FAQs

GENERAL

I am not sure how big the subject area is, how do I measure it?

If you have a square or rectangle area, the area is measured by multiplying the width  by the length in square meters (m2). If the area is a complex shape, we are happy to send a technician to take the measurements (nominal charge will apply).

 

Do you deliver and where to in Tanzania?

Earth Products can arrange deliveries in and around the Arusha region at affordable prices. We can also arrange for transportation to areas outside Arusha. Please contact us for a quote and we will be happy to help you.

Do you do installation and which areas do you cover in Tanzania?

Earth Products provides a complete service package of supplying and installing our products. This package is customized according to your desires and includes the supply of products and materials, delivery and installation by qualified craftsmen.

We are happy to install in any area of Tanzania. However, charges will include accommodation and transportation for the craftsmen.

What are the payment terms?

Once a quotation has been issued for your enquiry, a 50% deposit is required to confirm your order. The final lead time will then be provided and manufacturing will begin (unless stock is available). Final payment can be made before or on collection of your products at our Sales Office or via bank deposit.

For large jobs, payment terms will follow production schedule and will be discussed at the time of enquiry.

Is there a waiting period for my order?

Yes, depending on stock levels and orders in progress, the lead time can vary greatly. Please be aware that it takes 5 to 6 weeks to produce the tiles and our capacity is limited by seasonality. We kindly request you to place the order as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

CLAY TILES

Trowel

A small hand-held tool with a flat, pointed blade, used to apply and spread mortar or plaster.

Mortar

Modern mortars are typically made from a mixture of sand, a binder such as cement and water.

It is used to bind stone, bricks, tiles and blocks  to their base and should contain only enough water to produce a smooth, plastic, “buttery” consistency that sticks to the trowel and is easy to spread. Mortar becomes hard when it sets, resulting in a rigid aggregate structure.

Thinset Mortar?

Thinset mortar is a blend of cement, very finely graded sand, and a water retention compound that allows the cement to properly hydrate. This type of cement is designed to adhere well in a thin layer – typically not greater than 3/16th thick. It is not recommended for Earth Product’s products.

Grout

Grout is used to fill voids, and seal joints (like those between tiles). It is generally composed of a mixture of water, cement, sand, and sometimes color tint. Grout must be made with enough water to make it pourable but not with so much water that the grout components segregate.

Grout Line

Width from tile to tile

How to install clay tiles

Floor tiles: Living areas

mortar ratio  – 1:4 (1 bag cement: 2 wheelbarrow sand)

grout ratio    – 1:2 (1 bag cement: 1 wheelbarrow sand)

Floor tiles: Wet areas

mortar ratio  – 1:3 (1 bag cement: 1.5 wheelbarrow sand)

grout ratio    – 1:2 (1 bag cement: 1 wheelbarrow sand)

 

Clay tiles are laid in a cement and sand mortar . The sand needs to be sieved before preparing the mortar. The tiles are soaked in water before being set for around 10 minutes. A space of about 3cm is required from base to floor surface for proper laying and a 1cm grout line from tile to tile. The grout ratio of 1:2.

 

It is essential to first lay a grid with strings; do NOT lay them like normal ceramic tiles or use spacers. First lay the major axes from wall to wall, and then fill the spaces in between. If the base is smooth, chipping may be required to ensure sufficient bonding between the floor and tiles. Should the floor surface be wooden, first lay plastic on the floor and nail in wire over it. Then continue to follow the steps mentioned above.

 

Typically set in a square or diagonal design, many combinations are possible in creating beautiful patterns, and supported with a full range of fittings, giving your house a unique finish.

 

Installation Video

 

  1. Chip the floor if required.

  2. Lay a grid with strings in the subject area; do not use spacers.

  3. Sieve the sand.

  4. Soak the tiles.

  5. Prepare the mortar.

  6. Lay the major axes from wall to wall.

  7. Fill the area in between (of a section no more than a couple of square meters at a time).

  8. Prepare the grout.

  9. Complete the grout line (of the section completed).

  10. Wash completed section sufficiently with water.

  11. Continue step 3 to 9 for remaining area.

We advise to complete both the mortar and grout line in sections, finishing off with a wash before ending the day.

How to install Skirting/Wall tiles Skirting/Wall tiles:

mortar – cement only

grout  – cement only

 

  1. Chip the wall slightly to ensure bonding.

  2. Lay a grid with strings to mark the area; do not lay them like normal ceramic tiles or use spacers (grid is not required for skirting).

  3. Sieve the sand.

  4. Soak the tiles/skirting.

  5. Prepare the mortar.

  6. Lay the major axes from side to side.

  7. Fill the area in between (of a section no more than a couple of square meters at a time).

  8. Tap each corner softly with a rubber mallet to ensure even installation and bonding.

  9. Prepare the grout.

  10. Complete the grout line (of the section completed).

  11. Wash completed section sufficiently with water.

Should your wall be wooden, nail in wire and continue from step 2.

 

What type of sand should I use?

We use red sand (river sand) due to the sufficient grain size. We do not recommended the use of fine sand as the minerals will seep up to the surface of the tiles and produce an undesirable result. An alternative to red sand is beach sand or the like.

What do you recommend using to cut the tiles during installation?

The best tool to use is an angle cutter (circular saw) with either an abrasive or diamond blade. If not available a grinder can also do the job.

What type of grout should I use?

Use a sanded grout with a 1cm (1/2″) grout line . If you wish to use a coloured grout we recommend you use a grout color that blends with the tile or is darker in color than the tile.

What is the recommended grout line?

1cm (1/2″) for floor tiles and skirting.

0.50 cm (1/5″) for wall tiles.

Do I need to do a mortar set or can I use a Thin-set

We recommend you to use a mortar set only as the grain of sand and viscosity is more adequate than a thin-set mortar.

What are the white marks appearing on my tiles?

Mineral residue will surface after laying the tiles, appearing as a white layer. Rinse tiles abundantly with water daily and a bit of a scrub during the first 1 or 2 weeks after laying. This step is essential in removing cement and mineral residue.

What do I need to do after the tiles have been installed?

Rinse tiles abundantly with water daily and a bit of a scrub during the first 1 or 2 weeks after laying. This step is essential in removing cement and mineral residue. Mineral residue will surface after laying the tiles, appearing as a white layer. Do not apply polish or sealant immediately. Once the mineral residue has been washed away apply your preferred finishing product.

Do clay tiles stain and mark easily? How can I avoid this?

Clay tiles are more susceptible to marks and stains than ceramic tiles, due to their porous nature. We highly recommend you apply a sealant on your tiles.

Do I need to seal the tiles?

We recommend the use of Fantastik floor polish on our tiles to help protect them against marks and stains. This global sealant is available at our offices in a 1 or 5 litre bottle. We recommend you apply Fantastik at least once a year, or shorter intervals where required.

Can I apply varnish, polish, gloss, glaze, wax and the like on clay tiles?

Feel free to experiment with various finishes. We do advise you to experiment on a sample area first to ensure desired results. Some products may not adhere to the surface properly and result in flaking, cracking and peeling.

NOTE: Ensure that the surface is clean and dry before application.

Can I use clay tiles in wet areas?

Clay tiles are suitable for all areas, both wet and dry. However, it cannot be used to hold water eg: in a pool or wash basin.

Can I use clay tiles in the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom?

Clay tiles are non-slip and water resistant when they are wet or dry, making these tiles the ideal option for the kitchen, bathrooms and utility room.

Are clay tiles appropriate for all living areas?

Yes, clay tiles are suitable for all living areas.

Are clay tiles suitable for outside areas?

Clay tiles are suitable for some outside areas such as the balcony, courtyard and veranda. However, the tiles cannot carry heavy loads and are not recommended in parking areas. For instance clay tiles can be used in pathways, however be aware that tiles in uncovered areas may attract moss if they are wet for a sustained period of time, in which case they will become very slippery.

NOTE: The tile surface will be affected by continuous runoff water, resulting is possible erosion. Please take precautionary measures in areas with gutters and the like.

What sizes are available?

Clay floor tiles are available in 6″, 8″ and 10″, with 8″ being the preferred choice. Please see our product page to view a full list and specs of our other products available.

Are clay tiles available in different colours?

We only produce clay tiles in their natural color; different shades of orange and brown. We do not do any colour glazing at this stage.

What is the life span of clay tiles?

Clay has been used for thousands of years as a building material, pottery and stoneware to name a few. In fact there is a home called the Little Castle House in Indiana, built in 1929, which has clay tiles around the fire place and it is now part of a historical walk tour. An even older case is the Antique reclaimed French terracotta tiles that have been sourced from farmhouses, manor homes and villas throughout France dated back to the 18th century and range in age from approximately 150 to 200 years.

The Shibam district, Yemen, boasts 437 tall clay towers, of which 400 are still habitable which has survived for hundreds of years. The clay has an incredible life span due to their durable and strong nature. Maintenance is crucial and the application of a sealant is highly recommended.

TANGA STONE

How thick are Tanga Stones?

The Tanga Stones’ thickness varies between 1 and 4 centimeters. Unfortunately we do not have the necessary equipment at this stage to trim (plane) the stones to an even thickness.

How to install Tanga stone

Floor tiles:

mortar ratio  – 1:6 (1 bag cement: 3 wheelbarrow sand)

grout ratio    – 1:4 (1 bag cement: 2 wheelbarrow sand)

 

  1. Chip the floor if required.

  2. Lay strings in the subject area; to provide a height guideline. Lay grid from bottom of first area from one side of the wall to the other. Place a piece of wood to ensure it does not move. This ensures even installation throughout.

  3. Sieve the sand.

  4. Sprinkle the Tanga stone side facing the floor with water. Do not soak.

  5. Prepare the mortar.

  6. Install one square meter at a time.

  7. Prepare the grout.

  8. Continue to complete the grout line (of the square meters completed).

  9. Wash completed section sufficiently with water.

  10. Continue step 3 to 9 for remaining area.

We advise to complete both the mortar and grout line in sections, finishing off with a wash before ending the day.

 

Wall tiles:

mortar ratio  – 1:2 (1 bag cement: 1 wheelbarrow sand)

 

  1. Chip the wall slightly to ensure bonding

  2. Sieve the sand

  3. Sprinkle the Tanga stone side facing the wall with water. Do not soak.

  4. Prepare the mortar

  5. Begin installation from the bottom in rows and continue to the top end of the area

  6. Tap each corner and centre softly with a rubber mallet to ensure even installation and bonding

  7. Wash completed section sufficiently with water.

What type of grout should I use?

Use a sanded grout with a 1cm (1/2″) grout line for the floor . We recommend a grout color that blends with Tanga stone or is darker in color.

What is the recommended grout line?

We recommend 1cm (1/2″) grout line for cut Tanga stone for the floor, whereas rough slates offer more flexibility. When installing Tanga stone on the wall a grout line is not essential and the stones can be flushed together.

Do I need to do a mortar set or can I use a Thin-set

We recommend you to use a mortar set only as the grain of sand and viscosity is more adequate than a thin-set mortar.

What do I need to do after Tanga stone has been installed?

Rinse abundantly with water daily and a bit of a scrub during the first 1 or 2 weeks after laying. This step is critical in removing cement and residue. Do not apply polish or sealant immediately. Once the mineral residue has been washed away apply your preferred finishing product.

Does Tanga stone stain and mark easily?

Tanga stone is more susceptible to marks and stains than ceramic or clay tiles, due to its porous nature. Apply sealant to limit this effect.

Does Tanga stone flake easily? How can I avoid this?

Tanga stone is a soft stone and more susceptible to flaking. The slate is formed in layers and can peel off easily if desired.

Do I need to seal Tanga stone?

You don’t necessarily need to seal Tanga stone. It depends on where it is being used, for instance used as a wall feature or outside sealant won’t be required. Fantastik limits marks on Tanga stone, however is not resistant to cracks, flaking and stains.

Can I apply varnish, polish, gloss, glaze, wax and the like on Tanga stone?

Feel free to experiment with various finishes. We do advise you to experiment on a sample area first to ensure desired results. Some products may not adhere to the surface properly and result in flaking, cracking and peeling.

NOTE: Ensure that the surface is clean and dry before application.

Can I use Tanga stone in wet areas?

We do not recommend Tanga stone being used in wet areas inside the house due to the porous properties as they may attract mold. However, it is suitable for outside wet areas eg: around the pool, outside shower. Tanga stone cannot be used to hold water eg: in a pool or wash basin.

Can I use Tanga stone in the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom?

Tanga stone is not particularly recommended for the kitchen or bathroom due to its porous properties.

Is Tanga stone appropriate for all living areas?

Tanga stone is appropriate for most living areas, however not particularly recommended for the kitchen or bathroom due to porous properties. Tanga stone is well suited for the veranda, courtyard, around the pool and pathway.

Is Tanga stone suitable for outside areas?

Tanga stone is well suited for the veranda, courtyard, around the pool and pathway.

Can I use Tanga stone on walls?

These stones can also be used superbly for wall cladding in many different configurations.

What sizes are available?

Tanga stone is available in rough slates (as they are extracted from the quarry) or cut slates . These are the typical sizes we hold in stock:

40cm x 40cm

40cm x 20cm

40cm x 10cm

20cm x 20cm

Custom sizes are available on request. The sizes are limited by the size of slates extracted from the quarry which can sometimes reach several square meters. Large pieces will attract a higher price.

 

Is Tanga stone available in different colours?

Tanga stones are available in their natural colours; white and light to dark orange and are also found in a charcoal colour.