The Forgotten Element?

3 Top Tips for Avoiding Lippage Issues with Concrete Tiles

Large concrete tiles are an excellent choice for homes and offices where a cool industrial look is desired. Alas, with large tiles, comes potentially large problems--lippage issues. Lippage issues are more likely to occur with large tiled areas. However, you should know how to avoid them whatever size area you're tiling. So, what is tile lippage? Tile lippage occurs when adjoining tiles are set at different levels. So, while your tiles may be perfectly evenly spaced in width, they won't be even in height. Tile lippage not only looks bad, it can be a trip hazard too. It also makes it easy to damage the laid tiles' edges with anything you move across the floor. Whether you're a professional tiler about to undertake your first large office job, or a DIY tiler tiling a large room in your home, these 3 tips should help you avoid tile lippage.

Make Sure the Subfloor Is Flat

The best way to minimise tile lippage is to ensure that your subfloor is as smooth and flat as possible. In fact, it can't be emphasised enough--a flat subfloor is essential if you want to avoid lippage. Make sure you have the right tools for levelling the floor. You're unlikely to find these in a DIY depot. Visit a tile supply shop and buy professional quality equipment that's designed for the purpose. It's important to use the right substrate--large tiles will show up imperfections in the substrate far more than smaller ones. Make sure you use a substrate that's twice as flat as you'd use for small standard tiles. 

Make Sure You Get the Grouting Right

If your tiling design requires offsetting, you may be tempted to offset tiles at 50%. Doing this puts the centre of each tile on the grout joint of the adjacent tile. This can result in lippage problems, as you're placing the lowest points of a tile next to the highest point of the tile next door. Instead, offset by 33%. You'll still get the stylish pattern you desire while minimising lippage at the same time. 

Make sure that you use the right sized grout joints for the job. Smaller joints can result in more noticeable lippage problems. Make sure the grout joints are no smaller than three times the facial variation of the tiles.  

Make Sure You Get the Lighting Right

You probably won't be touching the lighting yourself, but you need to be aware of it when having lights fitted. Lights located near the tiles will cast shadows on the tile joints. This will magnify any irregularities in the tiling. Make sure you place overhead lights at least 2 feet away from the walls. This will minimise the casting of tile joint shadows.