Hard Surface Flooring Articles

Ceramic & Stone Tile – Concrete Toppings and Finishes – Hardwood – Epoxy Coatings

Hard surface flooring refers to ceramic, stone, concrete, hardwood, epoxy and other hard flooring types. This is a category of flooring that has increased in popularity in recent years, even though some types have been around since the earliest days of flooring in the domicile.

You will find a wide variety of hard surface topics covered in this category. The Floor Pro Community is blessed with many members who work professionally in these fields. Some are involved in retailing, installations or inspections, others have experience in manufacturing, demolition and we also have members who train and certify professionals in hard surface flooring sales, installation and inspections.

If you don’t find just the right article to help you with your business or flooring project, I invite you to start a new topic in our forums that will help you find the information and support you need.

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Plywood Underlayment Direction

Impact of Plywood Underlayment Direction¹

By Frank Woeste and Peter Nielsen

Beginning in 2007, the TCA Handbook for Ceramic Tile Installation listed in bold print the following requirement for two-layer wood sheathing installation methods:

  • face grain of plywood shall run perpendicular to joists for maximum stiffness.

Should the tile contractor or other interested parties be concerned whether or not the plywood underlayment runs perpendicular to the joists? Read More

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Glossary of Tile Terminology

The Most Comprehensive Glossary of Ceramic & Stone Tile Terminology Online

Although this may be the most comprehensive list of tile terminology you can find, it is by no means complete. Glossaries and tile articles from around the Internet have been researched to compile this list and it is an ongoing project. If you know a term related to ceramic or stone tile that is not listed here, please use the comment form to add it. In return, we will link to your professional flooring related website. You might also spot a mistake in our glossary, or feel additional information should be provided. Please use the comment form below to inform us so we can continue to make this the finest place for flooring information on the web. Read More

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Coverings 2015

Coverings 2015Coverings, the largest tile and stone exhibition in North America, will return to Orlando in April to showcase cutting-edge product innovations and emerging trends in the marketplace. When the industry gathers at the Orange County Convention Center, April 14-17, attendees will be impressed with the latest product introductions presented by more than 1,000 exhibitors representing more than 40 countries.

“As the industry continues to innovate tile, reimagine everyday solutions, and present new material for architects, designers, builders, remodelers, distributors, retailers, installers, contractors and fabricators, one thing is certain: Coverings is the place you need to be to see it all,” said Alena Capra, Coverings Industry Ambassador. “Aside from the jam-packed expo floor, the show offers an exceptional conference program, certification courses, and networking opportunities. It is an exhilarating experience that has a lasting impact for all professionals in the industry.” Read More

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SLC & Radiant Heat Flooring

Self-Leveling Cement & Radiant Heat Flooring

When installing electric radiant heated flooring, you will find that every manufacturer has slightly differing recommendations in their installation guidelines. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations for installing the wires or mats is important. Following their guidelines for installing tile directly over these mats generally leads to frustration and in many cases an installation that has an inferior finish due to trying to set over a surface that is not flat, and sometimes one that has sensors that are thicker than the thinset bed you are trying to set tile into.

As a professional installer, I have found that installing the electric heat and following this with a Pour of Self Leveling Cement to a thickness of ⅜ – ½” provides an excellent flat surface for tile installation and additional mass to retain heat. Once poured it also protects the Heating System from damage while setting tile.

The following method is what I… what my company, Tilewerks, uses: Read More

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Tile Underlayment Positioning

Positioning Underlayment to Prevent Tile & Grout Cracks by Frank Woeste, P.E. and Peter A. Nielsen

The 2003–2004 Tile Council of America’s (TCA) Handbook for Ceramic Tile Installation contains numerous details for a double layer wood floor system supporting ceramic tile. The thicknesses of the subfloor and tile underlayment are given in each case. Specific guidance on where to butt the underlayment end joints is not given for any detail. For example, for F142-03, the TCA Handbook states, “offset end and edge joints of the underlayment panels by at least two inches from the joints of subfloor panels; they should not coincide with framing below.” It further states, “underlayment fasteners should not penetrate joists below.” In the case of F150-03, the offsetting is not mentioned, but it does state, “underlayment fasteners should not penetrate joists below.” The same holds true for F155; however, it also states, “face grain of plywood should run perpendicular to trusses, I-joists, or sawn lumber for maximum stiffness.”

The purpose of this article is to propose specific guidelines Read More

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Cement Boards Over a Slab

Using Cement Boards Over Concrete Slab Construction

It seems that ceramic tile installation has an abundance of myths that pop up all too frequently regarding Do-It-Yourselfers on “help forums” and DIY websites. So-called tile experts offer advice and opinions based on, well… I’m not sure what some of the comments are based on or where some people get their (mis)information to tell you the truth. I want to address the subject of installing cement board products over a concrete substrate.

It is imagined by some that products like Durock, Hardibacker and others can be used to fix imperfections in the surface of concrete or to override a previously painted or sealed concrete surface. Installing tile over painted or sealed surfaces is usually not good practice. Read More

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Ceramic & Stone Tile Underlayments

Of the entire inventory of floor covering products on today’s market, ceramic and stone tiles probably lend themselves more to do-it-yourself home improvement projects than almost any other flooring product but there are rules and special underlayments required to insure a proper and lasting installation.

Tile in its elementary form is easy to install. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it, however if you research installing ceramic tile you will find that the techniques are many and there are in fact absolute rules that should be followed to insure a suitable return on your investment. Read More

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Tile Over Vinyl Flooring

Ceramic & Stone Tile Over Vinyl Flooring
A Raging and On-going Controversy in the Flooring Community

In The Old Days…

Back in the early days of the first home improvement Advice Forums for Do-It-Yourselfers on the Internet, less than a decade ago, it didn’t take long to find out that if you were to choose a subject such as this (ceramic or stone tile over vinyl) and rub two tile installers together you could in no-time create fire. If not a raging flaming beast of a fire then at least plenty of smoke. This type of fire and smoke is hard to extinguish because in the minds of some long-time installers, for them to follow this advice would mean changing everything they had been taught by their mentors and fathers and grandfathers and godfathers. For some, these methods mean change and we all know how humans resist change. So, for this reason, this is not directed at any of the long-time professional installers in the flooring community. No sir, instead it is directed toward the Do-It-Yourselfer that is seeking sound advice from an experienced installer that has (trust me) “been there, done that”. You will find this ongoing argument everywhere on the help forums that you go to seek advice. Read More

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Vinyl Edger Tool Review

The Vinyl Edger is a very user friendly sheet vinyl and linoleum tool and nearly foolproof. With a tool-less design and no moving parts, it is easily used by both right and left handed people. The blades, which are standard hook blades, are held in place by very strong magnets. The engineering is really ingenious in that, if the tool is used wrong, the blade will release, thus preventing a miscut. The tool is designed to produce a net fit, which is perfect for many of the newer adhesives on the market that will not allow for a snug pressure fit. I believe this is a perfect tool for the DIY market due to the well thought out design. Read More

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Ceramic Tile Multi-Spacer Review

Tile Project Multi-Spacer Review

I recently received some sample tile spacers from MultiSpacer and was asked to try them out. I used them on a tile shower project, and found them to be very useful over the standard spacers that are made of soft rubber. While the standard spacers tend to compress under the weight of several courses of tile, the MultiSpacer is made of hard plastic and retains the proper grout joint.

The best thing about MultiSpacer is Read More