The right tile and accompanying layout pattern can make a big difference in creating a welcoming and enjoyable environment. As you’re seeking the perfect tile pattern to complement your home, office, or commercial space, it’s important to consider who will be installing your tile, and how their installation process works.
Lippage is a tile phenomenon that occurs when tiles are not laid uniformly, creating an uneven floor surface that is visible. In some cases, lippage is so extreme that it is visibly noticeable from a distance, as the tiles fail to form a flat surface.
In all tile installations, lippage can happen. Depending on the thickness of tiles, the spacing of the grout line during installation, and how the underlay has been spread, lippage can be minimal and go without any consequences. However, lippage should not be so extensive that it affects the strength or integrity of the tiling. Since it is common, consumers should know the facts when it comes to lippage, and how it can best be avoided before a tiling project is complete. Here are the 7 most misunderstood facts about offset tile patterns, and how you can best avoid lippage.
If you’re considering installing larger tile sizes or a rectangular-style of tile, such as a wood plank tile, the offsets of tiles and grout joints are crucial to avoiding lippage. When you do choose these large or rectangular tiling patterns, keep in mind that these tiles may be slightly domed. As these tiles are being installed, ensure that the tile underlay is extremely flat, and that you maintain a considerable amount of grout joint space to ensure minimal lippage visibility.
Although you may be worried about how lippage will affect your ideal offset tile pattern, keep in mind that it is manageable, and if you work with a highly experienced and professional tile installer, the amount of lippage in your layout will be minimal.
Just because your ideal tile pattern may be at risk for the average amount of lippage, how you light up your tile-filled space can either accentuate or minimize the appearance of lippage. If a space is filled with natural light, try and ensure that your tile layout is parallel to how early morning or late afternoon light floods in. For artificially lit rooms, make sure that the light source is in the middle of the room rather than the edges.
This is the easiest way that you can manage lippage when you wish to install an offset tile pattern. When you’re designing your offset tile installation, try and make sure that the pattern offset is less than 50% of the tile’s length.
This goes for all tile installations, especially tile patterns that are offset. If the tile pattern you choose looks best with a narrow grout joint (bathrooms, kitchens, etc.), you may have to prepare for increased lippage. A wider grout joint allows for a decreased appearance of lippage, as any warped tiles are more noticeable when placed extremely close together.
During the tile manufacturing process, it’s almost impossible to ensure that tiles are perfectly uniform and free of any warping. As long as the tiles are set on a uniform underlay, even warped tiles can be installed successfully.
Again, how you lay your offset tiles will help minimize lippage, especially in larger tiles. Luckily, many manufacturers have created offset measurement recommendations to limit lippage. During the purchasing process, consult with your tiles salesman, or the tile box, for manufacturer recommendations and information.
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