Working with unglazed porcelain...help!

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Old 06-09-08, 10:12 PM
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Working with unglazed porcelain...help!

Long time reader, first time poster!

After doing a bunch of searches in the forum I need just a little more advice and some clarification on a few things.

Tile I'm working with is Del Conca 16" x 16" Rialto White Unglazed Porcelain Tile (bought at Lowes). PEI Rating 5. Water absorption "Impervious". Setting tile on 1/2 inch Durock in mortar, screwed to plywood sub, etc. Laying tile in a staggered pattern using matching 6x6 white Rialto and alternating 6x6 white Rialto with bronze accents.

I picked up a bag of Versabond (white color) Polymer-modified thinset from HD...bag says it's OK for cement board and porcelain, so I'm good there, I think.

1) For marking on the face of the unglazed porcelain tile where to make cuts, any recommendations in what to use to write on the tile than using a china marker so those marks come off the tile easily after cutting?? Noticed some people here mentioned staining on unglazed porcelain from the china pencil.

2) Seal or don't seal unglazed porcelain tile before grouting, AND exactly which type of sealer??? I'm assuming there's several types of sealers. Planning to use TEC Invision brand "casual beige" colored grout (premixed tub).

3) If I do seal tiles before grouting, should I expect issues with yellowing on the tiles over time, or the wearing of sealer on tile over time???

4) Lastly, as a possible alternative choice to a colored grout, I'm chewing on the idea of going with a white color TEC Invision brand instead, as to avoid sealer issue completely.....so, has anyone ever used this particular brand of premixed grout, and how resistant was it to staining and/or getting dark (dirty) from normal residential traffic?? ......Or, is there's a better brand that withstands dirt and staining better than TEC Invision??? I'm really leery about going with white color grout since it tends to show dirt in grout more easily over time. Really not sure what to do on this grout issue, obviously!

Any other tips would be appreciated as this is the first time I'm working with unglazed porcelain. I've done 12x12 glazed ceramic on two other floors in the house myself, both look great and have had no problems with the floor. Great info found in this forum really helped.

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-10-08, 05:09 AM
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Tile I'm working with is Del Conca 16" x 16" Rialto White Unglazed Porcelain Tile...PEI Rating 5
You have a glazed tile. Pei ratings are glaze ratings.

Setting tile on 1/2 inch Durock in mortar, screwed to plywood sub,
You can use Megabond from Lowes, mixed with just water, not the additive, under the durock. You did plan to use thinset under your cbu, right?

1) For marking on the face of the unglazed porcelain tile where to make cuts, any recommendations in what to use to write on the tile than using a china marker so those marks come off the tile easily after cutting?? Noticed some people here mentioned staining on unglazed porcelain from the china pencil.
First, you have a glazed tile. Here's what I do...I use my utility knife to sharpen the point into a wedge and make a very light line. Run the cut so that the edge of the blade runs along the edge of the cut line. You could always make a pencil mark and set masking tape along the line as a guide.

Seal or don't seal unglazed porcelain tile before grouting,
N/A, you have a glazed tile

premixed grout
Need I say More?
 
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Old 06-10-08, 08:11 AM
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Yes, cement board has already been laid on thinset and screwed down 6"-8" accordingly with non-corrosive screws....so we're good on that front.

My biggest concern here are the small pits/small and grain lines (veining) in the tile's face. What is the best method to keep the grout from getting trapped in those areas???

Regarding the tiles finish, here's where my confusion began...

I'm reading in the forum that porcelain has a glazed finish.....yet Lowes lists this tile on their web site as the finish being unglazed...(see specs below)....
LINK

Tile Type: Porcelain
Length (Inches): 16
Width (Inches): 16
PEI Rating: 5- Heavy To Extra Heavy Traffic
Indoor / Outdoor: Indoor/Outdoor
Water Absorption: Impervious
Tile Finish: Unglazed
Collection: Rialto
Commercial / Residential: Commercial/Residential
Color Family: Whites
Wall / Floor: Wall & Floor
Approximate Size (LxW in Inches): 12x12 to 16x16
Shade Variation: Medium

And then, when I read the FAQs from delconcausa.com it says the following...
LINK

Do I need to seal the Rialto, Botticino, Positano or Murano series tiles carried at Lowe’s?
No. During production process there is glaze incorporated in the mixture to help prevent stains.


This is why I'm STILL left scratching my head here in what to do regarding the grout issue.
 

Last edited by Chippy45; 06-10-08 at 08:12 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old 06-10-08, 11:04 AM
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Someone is screwy. The PEI is in fact a rating that applies only to glazed tiles. If they are selling unglazed but at the same time trying to pass it off as the best PEI available then someone is either being dishonest or they have no idea about how all of this works.

With porcelain tile the tiny and intentional imperfections usually won't hold on to the grout and they are easy enough to clean when grouting.

Unglazed porcelain tile surfaces can contain microscopic pores that can stain under some circumstances but generally not to worry. Some in the industry recommend sealing even the porcelain tile for this reason. I'm not convinced it works all the time.

Porcelain tile is considered impervious with an absorption rate of .05%. I'm sure this can vary depending on the tile.

I use a Sharpie Permanent Marker to marl all of my ceramic and porcelain ceramic tile and have never had an instance where the mark wouldn't easily come off with a little rubbing. If the pores exist and hold the mark mineral spirits or acetone will still remove the ink.
 
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