Improving Your Home Value

4 Major Concerns When Working With Large Format Tiles

If you're renovating your home, you may be considering the installation of large format tiles. Large format tiles are ceramic or natural stone tiles that are greater than 12" in size. They are often used to make homes look larger or to create an "unbroken" appearance when dealing with stone flooring, but there are some challenges that you should be aware of.

1. Leveling the Substrate

Large format tiles need to be installed over an exceptionally smooth surface. Whether you're installing your tiles on a wall or throughout a floor, your contractor will need to make sure that the area is consistently leveled -- otherwise the tiles will break over time. This isn't an issue with smaller tiles because less pressure is put on them and because their small size allows them to more easily conform to inconsistent surfaces. 

2. Preventing Water or Moisture Damage

Every home has a certain amount of moisture. In particularly humid environments, large format tiles may be more challenging; moisture can get beneath the tile and may not be able to escape the way it would with smaller tiles. This is one reason why bathroom tiles tend to be smaller in size. Keeping large format tile properly sealed -- especially when it is naturally porous, such as a natural stone tile -- is critical.

3. Installing With Thin Grout Lines

Ideally, large format tile is used to create the illusion of a large, unbroken surface. This presents two major issues with grout: the lines must be very thin, and the color must be close to the color of the tile itself. Installing with thin grout lines is a challenge, and many contractors will find that it takes much longer to align the tiles properly. The color of the grout won't create any issues during installation, but it may make maintenance harder, as lighter grout will be more difficult to keep clean.

4. Securing Heavier Tiles

Large format tiles are very challenging to use on walls, such as in bathroom installations or kitchen renovations. The fact that the tiles are naturally heavier means they need to be secured to the walls when drying, unlike smaller tiles which can often simply be placed with spacers. This may mean that a bathroom or kitchen installation will take longer than it would have ordinarily.

Though large format tiles usually cost more to purchase and install, their effect on a home can be dramatic. If you're interested in large format tiles, you can view installations at your local remodeling and flooring store.