wozza

Tile Levelling Systems

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I was speaking to yet another tiler a few days ago to get a quote, he comes highly recommended and I have seen pictures of his work.

 

I explained to the tiler that we will be using 1200 x 1200 large format tiles, he said no problem, I then asked if he used a tile levelling system, he replied that he had never used one for the last 15 years so why start now. His price is fair, he knew all the answers to the questions I asked, he recommended using a decoupling matt etc and also spoke about making his own expansion joint rather than pre bought as we need one due to the size of the area.

 

We have asked him to tile one of the en-suites (floor and walls with a niche)  before doing the main extension floor area of 82sqm so we will get a good idea of how good his work is.

 

So my questions to everyone (but especially to @nod and @Nickfromwales as they seem to be the resident tile experts) are:

 

1 is it necessary to use a tile levelling system especially on 1200 x 1200 large format tiles?  

2 does any one use a tile vibrator to level the tiles? he did not mention this but I have seen videos of people using them to bed the tile down so I am curious.

3 would you use a pre made expansion joint or make your own from trim and colour matched silicon?

4 how much if any lippage is acceptable? 

5 are there any questions that I should be asking him.

 

Thanks in advance :)

 

Edited by wozza

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are handy 

Some use them most don’t 

I’ve been a tiling 40 years and never have 

Thiugh I hadn’t used Ditra till 15 years ago 

 

I’ve four tilers work for me 

None use them and there work is perfect 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t ever needed to use them, and I have produced “exemplary” work consistently........where the tile will permit it. 
Where I have tiled with less than exemplary results is when a tile has a curve or ‘cup’ ( and some even dog ears ) where it is impossible to get zero lip / kickers. 
With a 1200mm x 1200mm tile, there may be merit in using the levelling system as at that size the tile will bend slightly. That may allow the tiler to get above expected results so I’m on the fence at that size. 
Without the levelling system you are 100% at the mercy of the tile. 
Best you choose a good tile and allow the fitter to use whatever they want to fit it, as they will be making the promise of a good quality job, not us. ;) 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@wozza who is buying the tiles and where are they from in the world ..?? I’ve seen some lovely large format work but the tiles were eye watering in price but they were millimetre perfect. I’ve seen some 900x900 in some of the better tile shops that if you back to back them there is a 5-6mm rocker across them so your lipping will be dependant on laying pattern. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks guys :)

 

We will be buying the tiles but we have not 100% chosen the floor tiles yet - One tile that we like is about £45 a tile and from Italy, they do seem very flat although its only a smallish sample and textured on the top so hard to tell.

 

One problem I have found is that tile shops seem to be very secretive about the tiles and seem to rename them with their own reference, possibly to stop people finding them on other sites?

 

 

Edited by wozza

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, wozza said:

£45 a tile

 

39 minutes ago, wozza said:

to stop people finding them on other sites?

LOOK HARDER !!

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It may be a case of 20 years time tilers looking back and saying I can remember the older guys not using self leveling kits 
When I started all the wall tiles had lugs on them So there was no need for spacers 

Up and till 20 years ago we would mix a bucket of floor grout and simply tip it on the floor Push it around with a squeegee on a broom handle 

That way a tiler could grout a 100 mtr Or Yard 😀 section of floor in an afternoon 

Then tip wood shavings on and sweep for a clean polished floor 

More importantly it filled any voids under the tiles and gave you a rock solid floor Car showroom standard 


If someone in my employ wanted to use these kits I wouldn’t have a problem As long as they didn’t expect me to pay for the kits 

With most tilers laying 30 m2 per day on large floors It would soon add up 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, nod said:

It may be a case of 20 years time tilers looking back and saying I can remember the older guys not using self leveling kits 
When I started all the wall tiles had lugs on them So there was no need for spacers 

Up and till 20 years ago we would mix a bucket of floor grout and simply tip it on the floor Push it around with a squeegee on a broom handle 

That way a tiler could grout a 100 mtr Or Yard 😀 section of floor in an afternoon 

Then tip wood shavings on and sweep for a clean polished floor 

More importantly it filled any voids under the tiles and gave you a rock solid floor Car showroom standard 


If someone in my employ wanted to use these kits I wouldn’t have a problem As long as they didn’t expect me to pay for the kits 

With most tilers laying 30 m2 per day on large floors It would soon add up 

 I can see the attraction for DIY and also if the surface is not totally flat to start with 

but probably comes down to getting the prep and the base surface right before any tiling starts 

 

I know  i had a problem with 600mm tiles on my wooden suspended floor over my ufh -

my fault made the assumption that it would be flat   all over as it was chipboard 

--only when  i started did  i find some floor beams were not same height caused dips etc 

i should have checked better and got it flat before commencement of tiling

 the result was I used twice the flex adhesive i should have done to fill in  undulations get all things level and edges all correct 

20 years on it all still fine 

 and yes for my job they would have been very helpful

measure 3 times,  mark twice ,cut once

needless to say i won,t get caught that way again

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, scottishjohn said:

 I can see the attraction for DIY and also if the surface is not totally flat to start with 

but probably comes down to getting the prep and the base surface right before any tiling starts 

 

I know  i had a problem with 600mm tiles on my wooden suspended floor over my ufh -

my fault made the assumption that it would be flat   all over as it was chipboard 

--only when  i started did  i find some floor beams were not same height caused dips etc 

i should have checked better and got it flat before commencement of tiling

 the result was I used twice the flex adhesive i should have done to fill in  undulations get all things level and edges all correct 

20 years on it all still fine 

 and yes for my job they would have been very helpful

measure 3 times,  mark twice ,cut once

needless to say i won,t get caught that way again

 

This is the difference with car showrooms hotels etc that I price for 

ALL the floors are level and flat before we start 

I have a floor laser for measuring fall and undulation

I mark out the bad areas and they can either sort them out Or pay us 
We have floor planners and will often have to use a pallet of self-leveling on a floor that’s only a couple of hundred m2 


Most floor problems are caused by to much adhesive under the tile and to little in other places 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, nod said:

Most floor problems are caused by to much adhesive under the tile and to little in other places 

I will definately have gone towards too much  when i did it .lol

but no problems so far 

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great professional input from Nod and Nick so here is my experience from the DIY side.

Many systems are available but I chose an Italian branded wedge system. Can’t remember the name (Feram........ or something) it was highly recommended on the tiling forums and I liked the wedge idea the best as it looked stronger and provided good surface area contact so I reckoned on having a better chance of getting tiles level.

The floor was levelled and checked prior to tiling. Tiles are 300 x 300 quartz. The area is a long hallway which I wanted no lippage to be felt underfoot or to be seen as it would drive me mad and the job needed to be finished quickly.

None of my tiler contacts will work for me personally (too picky) and none have used such levelling systems as it adds to the cost and most clients won’t want the additional costs or are not that knowledgeable about the finish.

So, tiles went down quickly and at the time of working I could feel no lippage using an engineers straight edge. Next day after snapping the wedges and grouting I could and can see that the surface is not the perfection I had hoped for.

My prep was spot on. Did I check the tiles before laying for flatness? can’t remember. Inexperienced user? Yes, but I am a skilled guy and have done a lot of tiling (modest too).

I reckon my finish would have been just as good without using these only it would have taken me a lot longer to do.

I would like to try another job to see if I am putting too much faith or expectation in my tile levellers. In theory at least, you should get a perfect finish, hmmm.

I had a couple of the lads around for an honest opinion and they think the job is fine and can’t see the problem.

My parents have just had their extension tiled with large format tiles and the tiler (builder recommended j didn’t use such a system. Lippage is obvious.

No right or wrong here, just what people are comfortable working with I suppose but using these systems does not guarantee a perfectly level tiled finish IMO

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A really good old school tiler doesn't need a levelling system. A bad tiller will mess up the job with or without a levelling system.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, SiBee said:

Great professional input from Nod and Nick so here is my experience from the DIY side.

Many systems are available but I chose an Italian branded wedge system. Can’t remember the name (Feram........ or something) it was highly recommended on the tiling forums and I liked the wedge idea the best as it looked stronger and provided good surface area contact so I reckoned on having a better chance of getting tiles level.

The floor was levelled and checked prior to tiling. Tiles are 300 x 300 quartz. The area is a long hallway which I wanted no lippage to be felt underfoot or to be seen as it would drive me mad and the job needed to be finished quickly.

None of my tiler contacts will work for me personally (too picky) and none have used such levelling systems as it adds to the cost and most clients won’t want the additional costs or are not that knowledgeable about the finish.

So, tiles went down quickly and at the time of working I could feel no lippage using an engineers straight edge. Next day after snapping the wedges and grouting I could and can see that the surface is not the perfection I had hoped for.

My prep was spot on. Did I check the tiles before laying for flatness? can’t remember. Inexperienced user? Yes, but I am a skilled guy and have done a lot of tiling (modest too).

I reckon my finish would have been just as good without using these only it would have taken me a lot longer to do.

I would like to try another job to see if I am putting too much faith or expectation in my tile levellers. In theory at least, you should get a perfect finish, hmmm.

I had a couple of the lads around for an honest opinion and they think the job is fine and can’t see the problem.

My parents have just had their extension tiled with large format tiles and the tiler (builder recommended j didn’t use such a system. Lippage is obvious.

No right or wrong here, just what people are comfortable working with I suppose but using these systems does not guarantee a perfectly level tiled finish IMO

 

 

May I suggest changing your username to FuSee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now