It is like playing in team: the client, the architect, the developer, the contractor. All of these players are collaborating to win the game: finding the right matching colors of high-quality products that fit the budget.
Porcelain tiles surely represent one of the highest quality products to be used and installed. Moreover, in 2020 the technology is offering builders innovative products of any look, size and thickness. In addition to this variety of options, porcelain tiles are also getting bigger and bigger and this is deeply changing the way tiles have to be installed.
Needless to say, the installation of porcelain tiles requires high skills and it may threat the success of the whole project. At this point, the questions that you might ask yourself are: how to install big tiles on the floor or wall? Is it difficult to install large tiles?
Actually, following few little steps, large size tiles may be laid easily. The success of a very good tile installation is the best business card for any installer!
RULE NR. 1 – SUBSTRATE: Let’s start from the substrate, which needs to be perfectly flat. As a matter of fact, even though the large format tiles may have some flexibility, the underneath surface makes a great difference in terms of installation.
Following the criteria of having a flatness within no more than 1/8 inches in a 10 feet from the required plane and avoid changes in plane of more than 1/16 inches in 2 feet, the good installer may correct some imperfection using the cementitious patch or flowable underlayment that will bring the floor to the perfect flatness.
RULE nr. 2 – MORTAR: without an adequate mortar coverage on floors or walls, the installation may be a huge problem. The installer will need to apply mortar to 80% coverage for interior in no wet areas or 95% coverage for interior in wet areas and in exterior applications. This will avoid any lack of support as well as the potential cracks on tiles under impact or medium traffic.
Rule nr.3 – LIPPAGE: once rule nr. 1 nr. 2 are well defined, the installer plays the best role avoiding any lippage. The modern mechanical lippage control systems will be a good aid and a 33% offset installation will make the rest.
Rule nr 4 – Grout Joints and movement joints: due to allowable fluctuations in tile size or to out-of-square rooms, the best suggestion for the installer is to follow the minimum joint size suggested by the manufacturer. However, the best installation is achieved when adapting the grout joint little by little to the installation and space, which will help to ensure grout joints alignment.
The grout to be used depends on the area where the tiles will be installed and will follow the instruction of the manufacturer.
Rule nr 5 – Cleaning: last but not least is the after- installation cleaning. This is as important as the most technical steps and rules. Cleaning with water and neutral detergent will allow to reach the best result of the installation.
Make sure to follow these 5 simple rules to install large tiles and the success of your project will be guaranteed!