Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Changes to 2011 TCNA Tile Handbook Summary

I'm trying something new today - I am adding a complete summary article I've written about the changes to the 2011 TCNA Tile Handbook. If you are involved in the tile business this will be of interest, if not you may not want to spend the time reading the following 4 pages of information.

Changes to the 2011 TCNA Handbook
The 2011 TCNA Handbook will be over triple the size of the current 2010 handbook with the addition of many new methods and huge improvements in usability over the current book. Below I will outline some of the changes and what they mean to USG and our customers.

Addition of stone installation methods
o Clarify and make it obvious that stone tile is different from ceramic tile
o Highlight selection and installation considerations and precautions for marble and stone tiles.
o Substrate preparation, or flattening, is required if substrate doesn’t meet level tolerances. Self-leveling methods may be a good choice.
o Limitations on stone tile including post-tensioned concrete, L/720 deflection requirements, maximum substrate variation 1/8” in 10’, epoxy setting materials required for some stone installations.
o New backer board requirements for stone installations – two layer structural wood substrate floors required under backer board installation
o ONLY CBU backer boards are recommended under stone installations
o There will be some duplication of methods but with different requirements for stone versus ceramic tile installations.
New concrete substrate installation methods with different recommendations for tiling on-ground versus above-ground concrete slabs.
New optional Membranes sections added into almost all tile installation methods
o Discussion of better setting materials requirements for membrane use
o Discussion of reduced service ratings on installations with membranes
o Discussion of differences of variability of suitability with membranes
Editorial Overhaul of entire handbook
o Bullets and language standardized
o Need for cross references eliminated by adding more info into methods
o Membrane options called out to add clarity to methods
Floor Assembly Weights section added to allow design professionals to better calculate the dead load ratings. Mortar beds and all types of backer board unit’s weights given.
New Improved Ceramic Tile Selection Guide
o Summary of ANSI A137.1 requirements for tile
o Defines the 5 different types of ceramic tile and the minimum performance each must meet
o Discusses breaking strength and bond strength requirements.
New Glass Tile selection and installation guide
o Only CBU Backer boards recommended under glass tile installations
o Setting materials take better mortars and longer to cure
o Critical need for flat substrate – self-leveling beds may be needed
o Glass tile bonding issues to membranes discussions
o 70 new glass tile installation methods
o Discussion of critical movement joint requirements for the entire assembly with glass tile being used.
New Environmental Classifications applied to all methods. Guidance provided on both residential and commercial differences in Dry, Limited water, Wet, Steam, High Temperature, and Exterior assemblies.
o Interior walls now rated dry or limited moisture exposure.
o If materials used in Wed areas then details show wall-to-floor transition
o Clarifies what type of a membrane is needed for each application.
New Wet area Guidelines includes differences between intermittent-wet versus saturated wet areas and how to incorporate waterproofing to contain and evacuate water and protect the building materials behind and below installation.
o Spells out important requirements for:
o Drain and waterproofing sloped to that drain
o Have open/protected weep holes
o Use of a vapor retarder behind the backer board
o Wrapping curb assembly completely with membrane
o Keeping the backer board out of the mortar bed
New substrate flatness requirements for ceramic tile due to larger sized tiles
o Tiles with all edges shorter than 15” maximum allowable variation is ¼” in ‘ from the required plane and no more than 1/16” variation in 12” from any high points in the surface.
o Tiles with at least one edge 15” or longer in length maximum allowable variation is 1/8” in 10’ with no more than 1/16” in 24” from the high points.
New ISO references for Grout and Mortar Specifications.
o Explanatory section for determining minimum performance.
o Explanatory section for key to ISO nomenclature and relationships to ANSI and ASTM requirements. Both ISO and ANSI specifications are provided.
o ISO testing/performance requirements listing. Different properties are measured and different tests are used to measure the properties.
New options for membranes, mortars, grouts, and other materials with multiple options MUST BE CLEARLY SPECIFIED IN WRITING by the design professional or if not specifically indicated optional materials ARE NOT INCLUDED and choice defaults to minimum performance specification.
Updated Tile is the Natural Choice section
o The Green side of tile
o LEED and other Green Building Rating Systems explanations
o Floor covering cost comparison
o Life Cycle cost data comparisons
o New Why Select Ceramic Tile section
New “Dry” Wall method listing tub surrounds without a shower head
o Allows different backer board units including Glass Mat Water Resistant backer board units and standard drywall products.
New Pool installation method
New “soft materials” caution for ceramic tile and stone products subjected to lower breaking strengths
• New Expansion joint explanations and drawings including joints at vertical surfaces.
New Grout guide discussing color consistency of cementitious grouts as well as epoxy emulsion grouts, and premixed Polymer Resin Grouts.
New Steam Shower assembly revisions including CBU backings use.

As you can see this will be quite an extensive amount of change for the tile installers to absorb so please be prepared when the book is released to update your flash drive with the new information and have new printed copies to show your distributors and installers. This will require a huge educational effort on everyone in the supply side of the tile industry to insure that the message of these new changes get out into daily use to cut down on the failure rate of installed products that are not being done properly and leading to premature failures.


  1. Steve,

    Looks like alot of new information and improvements. Great summary!

    Ed Rappold

  2. interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you

    Waterproofing Materials

  3. As you know the tile installation is more critical than other work. And its cleaning is very necessary on regular basis. There are so many company who provide stone tile cleaning service.