Our Caribbean climate presents us with challenges that we must bear in mind when installing slabs. While it is true that we have the benefit that Puerto Rico does not snow like in other parts of the world, we are subject to constant temperature changes caused by the high temperatures we experience throughout the year, followed by a high rate of precipitation. . On any given day in Puerto Rico, the surface temperature of a slab installed outdoors can go from 100° F to 80° F in a matter of minutes.
These high variations in temperature affect the surface where the slab is installed, since the concrete that will expand when the temperature increases in periods of sun, and will contract at night and during periods of rain. So, with such expansion and contraction movements occurring inside the installation surface, how to ensure that the installed slab does not break and peel off?
The key is in the proper selection of the product to be used and the installation technique used. Here are my tips for a successful and long-lasting outdoor tile installation:
- Whenever possible, use high quality porcelain tiles (“porcelain tiles”) and thicknesses greater than 10 mm, as these will be more resistant to traffic on the floors and ramps of the marquee. Avoid using inexpensive ceramic tiles that are 7mm thick or less, as they will break easily.
- Avoid using natural stones that are sensitive to moisture, such as slate, because they constantly expand and contract and are more susceptible to peeling.
- Select a glue with high flexibility polymers. There are many glues with polymers on the market, but it is important that you know that not all of them behave the same. Polymer adhesives allow bonding of low water absorption slabs and substrates, something that is impossible if regular adhesives that do not contain polymers are used. However, basic polymer adhesives such as those that are cheaper that only comply with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A118.4, provide a rigid adhesion. However, for outdoor installations we want to play it safe with a glue that not only provides high adhesion, but high flexibility. These glues, in addition to complying with the ANSI A118.4 standards, comply with ANSI A118.11, which means that they are deformable and more flexible to the expansion and contraction of concrete. For exterior installations, I recommend Weco's W2000 MAXX adhesive, a highly flexible adhesive formulated with “tri-polymer” technology that will provide the greatest protection and durability in exterior installations.
- Apply the glue making grooves in only one direction (horizontal if it is in façade installations) and press the slab in a slight movement in a direction perpendicular to the grooves to close them and achieve a minimum 95 percent coverage. To ensure the greatest coverage of the glue in the installation, apply a layer of glue to the back of the slab, a technique known as "back-buttering" or double-gluing.
- Follow the recommendations of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and leave movement joints at all corners and every 10 to 12 feet apart. This will allow the slab to expand and contract along with the substrate without lifting or breaking in the absence of room to move.
If your remodel involves installing tile outdoors, whether it's floors or walls, make sure your contractor uses the proper tile and glue for outdoors and installs in accordance with these recommendations.
You can get the Professional Glue W2000 MAXX and other products of the Weco Professional System in any of the stores of The Home Depot, Color Tiles, Cerapisos, Maderas 3C, Centro de Terrazos y Azulejos (CTA) or ask for it at your tile house or hardware store. close. For more information, go to www.wecopr.com, facebook.com/wecopr or call 787-739-3751.
Engineer Carly Carrión is a remodeling specialist, founding partner of Black & White Diversified, One-Studio and a Weco contributor. For more ideas and useful information on remodeling, go to www.preguntaleacarly.com, facebook.com/remodelacionescarly or call 787-234-3777.