In some areas of the United States, there is a shortage of professional installers, and opportunities abound for the floor covering installer who can also list tile installation on his or her resume. Setting the tiles properly should be relatively simple for a quality-conscious floor covering installer, but what about the setting bed?
TEC Specialty Products Inc. showcased a self-leveling compound application system for the floor covering contractor who needs to install a level setting bed for ceramic tile quickly. The system is designed to compete with cement backerboards, boasting an improved compressive strength while providing a smooth, level setting-bed surface. Designed around a pump, the system includes a mixer for preparing batches of the compound, hoses for delivering the mix to the floor site, tools to help provide even distribution of the product, and factory support and training.
A large percentage of the tile installed in the United States is done so in wet areas. Most of the tiles are exposed to movement generated by expansion or contraction of the structural materials, movement of the structure, or both. There is a growing market for both crack-isolation and waterproofing applicators; this system is designed to compete aggressively with conventional sheet and liquid-applied systems.
Another high point of exhibition came from Bonsal. While well-known for their adhesives, grouts and surface preparation products, the company’s lineup of tile backer products, designed to complement standard tile backer panels, were the first to catch my eye, especially a one-piece, waterproof, three-sided jamb designed to slip over (and be fastened to) a standard 2-by-4.
Every year brings something new for ceramic tile, and as more and more pre-manufactured setting-bed components become available, the skill requirements for installing quality ceramic tile installations is reduced. All that is really required for the floor covering installer is the ability to bed the tiles adequately in an even layer of adhesive, and be able to grout the tiles to a smooth, pleasing finish – no mortar bed required.