To handle ASCALE large-format slimline tiles safely and properly, we recommend the following equipment.
Typical suction cups of different kinds are a prime aid, although a couple of workers will be needed to carry the tiles and these may still get deformed.
In the case of tiles with a textured surface, soft rubber suction pads should be used to ensure a strong grip.
Suction pads fixed to a lifting bar will make it easier to handle the products and prevent them from becoming deformed. By using two of these bars, all kinds of operations can be performed by just two people.
However, the best solution is to use a rigid lifting frame with suction cups that grip the tile on all four sides.
A work table must always be used to cut or drill the tiles or finish off the edges. If you do not have one, pile one pallet on top of another and put a wooden board across the top. The whole tile must rest on the board.
This consists of a rigid aluminium rail, mounted with a carriage equipped with a cutting wheel. There are manual tile cutters that can cut up to 106, 170 and 220 cm, and extensions that fit onto them measuring 170 or 220 cm. This means that cutting equipment can be assembled to cut tiles ranging from 106 to 440 cm.
You can find angle grinders with a tilt feature that can be used to make square or rectangular holes (for junction or connector boxes) in any position in the middle of tiles or panels.
1. Mark the intersections of the lines to be cut on the tile or panel.
2. Fix the guide rail in place and put the angle grinder over the cutting point.
3. Press the handle down to start cutting and push the angle grinder across to the other side.
4. Move the guide rail across to the other parallel line to be cut and repeat the operation.
5. Now turn the guide rail 90º and cut the two transversal lines in exactly the same way.
The angle grinder can also be used to make slightly imperfect circular holes in normal manner. If a perfect cut is required, used an angle grinder and dry-cut diamondcutting disc1 or drill and watercooled diamond drill bit2.
Ask your regular supplier of cement-based adhesives which one will perform best with large-format tiles. Remember that these are porcelain tiles with a very low porosity.
Always use the floating and buttering method. Use a 15 mm¹ U notch trowel for the substrate or, even better, one of the new V notch trowels ² which ensure greater coverage. Use a 3x3mm square notch trowel³ to cover the underside of the tile. The photographs show the difference between adhesive laid with a normal trowel⁴ and a V notch one⁵.
The lifting frame can be designed to adapt to all tile formats, sizes or cut sections, keeping the tiles undamaged and allowing them to be handled by fewer people.
Use the lifting frame:
1. To remove the tiles from the box
2. To place them on the work table
3. To carry them anywhere on the worksite
4. To spread cement-based adhesive on the underside
5. To help lay them
The lifting frame has adjustable rubber supports on its short and long sides, so that the tiles can be accurately positioned without coming into contact with the floor. Forklift trucks can be used, operated by just one person, to transport the tiles safely and easily.
1. Place the tile on top of the work table so that the edge of the tile and the table are both in line.
2. Mark the point where the tile must be cut at its two ends.
3. Place the guide rail on the tile so that it coincides with both marks.
4. Fix the guide rail to the tile using the levers on the suction cups.
5. Press down on the cutting carriage and score the first two centimetres by pulling the carriage back.
6. Using uniform pressure at all times, score the rest of the tile by pushing the carriage across to the other side.
7. Release the suction cups, remove the manual tile cutter and move the tile until the scored line juts out 3 or 4 cm beyond the edge of the work table.
8. Using running pliers, press the jaws down, without exerting pressure, on any point of the tile and turn the screw until it touches the other jaw of the pliers. Then loosen the screw one whole turn.
9. Slip the pliers over the scored line at one end of the tile and press down until you see or hear it start to crack (without it breaking completely).
10. Repeat the operation at the other end of the tile, holding the strip to be cut in your hand.
With large-format tiles, like any others, a solid bond must be guaranteed between the tile and the adhesive. A conventional rubber mallet should not be used⁶ because the slimline (3 and 6mm-thick) tiles might break when they are tapped. Use a rubbercovered wide trowel⁷ that is heavy enough to tap the tiles and ensure full contact with the adhesive. If the tiles are being laid on floors, better end results will be achieved using an automatic tile beater⁸.
To align the tiles once they have been laid, we recommend the use of the CLOSER¹ tile aligner in order to move the tiles closer to each other² or separate them with as little effort as possible.
Tile levelling systems are now commonly used. With large-format tiles, they are absolutely essential. Given the size of the tiles and their slimline thickness, unless a levelling system is used, it will result in lippage.
After the first tile has been laid and levelled, before proceeding to lay the second one, insert levelling clips below the first⁴. Then lay the next tile and tap it to ensure a firm bond. Next, adjust the level⁶ of both tiles by pushing the wedges into place ⁵ with the levelling pliers ³.