If floor surfaces that have to meet special requirements in terms of resilience, durability or hygiene standards are to be laid out with ceramic tiles and slabs, the shaking process is also used again and again. Modern adhesive mortar can be used as a contact layer and facilitate the procedure.


Ceramic coverings are, among other things, practical and create a pleasant ambience. For this reason, they are also used on commercial and heavily polluted areas: for example in car repair shops, supermarkets or rescue stations. These areas are the areas that the soil must meet. These include: resistance to high rolling loads and heavy public traffic, resistance to chemical or pharmaceutical products, simplified cleaning to meet high hygiene standards.

In order to meet these standards, the so-called shaking process is usually used in the construction of particularly resilient floor surfaces. In this process, the selected coverings – usually clinker plates or porcelain stoneware with corresponding thickness and breaking strength – are solidly and evenly vibrated into the mortar bed by means of vibrating machines.
Economically, this has clear advantages: Due to the special laying technology, not every plate series has to be aligned individually. In addition, one operation is sufficient to produce an extremely stable floor covering. This not only reduces labour costs, but also ensures a shortened financing phase and a rapid commissioning of the building by the client.

The shaking process is an adapted form of tile laying in the thick bed. Although it has been in use for several decades, there are no general standards for dealing with the shaking process. In order to ensure the quality of the work, however, the “Working Group Quality Assurance Rüttelbeläge” ( AKQR ) in cooperation with the Säurefliesner vereinigung e.V., Großburgwedel, has been developing guidelines for a standardized construction of such floor surfaces since 1993.
To prepare for the shaking installation, the bedding mortar is compacted and removed.
For the production of a mortar sludge, for example, the thin and middle-class laying mortar Servoflex-Trio-SuperTec from Kiesel Bauchemie is mixed with a water content of 50%.
In order to be able to perform the shaking process optimally, servoflex trio SuperTec is applied with the appropriate layer thickness.

First, a bedding mortar is made of sand, gravel, cement and water in an earth-humid consistency. This is usually done according to special recipes directly on the construction site with forced mixer, screed machine or silo.

Alternatively, the mortar can also be delivered via ready-mix concrete plants. It is important that the handling of the bedding mortar on the construction site does not last more than 5 hours – this process includes the production, relocation, insertion and shaking of the material.
Too long application time affects the compaction, strength, contact surface and adhesion strength of the mortar – this must be strictly avoided.

The insertion of the bedding mortar is followed by the production of a contact layer during the classic shaking installation. Either the laying mortar is powdered with cement and moistened, so that a cement sludge is formed, or a cement sludge is first mixed with water and then applied. The ceramic tiles and slabs are inserted into these.

If the tiler now travels over the flooring material with the vibrating machine – for example, a rolling vibrator that vibrates with up to 10,000 vibrations per minute – the cement sludge rises into the narrow-jointed spaces between the “crunchy” laid tiles and slabs. This sludge connects with the bedding and later the joint mortar and binds almost simultaneously with these.

This specific “wet in wet” process provides increased stability by creating a compact unit of covering, bedding mortar and contact layer.
However, the tiler has an alternative to the independent creation of the contact layer: Instead of using a pure cement sludge as a contact layer, it can use an adhesive mortar suitable for the shaking process for laying.

Suitable for this application can be state-of-the-art, polymer-coated, flexible thin and middle bed mortar such as the Servoflex-Trio-SuperTec from Kiesel Bauchemie. This is mixed with a water content of approx. 50 percent and distributed on the available bedding mortar after a ripening period lasting approx. 5 minutes.

During the shaking process, the tiler travels several times in intersecting directions over the flooring with a surface vibrator – the cement sludge rises into the gaps of the “crunchy” laid tile.
High stability due to close connection: The contact between the laying mortar and the covering material is strong during the shaking process.

In order to produce a corresponding laying layer, the bedding mortar must be compacted and preferred.
The skilled tradesman distributes the mortar accordingly on the substrate and then, for example, pulls up the ServoflexTrio-SuperTec with a 6 mm comb filler. In addition, up to a mixing ratio of 1:1 cement of the quality class CEM 1 32.5 R can be mixed (water factor then 45 percent).

The advantage of using such a high-quality thin and middle bed mortar as a contact layer is obvious. Such mortars have a comparatively high dispersion powder content in dry form and thus enable a significantly better adhesion to the back of the coating than pure cement.

Especially when laying porcelain stoneware, this is an advantage, as with the conventional thin-bed process. The mixing takes place only with clean water, i.e. without any additional additives. Due to the amount of insaging water, an easy-to-comb mortar is created, on which the fresh bedding mortar upper layer does not immediately adhere – thus disturbing material mixing during combing is avoided.

In any case, the ceramic covering must be “shaken” as usual:
The selected tiles or slabs are to be put in “crunchy”, then the tiler drives several times in intersecting directions over the flooring with the surface or roller vibrator. The laying mortar rises into the gaps. The result is a stable layer structure. This is supplemented by the grouting, which is often carried out during the shaking process either with pure cement or with a joint material of quartz sand and cement. The joint material binds almost simultaneously with the laying mortar and ensures a further firming of the covering.

Usually, floor surfaces, which are created by shaking process, are walkable after 7 days and fully resilient after 28 days.

Author information:
Ulrich Lauser is Head of Application Technology and
Technical Marketing at Kiesel Bauchemie, Esslingen

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Layer-thick bedding/laying mortar:

  • in combination: min. 40 mm
  • on separation layer: min. 65 mm
  • on insulating layer: min. 85 mm

The hardened bedding mortar must comply with the following strength classes:

  • in composite: compressive strength class Cl 6
  • on separation layer: compressive strength class Cl 6/Bending tensile strength F3
  • on insulating layer: compressive strength class C25/bending tensile strength F4

The shaking process is carried out with a surface vibrator (shaking plate/roll vibrator) no later than 60 minutes after the insertion of the bedding mortar.