General information for all Walker Zanger products. Usage, Installation, and Care of Natural Stone, Ceramic, Glass, and Terra Cotta Tile Products.


Care & Maintenance Questions?

Because the purchase of Walker Zanger Natural Stone, Ceramic, Glass or Metal Tile for your home or commercial project represents a significant investment, proper installation is critical. To help ensure a successful installation, please take note of the steps outlined below:

• Select your installer or fabricator with consideration and care. We also recommend that you request referrals from previous clients before making your final decision.

• Make sure your installer understands the special patterns or blending requirements that are part of the job. To ensure satisfactory results, we strongly recommend blending all tile before installation.

• See that your installer reviews and understands any special installation procedures recommended for specific products.

• The customer (or a representative of the customer) should supervise the installation.

• Confirm that all products have been inspected and approved before installation begins, as the installation of the product signifies acceptance

Special Note on Glass and Wood Tile:

Please be aware that glass, wood and metal tile requires special installation techniques different from stone and ceramic tile. In addition, make sure that the installer is familiar with the special installation instructions included with Walker Zanger Glass, Wood and Metal Tile products before beginning installation.

For installation specifications for Walker Zanger Glass Tile products please feel free to contact us.

Because of the transparent nature of many glass and onyx products, the appearance of the product will be affected by installation, and by the products used for setting and grouting. The final installed product may appear different than the loose sample. For best results we recommend a bright white thinset adhesive be used for all glass and onyx tile installations. We also recommend that the client test their preferred grout color in a small part of the installation to see how it effects the product’s appearance before proceeding with grouting the entire installation.

Natural stone can make an excellent surface for kitchen countertops, bars and lavatory tops. The life and enjoyment of your natural stone countertop will be enhanced by observing a few simple procedures:

• Always use a cutting board. Never cut directly on your counter.

• Clean up liquid spills promptly.

• Use a trivet or hot pad between the counter and very hot cookware.

• Do not use heavy abrasive cleansers or cleaning pads. In addition, be aware that acidic materials such as lemon juice and vinegar can etch some stone surfaces, especially limestones with low porosity. And because normal wear and tear can affect even the most durable stone, you may experience some scratching and chipping over time.

Special Note on Slab Sales

Because of the special nature of transporting and fabricating natural stone slabs, Walker Zanger can only sell slabs to licensed fabricators or contractors. We are happy to ship slabs outside our slab yard service area, but can only do so in complete crates. Please contact a Walker Zanger Slab Representative for more specific information.

Limestone is not recommended for paving and coping around saltwater pools because the salt content of the pool water may damage or cause surface failure in the limestone.

Stone tile with a honed finish is a popular choice for flooring. Specific stones react differently to the honing process depending on the stone’s hardness and composition. Some very hard stones may show slight swirl marks or unevenness in surface finish that may become apparent when the stone is exposed to reflective light. This is not considered a defect, but a natural characteristic of the stone. Please carefully inspect your purchase of honed stone tile before installation. If you find the finish unacceptable, please notify your Walker Zanger Sales Representative. No allowances or claims will be accepted for swirl marks or uneven finishing after installation.

All shower floor substrates and twelve inches up the adjacent perimeter walls must have a waterproof membrane on the top surface of the fully cured mortar bed prior to tiling. Walker Zanger recommends the Laticrete Hydro Ban Waterproofing System or a like product. No allowances or claims will be accepted for damage to products installed in shower flooring that does not have a waterproof membrane system installed. Walker Zanger recommends that all natural stone shower wall installations also have this type of waterproof membrane system.

Moisture Barrier Disclaimer:
When stone is installed on a concrete slab at ground level, it is the responsibility of the buyer and installer to ensure that a proper moisture barrier is in place prior to installation.

Steam Shower Advisory:
Because of their unique moisture environment, steam showers require specific installation methods. In addition, only appropriate ceramic, glass or natural stone products should be used in a steam shower. Installation methods and product specifications must be addressed prior to installation to prevent installation failure. Crackle glaze tiles are not appropriate for use in steam showers. Please contact a Walker Zanger Representative for more specific information.

When installing glass tile in pools, spas and fountains and/or at the water line, a waterproof membrane must be installed prior to tile placement, and the tile must be set with a premium grade latex modified or polymer fortified thin-set and grout as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. In all corners and where the glass tile abuts restraining surfaces silicone caulking must be installed in the place of grout.

If installing a staggered joint pattern, with any porcelain tile with any edge 15” or greater, it will require the vertical grout joint to be aligned with the adjacent tiles above and below, at 1/3 of the distance in from the edge of those adjacent tiles. This is unlike the traditional “brick pattern” offset that aligns the vertical grout joints with the center of the adjacent tiles above and below. ANSI 108.2 ( – 33% offset

Sealing is an essential step in protecting the beauty and ensuring the longevity of any Walker Zanger natural stone product. We recommend sealing all natural stone products with a penetrating sealer, such as Oceancare High Performance Penetrating Sealer or Dry Treat. Please consult a Walker Zanger sales representative to find out which type of sealer product is appropriate for your material. In addition, we recommend sealing all porous non-polished stones (limestones, tumbled marble, etc.) prior to grouting. This prevents grout from staining or affecting the color of the stone.

As part of a normal maintenance procedure, all Walker Zanger Natural Stone products require re-sealing on a regular basis. Please consult the manufacturer of your sealer product to find out the time frame for re-sealing based on traffic patterns and use.

In general, most ceramic tile does not require sealing. However, ceramic tile with crackle glazes should be sealed prior to grouting to keep the grout from staining the clay body. See usage guide for specific guidelines.

Terra cotta tile should always be sealed with a penetrating sealer prior to grouting. As a normal maintenance procedure, terra cotta used as flooring requires resealing on a regular basis.

Most Walker Zanger Glass Tile does not require sealing. Matte or frosted glass tile can be sealed prior to grouting to aid in avoiding grout haze, but it is not required to protect the tile.

Key to Usage Guide
Please use the following codes as a general guide for the appropriate application of Walker Zanger Ceramic, Terra Cotta, Glass Metal and Wood tile products. Please discuss your specific application environment with a sales representative before finalizing your selections.

Durability Codes
Light Duty – These tiles are intended for use on interior vertical surfaces only. This may include commercial spaces, depending on the intended use of the space. Light duty tile may have special cleaning or care requirements.

Medium Duty – These tiles are intended for use on interior vertical and some horizontal surfaces in most residential and some commercial applications. This includes bathroom walls, showers walls and floors, vanity tops, wainscoting, kitchen backsplashes, as well as light use kitchen counters. Commercial applications may be limited to interior vertical applications. Consult your Walker Zanger representative for appropriate flooring usage.

Heavy Duty – These tiles are appropriate for use in all residential applications and many commercial applications, including all medium duty applications as well as all kitchen counters, residential flooring, pool line* and exterior vertical surfaces*. Commercial uses include most wall and floor applications, with the exception of heavy traffic flooring.

Commercial Duty – These tiles are manufactured to the highest standards of durability, and are recommended for all interior and exterior residential and commercial applications, including heavy pedestrian traffic flooring. Recommended uses include heavy traffic residential areas, commercial lobbies and other areas that require a tile with maximum durability. * In areas that do not experience freeze thaw conditions.

While ceramic, terra cotta, and glass tiles are manufactured products, many are made in an artisan-inspired process that creates variation in colors, size and textures. The following codes are intended as general guidelines to help identify how much variation in these elements can be expected in the ceramic, terra cotta, glass and metal tile products.

A. Handcrafted Variation – These tiles are either completely handcrafted or manufactured to appear handmade. Typically, they will exhibit a wide range of tone within a given color. Color of field tile and moldings will vary, and color from shipment to shipment may also vary. Other characteristics inherent to the tiles are variation in size, thickness and surface texture. In addition, some warping may be apparent. Blending during installation is recommended.

B. Medium Variation – These tiles tend to be partially handmade. They will exhibit some color and size variation. Blending is recommended during installation.

C. Limited Variation – These tiles are typically machine made. They will exhibit limited color and size variation.

D. Wide Variation – Stones in this category exhibit a wide range of variation in color, veining and movement. Blending these materials during installation is required to ensure satisfactory results.

E. Antique Variation – These stones are tumbled or otherwise distressed and will exhibit exaggerated color variation, uneven or chipped edges and possible variation in size and thickness. Blending these materials during installation is required to ensure satisfactory results.

F. Moderate Variation – These stones exhibit some variation in background color, veining and movement. Blending these materials during installation is strongly recommended to ensure satisfactory results.

Because they are prone to absorbing stains, crackle glaze tiles should not be used as kitchen counter surfaces or shower floors. Any installation of crackle glaze tiles should be sealed with a penetrating sealer prior to grouting. In areas that experience regular moisture, such as showers, resealing crackle glazes is a necessary maintenance procedure. Crazing defines the occurrence of crackle in the glaze surface of the tile after installation. This usually occurs because of tensile stresses produced by temperature fluctuation, causing expansion and contraction of the tile body or setting bed. Crazing is a naturally reoccurring episode in some installation environments and Walker Zanger cannot accept claims defining crazing as a reason for product failure.

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