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Removal of white powder from the back of tiles

I am tiling a bathroom, the ceramic tiles that I have bought have a coating of white powder on the back. Do I need to remove this from the tiles before use?

6 Answers from MyBuilder Tilers

Best Answer

The white powder is called clay engobe. It is used to stop ceramic tiles from sticking to the conveyor as they are fired at a high temperature, its a releasing agent. This means that if you try and lay the tiles with the clay engobe still on them, they will release from the adhesive as well which is a big problem. It is normally not very easy to remove fully and you should really make sure the tiles are free from it before you purchase.
You can try to wash it off with a damp sponge and hopefully it will remove it.


Answered 18th Feb 2011

Hi There, if this is loose and will wash off with a damp sponge then it would be prudent to do so, the tile adhesive may not stick similar to flour on the board when mixing bread dough. If in doubt about the adhesive, use a powder mix rapid set adhesive and work in a small area at a time, this adhesive sets within 30 minutes and you will know as your tiling whether the tiles have a good bond, I always try to avoid ready mix adhesives. regards Mark


Answered 17th Feb 2011

its hard to say without seeing them but you might find its a protective coating to stop the tiles from scratching each other in transit. roy


Answered 17th Feb 2011

The white powder is usually the remnants of the materials to stop the tile sticking to the mould , just wipe off with a damp cloth,


Answered 17th Feb 2011

Like the away Pro Finishing Services has put it - flour on a breadboard - wipe the back of the tile with a damp sponge before laying, ensure the surface to be tiled on is dust free, and use a reliable cement based powder mix adhesive from Bal, Mapei, or Weber


Answered 18th Feb 2011

The white powder residue is as previously stated, either mould release agent or possibly where the tiles have rubbed together during transit. A good quality premixed (or ready to use) adhesive from a company called Bal available from Topps Tiles will cope with any form of residue. This should give you a perfectly adequate bond to the wall. Regards Martin


Answered 18th Feb 2011

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