the dust, you can also roughen the old tiles beforehand with an orbital sander and coarse sandpaper or an angle grinder with a scrubbing disc or wire brush.

Before priming, check whether old tiles are loose. If so, remove these tiles or corners and fill them with filler. To do this, simply tap the tiles with the head of a screwdriver. Also check the expansion joints sealed with silicone and on water pipes etc. After applying the primer, according to the manufacturer's instructions, you have to wait up to two days for the primer to dry out completely before you can glue the tiles.

b) Glue tiles to the screed and wall
The screed or plaster substrate with conventional tile bonding must also be clean and level. If necessary, you have to apply with a self-leveling spatula or tile adhesive. You can also apply a suitable primer, depending on whether the surface is slightly or strongly absorbent. According to the manufacturer's instructions, wait until the primer is completely dry.

2. Prepare the wall or floor for the actual tile laying

You can glue tiles lengthways, crossways and diagonally. When gluing diagonally, you determine the center of the room by stretching a chalk line diagonally from one corner to the opposite corner on the other side, and also from the other two corners. Now draw the longitudinal and transverse axes in the middle. Now lay four tiles around the center at a 45-degree angle to the longitudinal axis.

You can proceed in different ways when laying lengthways. You can also determine the center of the room. You can also work out how many rows of tiles you can now lay lengthways and crossways from the center. If half a row of tiles would fit left and right, lay the tiles in the middle as well, otherwise they form the middle between two tiles. So you can go lengthways and crossways. You absolutely have to work with squares, bevels and chalk lines. You can also lay the tiles without gluing them.

3. Glue the first tiles

Now you can mix the tile adhesive. Proceed according to the manufacturer's instructions until the adhesive is homogeneous. It is essential to observe the processing time of the tile adhesive - especially with fast-acting and dispersion adhesives. The joint width depends not only on the size of the tiles, but also on the tile material. Tiles that do not absorb much water expand less, so the conventional joint can be narrower. Use the cross spacers to keep the joint width. In the case of highly absorbent tiles (earthenware tiles), the joints must be correspondingly wide.

Now start spreading the tile adhesive. Note the thin bed height of the respective adhesive. However, the tile adhesive is not evenly distributed. Rather, you use a notched trowel to create ridges of the same height (toothing data depend on the tile adhesive manufacturer). Now press the tiles into the adhesive in a light circular motion (floating). You can then align the tile with gentle pressure, a rubber mallet and a spirit level. Make sure that the outer expansion joint is wide enough - you can keep the distance with the spacer wedges.

On wall projections and platforms, strips are also worked into the outer edges as impact protection. Use the miter box to cut to size where the bumper strips meet lengthways and crossways.

4. Joint the tiles after gluing

Now you can grout the tiles. Mix the grout according to the manufacturer's instructions. On floor surfaces, you can spread the grout over part of the surface with a squeegee. On walls or instead of the water squeegee, you can remove the grout with a grout board with hard rubber. Before the grout has dried out but is already set, sponge out the grout with a sponge or sponge board. Finally, you can joint the expansion joint and vertical wall joints with silicone.

You don't always have to lay tiles lengthways or diagonally. The Roman Association or many other laying patterns are also complicated but beautiful.

When gluing tiles, always use tiles from at least three different boxes alternately. There are deviations in the color shades from batch to batch. When laid one behind the other, correct “spots” arise, when laid in a mess these deviations are not noticeable. Please also note that ceramic tiles are not calibrated, i.e. cut to size. The burning can also lead to deviations here. Always compare the dimensions of the tiles to be used so that they have more or less the same dimensions for each lane.

Always buy enough tiles in advance. Over the years, a tile can certainly be damaged. Especially in kitchens and bathrooms, where objects can quickly fall on the floor. Many tiles are seasonal and after many years the chances of getting the same replacement tiles are extremely slim.

Author: Tom Hess

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