New handbook for tile industry

Update on standards, test methods
By Dale Kempster

Over the last few years there has been a lot of work conducted by various tile associations. This work has resulted in new standards, revisions and a new handbook that you should be aware of. There have been a lot of developments, making it an exciting time to be in the tile industry.

First, you should be aware that there is a new installation standard for large format gauged porcelain, the ANSI A 108.19 “Interior Installation of Gauged Porcelain Tiles and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs by the Thin-Bed Method bonded with Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortar or Improved Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortar.” This standard was launched at Coverings 2017 in Orlando, Fla., and was one of the fastest ANSI standards created for the tile industry, taking less than three years to complete.

Following this will be another ANSI standard for the same materials in exterior applications. Next there is a new stand-alone standard for the Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (slip resistance) designated ANSI A326.3, which is particularity timely as it includes a procedure to conduct field tests with the BOT 3000e portable digital tribometer.

Amazingly, this standard can be downloaded for “free” from the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) website by going to Normally, you cannot download anything for free from ANSI, so take advantage.

Also being worked on currently, and not too far from being ratified, is a new standard for uncoupling membranes by the MMSA and ISO in parallel. For the ANSI standard, it will be mandatory to conduct the F147 and F148 test methods from the TCNA handbook or the equivalent in the TTMAC 09 30 00 manual referred to as 313F sub-detail D. For those suppliers and manufacturers that have what they consider to be uncoupling membranes, I highly recommend that you go to TTMAC headquarters in Concord, Ont., and have it conduct testing on a wood assembly on a single layer of 15 mm of plywood sheathing or OSB meeting CSA requirements on joist 406 mm o.c. If that test is passed (minimum residential rating 3 cycles or more under ASTM C627), then have the next test conducted — a single layer 20 mm subfloor on joists spaced on 600 mm o.c. This new test method will have also have new shear requirements and vapour transmission testing.

Another standard which is about to be revised is ANSI A 118.12 for “Crack Isolation Membranes for Thin-Set Ceramic Tile and Dimension Stone Installation.” Key to this revision will be the crack bridging test that will be utilizing the Universal Floor Tester which the TTMAC (newest version) and the TCNA (original version) have possession of. The new test will have the membrane subjected to a crack in a 1.21 x 1.21 m slab, opening and closing at a designated rate and opening. For instance, one possibility would be a 3-mm gap opening and closing, at a rate of 1 mm per hour. In addition, the Robinson Floor Test would be run possibly when the crack is closed or when the crack has been fully opened. This test is particularity significant as there are some products in the industry that are marketed as being able to bridge cracks that are 6 mm or even 12.5 mm in width.

For the 09 30 00 Tile Installation Manual revisions for 2018-2019 edition that are commencing, one new detail will be for the installation over access panels commonly used to hide duct work, electrical conduit and other HVAC components. The only testing apparatus at the moment that can conduct this test is the Universal Floor tester which can only be conducted in Canada by the TTMAC. Please call Violeta at the TTMAC ([email protected] or 905-660-9640) to get details and cost to have your tests conducted.

The last big development is the publication of a brand-new handbook by the TTMAC called “The TTMAC Tile Installer Technical Handbook.” This new publication is specifically targeted to the tile installer’s everyday challenges and topics such as substrate issues, membranes, grout problems, exterior applications and special installation procedures, as well as many other important topics.

The manual is organized in a very common-sense format starting with “Problem, Cause, Cure and Prevention” and in addition, the Templates for Issue section includes specific letters to address problems or situations in which the contractor has to inform the owner/architect/general contractor. This handbook is the Canadian version of the NTCA (National Tile Contractor Association) Reference Manual in the U.S. The NTCA graciously gave the TTMAC permission to revise and change its publication for the Canadian market.

That’s it for now, have a fantastic 2018!

Dale Kempster is chairperson of the Technical Specifications and Research Committee at the Terrazzo Tile and Marble Association of Canada (TTMAC) and can be reached at [email protected].

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