Terrace, balcony or garden can be tastefully decorated with tiles in various styles according to individual preferences. However, the requirements are much higher outdoors than indoors. In this article you will find out which requirements tiles must fulfil in order to be able to exist permanently as floor coverings outdoors and what you should absolutely observe when laying them.

Possible applications of tiles: Exterior vs. interior

From small to large, from light to dark, from natural stone to wood look – tiles are available in the most diverse formats, colours and designs. Coupled with their advantageous properties in terms of comfort, durability and cleaning, this results in almost unlimited application possibilities. No wonder, then, that tiles are both popular and widespread as floor coverings not only indoors but also outdoors.

However, the conditions outside are completely different from those in enclosed living spaces. The ground is exposed to the weather all year round and the interplay of sun, rain, ice and snow demands a lot from the material. In order for the flooring to be able to withstand outdoor use for a long time, tiles must therefore be particularly robust and resistant to external influences and stress.

Which tiles are suitable for outdoor use?

In order to ensure that the tiles are able to withstand the daily stresses and strains on the terrace, balcony or garden, the following criteria should be taken into account when selecting the tiles:

Weather resistance and frost resistance

The most important criterion for outdoor tiles is that they are weatherproof. Thus, the material must not only be able to withstand the heat of direct sunlight in summer, but above all the cold and frost in winter.

Decisive for the frost resistance is the water absorption capacity. The rule is: the less, the more frost-resistant. If too much water penetrates into tiles and joints due to humidity or precipitation and expands in the cold, there is a risk of cracks, flaking or efflorescence.

In principle, a porous surface absorbs more water than a fine-pored one. For this reason, pure stoneware is generally not recommended for outdoor use due to its nature. Ceramic tiles made of stoneware or porcelain stoneware, but also natural stone (e.g. granite) or terracotta can very well be used outside, provided that they are approved for this purpose according to the information provided by the tile manufacturer.

The decisive factor for the degree of frost resistance is the classification, according to which the tiles are divided into the following five groups based on their water absorption capacity:

Group Ia: < 0,5 % water absorption capacity

Group Ib: < 3 % water absorption capacity

Group IIa: 3 to 6 % Water absorption capacity

Group IIb: 6 to 10 % water absorption capacity

Group III: > 10 % water absorption capacity

Group Ia and Ib tiles – i.e. up to a maximum water absorption capacity of 3 percent – are generally considered frost-proof. They are additionally marked with a blue ice crystal as a symbol and can be laid outdoors without hesitation. To be on the safe side, a tile with a water absorption capacity of less than 0.5 percent should be preferred in the best case.

In contrast, there is already a considerable risk of frost damage in groups IIa and IIb – and group III is not advisable for outdoor areas if the flooring is to survive the winter without damage.

Abrasion resistance

Another selection criterion for exterior tiles is abrasion resistance. It determines the stress the surface is suitable for without signs of wear and tear.

This is divided into 5 tiles abrasion groups:

Abrasion group 1: Very light duty

Abrasion group 2: Light duty

Abrasion group 3: Medium stress

Abrasion group 4: Heavy duty

Abrasion group 5: Very heavy duty

Basically nothing can go wrong with unglazed tiles in outdoor areas – they can always be assigned to the highest abrasion class. The hardness of the surface is comparable to that of diamonds, making them virtually indestructible even under extreme stress.

With glazed tiles, on the other hand, things look slightly different. Depending on the type and design of the glaze as well as the degree of wear and tear and soiling, visible signs of use are quite possible over time. Therefore, glazed tiles on the balcony should have at least abrasion class 3, for use on terraces or in the garden, abrasion class 4 is even more recommended.

Skid resistance

Last but not least, special attention should also be paid to slip resistance in the case of exterior tiles. This is because wet or damp tiles can quickly become slippery and cause nasty falls or injuries.

The slip resistance can be recognised by the skid resistance classes, into which tiles are divided depending on their static friction value:

R9: low coefficient of static friction, safe to step on at an angle of inclination of 6 – 10°

R10: normal coefficient of static friction, safe to step on at an angle of inclination of 11 – 19°

R11: increased coefficient of static friction, safe to step on at an angle of inclination of 20 – 27°

R12: high coefficient of static friction, safe to step on at an angle of inclination of 28 – 35

R13: very high coefficient of static friction, safe to step on at an angle of inclination of over 35

In outdoor areas, at least R10 should be selected, and R11 ensures even better slip resistance if there is a particular risk of slipping (e.g. on stairs). In areas that are also frequently walked on barefoot (e.g. in and around the pool or in the garden shower), attention should also be paid to the additional “B” or “C” marking for suitability in wet barefoot areas.

Unglazed tiles also offer a certain advantage in terms of slip resistance in outdoor areas. Thanks to their rough surface, they are naturally more slip-resistant. Even small tile formats can additionally increase the slip resistance due to the significantly larger joint proportion.

Garden, balcony and terrace: Choose the right tiles for the outdoor area

When choosing tiles for the terrace, balcony or garden, it is therefore advisable to always opt for the higher quality class. This may have an overall impact on the price, but the extra cost is worth it simply because of the longer life of the floor tiles.

Which exterior tiles are ultimately best depends primarily on personal preferences and the style of the house. Floor tiles for outside as well as for inside are available in the most diverse surfaces (e.g. unglazed, glazed, matt, silk matt, high gloss etc.), optics (e.g. wood optics, natural stone optics, marble optics etc.), formats (e.g. square, rectangular) and colours.

What should be taken into account when laying outdoors?

However, the decision for the right exterior tiles is only half the battle. Even the best flooring can be damaged – usually by water – if the tiles are not laid properly.

Therefore, outdoor installation should be carried out with great care, taking into account the following factors:

Prepare the substrate

The substrate for exterior tiles must be load-bearing, frost-resistant and completely even. Concrete slabs or a cement screed reinforced with construction steel mats on a compacted and sufficiently drained layer of gravel or crushed stone are most suitable.

A gradient of 2 per cent must be observed so that water can quickly drain away from the tiles to the outside. In order to protect the tiled floor from moisture even from below, the substructure should also be sealed (e.g. with bitumen coating or sealing slurry and double-layer PE foil). In addition, the surface should be carefully checked again for cracks, unevenness or any residue from removed flooring before installation and repaired if necessary.

The right laying material

When laying outdoors, only flexible tile mortars or adhesives should be used to reduce stresses on the floor surface and thus prevent cracks or fissures in the tiles.

Laying tiles correctly

When laying the tiles themselves, it is important to avoid cavities between the substrate and the tiles in order to prevent water inclusions. This is best achieved with the so-called buttering-floating process, in which the tile mortar or adhesive is applied both to the substrate and to the back of the laid tile. Alternatively, thin-bed installation can be used, in which the tiles are pressed in sections directly into the damp fluidised bed mortar or tile adhesive.

In the edge areas, it is essential to ensure that the necessary expansion joints are provided in order to give the floor the necessary scope for temperature-related expansion and thus avoid stresses. It is also important that the tile adhesive is allowed to harden (approx. 48 hours) before grouting is started.

Carefully grouting tiles

Leaky joints are often the Achilles’ heel of exterior tiles. They can easily allow moisture to penetrate and cause damage to the substructure, the tile mortar or the tiles themselves. Therefore, special care and precision is required when grouting in outdoor areas.

In order to be able to work as precisely as possible, the joint sealing compound should be applied to the gaps diagonally to the joint line with a rubber wiper. Excess grout can be removed with a sponge board after approx. 15 minutes of drying. In the last step, the expansion joints and other transitions can then be sealed with silicone.

ATTENTION: The surface can only be walked on and loaded when the tile mortar or adhesive has completely hardened. This phase can take different lengths of time depending on the product, so it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. During the drying phase, excessive humidity and direct sunlight should be avoided.

Many dog and cat owners ask themselves the question whether parquet floors and pets are compatible.

Four-legged roommates should feel comfortable, at the same time the floor should not be damaged.

The combination parquet and cat is almost always harmless. With parquet and dog it looks a little more critical.

The type of wood and the surface treatment should be chosen in such a way that no damage occurs.

The problem with animal claws

Cats retract their claws when running and move almost silently on any floor.

scratch marks on the floor are not caused by cats. However, cat claws are a danger for many other materials in the home: all rough surfaces encourage scratching and sharpening of the claws.

This challenge can be defused with a scratching post, and the claws can also be gently shortened with special pliers.

With a parquet floor a cat gets along well. young and lively animals even enjoy the smooth surface especially >/g> and use it for extensive romping.

But what about the topic of claws, parquet and dog?

Dog claws cannot be retracted and often leave scratch marks.

Especially when it is a large and heavy dog, scratches quickly form on the parquet floor.

A sealed floor is more sensitive than oiled parquet. An oiled floor can be re-oiled, smaller scratches can be polished away g>.

Apart from the difficulty caused by hardwood flooring and dog claws, dogs make more running noises than cats.

On a parquet floor you can hear every tap, jump and run fast. As a dog lover, you are usually happy to accept these noises – however, if you are particularly in need of rest, you can cover the dog’s main running track in the apartment with a carpet.

If the pet is not yet stub-clean

Another problem occurs when young animals are not yet house-trained.

Wood reacts very sensitively to urine, the species of animal is not important. This is particularly critical with oak parquet. The cause is the tannic acid contained in oak wood.

The chemical reaction of tannic acid and urine forms ugly black spots. Discoloration extends several millimetres into the wood, abrasive sanding is therefore not an option. The affected parquet strips must be replaced. Other types of wood, for example beech or acacia, also show similar reactions when animal urine hits hardwood flooring.

Parquet and dogs/cats. Animal urine is particularly dangerous for oak parquet
Parquet and dogs/cats. Animal urine is particularly dangerous for oak parquet

Only one thing helps here:

carefully cover the floor until the pet is fully in control of its bodily functions.

And should a mishap happen, the mishap is wiped away as quickly as possible.

The less time the liquid has to penetrate the parquet floor, the less damage is caused.

The problem can recur in sick or old animals. As an animal lover, it is best to take care of the housemate. Then precautions can be taken if necessary!

But there is also good news regarding the question of how parquet and dog or cat get along.

When it comes to “parquet and animal hair“, the floor covering performs very well in comparison with a carpet.

There is no way to prevent pets from losing hair. From a parquet floor, however, the hairs are removed in a flash, e.g. with a vacuum cleaner.

A dry wiper mop is very suitable for this, the animal hairs can be easily absorbed. In the trade there are also special dust cloths, with which animal hairs are removed in no time.

Which parquet is suitable for dogs?

A parquet floor has numerous advantages. Before buying, it is important to consider what requirements the floor should meet.

Is the room subject to heavy use, are there any pets and/or children present? It is best to inform yourself thoroughly about different types of wood and parquet types and their properties.

At a specialist company interested customers will receive the requested information. Which floor price must be expected? Is it possible to lay the parquet by oneself or is it better to get professional help with the floorboarding?

Solid wood parquet is well suited for dogs and other pets if certain precautions are taken. An oiled floor is easy to maintain maintain, and if scratch marks do become visible after some time, oiled parquet can be treated well.

The choice of wood is also important. With a hard wood for the parquet floor, dog owners are on the safe side. Softwoods, for example, are all coniferous woods, but they are rarely suitable for a wooden floor anyway.

Hardwood such as beech, oak or ash is well suited if you want to buy parquet and are considering which parquet would harmonise well with a dog. oiled parquet seems better here than sealed parquet. Scratches can be polished away and a complete renovation is also easier.

Sometimes a smooth parquet floor causes the dog to slip. This can lead to different situations, depending on the temperament of the dog.

A young dog might find it great, he uses the parquet floor as an additional playing surface. Old dogs, who may have problems with their sense of balance or generally with locomotion, become even more insecure.

In both cases it is worthwhile to make a try with ABS socks. What is helpful for small children can also make life in the home easier for the dog. The anti-slip knobs on the underside ensure a secure hold on a smooth wooden floor.

In earlier times, the living room was the centre of an apartment. In many households today, the kitchen takes up this part. Not only are meals prepared and food stored here, but the kitchen has become a cosy meeting place for the whole family.

If it is an eat-in kitchen, it is also eaten together. And not only that. The whole family meets in the kitchen. Just to talk to each other, to sit together or, for example, to play. It is not for nothing that the trend in this respect continues towards “American cuisine”, where the kitchen, dining room and living room are no longer divided by rigid partitionwalls.

Parquet as preferred kitchen floor: chic, cozy and robust

It is more than logical that the ambience in such an important room for family life should be functional as well as atmospheric and comfortable.

Especially the floor and the decision as to which flooring is the most suitable solution is a central issue. Because the kitchen floor should not only look chic, but above all also functionally aligned. After all, there are times when spills occur in a kitchen while cooking or eating, or when liquids are spilt.

Misfortunes of this kind cannot be prevented. That is why the floor must always be extremely robust, hard-wearing and resistant. In the past, tiles and vinyl flooring were usually the first choice in this respect.

In the meantime, however, parquet has become a popular floor covering in the kitchen. laying floorboards in the kitchen is very much in vogue.

The optimal kitchen floor endures a lot

And that’s not by chance. It is obvious that hardwood flooring in the kitchen alone can score visually and atmospherically against vinyl or, for example, tiles.

It creates a much warmer and more comfortable atmosphere than any other floor covering. However, a floor covering in the kitchen must also always be robust and resistant in order to avoid the corresponding dangers.

In the kitchen, unlike other living areas, a lot can happen. You should be aware of this when you buy parquet.

These are the typical danger swells for parquet in the kitchen:

  • objects fall to the ground.
  • Drinks are knocked over and liquids spill out, causing water stains on the hardwood flooring.
  • the refrigerator is not de-iced properly and water runs out.
  • when opening or clearing the dishwasher, water drips out.
  • when frying, grease squirts from the pan onto the floor.
  • the soil is subjected to a high level of stress at certain points, resulting in increased abrasion.

Parquet in the kitchen is less sensitive with good care

A robust natural material – such as solid wood parquet – is a good choice here.

The parquet prices vary according to quality. Parquet in the kitchen stands for an attractive and decorative look on the one hand, but also offers functional properties that are particularly in demand in the kitchen.

High-quality parquet insulates the heat and at the same time indirectly regulates moisture. Moreover, parquet is far less sensitive for the kitchen than many people still think.

If you lay hardwood flooring, the only thing that always matters is the correct maintenance. If you regularly oil your parquet floor in the kitchen oil and in due course comprehensively sand and reseal , you will enjoy hardwood flooring in the kitchen and co. for a long time. In addition, a floor glued with parquet adhesive is usually more robust than a floating floor.

The coating of the parquet is an essential criterion

But watch out:

Not all parquet types are ideally suited for use as flooring in the kitchen.

Basically you have to differentiate between parquet variants with different coatings.

For example, parquet, which has been sealed with a coating of paint, is not the optimal choice. This is due to the finish, i.e. the surface refinement.

This is because the lacquer forms a layer on the parquet, which, for example, prevents liquids from penetrating the parquet.

However, the longer the liquid remains on the parquet, the greater the risk that it will be drawn into the wood through the joints.

This can result in unsightly stains directly under the parquet sealant, which you cannot easily remove.

Parquet in kitchen – oiled versions are better than painted versions

Better suited than varnish are in this respect oiled parquet floors. There are two clear reasons for this. Firstly, the oil does not form an impenetrable barrier, which means that you have quick access to stains and can remove them immediately.

On the other hand, you can repair or renovate an oiled parquet floor completely without sanding repair.

In many cases it is sufficient to carry out an explicit basic cleaning with the help of a single disc machine and apply new oil to the parquet.

So if you decide on hardwood flooring in the kitchen, you should make sure that you actually buy the oiled version.

This version protects your kitchen floor with its special surface finish.

Just keep in mind that you refresh the oil layer at the right time and otherwise treat your parquet regularly with a care oil. In this way, the soil remains durable and resistant in the long term.

You too can protect your parquet in the kitchen sustainably

However, you can also protect the parquet floor in the kitchen yourself by taking minor measures.

For example, it is important that you always remove liquids or other treats immediately. Care should also be taken when opening and emptying the dishwasher.

If you do this too hastily, water may drip onto the floor at any time. Simply place a carpet in front of the dishwasher and the problem is virtually solved by itself.

The same applies to defrosting your fridge. Even if modern devices do this fully automatically, you should keep an eye on the process. If something is wrong with the functionality, a lot of liquid can leak out. In combination with careful care of the parquet, you prevent in this way lasting damage or unsightly spots on the parquet.

Once the decision has been made for a wooden floor, the question arises as to whether parquet or planks are more suitable.

In this case it is helpful to know the differences and the specific advantages. Each of the two floor coverings has certain advantages. In addition to the material and the special properties, the parquet prices or the cost of a plank floor also play a role.

What is called parquet?

Parquet is a rather smaller installation unit. The basic shape of the individual elements is usually rectangular, the elements are called bars. In addition to the rectangular format, there are special shapes that are suitable for exceptional and exclusive laying patterns.

Very common is strip parquet, for example with the dimensions 500 mm x 60-70 mm x 22 mm.

The bars are laid laterally offset in one direction. Another variant is the herringbone parquet, where the rods are arranged diagonally. Finally, the mosaic parquet is also known.

For this purpose, smaller and thinner wooden slats are glued onto a net during the production. Mosaic parquet is available with different laying patterns. Industrial parquet is produced similarly to mosaic parquet. Mosaic and industrial parquet are particularly resilient.

What is called floorboards?

Boards are laying units that are longer than one meter. Apart from these so-called short planks, there are also much longer planks.

In the classic production of wooden floorboards, a tree trunk is processed in its entire length. This produces floorboards with a length of several metres. In addition, floorboards are much wider than parquet elements.

A typical form are country house planks. The more rustic look is particularly emphasized by the integrated chamfer. Another visual feature: the special features of the wood come to the fore impressively. The colour nuances, small inclusions in the wood or natural irregularities emphasize the authentic appearance.

Which wooden floor is suitable for which room?

Whether parquet or floorboards are more suitable depends on the size of the room, the intended use and the style of furnishing. In addition, the personal taste of the residents always plays a role.

The basic rule is: Planks work best in large and spacious rooms.

The laying units can be very large if a generously sized room is to get a floor covering made of solid planks. Floorboards, which correspond to the entire length of the room, can have a length of three to six metres.

The laying of floorboards belongs in the hands of experts, the specialist can handle the lush dimensions perfectly and create an optimal result.

For example, a floorboard fits very well with an ambience in the Scandinavian look, if the room is large enough. Also to the purist style boards are a beautiful addition. If you want to equip a large room with a rural-rustic appearance with a suitable floor, you will find the right solution with floorboards.

Parquet is suitable for any room size. You can choose from many different patterns, and the large selection of wood species offers even more possibilities.

For the private living area, parquet is a beautiful and durable way to design the floor. Whether or not you can lay parquet yourself depends on your manual skills and the type of parquet. Do-it-yourselfers generally succeed in laying ready-made hardwood flooring in a floating manner. Gluing using parquet adhesive is usually more demanding.

If parquet is to be used for public buildings or commercial areas, small parquet laying units are ideal.

Mosaic parquet or industrial parquet offers advantages for such applications:

These types of parquet are robust and hard-wearing. If a renovation becomes necessary, individual elements can be replaced.

The cost of parquet or planks

If you want to buy floorboards or parquet, you should keep an eye not only on the purchase costs but also on the prices for the laying.

Basically, floorboards are more expensive compared to parquet, because larger parts of a tree are processed for this purpose. The production is more complex.

However, the type of wood always plays a role. You can have all the costs calculated in advance at specialist retailers and at a specialist company for floor laying.

But the decision for a high-quality floor covering made of wood also means

Higher costs for purchase and installation save a lot of money in the long run.

Because a good quality floor covering with parquet or planks has a very long life.

With careful care, or cleaning the floor will remain beautiful for years. While a worn carpet must be replaced quickly, a wooden floor can be reconditioned and regained its original beauty.

Renovation and renovation of a parquet or floorboard

If parquet and planks need renovation, this is best done using solid wood.

The floor can be sanded down and given a new surface treatment.

Replacing individual installation units is very difficult with planks very difficult, the result does not always meet expectations.

On the other hand, the situation is different for industrial parquet or mosaic parquet. Here, individual rods or blocks can be easily replaced. If you are looking for a wooden floor covering for heavily damaged surfaces, industrial or mosaic parquet makes a good choice.

At some point, the time comes for each parquet floor when it must be removed.

Depending on the type of installation and the type of hardwood flooring, diligent do-it-yourselfers can carry out the work themselves or commission a specialist company.

The decisive factor is whether it is finished parquet or solid parquet. The used parquet adhesive also plays a role.

It also depends on the time available, how large the area is and which tools or heavier equipment must be used.

The cost factor is also important – do-it-yourself work saves money, but can be very cumbersome and difficult. A professional, on the other hand, is well equipped and knows the challenge of the parquet removal very well.

When do i need to remove parquet?

In principle, the natural material wood is durable. parquet can be sanded and resealed. Scratches can also be repaired with a parquet repair set.

However, this is only possible several times with solid parquet. The wear layer of finished parquet is relatively thin, so that sanding only produces good results twice at most.

So if the originally installed parquet floor cannot be renovated, it must be removed and replaced.

Another reason: The old parquet simply no longer pleases the residents. Before new parquet can be laid, the old wooden floor must inevitably give way.

Video: Remove parquet with the floor saw

The simple case: Remove floating laid parquet

The easiest way to remove it is to use floating pre-finished parquet.

In this case, only the individual elements are glued together. It is even easier with click parquet where no glue has been used at all.

The parquet is not glued to the ground under any circumstances, so the removal of the floor is easy.

First of all, the removal of the skirting boards.

Then the first row of parquet is lifted, starting at one end of the room.

It is advisable to use a lever tool. With a crowbar or a so-called cowfoot it is easy to remove the parquet.

The only difficulty is with the first row, since the joint has a dimension of only about 10 to 15 millimetres. Once the first row of parquet has been removed, the further removal is very fast.

exception: Glued parquet elements with a tongue and groove joint can be a little more complicated. It is necessary to break the connections between the individual planks. But even in this case the effort is limited and can be easily managed by hobby craftsmen.

With high effort: Remove glued prefabricated parquet

The situation is completely different, however, when fully glued finished parquet must be removed before new planks can be laid.

The fixed bonding is normally not to be loosened by hand. This is only possible if the adhesive bond is brittle due to age.

So before you resort to the use of machines, it is worth trying. If the adhesive bond is brittle, it is possible to scrape off the individual parquet strips.

Good aids are chisels, scrapers and spatula. However, the work requires time and strength.

Only a special machine helps with a stable adhesive connection. Power is still needed, but at least progress is being made relatively quickly.

If a machine is used, it is advisable to use a device with fine dust extraction (or at least a vacuum cleaner). Otherwise, experts recommend wearing a respirator so that the dust formation does not cause any damage to health.

It is particularly difficult to remove finished parquet if elastic adhesives have been used. These are usually silane adhesives, which are characterized by a long service life and elasticity.

This actual quality feature can cause great difficulties when removing parquet. The lowest layer of the parquet rods can stick to the screed and must be removed in painstaking work.

Video: Cut off parquet glue after the parquet out:

Remove solid parquet

In the case of solid parquet, age is the first thing that matters. Parquet flooring that has been in use for several decades or even longer often dissolves almost by itself.

The adhesives used at the time have long since lost their strength. However, novel adhesives such as an elastic silane adhesive make removal an enormous challenge.

By hand the distance is practically impossible. You need a professional parquet layer with experience and above all a special machine.

With an old solid parquet floor, it may be worthwhile to consider the alternative of “sanding down and resealing”. The special charm of a floor “with history” can be wonderfully shown to advantage when a time-honoured solid parquet floor, freshly reconditioned, is combined with the fitting interior!

How much does the parquet removal cost?

The cost of removing a parquet floor is variable and depends on the condition of the old floor.

Bonding, size of space and time involved in pricing. If the bond is brittle, removal can be very quick and easy, but a lot of effort is required for an elastic adhesive with high adhesive strength.

A competent specialist company will prepare a meaningful cost estimate, so that you are safe from unpleasant surprises.

Even before the removal, it is important to obtain general information about floor prices.

Then it is also possible to make a realistic estimate for the buy parquet. Because after the old floor has been professionally removed, a new parquet or plank floor can be laid, which again creates a pleasant living atmosphere.

Where can I dispose of parquet?

Old hardwood flooring falls into the category of construction waste.

Under no circumstances may the planks be burned, because there are almost always pollutants in some form in torn out parquet.

Adhesives, oils and sealing varnishes can be harmful to health, and these materials must not be allowed to enter groundwater or otherwise be disposed of in the environment.

Where to put old hardwood flooring? If only small quantities are involved and the parquet – without adhesive – was laid floating, the remains can be disposed of in the household waste. However, in most cases the quantities of waste involved are larger.

Especially when the old parquet was glued, it is even hazardous waste. Adhesives used a few decades ago often contain toxic components. In this context: When removing the old parquet, a breathing mask should always be worn.

You can ask the municipality whether the local building yard is the right place to go.

The administration provides information on where to dispose of parquet. Anyone who commissions a professional with the removal and disposal is also on the safe side. The costs also include removal, an expense that is worthwhile.

Expansion joints is the decisive keyword for a permanently beautiful and damage-free tiled floor. After all, like almost any other material, tiles need sufficient room to move to be able to work. In this article you can read about the important functions of an expansion joint, where it is required and how best to create it.

Why do you need expansion joints?

Tiles consist mainly of natural raw materials that react to external influences. Temperature fluctuations or the application of force cause the plates to work: The material expands and contracts according to the ambient conditions. However, this reaction behaviour is not a unique phenomenon of the tile, but occurs always and everywhere where different building and material materials meet.

This is exactly the point why expansion joints are so important when laying tiles. They serve as a buffer to compensate for the movements of the different materials without the components colliding with each other. At the same time, expansion joints have another function: they dampen sound because they reduce the transmission of vibrations.

What happens if the expansion joint is missing?

As low as the expansion and shrinkage behaviour of tiles may be, it can be unpleasant if expansion joints are not taken into account accordingly. Although the changes are usually barely perceptible to the human eye, they do increase the pressure on the individual plates.

This causes stresses on the surface, which in turn can cause cracks in the tiles. And sometimes not even directly where the joint is missing, but – due to the transmission of force – in a completely different place. Therefore even adjacent floor coverings or the screed can be damaged if the corresponding joints are not set.

For which tiles are expansion joints necessary?

Expansion joints – often also called movement joints, expansion joints or dilatation joints – are to be considered in principle for all tile floors. No matter whether it is natural stone, earthenware, stoneware or porcelain stoneware. Also the substrate or the tile adhesive or tile bonding primer used during installation have no influence on the necessity of the joints.

Where should an expansion joint be placed?

Specifically, expansion joints must always be created when different components come together. This primarily concerns all transitions to rooms (e.g. door thresholds) and between different floor coverings (e.g. B. tiles and parquet), but also areas which are only partially tiled (e.g. around a tiled stove or fireplace) or which adjoin rigid elements (e.g. radiators or fittings).

Edge joints as a connection area to the wall are also considered expansion joints and must therefore always be taken into account accordingly. In addition to their compensatory function when expanding, they also ensure that the impact sound is not transmitted to the wall and thus into the room. This is one of the reasons why they should be regularly maintained and checked for their condition or tightness (to protect against moisture under the tiles).

Important: Interaction of expansion joint & observe screed!

Existing expansion joints from the screed must also be taken over in the tiled floor – and in the same position. This applies both to the initial laying of tiles and slabs and to subsequent renovations. Only then can it be guaranteed that the substrate also has sufficient room to move and that the materials can work independently of each other according to their properties. This avoids cracks or fractures that could otherwise sooner or later be transferred to the tiles. Where these joints should be planned exactly is usually announced by the screed layer.

By the way: A term that also appears again and again in connection with the screed are the so-called dummy joints. Although these serve a similar purpose to expansion joints, they are not actually expansion joints. Rather, these are deliberately placed predetermined breaking points that specifically control the further course of possible cracks in the screed.

From which room size are expansion joints required?

The formation of expansion joints is regulated according to DIN standards. Accordingly, field boundary joints are prescribed for rooms with a size of 40 m2, whereby the field length and width should be between 5 and 8 m at the most. In this context, the room geometry, the tile format used and the expected stress on the floor must be taken into account. If the room has a floor heating under the tiles, the arrangement of the heating circuits must also be taken into account.

In general, the recommendation is to work in expansion joints vertically and horizontally at intervals of 3 to 6 m. For larger areas and tiles in outdoor areas, joints should be planned around every 4 m, as the expansion of the tiles can be even greater there than indoors due to higher temperature differences.

How wide must an expansion joint be?

The width of the joints depends on the tile format as well as on the respective position. The limit values recommended by the DIN standard again serve as a guideline:

Especially in the edge areas to the wall or wherever the tiles are adjacent to other rigid components, a width of 5 mm should not be undercut under any circumstances. To be on the safe side, in this case it is even better to increase to 8 mm. Professional planning and exact calculation of the joint dimensions is definitely advisable.

Excursus: Attention with narrow joints!

However, since the joint pattern in a room also has visual effects, care should be taken to ensure a balanced distribution and the most uniform width possible of all necessary joints. In particular, the continuing trend towards large-format tiles with very narrow construction joints – i.e. the distance at which the tiles are placed on the floor during installation – can sometimes become a problem.

On the one hand, because the considerably wider expansion joints can quickly look unsightly in comparison and thus disturb the overall harmonious impression. On the other hand, the narrower the joints are, the more difficult it is to grout – and improper execution impairs the quality of the joints.

If too much water is added to the jointing mortar to make it more fluid, this can lead to differences in colour and spots in the joints due to different drying phases. While too little water, on the other hand, makes the joint sealant brittle. For this reason, filling with conventional, cementitious jointing compound is only possible from a width of at least 2 mm. Among these, only highly viscous materials with a synthetic resin content can be used, as these are more elastic and can be worked into the joint more easily.

And even otherwise, very narrow joints entail an increased risk of damage. This is because if the proportion of joints is small, moisture can only escape from the floor very slowly on the one hand and on the other hand, tensions are less well balanced.

How is an expansion joint correctly filled?

In order to be able to compensate for the movements of the tiles, expansion joints may only be sealed with permanently elastic sealants. The best known and most frequently used material for this is silicone. The best possible result is achieved if the joint sealing compound is applied as deep as the joint is wide – otherwise, too deep filling can have a negative effect on the elasticity. Tip: You can work particularly precisely if the tip of the cartridge is simply cut to the appropriate joint width.

Since the silicone must not adhere to the substrate under any circumstances, expansion profiles made of foam or plastic are also recommended. These are pressed into the joint before filling and fixed at the edges with adhesive tape. Alternatively, paper strips can also be used.

Practical side effect: In this way, the material requirement is also minimized.

Before filling, dust, dirt or adhesive residues must be thoroughly removed from the joint. This is especially true when existing expansion joints are renewed: They must be carefully scraped out before the new filling material is applied.

After the joint has been sealed, the joint sealing compound is evenly removed with a smoothing trowel. Finally, the attached adhesive tape is peeled off and the excess joint sealing compound and any adhesive residues are removed with a damp sponge.