PEARL INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS
These instructions are meant to be a guide for most installations, under normal conditions. Please follow best practice instructions found in the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) 09300 Handbook for specific installation types
- We always recommend dry-fitting your pattern first to think about your cuts in advance and to make sure you like the pattern. This will also help you choose which pieces go where, which is especially helpful with tiles that have a lot of variation. Due to the nature of the material and production process no two pieces are exactly alike.
- *Always use appropriate personal protective safety equipment when handling, drilling, cutting or grinding pearl tile such as (but not limited to) eye, ear and hand protection.
- Before you start tiling, make sure that whatever surface the tiles are being installed to will be strong and structurally sound. Cement board, concrete or drywall is best, as these surfaces can handle the moisture of the tiling process. Plywood should be avoided, since the wood will warp with the added moisture and it will also be less waterproof, even after tiling.
- To avoid affecting the color of the tile, white thinset such as Bostik PM is strongly recommended for all installations.
- Apply as much adhesive as can be covered within 10-15 minutes.
3/16" or 1/4" square notch trowel should be used when installing our pearl material and ridges should be smoothed down with the flat side of the trowel prior to fixing the tiles in the mortar bed. Tiles larger than 3x3 should be back-buttered with a thin continuous layer of the thin set applied with the flat side of the trowel.
Pearl tiles are non-porous: the moisture in the setting materials cannot migrate through the pearl and must evaporate slowly through the joints. All setting material, even rapidest mortars need a longer time to cure. Allow thin-set mortar to dry completely for a minimum of 72 hours prior to grouting or otherwise interfering with the fresh installation.
Cut the edges of the tile with glass tile nippers or a wet saw to ensure a perfect fit. For installing pearl tile around outlets, cut the mesh with scissors. It should be easy to cut around the outlets because the pearl tiles are so thin.
If possible, drill holes before installing tile. Drilling from both sides can ensure a cleaner finish if the hole will be visible after installation. Using a new diamond coring bit (for large holes) or spade bit (for small holes) with a diamond tip made for glass drilling will give the best results. Lubricating the bit and tile surface with a continuous spray of oil/water mix will prolong the life of bits and provide a better-finished edge. When possible, the use of a jig will ensure precise placement of holes to be drilled.
When drilling holes for anchoring bolts, plumbing or any other dissimilar material always ensure a minimum of 1/8" clearance around the item is provided to avoid cracking due to disparate expansion and contraction rates or stress transfer.
Non-sanded grout that is latex or polymer modified and compliant with A118.4 should be used for our pearl material. If sanded grout must be used for technical or aesthetic reasons (such as with mosaics with larger grout joints), gentle application of grout with a soft rubber float is recommended to minimize the possibility of surface scratching. A mock up or testing installation should be executed to ensure results are acceptable.
After grouting, wipe of excess surface grout with a slightly damp sponge - do not over wash. After initial wash has been allowed to haze, wipe once with minimal pressure at a 45-degree angle to joints and rinse sponge after wiping once with each side. Any remaining haze can be buffed off with a dry towel or cheesecloth after grout surface has dried sufficiently. Grout joints should be a minimum of 1/16” and not butt set. Clean excess grout as the work progresses before it has hardened completely. In the event that a grout haze forms, you can use an acid-free remover such as Deterdek to remove it. Acids should never be used for cleaning grout haze.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Mother of Pearl and Pearl Shell tiles must be regularly cleaned and maintained to extend the life and beauty of the tile. The tiles can be cleaned with a neutral mild detergent. Keep surfaces clean from abrasive dirt and do not use abrasive cleaners, powders, scouring pads, steel wool or sandpaper. Do not let soap, bleach or other cleaning solutions set on the surface. Seashells consist primarily of Calcium Carbonate. They will react with acid including