Quarry Tiles – How to Lay Quarry Floor Tiles
Laying Quarry Floor Tiles
Quarry floor tiles are popular in kitchens, lobbies and other areas where the floor surface needs to be able to endure heavy traffic. They offer superb wear characteristics and require minimal maintenance. However they do have a porous surface and as such it is best not to lay them in bathrooms, where a glazed surface tile would make a better choice.
Quarry floor tiles must be laid on an absolutely rigid subfloor — concrete screed is ideal. On any other type of subfloor you must put down cement fibreboard first as an underlay. This can be fitted in exactly the same way as for.
Tools for the Job:
- safety equipment
- tape measure & pencil
- string lines
- electric drill & mixing paddle
- pasting brush
- serrated trowel
- spirit level
- tile & disc cutter
- long-nose pliers
- rubber grouting float
- foam roller
- It is best to try and limit the amount of cutting needed. Lay the tiles out dry to see how best to arrange them in order to minimize cutting. Then lay out the guidelines as described for laying vinyl floor tiles.
- Mix up the mortar using an electric drill fitted with a mixing paddle, at slow speed to avoid spills and splashes. Leave it to stand for ten minutes so the air bubbles disperse.
- Damp down the subfloor with water, but do not soak. This prevents all the moisture being sucked from the mortar as it is spread out. Dip a wallpaper pasting brush into a bucket and flick the water at the floor, covering one square metre at a time.
- Starting at the intersection of the reference grid, use a serrated trowel to spread out enough mortar to lay a square of nine tiles. Any more than this and the mortar may ‘go off’ before you are able to bed the tiles in.
- Push the quarry floor tiles into the mortar with a gentle twisting motion. Make sure they stay aligned with the reference marks. Place plastic tile spacers at the corner of each tile to keep the joints even. These come in different sizes so make sure you have the correct spacers for the type of tile. As a general guide, the thicker the tile the bigger the spacer.
- When you have laid the first nine tiles place a spirit level across the surface in different directions. Tap any quarry floor tiles that are slightly high with a soft rubber mallet. Spread more mortar and lay the next block of nine tiles in the same way as the first. Work back towards a door opening if possible to avoid walking on freshly bedded tiles.
- Tiles will inevitably need to be cut. For best results cut with a tile cutter by scoring the surface of the tile and snapping. For slithers and corners use a disc cutter.
- Before the mortar has fully set remove the tile spacers with long-nose pliers. Be careful not to dislodge any tiles. If any spacers refuse to come out, wait until the mortar has set and prise them out with a screwdriver.
- Wait for 24 hours and then grout. Start in one corner of the room and draw the grout across the faces of the tiles with a rubber grouting float. Lift the edge of at an angle of about 60° as you move it in a figure of eight shape to ensure an even spread. Force grout into the joints with the edge of the float. Wipe any excess grout on the tile surface with a damp sponge. Avoid getting the quarry floor tiles too wet and do not pull out the wet grout by scrubbing along joints.
- When dry, buff the quarry floor tiles with a soft clean cloth. Seal the surface and joints against dirt and moisture with the recommended sealer, applying it with a foam roller.
Cutting quarry floor tiles with a disc cutter makes clouds of dust and is best done outdoors. Wear a dust mask, ear defenders, goggles and gloves.