Adhesives and grouts for internal tiling


The purpose of this standard is to provide the candidate with the knowledge and skills to select and apply adhesive and grout for the internal tiling situation.

CITB has developed this standard in discussion with industry


Minimum 1 day of 6 learning hours


The purpose of this standard is to provide the candidate with the knowledge and skills to select and apply adhesive and grout for the internal tiling situation.

The scope of this standard excludes adhesive and grout for external tiling.

The scope of this standard covers:

  • internal tiles including: ceramic, natural quarried stone, and resin agglomerate
  • design considerations
  • types of adhesive
  • descriptions of adhesive
  • how to mix and apply adhesive to tiles and mosaics
  • types of grout
  • descriptions of grout
  • tile considerations prior to grouting
  • how to mix and apply grout to tiles and mosaics
  • important points when installing grout
  • how to work safely
  • main legislation, codes of practice, guides, and standards.

Occupational relevance

Training delivered against this standard is relevant to the following occupational group(s):

  • operative and craft
  • supervision.

Candidate prerequisites

There are no candidate pre-requisites as part of this standard. However, a basic knowledge of tiling terminology and techniques would be beneficial.


As a minimum, course instructors must be able to demonstrate that, in relation to this standard, they have:

  • a train the trainer or instructional techniques course certificate
  • successfully completed training to this standard 
  • at least 2 years relevant industrial experience
  • a verifiable CV.


The following method(s) may be used in the delivery of this standard:

  • classroom and workshop
  • on site in a safe and supervised environment

All materials and equipment must be of a suitable quality and quantity for candidates to achieve learning outcomes and must comply with relevant legislation.

The class size and candidate/instructor ratio must allow training to be delivered in a safe manner and enable candidates to achieve the learning outcomes.

This standard is considered to contain 51 per cent or more theoretical training.


For the successful completion of training, candidates must complete an end of course practical assessment or knowledge test that measures the learning outcomes and has a pass or fail criteria.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance against this standard will require initial approval of the training organisation and their content mapped to the standard. 

CITB will also conduct an approval intervention, either desk-based or centre visit, to ensure the training organisation can meet the requirements of the Training Standard. 

Approved training organisations (ATOs) will be required to present information on records of training and assessment upon request to CITB for desk-based analysis. They will also be visited annually by the CITB quality assurance team.


There are no mandatory renewal or recommended refreshment requirements for this standard.

Approval date

November 2018

Review cycle

Either on request or in 3 years from approval date.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this training, the candidate should be able to demonstrate the following behaviours and/or practise what they have learned.

Learning outcomes Additional guidance to support learning outcome

Internal tiles including: ceramic, natural quarried stone, and resin agglomerate

  • Tools and equipment
  • samples
  • Suppliers/manufacturer’s brochure
  • Manufacturer’s instructions
  • Video example of installation process
  • Videos of good and bad practice
  • Scenarios with photos to practice selection of: tiles, grouts, joints, and adhesives
  • SDS sheets for COSSH
  • Photos of good and bad installations
  • Print or PDF (full/extract) of relative standards, codes, and guides

Design considerations including:

  • areas, service conditions, tile size, selecting adhesives, selecting grouts, weight for wall tiles, and strength (compressive, flexural, and transverse deformation)
  • Types of adhesive including: dispersion, cement-based, reaction-resin, and admixtures

Descriptions of adhesive including:

  • definition, purpose, classification, and characteristics

How to mix and apply adhesive to tiles and mosaics including using:

  • drill with paddles, spreading trowels, gauging trowel, floor trowels (solid-bed, large format, specialist), wall trowels (noticed, solid-bed), and mosaic trowels

Types of grout including:

  • dispersion, cement-based, dispersion, reaction-resin, and admixtures

Descriptions of grout including:

  • definition, purpose, classification, and characteristics

Tile considerations prior to grouting including protection from staining and scratching tiles

How to mix and apply grout to tiles and mosaics including using:

  • gauging trowel, grout floats/squeegees, sponges, proprietary wash buckets, drill with paddle, and emulsifying pad

Important points when installing grout including:

  • application, environment, tile types, efflorescence, and movement joints

How to work safely

Main legislation, codes of practice, guides, and standards

Work safely including:

  • follow safe work practices
  • identify hazards
  • reduce/eliminate risks
  • use controls
  • use PPE

Examples of:

  • PPE
  • SDS sheets for COSSH
  • risk assessments
  • safe work practices/procedures

Comply with related legislation, codes of practice, and standards

  • Safety legislation (H&SAWA, COSSH, PUWER, LOLER, Work at height)
  • HSE guidance
  • manufacturer’s documents
  • British/EN/ISO Standards
  • codes of practice
  • association guidance
  • building regulations
  • SDS sheets
  • company procedures
  • risk assessments
  • safe work procedures
  • environmental protection, and
  • use of PPE.

Additional information about this standard

Other organisations have relevant information for this standard

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) guides


The following legislation is available from the Legislation UK website

  • Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • Workplace (health, safety & welfare) regulations 1992
  • The Work at Height Regulations 2005
  • Work at Height (Amended) 2007
  • Personal Protection Equipment Regulations 2002 (PPE)
  • Personal Protection Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPE)
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998 UK 1999 NI) PUWER
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
  • Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)
  • CDM Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 CDM
  • Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996
  • Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 as amended 2002
  • Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005
  • Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005

Building regulations

  • Building and Buildings, England and Wales: The Building Regulations 2010.
  • The Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004
  • Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland

Guidance documents for building regulations

The following approved guidance documents for building regulations are available from the GOV.UK website

  • Resistance to the passage of sound: Approved Document E
  • Access to and use of buildings: Approved Document M

Building information modelling (BIM)

Work at Height Safety Association

  • The WAHSA Technical Guidance Notes are a free resource, provided and maintained by WAHSA and its members. A reference for: specifiers, managers, and end users of fall protection equipment.


The following BS-EN-ISO standards are available from the BSI website

  • BS EN 131- 1 to 7: Ladders. Terms, types, sizes, requirements, testing, marking, user instructions
  • BS 8000-0: 2014. Workmanship on construction sites. Introduction and general principles. Note that this standard partially replaces/supersedes BS 8000-1 to 16.
  • BS 6093: 2006+A1:2013. Design of joints and jointing in building construction. Guide.
Substrates and screeds
  • BS EN 636-3: 2003 Plywood. Specifications
  • BS 4483: 2005. Steel fabric for the reinforcement of concrete. Specification.
  • BS 8204-1 to 7 Screeds, bases and in situ floorings: Codes of practice. Concrete, cementitious levelling, polymer, terrazzo, mastic asphalt, synthetic resin, pumpable self-smoothing screeds
Wall and floor tiling, design & installation, code of practice
  • BS 5385-1: 2018 Ceramic, natural stone and mosaic wall tiling in normal internal conditions
  • BS 5385-2: 2015 External ceramic, natural stone and mosaic wall tiling in normal conditions
  • BS 5385-3: 2014 Internal and external ceramic and mosaic floor tiling in normal conditions
  • BS 5385-4: 2015 Ceramic and mosaic tiling in specific conditions
  • BS 5385-5: 2009 Terrazzo, natural stone and agglomerated stone tile and slab flooring
Ceramic tile specifications
  • BS EN ISO 10545- 1 to 16: Specifications for ceramic tiles including: dimensions, surface quality, water absorption, porosity, relative density, bulk density, modulus of rupture and breaking strength, impact resistance by measurement of coefficient of restitution, resistance to deep abrasion for unglazed tiles, resistance to surface abrasion for glazed tiles, linear thermal expansion, resistance to thermal shock, moisture expansion, crazing resistance for glazed tiles, frost resistance, chemical resistance, resistance to stains, lead and cadmium given off by glazed tiles, colour differences.
  • BS EN 14411: 2016 Definition, class’n, characteristics, assess, verify, performance, marking
  • BS EN 14891: 2017 Liquid applied water impermeable products for use beneath ceramic tiling bonded with adhesives. Requirements, tests, assess, verify, performance, class, and marking
Stone products
  • BS EN 12057: 2015 Natural stone products. Modular tiles. Requirements
  • BS EN 14157: 2017 Natural stone test methods. Determination of the abrasion resistance
  • BS EN 14618: 2009 Agglomerated stone. Terminology and classification
  • BS EN 15285: 2008. Agglomerated stone. Modular tiles for floor and stairs (internal and external).
  • BS EN 14617- 1 to 16 Agglomerated stone. Test methods: flexural strength (bending), apparent density and water absorption, electrical resistivity, chemical resistance, thermal shock resistance, freeze and thaw resistance, dimensional stability, abrasion resistance, resistance to fixing (dowel hole), linear thermal expansion coefficient, compressive strength, dimensions, geometry, surface quality, and impact resistance
Terrazzo tiles
  • BS EN 13748- 1 & 2: 2004 Terrazzo tiles for internal use, and external use
Grouts and adhesives
  • BS ISO 14448: 2016 Low modulus adhesives for exterior tile finishing.
  • BS EN 12004- 1 & 2: 2017 Adhesives for ceramic tiles. Requirements, assessment, verification, performance, classification, marking, and testing
  • BS EN 12808- 1 to 5: Grouts for tiles. Determination of: chemical resistance of reaction resin mortars, resistance to abrasion, flexural and compressive strength, shrinkage, and water absorption
  • BS ISO 13007- 1 to 5: Ceramic tiles. Grouts and adhesives. Terms, definitions, specifications for adhesives. Test methods for adhesives. Terms, definitions and specifications for grouts. Test methods for grouts. Requirements, tests, conformity, classification and designation of liquid-applied waterproofing membranes for use beneath adhesive-bonded ceramic tiling
  • BS EN 13888: 2009 Grout for tiles. Requirements, evaluation of conformity, class and designation