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tileCeramic tile is a very versatile surfacing material and has been used for thousands of years. Dating back to 4000 B.C. Ancient Egyptians used ceramic tile during the time when the pyramids were constructed. Romans used ceramic tile to cover the floors and walls of their spacious villas. The Spanish used colorful ceramic tile to create beautiful murals. Today ceramic tile can even be seen on the NASA space shuttle's heat shields.

Ceramic tile has also been extremely popular in residential and commercial architecture. Because ceramic tile is a beautiful and practical surfacing material that resists heat, water, abrasion and ordinary cleaners, consumers prefer them in many areas of their homes and commercial establishments.

In residential homes ceramic tile can be seen beautifying: floors, walls, countertops, tub showers, shower stalls, whirlpool tubs, bathroom vanities, fireplace surrounds, sunrooms, patios, walkways, swimming pools, murals, fountains, and foyers.

In commercial establishments ceramic tile not only adds durability, but stile to floors and walls of lobbies, kitchens, and restrooms.

With a broad range of colors, shapes, sizes, pattern, and, surface textures, the designs of these ceramic tile installations are limited only by the imagination.

Due to the strength and density of ceramic tile, it can be scrubbed with mild cleansers, and rinsed to its original beauty. With a minimum of time and effort, a ceramic tile installation can last a lifetime.

tileGo Pro- Installing ceramic tile floors is hard work, labor intensive and extremely exacting. Most would say, in fact, that it's an art form. Ceramic tile installers are craftsman with age-old skills. Expertise has been handed down from one generation to the next over dozens of centuries. As such, we strongly recommend you call upon Apex, a reliable, seasoned, dedicated professional to install your ceramic tile floor. That way you can be assured of a beautiful and correct installation that won't leave you with imperfections that you'll be glaring at for years to come. While installing ceramic tile flooring is a skill developed over years of experience, your understanding of installation basic will increase your knowledge of the process and enhance your confidence in the pros working in your home.

Layout Plan- Once the substrate has been prepped, the next step is to create your layout plan. This plan shows the dimensions of each room and helps to determine the amount of ceramic tile and other materials needed for the installation. Apex will use this plan to estimate the amount of product needed and to anticipate any installation issues that could result from architectural features, such as stairs, transitions and built-in cabinets. Your installer will also use the layout plan to determine the pattern and orientation that you want your tile installed.

Substrate- Over time, newer and better methods and materials have been introduced, but tile setting remains the same labor-intensive process that it's been since the days of Ancient Egypt. The process always begins with the preparation of the tile foundation, better known as the substrate. Materials typically used as tile substrates in home installations include concrete, plywood and drywall. Your installers will prepare your substrate by various methods, depending on the substrate material and where the installation is targeted. Each substrate has its own unique set of issues and is prepared according to industry and manufacturer guidelines. The first step is the cleaning of the substrate. Dirt, moisture and oil cantile interfere with the adhesion of tile, so care is taken to remove all foreign debris. Next, installers will level the surface of the substrate to provide a strong support base for the tile and to ensure that individual tiles will look flat when installed. If a substrate is not level, the result could be incorrectly set tiles that can cause chipping or cracking when weight is applied. Once a substrate has been leveled, a waterproofing layer may be applied. It's important to do this for installations where the tile will be frequently exposed to moisture, including kitchens, bathrooms and exteriors.tile

Mortar- In the past, ceramic tile was installed using what was called the thickset or mud set method, where a thick layer of mortar was applied to a waterproofed and steel reinforced substrate. This technique provided a strong, flat base onto which tile could be installed. While these methods were effective, they involved a labor-intensive process. And so, an alternative method was sought after – and discovered. Today, most tile installers choose the industry accepted and more efficient thinset method, where tile is directly adhered onto a backer board that is then nailed to a plywood or concrete substrate using a much thinner layer of mortar. The backer board is called a CBU, or cement backer unit. Its purpose is to provide a supportive and water resistant layer between the porous substrate and the mortar and tile applied on top of it.

Accuracy- A straight, temporary chalk line is commonly used to create a guide for the installer to work from.

Give Me A T- A single row or column of tile is laid directly on the substrate without adhesive, thus giving the installers a better sense of how the tile will fit into the room. Another row or column is then added perpendicular to the first, forming the shape of a T. This process creates a starting point for setting the tile. Once the installer has determined the correct layout, it's time to apply the adhesive mortar to the substrate.

More About Grout- Once the entire tile floor has been set in place and left to fully cure for 12 to 24 hours, the grout is then applied. Grout is available in a wide range of colors, as well as in both sanded and un-sanded forms.

Mortar and grout need 24 hours to cure before walking on the tile. This period ensures that the tiles won't shift or become loose before the thinset has a chance to set. Sometimes it's recommended that the tile be mopped daily for several days to prevent the grout from cracking, pulling moisture from the underlying mortar or curing unevenly.


And there you go! Your new ceramic tile floors are ready to enjoy!