Our house, except for the bathrooms is tiled with a creamy smooth 40cm square tile made by White Horse Ceramics in Malaysia. The cost was P66 per tile — about $1.50 US.
We were fortunate to have an excellent tiler on our crew, Filimon Asonda of Mandurriao, Iloilo City. He was with us from the very beginning, the building of our perimeter wall, to the end of the masonry work around the house. We paid him P350 per day, the same as our foreman. The combination of a good selection of affordable tile and Filimon’s skills led us to continue our tiling from the house to the garage. We did not use tile adhesive in laying the tile except on the bathroom walls. We just used ordinary Apo Portland cement.
We also tiled the storage room in the garage/bodega. This was to correct a drainage problem in which water from the garage drained into the storage room. The tile raised the grade in the storage room enough to keep the water out. Next we tiled the laundry area. For both we used the same Eurotile we used for the bathrooms.
Our final tiling project was to build a path from the garage to the front door. We poured 20″ x 20″ concrete step-stones.
Almost all tile (and lots of other materials) were purchased from Moostbrand in Jaro, Iloilo City. We received good service from Moost. As we unpacked the many boxes of tiles, we reserved the broken tiles and took them back to Moostbrand where they were replaced without charge or argumentation. Moostbrand did deliver some “grade B” tile to us. We returned it and replaced it with the Eurotile mentioned above.
We like to keep readers updated as to how things have worked out over time, to share our problems so that our readers may avoid mistakes we have made, or to at least know what to expect. See also Beware of clay soils in Philippine construction.
It is six years since our times were laid. 2016 is the first year that we have had a significant problem with hairline cracks in our tiles. Why? We are not sure, but here are some possibilities. We do not want to exaggerate the problem. We have hairline cracks in about ten of the many hundreds of tiles we installed throughout the house.
Type of tile. We used at least three types of tile. Most of the flooring is a Malaysian-made tile shown in the photos. It is these tiles which are developing the hairline cracks. Tile making is an ancient art with many variations in materials and characteristics. Considerations must include both hardness and some degree of ductility. The Malaysian tile seems wine-grass hard. The Spanish-made tile we used on our porch has no cracks.
Bedding material. In laying both the Malaysian and Spanish tile we used ordinary Portland cement. In our bathrooms, our tile layer advised us to use an elastic mortar, which we did. There are no cracks there. Perhaps we should have used the elastic bedding for all the tile?
Filling. We used a relatively sandy filling under our floors rather than pure gravel. Could this have been part of the problem. The concrete floors themselves are unlikely to be a cause. The floor is thick and strong. Many of the cracks first showed up in doorways. That is probably because each room was a separate pour, so the doorways are a junction between two different pours.
Sorry we can’t offer definitive solutions. If your house is ten or twenty years old and has no cracks, please let us and our readers know how you accomplished that feat.