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This specification covers the installation of large format tile and stone with the Tuscan Leveling System®.

Tiles, mortars, and grouts do not provide a completely waterproof barrier. Detail and specify LATICRETE® Hydro Ban in all wet areas and over existing, non-structural, hairline cracks (≤ 1/8” or 3mm) in the substrate. A LATICRETE "System" approach to installation is covered by a comprehensive 25 year warranty (Reference LATICRETE DS 025.0).

Tiles: [Insert tile or stone name] as manufactured by [Insert tile mfr. / supplier name and contact info]
NOTE: Edit material list below based on project specific requirements
Thick Bed Mortar: LATICRETE 3701 Fortified Mortar Bed
Sound and Crack Adhesive: LATICRETE 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive.
Sound and Crack Isolation Mat: LATICRETE 170 Sound & Crack Isolation Mat.
Waterproofing/Crack Suppression Membrane: LATICRETE Hydro Ban
Latex Portland Cement Adhesive Mortar: LATICRETE 4-XLT [for medium bed applications ≤ 3/4” (18 mm)].
Latex Portland Cement Grout: LATICRETE PermaColor
Grout [For joint widths 1/16” to ½” (1.5 mm to 12 mm)] or
LATICRETE 1600 Unsanded Grout mixed with LATICRETE 1776 Grout Enhancer (For joint widths ≤ 1/8” or 3mm).
Stain Resistant Epoxy Grout (For residential and light commercial applications): LATICRETE SpectraLOCK
Grout. Industrial Epoxy Grout (For all commercial and institutional kitchen areas and areas exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals or bacterial attack): LATICRETE SpectraLOCK 2000 IG. 100% Silicone Caulk: LATICRETE Latasil

Tile and stone installation materials to be supplied by LATICRETE International, Inc.; Bethany, CT; USA
Telephone: 1 (203) 393-0010; Fax: 1 (203) 393-1684; E-mail:; Website:

Prior to commencing the installation, the contractor should examine substrates and notify the General Contractor and Architect of any existing conditions or surface contamination which will require correction before the work commences. Before starting, substrates must be cleaned to remove curing compounds, sealers, soil, mortar, dirt, dust, etc. Curing compounds or sealers must be removed by bead-blasting, grit / sand blasting, hydro blasting, diamond wheel grinder with dustless vacuum attachment, or equivalent methods of mechanical scarifying. After removal of the curing compounds and sealers, all rough, uneven or "out-of-plumb" surfaces must be made "plumb and true" to within 1/4" in 10’ (6 mm in 3 m) and 1/16” in 1’ (1.5 mm 300 mm) using LATICRETE 3701 Fortified Mortar Bed. Dry or dusty concrete or masonry surfaces must be water washed and excess water removed just prior to the application of LATICRETE underlayments, membranes and mortars.

Existing joints in subsurface must be carried through the tile and stone work and must conform to architectural details. Expansion joints must be installed where tile and stone abuts restraining surfaces, such as perimeter walls, curbs, columns, corners, etc. Expansion joints must be installed at all "changes of plane" in the tile and stone work. Refer to Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Detail EJ-171 (Current Year) for industry recommendations

Install waterproofing membrane in all wet areas before tile or stone is installed. Install crack suppression membrane over all hairline cracks (≤ 1/8” or 3mm) in surfaces prior to installing tile and stone. Membranes are to be installed in strict accordance with the LATICRETE written installation instructions.

Mix according to LATICRETE printed product instructions included with each product package.

Large module tile and stone shall be installed with the Tuscan Leveling System® to provide a plumb, level and true surface with minimal to no lippage. The Tuscan Leveling System straps will achieve a 1/32” (.25 mm) grout joint. For wider joints, use the Tuscan Leveling System with most common tile and stone spacers.

Before using the straps for the first time, you must soak them in hot water for 30 minutes, or warm water for 2-3 hours, or room temperature overnight. Soaking is one time only.Insert corner or side spacers of the desired width, up to 1/2 in (12 mm). To facilitate a speedy installation, pre-assemble the straps and caps needed for the days work, leaving 1-1/2” to 2” (37 mm to 50 mm) between the bottom of the caps and the strap bottom plate. Insert pre-assembled caps and straps under the tile or stone edge, sliding the straps base plate under the tile or stone being installed, at least 2 per side, at about 2” to 3” (50 mm to 75 mm) from the corners (more for larger or more flexible tiles). The recommended spacing of each strap is 6” to10” (150 mm to 250 mm) apart. Important note: When inserting the strap under the side of the tile or stone, DO NOT place them at the tile or stone corners. Inserting the cap and strap on the corners will prevent an accurate installation, and could crack or break the corners of the tiles or stones when removed. It will also be very hard to keep the grout joint line straight. Once the pre-assembled cap and strap is in place the tile installation may begin.Always back-butter each large format tile or stone just before installation. Next, apply the latex Portland cement mortar to the substrate with scraping motion, using the flat side of the notched trowel. Work the mortar into good contact with the substrate. Using the notched side of the trowel, comb the mortar in one direction. Use a trowel with notches large enough to ensure full coverage and support of the tiles or stones. Firmly press the tiles or stones into the fresh mortar and move them perpendicularly across the ridges to flatten and compress the ridges. This helps to produce maximum coverage to the backs of the tiles or stones and leave the corners and edges fully supported. Do not apply more mortar than can be covered within 10-15 minutes, or while the mortar is still wet and tacky. Periodically, remove and check tiles or stones to verify full mortar coverage is being achieved. After the insertion of the caps and straps on the side of the tiles or stones, install the other tiles or stones that fit against the first tiles. After that is done, tighten the straps and caps with the installation tool (manual or ergonomic) until tile is level with adjoining tiles. Repeat this process and upon setting the next tile or stone into place, make sure grout joints are clean and free of mortar by using a cut off stiff paintbrush or a stiff nylon bristle brush. This will remove any excess mortar that may have oozed up in the joints. This is easily accomplished by wiping the mortar away in the direction of the grout line. Always ensure that the grout joint is clean and ready to grout. It is very important to keep mortar from hardening between the touching point of the strap and the tile or stone edge to ensure a clean break of the strap.

If the installation is not completed the first day: Be sure to remove from the last row of tiles or stones, a small amount of the mortar, thus creating a hollow spot under the tile, large enough to allow for the insertion of the strap base, for the following day. On the following day, begin by making sure the hollow spots from the previous day are filled with latex Portland cement mortar. Use a margin trowel to ‘pack’ mortar underneath the tile or stone. Insert the straps and caps and start the installation again, following the same process as before. Allow the installation to cure for 24 hours at 70° F (21° C), prior to grouting. Excess mortar must be cleaned from tile and stone surfaces with a clean, wet cloth or sponge, while it is still fresh. To tighten the cap and settle the tile or stone: Instructions for using the Ergonomic Installation Tool Set tool lever to STD, then turn the smaller fine adjust red knob to level #1/5 To increase tension rotate knob clockwise, use higher STD number for setting bigger tiles and stones. (The HVY setting is used only for breaking the straps). Place the installation tool on the strap to lock the cap into place. Pull the installation tool trigger until the desired tension is obtained, creating a lippage free surface.Instructions for using the Manual Installation Tool: Place the manual installation tool on the strap to lock the cap into place. Squeeze the installation tool handle until the desired tension is obtained, creating a lippage free surface.To break strap after mortar set: After setting material has properly cured, remove the straps and caps by snapping the strap off at its breaking point. With the ergonomic tool, set the installation tool lever to HVY, then turn smaller fine adjust red knob to highest setting #8. With the manual tool squeeze the installation tool handle until the strap breaks off.

CAUTION: Breaking the strap: Some installers have reported that after the mortar has set they find it quicker to kick, or knock the caps off with a rubber mallet, in the direction of the grout joint so they quickly break away. However, in doing this, one must use caution to avoid scratching the tile! We do not recommend kicking or using a rubber mallet, as you may cause the metal tongue in the cap to loosen or come out, rendering the cap useless.

Joints must be packed full and free of all voids and pits. Excess grout must be cleaned from the surface of the tile or stone as the work progresses, while the grout is fresh and before it hardens. The day after installation cement grout film or haze must be removed using a neutral pH detergent and water solution. Epoxy grout haze should be removed the same day as indicated in the printed product instructions. No acids should be used for cleaning tile or stone work.

The contractor must take precautions to protect the finished work from damage by other trades. Do not allow construction traffic on fresh grout joints. Builder must provide up to 3/4” (18 mm) thick plywood or OSB protection board, over non-staining kraft paper, to protect floors after installation until the materials have cured. Allow the cement grout to cure for a minimum of 7 days at 70° F (21° C) before aggressive cleaning. NOTE: Steam cleaning LATICRETE® SpectraLOCK® PRO Grout is not recommended.

The curing of installation materials is retarded by low temperatures and finished work should be protected for an extended period of time. Typically, for every 18º F below 70º F (10ºC below 21ºC), installation materials take twice as long to cure.

When using LATICRETE latex and polymer fortified cement grouts, allow tile and stone work in wet areas, such as swimming pools, fountains, and steam rooms to cure for 14 days at 70° F (21° C) before exposing to water immersion and putting steam rooms in service. When using LATICRETE SpectraLOCK PRO Grout for these types of applications, allow tile and stone work to cure for a minimum of 10 days at 70° F (21° C) before exposing to water immersion and putting steam rooms in service. LATICRETE Technical Services provides review of job specifications and plans, project detail planning and review, and provides answers to questions concerning the installation of ceramic tile, brick, marble and stone. Call toll free USA +1 (203) 393-0010. Fax: USA +1 (203) 393-1684. Email:, Internet: To obtain a copy of detailed product information, most recent revisions of LATICRETE data sheets, and answers to installation questions, E-mail: or call (800) 243-4788 x.235.

© 2010 LATICRETE INTERNATIONAL, Inc. The rights to copy, distribute, and utilize for commercial purposes is specifically granted to Stone and Tile Importers and manufacturers, Architects, Engineers, and Specifications Writers.

R June 9, 2010

LATICRETE International, Inc.
One LATICRETE Park North
Bethany, CT 06524-3423

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