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SlaveToTheWife 06-01-2007 01:07 PM

20 X 20 Tile Installation Concerns
I have an installer laying 20x20 tile throughout my new home and I have noticed several "high spots" where the tile is not exactly level. The grout line is 1/8 inch wide so its very easy to notice any discrepancies. QUESTION: Should I really concern myself with these "high spots"? The contractor tells me that once the grout is installed the high spots won't be noticed. QUESTION: If I do end up with several tiles that are not "perfect" can I have the contractor remove and reinstall them AFTER the grout has been layed?

poppameth 06-01-2007 01:10 PM

Now is the time to worry about it. I wouldn't accept a job with noticeable high spots. We do all we can to make sure the subfloor is completely level to begin with. If it's prepared correctly there should be no reason to have any high spots. After grouting it takes more time and effort to cut the grout back out and pry up the tiles than it would take to do it now. Now if you are talking like a hairline rise in a tile you can't really expect perfection with this sort of material, but I'm assuming that if you notice it that easily these spots must be fairly bad.

ron schenker 06-01-2007 01:37 PM

!/32" of "lippage" is industry standard. That's about the thickness of a dime. I don't think your lippage will be less noticable after grouting, maybe visually but not under your bare or stocking feet. With a tile this large, chances of all of them being perfectly true and flat are very slim. How did the contractor prepare the subfloor?

JazMan 06-01-2007 03:26 PM

Those are some large tiles especially for residential use. You would need a floor that is very flat to begin with. Also small grout joints like that makes small lippage appear more pronounced. Was the subject of lippage talked about before you selected those huge tiles? Did you think there wasn't going to be any lippage?

Let us know the type of subfloor, the installation method and how the floor was prep'd. I agree that the floor will look better after grouting than it does now, but if you are the type to go for the lippage, you will need to try to resolve any concerns now. Certainly even a small amount will feel bad on bare sensitive feet or if you want it too.

I disagree that 1/32 is the industry standard for this tile. (That would be nice) There really doesn't seem to be a true industry standard, especially for tile this large. Only thing I could find in ANSI A-3.3.7 is a chart listing allowable lippage for tiles that are much smaller than yours. It says, 1/32 for tiles upto 6x6 if the grout line is 1/8" or less, and 1/16 with 8x8 with 1/4" grout. You would have to expect more lippage as tile size increases.

When speaking of lippage you also have to consider many other factors such as: The allowable thickness variation of the tile itself. The allowable warpage of the tile. The spacing of each tile, (grout width) which would influence a gradual or abrupt change in elevation. Angle of natural or artificial light accentuating otherwise acceptable varience. Highly reflective surfaces of tile accentuating otherwise acceptable varience.

In addition to the above, The Tile Council of North America says this:


Lippage is a condition where one edge of a tile is higher than an adjacent tile, giving the finished surface an uneven appearance. This condition is inherent in all installation methods and may also be unavoidable due to the tile tolerances, in accordance with ANSI A137.1.

So its hard to give you an answer, I don't know how bad it is, or what was talked about before installation started. I also don't know if the tilesetter charged you more to install those large tiles or if he knew the floor wasn't flat enough before both parties agreed to do the work.

In other words as stated above from the TCNA, even if it were posible for the tilesetter to do a perfect job, you might still have lippage because it is inherent in the installation process and tiles may not be perfectly flat, etc. This is one reason that some of us do inspections and consultations for clients.


send_it_all 06-01-2007 09:31 PM

If it is really jumping out at you, you should stop him and figure out a solution before he goes any further. It wont get much better with grout and he will certainly be less willing to remedy the problem at that point.

slakker 06-01-2007 10:46 PM

I'm not a pro tile setter, but have done a lot of tiling myself and my wife is a interior designer... so IMHO, the 1/8 grout line is way too small unless the tiles are of sleek modern design. So something high gloss, stone or stone like to mimic a continuous piece of stone surface.

And IMHO, laying stone that large with that small a grout line, given the variance specs, it may not be the tile setters fault if the lippage is even 1/8 to 1/4 inch...

But as mentioned above, stop him and find a resolution or else it's gonna bug you for the life of the floor... :wink:

MattCoops 06-03-2007 02:50 PM

What you are referring to is lippage.
It could have been remedied by adding more thinset by way of back buttering, or grinding the back of tile.
There is also a new tool system made by Tuscan Leveling that help create a level surface.
The only way to correct the lippage is to remove the tiles and either grind or add more thinset to the new ones being laid.
If you take the time to level the substrate before beginning to tile, it makes the outcome a lot better.

JJC 06-03-2007 07:53 PM

How about another version, maybe they added too much thinset originally and that caused the problem. Thinset will and does shrink when it cures. When it cures, remember it it stuck (hopefully) to both the floor and tile. Time and time again people are using thinset to accomplish things that it wasn't made to do.
20" x 20" tile requires a medium bed setting material. That's the minimum! The best is a mud job. Unfortunately, as with most trades the older ways of doing things were dropped. There are not that many true "craftsman" left today that can pull mud and do a decent job.
The standard states that the "maximum allowed variation of 1/4" in 10'-0". That is based on a 8" tile. It just stands to reason that anything over that size will require a much flatter surface since those larger pieces just don't bend over those little humps. Couple this with the fact that most grout joints are getting smaller with the larger tiles and you have just created a recipe for lippage etc.
Your tile is technically classified as a paver. The only reason is due to its facial dimensions. ANSI A 137.1 states anything over 6 sq. in. in facial dimensions is classified as a paver. The exception is Quarry and that's because of the make up of the tile. (shales) Ansi A-3.3.7 does state the lippage as 1/32" with a joint of 1/8" to 1/4".
Warpage does get figured into the mix, but with the technology in use today it is pretty much not and issue anymore.

paulinecurtiss 12-04-2007 08:06 AM

Industry standards for Tile
Hi - Does anybody know where I can find paperwork for the industry standards for tile variation in thickness and size? The only forms I can find refer to the tile installation, and not the actual tile. Does it make a difference whether a tile is designated for floor or wall use? Does it make a difference if these tiles are art tiles, and handmade? I need a link to an online form, and although people here have referred to one, I can't find it. I am writing a disclosure contract - does that make a difference? Help!

Rehabber 12-04-2007 09:18 AM

Try googlig the john bridge forum :thumbsup:

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