The size of a tile on the floor makes a huge difference in the way that floor and the room it is in looks and functions. The trend today is definitely moving toward using larger tiles and minimizing the grout lines. Particularly with porcelain tile, you can manufacture larger format tiles (16″ x 16″ or more) and rectify the edges to get straight sides that theoretically align perfectly and won’t need much grout. The floor is easier to clean with less grout lines and the room looks larger. But there are problems that come with these larger tiles.
- Larger sizes can warp slightly during firing. This becomes an issue when trying to get all the edges of the tiles to match in height during installation, because the installer is aligning many surfaces. Lippage, that slight variance from one tile to the next, is problematic.
- Professionals recommend larger tiles be laid by experienced installers who know how to work with the unique problems encountered. Every installation is like a puzzle, and the professional uses a variety of tools and techniques to solve that puzzle. Certain patterns, like the traditional brick design, are close to impossible to lay correctly and should be avoided.
- The substrate, or surface the tile is laid on, must be perfectly flat. Setting material designed for larger tiles must be used for best results. Otherwise, the larger tile has no support underneath it where the substrate dips and pockets form — a recipe for cracking.
Porcelain tile is often made in the larger format because it is perfect for this use. The tile can be rectified, the density of the porcelain lessens the potential for wear, and the variety of looks make it easy to find one you like. When you come in to our Montreal showrooms to look at the larger porcelain tiles so popular today, talk to the design experts about your project to see what must change about installation. Larger tiles are popular because they are beautiful when installed correctly, easy to maintain, and make a room feel spacious.