Large-format tiles are becoming increasingly popular. This flooring product gives designers the ability to create an open, roomy look-and-feel, thanks to fewer grouting lines. It’s important that these tiles are installed correctly, says Ceramic Industries, supplier of the large format tile range called MegaTec. Improper installation will spoil the effect, so keep these tips in mind:

1. Make sure the surface is completely level
The new large-format tiles require a much more level surface than tiles that were considered large-format in the past. The new specification for flatness is no more than a 3mm change in 3m, so make sure you flatten the floor by filling low spots and removing high spots.

2. Invest in the right adhesive and support
Use a tile adhesive made for porcelain tiles as these high-strength adhesives allow you to build up to 2cm of adhesive under a tile in order to support it, and can handle the increased weight of large-format tiles. Large-notch trowels are best for the job because they allow you to build up adhesive much more quickly, they make back-buttering easier and help you deal with variations in the substrate.

3. Mind the gap
A grout gap of between 3 and 5mm will provide the best look and fit. These measurements give you the close fit you’re after while making sure you don’t have any problems with installation. Remember to use a grout that matches your tile colour if you want the near-seamless look large-format tiles are so good at.

4. Use purpose-made equipment
Purpose-made equipment will give you a professional finish. Levelling systems fit between tiles like spacers, but can be screwed down to bring all adjacent tiles to the same level. They’re usually affordable and reusable, and take the worry out of levelling your tiles.

5. Give large tiles a lift
Invest in a set of suction cups as this gear makes lifting the extra weight and wider proportions of large-format tiles much easier. Not only will you save your tiles from accidents, you’ll save your back from the strain. And what’s more, they allow you to place tiles more precisely.

6. Counteract the demands placed on tile adhesives with larger tiles
It’s important to remember that the demands placed upon a tile adhesive increase dramatically as the size of the tile increases. This can be counteracted by increasing the bond strength of the adhesive; increasing the bed thickness of the adhesive (use the large 22mm notch trowel); and increasing the flexibility of the adhesive.

The MegaTec range can recreate near-seamless stone, wood and screed floors with superfine accuracy. Make sure you discuss the particular requirements of large-format tiles with your tile installer. With a little planning and preparation, and these insider tips, you’ll have the floor of your dreams.

For more information, contact Ceramic Industries on Tel: +27 (16) 930 3600 or via www.ceramic.co.za.