Some tips on tiling and the im­por­tance of timely main­te­nance

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

next to a dam which is 100 per­cent full.

Ig­nor­ing main­te­nance un­til there is a prob­lem is not wise. We ended up with bro­ken pumps, lead­ing to empty reser­voirs, lead­ing to no wa­ter. Hav­ing got the pumps work­ing and the reser­voirs full, we are now suf­fer­ing from regular burst pipes as the old un­der­ground pipes have been ne­glected and now can’t han­dle the in­crease in wa­ter pres­sure. So don’t put off un­til to­mor­row what needs to be done to­day, how­ever triv­ial it may seem.

Fol­low­ing on from last week’s tip of the week, I have had two ques­tions re­lat­ing to re­plac­ing tiles. Ben­nie asks: “A cou­ple of my wall tiles fell off and for­tu­nately did not break. I would like to put them back as I can­not find the ex­act tile in the shop and would like to know how. Also how do I get the old tile ce­ment off the tile with­out break­ing it?”

Un­for­tu­nately to the best of my knowl­edge there is no easy way of get­ting ad­he­sive off the back of old tiles with­out break­ing the tile. With older thicker ones you might have a chance if you scratch away lightly, but I think in 99 times out of 100 it is go­ing to be mis­sion im­pos­si­ble.

If the ad­he­sive is stuck solidly to the back of the tile, I would sug­gest you hack out the space on the wall to a greater depth, creat­ing room for the old tile and its old ad­he­sive to be bed­ded flat with new ad­he­sive.

Or­der at least 10 per­cent more tiles than needed – 5 per­cent for break­ages dur­ing tiling and the rest for re­pairs at a later date. Ed also has a ques­tion about tiles. “Re­gard­ing your ar­ti­cle about re­plac­ing wall tiles – is it the same pro­ce­dure for floor tiles?”

Ba­si­cally yes, but for some strange rea­son, once you start lift­ing floor tiles, you al­ways end up lift­ing more than you ex­pected. I guess that’s be­cause of the amount of traf­fic over them and the fact that more things get dropped on them, and there is al­ways a lot more wa­ter in­volved from clean­ing etc. Many floor tiles pop, be­cause once wa­ter gets un­der­neath and starts to warm up, they ex­pand.

So be­fore you start try­ing to re­place one tile check out the whole area, ei­ther by tapping with a broom han­dle or some­thing sim­i­lar lis­ten­ing for hol­low sounds, or slide a bunch of car keys across the floor and lis­ten for a change in sound as they move across hol­low sec­tions.

Re­move the tiles as for wall tiles and re­place in a sim­i­lar man­ner, but also en­sure that you check thor­oughly for loose screed­ing.

Re­mem­ber to close off the area to traf­fic once you have fin­ished and give the ad­he­sive at least 24 hours to set prop­erly.

Tony has a query: “I have an un­roofed open sec­ond-floor deck area. When it rains wa­ter leaks from the parapets, with mois­ture work­ing its way down through the first-floor walls into the room im­me­di­ately be­low the deck. The deck parapets are three bricks high.

“Although torch-on was used to water­proof the deck area floor, no torch-on was laid up the in­ner up­stands sides and then over the top of the para­pet. Should this have been done ini­tially – or now?

“I’ve been told the deck screed should have been cov­ered by a self- ad­he­sive wa­ter­proof­ing mem­brane prod­uct rather than torch-on. The deck is large (54m Should I re­place the en­tire deck’s torch-on with a self­ad­he­sive sys­tem and re-tile it?”

There are many dif­fer­ent types of wa­ter­proof­ing so­lu­tions on the mar­ket, liq­uids, self-ad­he­sives and torch-ons, and each one has its place. Dif­fer­ent con­sul­tants will use each prod­uct dif­fer­ently, de­pend­ing on the sur­face to be cov­ered and the makeup of the sub-strate.

The se­cret lies more in the over­all de­sign and cor­rect ap­pli­ca­tion rather than the prod­uct.

As to your prob­lem, I would tend to stick to my old adage that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. If you are con­vinced it is just a prob­lem with the parapets then let’s con­cen­trate on those.

Per­son­ally I would never buy a house with parapets; they are a con­tin­ual nui­sance and what they may add in de­sign fea­tures, they make up for in main­te­nance costs.

They need to be con­structed cor­rectly, with the top course of brick­work be­ing laid length­wise across the wall.

They should then be wa­ter­proofed from 50mm down the face of the ex­ter­nal wall across the top, down the in­ner face and then linked into the flat slab wa­ter­proof­ing. Your prob­lem lies with the in­ter­sec­tion of the para­pet and the slab. Pos­si­bly have a ce­ment cove plas­tered into the in­ter­sec­tion and water­proof over that. This will keep the wa­ter out of the joint be­tween the wall and the slab.

● Keep your ques­tions or com­ments com­ing to don@macalis or sms only to 082 446 3859

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