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Discussion Starter #1
Well I?ll start off by saying, I?m not a tile professional. I?m a carpenter?s helper with a good deal of experience laying tile, and my cousins asked me if I could do their 550 square foot basement living room in wood plank tiles. Having never worked with them, I said sure, because all of my experience has been with hex tiles or other patterned ones, and I figured rectangular tiles could only be easier. So I layed out the room, which has a ridiculously flat slab and is only 1/4? out of square along the whole room. Everything was going great, except they kept asking for 1/16? grout lines. Based entirely on the looks, I kept insisting that 3/16? would be better, but I caved because, well, it isn?t my house, and I?m not a tile professional. Anyway, I got started yesterday, (they wanted them staggered in thirds) and only managed to get four courses down, because the lippage is killing me.

My thoughts are to simply be pickier about which tiles I use, and to have them return any tiles that are too crowned. I told them to check out the work that I?ve done and make sure it is acceptable to them before I continue, because it?s really worrying me. Am I in over my head trying to get by with such a tight grout line? I?d hate to pull four courses up, but I?d hate even more to botch their floor. I feel like a jerk having not known the difficulties such a small grout line would cause; if I?d told them I?m sure I could?ve talked them into a bigger grout line, but I was basing it entirely on cosmetics. Basically what I?m asking is, is it reasonable for me to be able to get a good result if I just take my time and use discretion with the tiles? These are set in thinset on a concrete slab, so plucking tiles is not the route I want to go if I can avoid it. Its really stressing me out; I don?t know if I?m being hypercritical of my work or if it really is sketchy. Just looking for advice on how to improve it. If I can, the small bit of unevenness will disappear into the floor, but if the whole floor is like that... I don?t know.

Just a side note, they don?t have the money for an honest to God tile guy. I?m charging them $1.50/square foot. I know ?you get what you pay for,? but they are family, and I?m determined to do this, so I really hope slow and steady is the answer.
 

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Naildriver
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I would go with no less than a 1/8" grout line to accommodate most grouts. Large lines don't look good with the planks, either.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
I started trying to talk them into 3/16, and then 1/8, but they didn?t like the look. So I?m torn. If I can pull off 1/16 that?s ideal, but I want to give them a floor that?s as even as possible.
 

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Naildriver
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I installed wood look planks for a client once with a very small grout line. We used unsanded black grout to accent it. The ONLY reason I did it so close as they had a tile guy in that did half a living room like that and they wanted it to continue throughout the cabin. It looked good, but I don't know if the grout will be long lived or not. Time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks. These tiles have a rounded edge and originally they (the wife is basically picking everything) wanted me to butt them up against each other, and just fill that bevel with grout. I explained that I didn?t think the grout would stick well and that it would probably pop out. But she still does not want to go with anything larger than 1/16th, and with four courses laid already, I want to avoid changing the lines too. I?m waiting for them to get back to me about how they feel about what?s already done
 

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These tiles have a rounded edges....
I am no tile guy, but if the tiles have rounded edges, that would mean they are not rectified (cut). Seems like a tough (impossible?) task to keep a consistent 1/16 grout line with tiles that are not known repeatable in width.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Exactly. She wants to pull a few because she looked it over. I?m going to basically tell her I?m not gonna be able to do it with grout lines smaller than 1/8th. I really would like to use the manufacturer recommended 3/16th. I?ll see what she says when I go to check it out today
 

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If the manufacturer recommends 3/16", its for a reason. With the repeatability in size, and the flatness of that tile, that is what you need to have consistent looking lines, and minimum lippage. If she bought the tile (no doubt bought the cheapest ones she could find), push it back on her, that this tile needs to have at least 3/16" lines. Tell her you tried, but its not working out.
 

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Tileguy
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If the manufacturer says 3/16, that should be a absolute minimum since the other part of that statement says that the floor must be flat within ⅛" in any 10 ft. radius. I'm betting these are cheapo tiles and as suggested, are not rectified. I see these all the time at Lowes, HD and Menards and other stores too.

All large tiles will have a certain amount of crowning and some lippage is to be expected, even with high quality tiles on an almost perfect floor. That's the main reason they require a ⅓ offset from the adjacent tiles. A clip type leveling system can help.

Jaz
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, it all worked out pretty well. She didn?t like the lippage and I explained to her that what everyone has told me, that that grout line size is too small and I wouldn?t be able to do it going smaller than 3/16. She was fine with it opening up the spacing, so I plucked those 30 tiles (not a mistake I ever want to make again), scraped and chiseled off all of the thinset, and started over. I also talked to a very good tile contractor that the company I work for uses a lot. He told me the same as you guys, and also recommended that I use a leveling system and a larger notched trowel (the manufacturer recommended 1/4?). With the added thinset underneath, larger grout joints and the leveling clips, it?s coming out very well. She checked on me as I was working and was very happy with it every time she checked. Only got about 1/4 of the room done though, as those clips are something I?m still getting used to
 

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I started trying to talk them into 3/16, and then 1/8, but they didn?t like the look. So I?m torn. If I can pull off 1/16 that?s ideal, but I want to give them a floor that?s as even as possible.


TEC Power Grout is sanded and good down to 1/16” joints.


https://www.menards.com/main/flooring-rugs/tile-stone/tile-installation-maintenance/tile-grout-caulk/tec-reg-power-grout-reg-grout-550-7-lbs/p-1444432135438.htm

“Universal formula for wall and floor applications with joints from 1/16" to 1/2" wide”
 
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