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Old 08-16-2010, 12:38 PM   #1
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Acceptable Lippage

Hi,

I'm looking for how much lippage is acceptable for 12x12 polished granite tile. I can find references to things like "no more than the thickness of a dime" but I'd like to find the precise measurement that is the industry standard and also to hopefully have a citable source on this.

Does anyone know what the relevant number here is or where I could find it?

Thank you.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:03 PM   #2
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The ANSI HANDBOOK-In addition to the inherent warpage of the tile in accordance w/ ANSI 137.1 -for typical installation.
grout size 1/8" -1/4' = 1/32" allowable lippage
1/4" or greater =1/16" ""
Thres alot more to this but thats a quick look.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:09 PM   #3
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Nicole, Here's what ANSI A108-1999 has to say:

Lippage refers to differences in elevation between edges of adjacent tile modules. These difference or perception thereof are influenced by many factors such as:

A) The allowable thickness variation of the tile modules when judged in accordance with manufacturing standards.

B) The allowable warpage of the tile modules.

C) The spacing or separation of each tile module, which would influence a gradual or abrupt change in elevation.

D) Angle of natural or manufactured light accentuating otherwise acceptable variance in modules.

E) Highly reflective surfaces of tile modules accentuating otherwise acceptable variance in modules.

The following chart is a guideline for identifying acceptable lippage - in addition to the inherent warpage of tile manufactured in accordance with ANSI A137.1 - for typical installations of tile:

Tile Type | Tile Size | Joint Width | Allowable Lippage

Glazed Wall/ | 1"x1" to | 1/8" or less | 1/32"
Mosaics | 6" x 6"

Quarry | 6" x 6" | 1/4" or greater | 1/16"
| 8" x 8"

Paver | All | 1/8" to 1/4" | 1/32"
Paver | All | 1/4" or greater | 1/16"



So, as you can see, the only hard number given is the table, and it is only a starting point.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:31 PM   #4
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Thank you, both. I had come across the table that Bob included, but my tiles are larger than the largest listed there and my googling suggested that "pavers" are concrete or brick, so not applicable to what I have. Was I wrong about that?
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:03 PM   #5
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Okay, Nicole, this question has put me into my all scientific mode. First, I went on the Marble Institute of America website. They have "secret" areas which require one to be a member and their membership isn't cheap. But from what I gleaned from consumer information is that even on slab type counter tops lippage of 1/32" is allowable. (It wouldn't be in my kitchen if I specified slab but I digress.)

The next thing I did was got into my math mode (calculator) and pulled out my digital calipers (machinist/mechanical mode). With that in mind let's break down what 1/32" is. 1/32" is equal to .03125". The thickness of a dime can vary slightly but it's generally between .047" and .051" so a dime is about 1.5 times as thick as the allowable lippage. If you measure the thickness of seven pieces of 24# copy paper you come up with .032". Probably one of the closest and most consistent and easy items to use is a credit card. I measured four different credit cards and they varied from .030" to .032". If you are O.K. with a deviation of .002" (1/2 the thickness of one sheet of the 24# copy paper) then using a credit card will probably suffice.

When I laid my 18x18 travertine in my master bath the worst lippage (in only one place) was .013". And to answer your question, yes, I measured it with a dial indicator. (One of my more severe episodes cases of paying attention to detail.)

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Old 08-16-2010, 02:18 PM   #6
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Thank you. My lippage a little more than the thickness of a quarter (i.e. if I set something down on one tile I can easily slide a quarter along the lower tile until it hits the side of the higher tile). My contractor has been trying to tell me that I'm being to picky and I wanted some hard evidence (something better than "I can feel it through my shoes!") that I'm not.

So it seems I'm not too picky and this doesn't meet industry standards so I'm going to insist that the lippage be reduced to at most the industry standard.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:26 PM   #7
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A QUARTER! Holy spare change, Batman! A quarter is approximately .067" or 3.2 times the allowable lippage. What your contractor should really be saying is that he lacks either the skill or the patience to get it right. Ask him to go down to the local Lowe's and pick up one of these. Many pros wouldn't be caught dead with one but an accomplished pro wouldn't leave lippage of .067" on granite tile either.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicole
I had come across the table that Bob included, but my tiles are larger than the largest listed there and my googling suggested that "pavers" are concrete or brick, so not applicable to what I have.
Nicole, your tiles are not bigger than "all" in those tables.

And in the tile industry a paver is a general term for a floor tile.

All that table applies to all your ceramic tiles. Keep in mind that if your tiles are not advertised as having met the standards of ANSI A137.1 they can be as warped and uneven as they wanna be an not be in excess of the industry standards, eh?

Again, the standards for lippage are those allowed in excess of the variation in the tiles themselves. Your quarter's worth of lippage might fall within the standards if your tiles don't.

Or it may be a really bad installation.

[Edit]

I now see that you are using natural stone tiles. All of the above applies to ceramic tile. I honestly don't know if the MIA has a standard for lippage in stone tile installations.



My opinion; worth price charged.
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Last edited by cx; 08-16-2010 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:29 PM   #9
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Sounds like a 'tile' installer trying to install stone.

Stone is more expensive to install than tile because of the extra care that must be taken (basically installing every tile twice) to ensure that lippage is kept to a minimum.

Did your 'installer' check the coverage on the back of any of the installed tiles?

Also, a medium bed mortar is preferred in case the substrate isn't perfect (they never are) because they allow buildup to compensate for substrate undulation.

Building up 'thinsets' is the main reason for lippage on stone installations. Everything looks good at the time of installation, then the settling begins.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CX
I honestly don't know if the MIA has a standard for lippage in stone tile installations.
Neither do I but I figured it couldn't be worse than what they "allow" for a slab countertop installation. Page 5 of their homeowner's guide for kitchen counter tops outlines allowable lippage. The file was too big to upload here but you can download it from the MIA website. Maybe a member of the MIA could chime in. Like I said you have to be a member to get the "good" info and articles. Whether there is a standard or not, I can't imagine any professional would be O.K. with .067" lippage.

Where did you purchase the granite, Nicole? Were the tiles checked for uniformity? Are the grout joints consistent in width? Is the lippage the same across the entire tile? At this point you may want to investigate having the entire floor honed and polished. May be an alternative solution to something that could get worse by trying to remove and reset tiles.

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Old 08-16-2010, 09:17 PM   #11
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Thanks, again. Can someone explain what it means that the tile has to be installed twice with stone?

Based on your replies I googled stone tile lippage and found this:

http://www.proconweb.com/content-fil...one%20tile.pdf

Am I correct in reading page 2 to mean that the acceptable lippage is 1/32"?

This is the tile:

http://www.rona.ca/shop/~tiles-absol...ute-black_shop
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:28 PM   #12
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Nichole,

When setting stone, the thinset is spread on the floor and the tile is set on it. Then slightly smooshed into place, maybe rubber mallet-ed. Then its checked against the neighboring tiles. Many times the tiles aren't flat with each other, so the offending tile is removed, more thinset added and the tile replaced. Sometimes more than once. Once the tile is left alone, gravity takes over. If the thinset is too thin, its very warm, or too much air was left under the tiles, the tiles can sink creating lippage where none existed. In this scenario, the tiles often sink unevenly making the lippage more apparent.

Skill, experience, and TLS can greatly reduce the amount of times a tile is set before its flat with its neighbors.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:40 PM   #13
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Yes, Nicole, but you must read it in context, eh?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicole's referenced PROCON article
and a finished surface flatness tolerance of 1/8 inch in 10 feet, with no greater
than 1/32 inch lippage or elevation variance between individual tiles.
Unfortunately, there is no distinction in this recommendation between lippage
caused by variations in installation of lippage caused by stone tile dimensional
irregularities.
They're pointing out what we've been describing to you in the tile industry standards. If you don't take into consideration the irregularities in the tiles you're setting, it's very difficult to have any sort of "standard" for lippage issues. Is it your stone, or your stone installer? That's why the ceramic tile industry developed the standards they have.

I think we'd need to see your floor to make any sort of reasonable evaluation of the installation.

But, as the customer, if you're not happy, it's not a fully satisfactory installation. Is it within bounds for a professional installation? Dunno. But the thickness of a quarter is quite a lot of lippage.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:43 PM   #14
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CX, she says its 12x12 polished granite. I am assuming they are the ones I normally install, which are pert near perfect 12x12's, all 3/8" thick.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:01 PM   #15
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Well, I'm trying not to assume anything here, Paul. Just lookin' for the problem, eh?

On accounta with flat tiles of consistent thickness on a well prepared substrate, even I can give her less than that 1/16th" lippage she's describing. Most of the time, anyway.

Not sure I'm following BSD's calculation of the thickness of a quarter bein' 3.2 times the allowable lippage of 1/32nd of an inch, but my quarters ain't but about a sixteenth of an inch thick. I ain't throwed a micrometer on one of late, though.

Geeez! Maybe one more thing I'm gettin' shorted on, eh?
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