With its past goes back to 13th century, encaustic tiles are perfect for innumerable applications. Their bodies are made up of colorized cement. Therefore, their patterns never wither even if they wear off in time. Thus, Karo Istanbul collection of encaustic tiles can be applied in many places such as indoors and outdoors, walls and floors, interior floors and walls of housing and business projects (common areas, receptions, bathrooms, kitchens, corridors), Chimney shafts, interior walls, niches, bar coating, kitchen backboards, table tops etc. virtually everywhere for decorative purposes.
All surfaces must be prepared carefully in order to ensure a proper adherence. Surface must be level, dry and cleaned off dust, oil, paint and the contaminants that will prevent bonding. Painted surfaces must be sanded in order to ensure proper bonding of tile and adhesive. Wet areas require special care. The substrates suitable for encaustic tiling are, for instance, cement, cemented boards and/or processed plywood.
If there is a water ingress from the ground, it is recommended to support the ground with water-proof membranes. In any case, the ground must be sloped to discharge the water ingress. Water-proof membranes prevent water ingressing into the substrate and/or living spaces. It is recommended to use protective floor systems for all wet areas. Some systems require primes.
The instructions of the adhesive manufacturer must be read carefully by the customer. Karo Istanbul does not recommend any specific adhesive brand since the conditions of each country will vary. For alternative and similar products, consult store of your local building chemicals supplier. Technical document to be provided by the manufacturer will explain that the adhesive is, or not, suitable for internal and/or external façades as well as walls and floors.
A cement-based adhesive is suitable for surfaces where mortar movement is not expected. At least a reinforced cement adhesive must be used in the places where a slight movement may occur due to heat or passenger loads. For most applications, a 4-6 mm (1/4” – 1/8”) toothed trowel is recommended. It is important to embed each tile into the adhesive. To guarantee full adhesion, we suggest applying the adhesive on the surface applied with tile as well as the back face of the tile.
Either many hand-made tiles or the ground applied with tiling is not completely straight. Therefore, it is also important to apply adhesive on the back face of the tiles, individually.
Following the adhesion, at least 24-48 hours shall pass for the complete fitting of the tiling until the items are placed on them.
Encaustic tile can be cut by a diamond or stone cutter or wet saw or hand-mill.
The joints of encaustic tiles must be designed for indoor or outdoor conditions regardless of their widths. For any kind of joint larger than 1.5 mm (3/16”), sand-filling is recommended particularly for outdoors not exposed to rain. In order to minimize the dirt ingress between encaustic tiles, it is important to determine the width recommended by the adhesive manufacturer and prevent tiles from playing freely before the adhesive application.
In order to ensure full efficiency of the application, we strongly recommend filling the joints of tiles, after adhesion, thereby, fixing them in their places.
There is a great variety of products available in the market for this purpose, but we recommend you to contact with the nearest building chemicals suppliers for the most suitable filling material. When sealants are used, you must be sure that the application method recommended by the manufacturer is followed.
Encaustic tile must be cleaned and protected regularly in order to elongate its useful life and beauty. Tiles can be wipe-cleaned with a neutral mild detergent. Surfaces of the tiles in the places under heavy traffic must be protected against abrasive contaminants. Do not use abrasive cleaners, powders, rubbing cloths or sandpaper. Do not allow soap, bleach or other cleaning solutions accumulate and remain longer periods of time on the surface.
Encaustic cement-based handmade tile is an environment-friendly green product. They generally elongate the life of the building and have lower maintenance costs. They are made up of natural raw materials (marble dust, white cement, and natural color oxides) and do not cause contamination during production and uses minimal energies. Because they are not kiln-dried like ceramic tiles. No aggressive chemicals are used, which may adversely affect your environment. They contain Zero Volatile Organic Compound (ZVOC) materials and emit lesser amounts of gases during the extended life of the floor. Materials are locally supplied, minimizing the transportation costs.
PRODUCTION AND QUALITY CONTROL
Every encaustic cement-based tile is hand-made by using a process passed down generations for centuries. All components are precision-scaled and weighted. Color cement blend patterns are poured by hand in tile molds followed up by cement mix application for the middle layer. Then the top layer is added and tile is pressed hydraulically under high pressure. A good tile must be very compact and water-proof. After the encaustic tile is completed, it is subjected to a comprehensive enhancement process in order to increase its strength. Quality control is not done on the production lot but individually piece by piece.
First, colors are prepared according to customer request. Each tile is individually made by hand. Production personnel makes each tile by pouring color into each section of the mold. New shapes and textures can be created as per customer request.
The patterned mold, which separates color sections, is placed in the main mold. All color sections are poured carefully into the inner mold without mixing them each other to create the pattern. Pattern mold is removed slowly. The mixture of fine sand and Portland cement is added to the surface. This is the second layer which acts as a drier by absorbing the excess water from the color layer. It ensures color layer to have more strength. Lastly, back mortar mixture of sand and Portland cement is applied. This third layer has a thickness necessary for impact strength and load capacity of the tile. Then tile is pressed under a pressure of 120 bar (1700 psi) in order to give the final shape to the encaustic tile. It is carefully removed from the mold and stacked. They are cured in the water for 24 hours for ensuring higher levels of strength. Finally, tiles are individually subjected to a meticulous quality control.
INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE
Handmade encaustic tiles are installed in accordance with industry-standard methods by following below points:
Store tiles in a dry place before installation. Do not allow boxes and tiles get wet. Excessive moist may cause spots, cracks, cambers or efflorescence. This is a natural reaction of cement-based products. Exercise care not to damage tile surface, edges, and corners. Handle the tiles face-to-face.
Installation must be carried on a straight, sound and fully improved ground.
Recommended using a water-proof membrane in all wet areas to prevent water ingress into substrate or gaps. The waterproof membrane is recommended in order to prevent tiles from cracking and breaking due to movement of the ground.
Encaustic tiles can be used in grounds with floor heating systems. However, a separating membrane must be used and tiles must be fully dried out.
Recommended using cement-based, high-quality fine adhesive in conformity with the conditions of each country. Here, it is essential to follow the instructions of the adhesive manufacturer. An adhesive thickness of 1 cm (3/8”) is recommended.
In addition to the adhesive applied on the ground, apply the adhesive on the back of each tile by covering it fully. This will ensure better bonding of the tiles.
While adjusting the level of tile surfaces, do not use wooden or rubber mallet. This may cause breaks or fine cracks. While grouting, these fine cracks are seen. Therefore, arrange the tiles perfectly just by using hand pressure.
Before starting to apply grouting, await adhesive layer dried out completely. Do not cover tiles not to allow breathing and evaporation. Do not step on tiles until adhesive layer completely dries out.
A joint width of 1.5-3 mm (1/16 “- 1/8”) is recommended. Immediately after filling material is applied and starts drying out, remove the access materials from the surface. Do not apply any tapes on the tile surfaces during grouting application. This may cause decolorization and colorization.
For care, regularly clean the tile surfaces with a neutral detergent and soft cloth. For extra protection, recommended adding liquid wax to the cleaning water.
In case of heavy passenger traffic, additional maintenance is needed. While protecting the ground, a natural layer of protection is automatically provided.
POINTS TO BE CONSIDERED BEFORE TILING
• The installer must be professional and qualified.
• The product and pattern code on the packing must be controlled and tiling must be done in accordance with the product purchased.
• You must pay attention that the ground must be smooth, dry, clean and free of oil and dust.
• Before tiling, strictly make sure that your installer read the “Technical Information about Tiling, Grinding, Protective Application and Care of Tiles” document prepared by our company.
• Warn your installer for paying attention to the size, pattern and product codes.
• It is normal that the tiles completely hand-made and made up of natural materials have acceptable variations in thickness and color shade due to the nature of the production method. Ask your installer to lay out the tiles before tiling and distribute the potential color variations across all area.
• Ask your installer to lay out the tiles by leaving joint gaps suitable to the product (at least 2 mm) (Technical document delivered to you has detailed information about this subject).
• Recommended using flex-based mortars as an adhesive material in the places with instant temperature variations and mortars which will respond to the water insulation in vet volumes which require water insulation.
• For outdoors, flex-based joint gaps are recommended in grouting applications.
• The ground where tiling will be applied must be controlled and necessary changes must be made to make the surface suitable for tiling.
• Before fixing the tiles to the ground, materials must first be controlled.
• For applications on the ground heating system, sub-floor heater must be turned off at least 12 hours before tiling.
• No plastic mallet must ever be used during the tiling. The use of a plastic mallet and similar tools may later cause the appearance of capillary cracks during use.
• For fixing the tiles to the ground, the instructions provided in the “Technical Information about Tiling, Grinding, Protective Application and Care of Tiles” must be followed. The tiles which have gaps below or not installed to the adhesive mortar in due time may subject to free-plays and capillary cracks (especially due to weight and vibrations of the grinder).
• Following the completion of the adhesion of the tiles, a certain period of time must be waited depending on the type of the surface, ambient conditions and type of the adhesive (1 day on average) and then grouting must be applied.
• In order to have a sound adhesion and grouting, the tiling must not be used immediately. The tiles where passenger traffic is allowed after adhesion or immediately after the grouting may subject to free-play, joint cracks, and discharges.
• Following installation, tiling must be cleaned off residuals once the sealant and grouting begin to dry out in a short period of time, do not allow them to dry out on the surface. Only water and sponge will be satisfactory to clean the joint.
• If grouting residuals harden on the tile surface, then dirt that will stick on such areas will make tile surfaces hard to clean. In this case, surfaces must be cleaned with a special chemical. Such special cleaners must be used according to instructions of the manufacturer of the chemical. In cleanings after tiling, tile surfaces must be rinsed with sufficient amount of water. On the other hand, tiles with acid-sensitive surfaces must only be cleaned with water and neutral cleaning material.
• Due to the paint layer’s thickness, colors become blurred on the surface during the pressing under high pressure. Such blurring can be removed to reveal its pattern, texture, color, and luster by grinding with marble grinder either before or after tiling.
• Such grinding must be done with marble grinder. In a grinder, stones suitable for tiles must be used and the rules in the “Technical Information about Tiling, Grinding, Protective Application and Care of Tiles” document must be followed. If grinding is not done “knowingly and in due form” there will be many abrasive scratches, circular scratches on the ground. Such scratches go unnoticeable during grinding will become noticeable once get dirtied.
• Following the grinding and polishing, impregnated sealer which provides water and stain repellency must strictly be applied. There are recommendations provided in the “Technical Information about Tiling, Grinding, Protective Application and Care of Tiles”.
• Contamination and staining on the surfaces of the tiles which are not completely ground or applied with sealer.
• Before installing the tiles, they must thoroughly be inspected. The complaints will not be accepted after installations or cut the tiles.
• The regular cleaning frequency may vary as weekly, daily or multiple times a day depending on the contamination potential of the tiling.
• Tiles must regularly be cleaned by washing with water. In addition, mild cleaning detergents can be used, depending on the contamination load of the surface. When cleaning with water, the dirty water on the surface must be rinsed with an adequate amount of clean water.
Such rinsing will prevent potential fouling remaining on the surface once tiles are dried off. Also, you may wipe-clean tile surfaces with a clean dried cloth.
• Larges areas can be cleaned with light equipment with a cylindrical brush. Such equipment must be set to proper speed to impregnate the water-detergent blend into the water. Then rinsing must be completed by using cleaning water.
• From time to time, the foreign substance may cause spots on the title. In such cases, it must be cleaned by using a cleaner suitable to the nature of the spot. Only water and neutral detergents must be used and before cleaning, make a test on a small surface to see the effect of the chemical on the surface.
• It is strictly prohibited to use cleaners containing hydrofluoric acid because of their adverse impacts on the tile surface.
• In addition, strictly avoid the improper cleaning with abrasive equipment because of their adverse impacts on the tile surface.
• Do not strictly use the cleaners which may create a film layer on the tile surface.
CLEANING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TILES
• Tiles: Must be cleaned with warm water, soft soap or neutral low sulfate containing detergents.
• After cleaning they must be rinsed with clean water for a couple of times.
• Tiles must never be cleaned with cleaning materials containing abrasive powder.