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Unread 09-07-2019, 03:21 PM   #1
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Tile size for shower floor???

I'm going to be tiling our bath and in the shower we will be using the Schluter pre-sloped styrofoam base with a center drain. It will be about 40 inches square.

Is there any reason I can't use large tile, effectively cut into triangles (with the peak truncated at the drain) so that each of the four pitched sides of the styrofoam base has only one tile and the only grout lines are the outer perimiter and where each segment butts up to the next?

At the tile store they said 4" x 4" is the largest that can be used for a center drain shower flooor, but I don't believe it. Thoughts?

Thanks guys.

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Unread 09-07-2019, 03:53 PM   #2
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If you have a grout line along the 'creases' towards the drain, especially on a manufactured pan that is essentially perfect, yes it will work, but you may not want to do it that way. Not that many tile have enough wet friction to make it safe on the sloped floor. Grout joints add grip in those situations.

The generic reason for size limitations is so that you minimize lippage when trying to conform to the bowl-shaped pan. Most people don't or can't adequately make the pan four perfectly flat surfaces with that 'fold' that would be required to support large format tiles. The other main reason is safety while wet from slipping.
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Unread 09-07-2019, 06:46 PM   #3
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Any time I use square tiles for the shower floor, I always center the layout with the drain. In my opinion, the drain is the first thing your eye goes to when looking at the floor. Here's a pic of 6 inch tiles and I have used 8 inch before. But, I try to use 2, 3 or 4 inch.

They wanted a border around the shower so the small tiles you see are spacers pieces that I later pulled out. The border had the same small mosaics like is on the front of the seat.
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Unread 09-07-2019, 07:50 PM   #4
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If you had a linear near drain at one end you could get away with that. But you'd never make large format tile work with a centered drain.

Speaking of which, if the drain isn't perfectly centered, it'll look even more out of place when you use large tile and try to have grout joints from the each corner of the shower to the corners of the drain.

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Unread 09-07-2019, 08:12 PM   #5
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Even if everything else was perfect and the geometry worked out well, the relatively slippery floor is the big reason for me not to do it. I really don't like the feeling of standing on a surface I don't have a good grip on.

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Unread 09-08-2019, 06:44 PM   #6
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Very nice tile work Davy
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Unread 09-08-2019, 11:40 PM   #7
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My quick math says that in order to do a 40 inch square base with just 4 triangles would require a tile over 28 inches square before cutting. That would also require a cutter with a capacity of at least 40 inches. Those are some pretty big challenges to cut and install.

Another complication is that if the base is built with 4 perfectly sloped sides, then the triangles will not have their point be an exact 90 degree angle. Some edges of the triangles would need a very slight taper ripped off them or the grout lines would show a substantial taper. (The same circumstance occurs with small tile but with multiple grout lines the effect is spread over enough joints to be effectively hidden.)

As others have said, smaller tile increases real friction. In my home shower with linear drain I cut 18 inch tile down to 6 inches just to increase the friction. I think they are still almost too large.
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