Tile and Stone

Through the flooring innovations of today, ceramic tile is not only more affordable, but is also easier to maintain. The options for color, patterns, sizes, shapes and design are infinite. At Vandehaar Flooring, we are sure that with the many different stones we have available, you will be able to find just the right stone for your home and design needs.

Types of tile and Stone

Before looking at stone, there are a few things you should be educated on. The first thing is that there are four distinct types of stone. These include Ceramic, Porcelain, Marble and Granite. Within the Ceramic selections, there is glazed tile and unglazed floor tile (aka Natural Stone). Glazed is the most common and it has a special coating that is applied to the body of the tile and then fired at a very hot temperature to seal the tile. The glazing then creates a hard and non-porous result. The benefits of glazed stone include Stain Resistance, Scratch Resistant, Fire Resistant, Fade Resistant, Slip Resistant and the best feature, Ease of Cleaning! The unglazed floor tile (aka Natural Stone) is free of the glazing process. However, while unglazed tile can be incredibly beautiful, it is porous and needs to be maintained regularly. There is a special sealant that can be applied to prevent stains and the seepage of spills and general dirt into the pours of the stone.

Porcelain Tile is a type of Ceramic that is made of very fine mixture of clays and minerals. The molecular makeup is similar to fine china or high end dinnerware. These clays allow porcelain tile to be fired at even hotter temperatures than the ceramic tiles, typically near 2400 degrees (F). The higher the temperature, the denser the tile will become and the less moisture it will attract. The benefits of Porcelain are similar to those of ceramic, they are denser and harder than most other tiles, they are highly stain and moisture resistant, they are naturally hygienic with an easy to clean surface. Lastly, porcelain is not only beautiful but equally durable and it can be used in both residential and commercial scenarios.

Marble, Granite & Limestone are very popular stones today. These three stones are all naturally made and therefore individually unique. They are mined out of quarries and consequently, no two stones are ever the same. One important feature of these types of materials is that they need to be sealed. They can be extremely porous and therefore care needs to be taken with the maintenance. While they are porous, it is not hard to care for them, which makes them very popular in many homes today. It is common to grout your tile after installation. This is a mixture of cement and a color additive. Also a liquid latex additive can be added to the grout to give better resiliency to the grouted areas. It is common for grout to change color slightly over time.

Ceramic Tile Installation

Step 1: Surface Preparation

Although your Mohawk Ceramic Tile is suitable for installation atop almost any sturdy surface, prepping the area beforehand helps to guarantee the best result. Make sure your surfaces are clean, smooth and dry. Take time to clean, smooth and dry your surface as well as repair, patch and level any damaged or uneven areas. In addition to being structurally sound, double–check to make sure your area is free of wax, soap scum, and grease prior to starting the installation process. Also, remove any moldings, trim, or appliances that may present interference when you begin laying down tile. Be sure to examine the doorjambs in your room and determine if the tile will have room underneath. Identifying these potential complications in advance ensures that your overall installation adventure is as smooth as your new Mohawk floor.

Step 2: Layout

While tile installation can initially seem like a daunting task, using an efficient layout will alleviate any worries you may have. Your layout begins with marking the center point of each of the four walls in the room. Next, snap chalk lines between the center points of opposite walls to pinpoint the center of the room. Adjust these lines if necessary to make sure that the intersection creates perfect squares. Continue by laying out a row of loose tiles along the centerlines in both directions. While doing this, use tile spacers to provide room for uniform joints. Should this layout leave cuts at the walls at a size smaller than half of a tile, you can adjust the centerline by snapping a new line a half tile size closer to the wall. If necessary, repeat this step along the intersecting centerline to achieve a precise design. Now you can pide each section into smaller grids (approx. 2′ x 3′) by snapping additional lines parallel to centerlines. Notice how your large room is now a manageable, compartmentalized space ready for beautification.

Step 3: Applying Adhesive

No matter which style of Mohawk Ceramic Tile you select, the wrong adhesive for the surface you are covering will hinder installation. After choosing the appropriate type, carefully read and follow all instructions and precautions on the adhesive or mortar package. As a general rule of thumb, be mindful to mix only enough of the adhesive to be used within 30 minutes time. Using the flat side of the trowel type recommended on the adhesive package, spread a 1/4″ coat on the surface of one grid area without covering the guidelines. After doing so, hold the trowel at a 45–degree angle and use the notched side to comb adhesive into standing ridges. When you remove the excess adhesive, you leave behind a uniform, ridged setting bed for your tile. As another rule of thumb, do not spread a larger area of your adhesive that can be set in 15 minutes. “Stick” to the script and facilitate your tile installation with the perfect adhesive application.

Step 4: Cutting Tile

Customize the shape of your Mohawk Ceramic Tile and you can simultaneously achieve the perfect fit while adding a dose of creativity. Start by marking carefully measured cuts–to–be with a pencil or felt–tip pen on the tile surface. You can use a tile cutter to achieve pinpoint straight or diagonal cuts. Make masterful curved cuts with a nipper, chipping away small pieces for best results. For any full–length curved cuts, a rod saw is most properly–suited to handle the task. After your cuts are made, smooth out any sharp edges with a carborundum stone to give a soft finish to your tile.

Step 5: Setting Tile 

One of the most visually attractive characteristics of Ceramic Tile is the variation of shades found in every style. Be sure to take full advantage of the naturally distinctive quality of tile as you set your stunning floor into place. Let’s see, you’ve primed the surface, created the layout, applied the adhesive, cut the tile — is there anything we’re leaving out? Not at all, you are now fully–prepared for the actual installation of your Mohawk Ceramic Tile. Begin by installing tiles in the center of room, one grid at a time, finishing each grid before moving to the next. Within each grid, it will help to start with the first tile in the corner and work outward. Using a slight twisting motion, set tiles one at a time and avoid sliding them into place. Be sure to either insert spacers as each tile is set or leave equal joints between tiles. Save the perimeter tiles in each grid for last, leaving a ¼” gap between the tile and wall. Once a grid is completely installed, tap in all tiles with a rubber mallet or hammer and wood block to ensure a solid bond and level plane. Remove excess adhesive from joints with a putty knife and from tile with a damp sponge to prevent an uneven appearance. Lastly, allow your hard work at least 24 hours to set before walking on it. And of course, take at least 20 minutes to admire the time and care you have put in to your new floor!

Step 6: Grouting Joints

Now that your Mohawk Ceramic Tile is in place and has had 24 hours to set, your last step is to “grout” or fill the joints and consolidate your floor into one mass. After carefully reading and following all instructions and precautions on the grout package, make only enough to use in a 30 minute period. As you remove the tile spacers and spread grout on the tile surface, use a rubber grout float or a squeegee to force it down into the joints. Tilt the float at a 45–degree angle and with the edge of the float, remove the excess grout from the surface immediately. Now tilt the float at a 90–degree angle and scrape it diagonally across the tiles. Once you’ve let the grout set slightly for around 15–20 minutes, use a damp sponge to clean any residue from the surface and smooth the grout joints. Make sure to rinse your sponge frequently and change the water when needed. Polish with a soft cloth when the grout has dried and haze forms on the tile surface, and rinse again with sponge and clean water if necessary. Give your newly grouted floor 72 hours before any heavy use and at least three weeks before applying sealers or polishes.

Take a deep breath and let out sigh of relief; you have just completed your floor with Mohawk Ceramic Tile.

Care and Maintenance

The Do’s and Don’ts of Tile Care

Regular upkeep will help your floors, walls, and countertops remain as vibrant as the day you installed them. Here’s some helpful Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind when treating your Mohawk Ceramic Tile:


  • Do sweep or vacuum floor areas prior to cleaning to remove any dust or debris.
  • Do test scouring powders and sealants on a small area prior to full application.
  • Do use a sealer on grout joints shortly after installation and use products compatible with cleaning grout joints.
  • Do rinse entire area with clear water after cleaning to remove any cleaning solution residue.
  • Do have a damaged or broken tile removed and replaced only by a qualified tile contractor.


  • Do not use cleaners containing acid or bleach for routine maintenance.
  • Do not use wax based cleaners, oil-based detergents or sealants to maintain your tile (sealants may be used on grout joints).
  • Do not harsh cleaning aids like steel wool pads or any scouring pads containing metal.
  • Do not use a cleaning agent that contains color (unglazed tile only)

After Installation: Care

Glazed, unglazed, stone, glass and soft clay tiles may require different cleaning agents. Clean glazed tile products regularly with an all-purpose, non-oil-based household or commercial cleaner which is also grout-joint-cleaning-compatible. Multipurpose spray cleaners for everyday use will remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew and can be used on wall tile areas in residential baths and showers. You should clean unglazed tile with concentrated tile cleaners that have a neutral pH for safe regular use. These are better able to removing grease, oils and normal spills from unglazed products (these products may also vary depending on application, use and amount of traffic). For routine cleaning of glass tile, use any non-abrasive cleaning compound recommended for either glass or tile.

Once-a-Week Mopping

Damp-mop your ceramic floor a minimum of once each week, more frequently for heavy traffic areas. (Wait at least 72 hours after initial installation before mopping or cleaning to so new tile and grout can dry adequately.) This will decrease wear and abrasion from grit and soil. Do not use detergents, soaps, or any of the chemicals listed above.

Floor Mats Protect Your Floors

High-quality floor mats at entrances and exits are key to reducing tile wear. They collect and trap all the corrosive substances that can be tracked in from outdoors, including dirt, sand, grit, oil, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Also use mats in areas of constant pressure, such as in front of vanities, kitchen sinks and stoves.

Protective Pads On Furniture — A Good Idea

Attach felt or similar protective pads to all furniture legs, including outdoor metal furniture that rests on tile floors or patios, as it may rust and cause staining.