Tiling and grouting in hot weather
Temperatures are rising in Australia and it’s only going to get worse this summer. LATICRETE Australia has compiled some helpful hints and tips for tiling and grouting in hot weather to ensure the best installation of your projects over the hotter months.
Conventional Portland cement tile-setting beds, thin-set mortars, cement plasters and stuccos are often permanently damaged when subject to hot, dry temperatures or desert climates immediately after installation. High temperatures remove the water content of the mortar required for Portland cement hydration, curing and strength development. In addition, rapid drying often causes mortar to crack, crumble or lose bond.
Waterproofing membranes, anti-fracture membranes, epoxy adhesives, epoxy grouts, epoxy waterproofing membranes and most other products will also be affected by hot working temperatures. Flash setting and reduced working time can result.
It is important to note that surface temperature is more important than air temperature. Therefore, monitor the surface temperature of the installation.
The 10°C rule
There is a simple rule to follow when an installation is subjected to high temperatures — the 10°C rule. For every 10°C above 21°C, Portland cement and epoxy-based materials take half as long to cure.
Tips for tiling in hot temperatures
- For best results, always ship and store installation materials at 5–32°C to extend the shelf life and working time. Do not store products in direct sunlight. If installation materials are too warm, they should be cooled to the specified temperature range for that specific product.
- Dampen or wet down substrate surfaces not only to clean the area, but to lower the temperature and lower the absorption rate of the substrate. Sweep off excess water just before mortar is applied. This step will extend the working time of the installation materials.
- Stir latex additives thoroughly before mixing with thin-sets, grouts, plasters, stuccos and other Portland cement mortars.
- Due to the rapid rate of moisture loss and Portland cement dehydration at temperatures >32°C, cover installations with polyethylene sheeting for one to two days to allow curing at a more normal rate.
- Remember that low humidity also accelerates the curing process.
- Tent off or provide shade when working in direct sunlight.
- Work during cooler periods of the day (eg, early morning).
Tips for grouting in hot temperatures
- Store grouting materials at 5–32°C to extend the shelf life, pot life and working time. Do not store products in direct sunlight. If installation materials are too warm, they should be cooled to the specified temperature range for that specific product 24 hours prior to the start of grouting.
- Dampen or wet down substrate surfaces not only to clean the area, but to lower the temperature and lower the absorption rate of the substrate.
- Always clean the mixing pail before mixing a fresh batch of grout. Leftover grout in the pail (on bottom and sides) can accelerate the setting of freshly mixed grout.
- Mix cement grouts with clean, cool water. This step will extend the pot life and open time of cement grouts.
- Remix cement grouts after 15–20 min (after initial mixing, five minutes of slaking/remix and use) to an even consistency to prolong pot life.
- Tent off areas of work to provide shade when working in direct sunlight.
- Work during cooler periods of the day (eg, early morning)
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