Over the past few years, the trend among the tile industry has become “the bigger the better”, meaning consumers are getting the largest tile they can find installed in their homes and businesses. Floor tile ranges in sizes from 1×1″ all the way to 36×36″ and sometimes even larger tiles can be found. Large format tile is considered to be any tile with a side being greater than 15″. These types of tiles take a bit more effort to install, you’ll need an upgraded thin-set for large format tiles, wider notch trowel, as well as a better substrate to work with.
Things to consider before going with a larger tile:
How flat is the floor? – Large format tile will not be able to hide imperfections in the substrate like a smaller tile will, it is important to make sure the floor is as smooth and flat as possible.
Is the tile rectified? – Whether or not the tile is rectified (see my post ‘what is rectified tile‘ if you need a definition) plays a big part in your decision to use larger tiles, rectified tile will show imperfections much more than a standard tile. The sharp edge of a rectified tile is very unforgiving and any unevenness in the tiles will be very obvious.
Do you have the necessary tools? – A larger notch trowel will be required for these larger tiles, as well as a saw capable of handling the size tile you choose.
Does your layout support an upgraded size? – Take home a box of tile and lay it out, see if it works well visually. Some room layouts simply will not look good with larger tiles, and if your walls have a lot of jut outs, and/or angles it may be hard to make those intricate cuts in a larger tile.
How close are the grout joints going to be? – Again, this goes back to the flatness of the substrate, if you are doing very tight grout joints, the substrate must be very flat with a larger tile, otherwise you will end up with a lot of lippage from tile to tile.