Tile flooring can make your home look absolutely beautiful if it's done right. On the other hand if it's not done right it can become a financial nightmare.
What many people do not know is that the most important part of installing tile flooring is the prep work. For instance after the old flooring is removed the floor needs to be cleaned, perhaps ground to create a smooth surface. Next depending on the type of floor fracture paper, Proflex or cork needs to be glued to the cement. These help reduce stress cracks and control
sound. In fact many condominium associations require certain sound reducing materials which if not used can result in your floor having to be ripped out and reinstalled. The fracture paper is used to reduce cracking caused by stress cracks in the underlying concrete. If the wrong materials are used, or not used at all your floor can start to crack and fracture.
The next step in preparing to install the tile is using the proper thin set (commonly referred to as "mud") in the proper amount. This is the material that will actually adhere your tile to the surface beneath and also acts as a shock absorber. A common problem in using companies that offer cheap prices is that they do not use enough thin set which can cause
the floor not to be level which can result in cracks in the tile.
After the thin set is spread on the floor the tile is laid on top and leveled by hand. A good tile installer who takes pride in their work can make your tile lay smooth and look great. A bad tile installer is thinking about having to rush to the next job or may not have the "years of experience" it takes to lay a smooth tile floor. The result is that the tile does not look
even and the floor looks "cheap".
After the thin set is allowed to dry (typically 24 hours) grout is applied by hand to smooth out the gaps between the tile. If the installer is in a rush or inexperienced they may not allow enough time for the thin set to dry properly and rush to put the grout on to soon. The result is that the first time you walk on the floor or that heavy furniture is moved
across the floor the tile can start to move and shift causing a wavy effect.
Finally the grout has to be properly installed. This is not as easy as it may seem. For instance if too much water is mixed in with the grout the floor may at first look fine. But over time as the water evaporates the grout thins out and cracks and seams can develop around the tile. It also develops a brittle feel. If the grout is not pressed down hard enough
into the gaps air bubbles can form. Later popping like bubbles that can cause chipping or spots. It is also very important that the tile installer understand exactly what type of grout to use with each type of tile. If the wrong grout is used it won't adhere properly. It's kind of like using the wood glue on concrete. It won't stick. End result your floor looks worse and worse as
time goes by.