Reading: An Improved Laying Technique for Ceramic Floor Tiling


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An Improved Laying Technique for Ceramic Floor Tiling


D. A. R. Dolage

Open University, LK
About D. A. R.

Senior Lecturer attached to the Department of Civil Engineering, of Sri Lanka and currently serves as the Head of the Department. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka.

BSc. Engineering, specialising in Civil Engineering, from the University of Moratuwa in 1986. Thereafter, in 1991 he obtained an MSc in Construction Management from the University of Reading, UK. Subsequently, he also obtained an MA in Economics from the University of Colombo and an MBA from Sri Jayewardenapura University in 1998 and 2000 respectively.

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There are 3 different versions of tile laying techniques adopted in the industry at present and no attempt has been made so far to evaluate these techniques and thereby to promote the most desirable technique. Of the three techniques, in the first two, tiles are fixed on to the already hardened bed using cement slurry. These two techniques differ from one another because one uses a rectangular shaped toothed trowel while the other uses the standard mason's trowel to apply the cement slurry. In the case of the third technique, tiles are fixed on to fresh mortar bed after applying a coating of lean cement slurry. Data was collected from 15 sites; five for each technique to determine the cost effectiveness of each technique. Out of the above, 12 sites were considered to evaluate the performance of each technique with respect to quality.


The results obtained after the analysis revealed that the third technique which involves fixing of tiles soon after the mortar bed is laid, is the most cost effective since it consumes less cement and sand. The quality of tile laying was assessed in terms of two parameters namely, bondage and level. The above technique is the best with respect to bondage of tiles with the substrate. However, this technique performs poorly when it comes to maintaining the uniformity of levels of individual tiles. This is due to the deformability of fresh mortar bed on which tiles are placed. The tilers who applied this new technique were not entirely conversant with it. Therefore, the results obtained could be further improved by engaging tilers skilled in this technique.


If the public and private sector stakeholders' sponsorship is forthcoming this technique can be promoted and personnel to be engaged can be trained so that it can be applied on a mass scale.

How to Cite: Dolage, D.A.R., 2005. An Improved Laying Technique for Ceramic Floor Tiling. Engineer: Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 38(1), pp.32–38. DOI:
Published on 28 Jan 2005.
Peer Reviewed


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