The "THIN" Tile revolution is upon us.( you blokes are just so lucky). As pointed out in a leading magazine on tiling."TILETODAY" Please do yourself a favour and get a copy. On page 78 of the latest addition is a chart , hopefully it will help. Now readers here is what I have to say, sorry about the poor spelling & granmarr, the only reason I went to school was to eat my Vegemite Sangers, the school had the only shady spot for miles(kilometers) around!
Regarding the laying of THIN TILES the TILETODAY magazine quote some lines from the Australian Standard 3958.1 2007.
Don't hurry I will wait until you have looked it up in your FREE Australian Standards Hansard relevant to our trades, with all of the amendments which have been posted to you. Stop looking I know most of you haven't got one,(why ? as they are very expensive,and they should have given us one!) and if you see one please don't photocopy it or you will suffer the same fate as Mr Ned Kelly( he couldn't spell either).
I though we would get issued with these when we paid for our useless (Expensive) Sub Contractors Card. Unfortunately, my common sense brain thinks, that if I'm to follow their bloody rules they should give me the damm rule book!!! ( I know, I'm a stupid old fart) However I digress,lets get to my point. The AS 3958.1 2007 says "as the preparation of the background is normally carried out by other trades, the tiler should not proceed unless he considers that the preparatory work is satisfactory."The article in "TILETODAY" claims this is a forewarning to us layers. Well Guys & Girls I am here to tell you that "TILETODAY" is 100% correct. Us dumb layers have know for Millennia(millions of years,dummy!)that 90% of the Trades before us were not worth feeding! TILETODAY Also states that "the tile fixer should also check that surfaces prepared to receive tiles should be dry, clean and firm, free of laitance,efflorescence,or oily or waxy films. A flat, sound surface is one of the most important elements in any tiling project.
Hold the phone! Lets get down to the nitty gritty. Saw my legs off and call me shorty, people are aware of the fact that the trades that precede us, are generally not worth two knobs of Goat Shit, why else would they forewarn us in the Australian Standards, maybe the preceding trades have the same issues as us, and are also forced to feed their families on 10 year old sub contract rates!
. How come we layers are the work supervisors and the BSA inspectors all rolled into one? We only came on-site to lay (and get paid for) your tiles/slabs. Not to tell the client/builder his concrete slab has more waves in it than a family reunion. What about the yellow tongue structure floor that springs up and down like the kids trampoline on Saturday morning? How about the huge bow(around navel height,belly button, please try and keep up) in most bathroom walls. What about the internal corners in the shower,usually takes two vegemite sandwiches as packing to get the level plumb. This is not the layers responsibility, you,the builder,client,work supervisor and BSA inspectors need to get off your freckle and ensure the preceding trades do their jobs to the standards,not leave your job to us. (not just the Aus Standards, but good tradesmen like standards).
Lets have a look at the other things we are supposed to bloody well control!
The job should be dry:- Shit now I'm a bloody plumber!
The job should be clean:- Give me a break we have just shifted all of the left over noggins,fibro/gyprock sheets, skirting timber, the painters tins and old roller sleeves,the bloody electricians wire offcuts as well as the brickies McDonald Packets that you bastards have been walking around for the past 6 weeks. We have to now scrape the floor to remove Mud, Paint build up (from the knocked over paint tin), Ayers Rock sized Gyprock Cement dropped on the floor & window sills, then grind the floor around the walls in the rooms were the moronic painter sprayed the floor as well as the walls & the brickies McDonald Packets. This is only half of it, we now have to sweep, vacuum and sponge the bloody surfaces, Fair Go Cobber all this for $30.00 M2 and then we have to chase your Fat Arse around to get paid!! Not only that, we have to cut tiles around the pipes in Bathroom and Wcs that you blokes have been using to relieve yourselves in !
Remove Laitance from concrete floors!:- . For us egemacated richard craniums, laitance is the weak solution of lime and water which forms on top of a floor after it has been trowelled too wet or rained upon before full cure. as far as i know the only way to remove this layer, back to solid concrete is to grind it!
Remove Effloresence:- This is simply the leaching of salts and alkaline from the concrete due to excessive moisture. Acids remove this stuff,however the underlying moisture problem must be addressed or like your mother in law "she willa kep comen a backa"
Remove Oily or Waxy films- Oily films such as on floors around stoves and sinks use sugar soap or dish washing machine powder with hot water then clean with plenty of fresh water. Waxy Films such as retardants sprayed on slabs and water resistant coating on yellow tongue structa fllor boards the answer is grind ,grind and grind some more!!! I always tested for the presence of this crap by flicking water on the suspect surfaces, if it beads like water on a newly polished car. Then Grind,Grind & some more!!! Over all timber product floors I believe good tiling practice is to sheet the floor with 6mm tile underlay,nailed/screwed to manufacturers requirements(personally I used to Liquid Nail under the sheet as well.
I guess what I am trying to say is "who pays for what". Keep in mind we are the finishing trades along with the painters & soft floor layers, (you know ,carpet layers the bloke who chips ,with a hammer, the tile in the dunny doorway, and the builder makes you replace it free of charge before he pays you) who are generally the last on site(money is now in short supply). A couple of months ago the local council , the concreters,the plumbers, the gypos, the roof tilers they all go paid while the client/builder had a heap of biscuits in the tin, then he decided a new F100 truck & Boat, would suit his life style. Then we, the dumb tiler/plumber/floor leveler/floor grinder/building maintenance/supervisor/chemical investigator of waterproofing-oily film-waxy substance/ general whipping boy & cleaner turn up to lay tiles for $30.00m2. Who pays and How much, is paid to us for all of the other services we provide to make this building saleable! About now the dumb finishing tradie is told " Look mate, this job went over budget a bit, if you do my next house(at a cheaper rate) I will fix you up for both jobs, whats that? You say, I need to feed my wife and kids! He replies,Honestly mate your wife and kids could do with loosing a few kilos" This advice is just another service from our esteemed clients/builders.
Just a Thought, we are told to follows rules, who enforces the rules for the rest, especially the rule "you pay good money for a good job"One last thing Mr K Rudd or anyone of the other out of touch idiots who make the rules! we wish for an arbitrary (Statutory)body of our piers, given the power to ensure all sub contractors are payed, providing their work meets the RULE BOOK, also the assets of shonks are seized and distributed fairly to the trades concerned! Also stop the shonky builders who go broke in one Australian State and then start all over again in another Australian State.
Before I finish, I must plainly state. In 45 years of being in the building industry only a small percentage of Clients/Builders are as I describe above. Some of them are the greatest people you wish to meet, Such as my old mate from Charleville Doug Weare Roy Bignell Jeff Whitehead Pommie Walker & Last but not least Kenny Short . I also had the privilege to tile and build monuments with Lionel Crook and Norm Glinderman. I absolutely loved being a Stonemason & Ceramic Tiler.
OKAY, now that all of you blokes have been nodding your heads in agreement with all that I have said, lets have a look at us, The Craftsmen/Tradesmen Tilers. We all want to be paid good money for a fair days work, correct? Are we professional layers or just "run of the mill" subbies. How about we take a look at ourselves.
Your a professional because:- You have a BSA sub contractors card.
Your a professional because:- You have a copy of the tiling section of the latest Aus Standards
Your a professional because:- You have a portfolio of your tiling & stone work.. Complete with past customers recommendations
Your a professional because:- You have a small web site with your contact details and finished projects
Your a professional because:- You have a work shirt with your name on it, or you at least dress neatly
Your a professional because:- You arrive at your work site in a presentable vehicle
Your a professional because:- You arrive on site when you said you would
Your a professional because:- You treat your customers as you would like to be treated
Your a professional because:- You have given or will give your customers a "written" quote
Your a professional because:- You have researched the recommended primers/adhesives/grouts/sealants for your customers work
Your a professional because:- You have assured your customer, that you can be trusted in their house while they are at work
Your a professional because:- You have explained to your customer what is the problem with the substrate they wish you to cover with tiles/stone.
Your a professional because:- You have researched the recommended products and procedures to rectify your customers tardy substrates
Your a professional because:- You have given your customer instructions on how to rectify the substrate if they wish to do it themselves
Your a professional because:- You have given your customer a written variation of cost, for you to fix the problem substrates
Your a professional because:- You will conduct yourself/staff in a tradesman like manner during the course of the work
Your a professional because:- You will leave the work site in a clean and tidy state at the end of your contract.
Your a professional because:- You will explain to your customer, why you are not starting this job if the Tiles/Stone or substrate are not of an acceptable standard for you to guarantee yourself and your customer that, both will be happy with the finished result!
If I had to sum up what I would like to say to all of the young up and coming Stonemasons/Tilers, is this.
Be a professional,find the latest tools and information,Equip yourself with knowledge of all aspects of your trade such as Aus Standards,Adhesives,Laying Methods,Legal Information about Quoting & Rectification Orders also your customers rights. Stand up for yourself and your trade,explain to people(nicely) why you have to charge more for certain things that you do. Be proud of your self, your knowledge and your work. Most of all don't just whinge and whine about a problem, find away to fix it and charge accordingly. Don't forget if you don't know something ask somebody else( sometimes you will discover that other people are dumber than you! )
Here is a question for you, what is the most valuable piece of tiling equipment you must carry with you every day? Tile Cutter ?NO. Laser Level? NO. It is your current diary, Please get into the habit of writing something in it daily on the correct date, keep a special pen to record your daily notes( don't use this pen for anything else). Your Diary is your best asset, faithfully record the time taken to clean the work area, time and amount of primer with brand used, how long it took to tile a 100m2 stick down floor, How long to tile a 30 m2 bathroom (walls Only) in 600x 300 rectified edge tiles. How long it takes to grout each job and amount of grout( including the quarter of a bag left over, that you will eventually throw away). How long to do steps. Record the amount of Adhesive & Brand to do each Area. Record the condition of the surfaces to be tiled. Record the general weather, Hot, Cold, Raining, Hot & windy etc etc. Record the concerns that you voiced to the Client/ Builder or Supervisor about the particular work to be carried out. Record the instruction from them( Your Diary is your best defence in Court.) Remember " Honesty is the best policy". Review all of the data collected about a particular tiling job, from this you can work out your laying charges accurately. Raise or lower your rates accordingly!
Regards the old stonemason
The Aus Standards lines are quoted from the "TILETODAY" magazine, what a great magazine! The Articles and Adds for products are second to none, I always read it from cover to cover. You can get your own copy from
A special thanks to tiletoday keep this great mag coming, hopefully I can encourage more tilers to read it.