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Unread 02-01-2019, 10:08 AM   #1
THEVQ
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Large format tile in a 34 x 60 shower?

We are in the process of planning our master bath remodel.

Our plan is to have a plumber install a custom solid surface shower base, and my husband will then complete and install the appropriate materials (cement board, etc). He will install the tile. Our shower is 34 x 60 in size.

A word about my husbands experience level: He worked in construction for 30 years, and in that time work on projects laying both floor tile and wall tile. We built our last house ourselves (acting as general contractor)--he tiled the 3 bathrooms. He has also done tile work (back splashes, etc) for friends and relatives. He does beautiful tile work, and is very meticulous. BUT--he is not a professional tile setter-which leads me to my question:

I am looking at 12 x 24 ceramic or porcelain tile. I like the look of the large format tile, and also it will minimize grout lines. He is concerned about using that size tile, as we have read about "lipage" issues with the larger tiles. We have looked at a tile leveling system at our local tile showroom--but would like some advice on using one.

Any advice of using large format tile in a shower this size?

All advice and suggestions appreciated!
Thanks!
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Unread 02-01-2019, 10:19 AM   #2
John Bridge
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Hi Diana,

Large tiles in showers have been the trend for many years now. If the walls are flat they are no harder to set than smaller pieces.
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Unread 02-01-2019, 10:20 AM   #3
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Welcome, Diana

The biggest considerations in use of those large format tiles is the flatness of the tiles and the flatness of the substrate.

Do the tiles you're selecting meet the requirements of ANSI A137.1? Should indicate so on the packaging or advertising information. If they do, you'll have some idea what to expect as there are requirements for flatness in that standard. If they don't, you're guaranteed to get exactly what's in the box.

The tile industry substrate flatness requirement for tile that size is no deviation from intended plane of more than 1/8th" in ten feet nor 1/16th" in two feet. That's a very flat surface and you'll be glad to have it when you start laying those tiles.

One of the mechanical lipppage control systems can be of value in setting those tiles. If you'll type leveling into the Advanced Search feature and limit your search parameter to the Professionals' Hangout, you'll find more information on those systems than you might ever wanna read. HINT: They have nothing at all to do with leveling anything, they simply help to control lippage. You still hafta know how to set tiles, which your spouse apparently does.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-01-2019, 10:25 AM   #4
THEVQ
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Thanks!

Thanks for your quick replies!

I do plan on buying a good quality tile, and definitely won't be buying out of the bin from a big box store! I've read some bad reviews about the iffy quality of Big Box store tiles.
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Unread 02-01-2019, 11:49 AM   #5
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Big Box tiles are not always bad and tile store tiles are not always good, Diana, which is why I point out the A137.1 standard.
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Unread 02-01-2019, 01:20 PM   #6
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If he didn't do it on previous installations, then he should know that it's very important when setting large format tiles to have mortar on both the substrate and the tile. One will have the mortar combed out, the other will have a skim coat with the flat edge of the trowel.
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Unread 02-01-2019, 01:50 PM   #7
clifton clowers
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I don't mean to thread jack here, but this brings up a question - is there a reason one cannot skim coat the wall with mortar, and then back butter and comb the mortar on the tile itself? Is doing it the other way convention, or is there a technical reason for how it is done?
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Unread 02-01-2019, 01:58 PM   #8
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Either way will work, Clifton. I often do it the way you described, depending on the size of the tile and how much space I have to work.

Try mudding a 24x48 tile within a 36" space. It ain't easy.
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Unread 02-01-2019, 05:48 PM   #9
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One big consideration to using large tile in a shower is whether they are slippery when wet. One of major reasons smaller tile is used (other than the fact it's easier to fit them to a typical bowl-shaped shower) is that the extra grout joints provide more grip when standing in there with water running and soap, shampoo, conditioners, etc. are draining away. While larger format tile can work well in a linear shower, not great if you fall flat on your back in the process.
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Unread 02-01-2019, 11:02 PM   #10
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Stagger tile in 1/3 increments, not in half. Too much possibility of lippage.

And definitely use tile levelers, worth learning.

I would also design pattern on wall first, its easy to just start on a wall and go, but it will look better designing a symmetrical pattern.

May use extra tile, but doing pattern preplanning can make a big difference in looks.
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Unread 02-01-2019, 11:33 PM   #11
THEVQ
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Thanks for the additional replies!

RE: The slippery/safety issue--we won't be using the large format tiles on the shower base. We plan on a sold surface base with a non-slip surface.

RE: 1/3 offset--Thanks for that handy hint! I suppose stacked tiles would be worse yet? (of course, that is my preference!)

I'm sure I'll be back with MANY more questions before this project is finished. I'm glad I found such a wonderful resource!
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Unread 02-02-2019, 12:32 AM   #12
jadnashua
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If your tile are unusually flat, you can get by with any stagger you want but most will not support that. The rationale for not doing a 50% offset is that if the tile are bowed or warped, that will put the highest point next to the lowest one of the adjacent tile...offsetting them less minimizes that effect.
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Unread 02-02-2019, 01:37 AM   #13
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Stacked would be ideal, with respect to lippage.
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