Cement Tile Installation, Care & Maintenance Instructions

When properly installed and maintained, cement tiles can be enjoyed for many years. Please be sure to familiarize yourself and the installer with these instructions prior to starting the job. You and your installer are responsible for ensuring proper installation and sealing of the tiles. If you have any questions, contact info@spui.net before moving forward.

Recommended Installation, products, & tools


Recommended Adhesives

A high quality, medium-bed mortar is recommended. White mortar is commonly recommended. Avoid using setting materials from different production batches and check for bag-to-bag color consistency. Cement tiles are not intended for installation methods employing large quantities of water.

Recommended Sealers

Cement tiles are not pre-sealed at the factory. Therefore, use of an impregnating or penetrating sealer specifically designed for porous materials must be applied to the tiles prior to installation and post-grouting. Cement tiles must be sealed twice: pre-installation and post-grouting.

Recommended Grouts

We advise against using dark colored grout with light-colored tiles and vice versa. Grout can stain the tiles and be difficult to remove so be sure the grout matches the color of the cement tile as closely as possible.

Recommended Edge Protection

  • The edge treatment may be used in replacement of bullnose or trim.

Preparation and Installation Instructions


Do not allow the boxes to get wet! Store the material in a dry area. Moisture or dampness can cause staining, fading, or effervescence causing a white powdery effect on the surface of the tile. If installing cement tiles inside, allow the tiles to season in their final environment prior to installation.


Be sure not to damage the finished surface or corners of the tile. Use a sharp diamond blade in conjunction with water to avoid chipping of edges. Do not push the tiles through; let them move naturally through the blade. Use recommended cutting tools referenced above.


These encaustic cement tiles may be installed in many different applications. They are not recommended for pools/spas or exterior Commercial floors.


Pursuant to the TCNA, for tile installations, special attention should be given to substrate stability, rigidity and preparation. Substrates should be sufficiently flat to allow uniform coverage and avoid excessive mortar thickness. Clean the surface well to remove all dirt and residue and remediate all cracks or unlevel areas in the substrate to ensure it is smooth and flat prior to installation. Install over a cured concrete surface or suitable sub-floor like Hardibacker or Ditra. Wall installation on drywall is acceptable when installed with appropriate non-sag setting materials.


Please see the latest edition of the TCNA Handbook for further instruction.

  • Prior to installation and any cutting, inspect your order carefully. Cement tile is subject to color and tonal variations and it is strongly recommended to blend tiles from different boxes to achieve a uniform effect.
  • Clean the tiles prior to sealing. Only use a pH neutral cleaner; do not use any acids or alkalines to clean the tiles. Ensure the tiles are thoroughly dry prior to sealing.
  • Then seal tiles using one of the above-referenced impregnating or penetrating sealers prior to installation. Apply the sealer in thin layers until the tiles will not soak up any more. Wipe off any excess sealer before it dries and allow the sealer to cure and the tiles to dry for at least 24-48 hours prior to installation. Follow sealer manufacturer’s instructions. When properly sealed, water should bead on the surface of the tile.
  • Before laying the tiles in thinset, wipe the back of the tiles with a damp sponge to remove any concrete dust residue and enable proper adhesion.
  • Installer must conduct a dry mock layout under proper lighting conditions prior to installation by placing glass tiles on the floor for quality and color inspection. It is imperative that the end user inspect the product prior to installation. Once installed, the product is deemed accepted.
  • Installer must blend/mix tiles from several different boxes to achieve an even distribution of color range. These tiles are handmade and subject to color variation so it is imperative that this step is not skipped.
  • Mark out grid lines on the surface to be tiled.
  • The recommended grout joint is 1/16” to 1/8”. Wider joints may be necessary in wet areas or when using floor heating cables. If using spacers, use a soft, flexible spacer.
  • Key in thin-set over the substrate with the flat side of a trowel. Use a ½” x ½” square-notched trowel at a 45° angle to spread the adhesive evenly over the substrate in straight lines.
  • Use the flat side of the trowel to back-butter the tile. Ensure the mortar adhesive is applied to the full back of each tile (100% coverage).
  • Set the tiles into the adhesive according to the marked gridlines, starting from one end and continuing to the other. Do not use a mallet to level the tiles as this may cause the tiles to crack or weaken.
  • Tiles are fully embedded when the thin-set is 1/3 the depth of the tile.
  • Immediately remove any excess adhesive from the surface with a damp cloth or sponge. Do not wait to do this.
  • Wait the thin-set manufacturer’s instructed time before grouting.


Please see the latest edition of the TCNA Handbook for further instruction.

  • Once the thinset has cured, spread non-sanded grout with a rubber float, completely filling the joints. Joints should be full and free of voids and pits.
  • Grout should be applied to small areas at a time so that any excess grout on the face of the tiles is wiped off immediately using a damp and clean sponge. Remove any liquid residue with a clean dry cloth. Do NOT spread grout over the entire floor like you would for porcelain or ceramic tile. Grout that sits too long can be difficult to remove from the tile. Do not affix duct tape, gaffer tape or acid tape directly onto the surface of the cement tiles.
  • Rub all joints to ensure even levels of grout within each joint.
  • Before the grout dries, remove any liquid residue with a clean dry cloth. Do not allow water or other liquids to spot, pond or ring on the surface. Do not leave spillages, drips, wet buckets, cups, footmarks, etc. on the surface at any time.


  • At least 24-48 hours after grouting, and only after the tiles and grout are completely dry, seal the clean tiles again. Please see above for recommended imgregnating or penetrating sealers to use post-grouting. Follow sealer manufacturer's instructions.
  • Once the sealer has cured and dried, cover the tile immediately with a protective covering to prevent staining and damage during the remainder of construction.

Care and Maintenance Instructions

Routine Cleaning

Specific cleaning and maintenance requirements vary depending on the tile’s surface and texture and any present contaminants. Below are some general cleaning and maintenance guidelines.

  • For ongoing maintenance, clean the tiles regularly with a pH neutral cleaner and buff the tiles with a white pad. A natural patina will occur as the floor is maintained and experiences natural wear.
  • Soap-based detergents may be used, or diluted soft soap if available in your market. Repeated cleaning with soft soap will also help maintain a satin finish to the tiles, and to an extent, acts as a continuous re-sealant.
  • If a cleaning solution other than water is utilized, use only a neutral, non-abrasive and non-acidic cleaner. Avoid use of any harsh cleaning products that contain bleach or acidic chemicals. Avoid the use or placement of anything acidic on these tiles.
  • It is important that the cleaner is a non-oil, non-soap and non-animal fat based product. These products act like a magnet, attracting dirt and dust.
  • Always test cleaning solutions on a small inconspicuous area before proceeding to clean the entire surface area.
  • Spills must be cleaned immediately to prevent staining.
  • Use of properly sized walk-off mats at entrances and sweeping or dust mopping is important to remove abrasive grit.
  • Surface stains can be buffed out by lightly using a 220 or 400 grit sandpaper along with white vinegar.
  • For hard to remove residue, a single disc floor machine with a white pad may be used. Be sure to wet the surface first when using a floor machine and clean any residue immediately.


Outdoor or high foot traffic installations must be re-sealed every 2-3 years.

Please Note