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    Tips & Tricks For Working with Plank Tiles

  • Wood look tile is becoming one of the most common choices for clients who plan on installing an entire home of tile. As the planks get larger and longer, the installation difficulty increases significantly. Plank tile can be one of the most difficult types of tile to work with and install because of its shape.

    Below are some tips and tricks for working with plank and large format tile:

    Step 1: Prep, prep, prep! Floor prep is the most important thing when it comes to any flooring installation, but especially for plank tile.

    Step 2: Inspect your material before installation. When any tile is produced, it is heated (or fired) and cooled which causes the edges of the tile to bend or bow slightly. The bow is often visible when examining each tile individually, but it becomes even more apparent when the tiles are laid in certain patterns that accentuate the imperfections, which often show up as “lippage.” Lippage is when the edge of one tile sits higher than the edge of the tile directly next to it, causing a ledge or lip. If the tile is rectified, this lip can be sharp and even more visible to the naked eye.

    Step 3: Installation and Tips. Now that your floor is nice and flat and your tiles look to be in good condition, it’s time to start your install! There are a few tips I’d consider, though, before jumping into things!

    1. Use a leveling system! This will help you level each tile to “perfection.” You will want to be sure to use a thinset that is approved for use with a leveling system. The system uses a clip that sits beneath and in between each tile and a wedge used to bring the two tiles to the same level.
    2. Use a RANDOM pattern! Random is scary and difficult to explain to clients but truly looks best if you’ve chosen a wood look product. Real wood tends to come in random lengths which results in a random installation. Although your tile will be all the same length throughout, starting with a different size plank with each row will allow you to randomize the grout lines to create a more realistic look.
    3. Choose grout that is close to the color of your tile! You want the grout lines to blend into the floor as a whole. Wood doesn’t have grout (and no one loves grout) so it’s best to choose something that blends well. BEFORE grouting, go through your project and be sure there is no obvious lippage between tiles. It is much easier to replace tiles that have yet to be grouted.

    Step 4: Enjoy your new floors! They’re easy to clean, extremely durable and will likely last a lifetime.