CTEF Tile Tip: Is a Balanced Tile Layout Really Difficult to Achieve?
In order to deliver an eye-pleasing tile installation, the tile mechanic needs to follow all the tile industry standards and best practices when possible. One of these requirements calls for the tile to be centered and balanced as we shall see.
ANSI A108.02 section 4.3.1 states, “Center and balance areas of tile, if possible” and section 4.3.2 states, “An excessive amount of cuts shall not be made. Usually, no cuts smaller than half size should be made. Make all cuts on the outer edges of the field.”
Using these two ANSI standards, we can immediately see several deficiencies in the attached photo. You will observe that there is a full tile along the carpet (which includes a protective metal profile) at the lower side of the photo, but the cut at the door has issues. First, the cut is 4” which is not balanced with the full tile at the carpet. Additionally, the tile does not extend under the center of the door which allows the carpet to show on the tile side of the door. This is not starting off well. If we consider the center and balance standard, we find a full-sized 12” x 24” tile on the left side and a 1-1/2” cut on the right are not balanced, nor is the 12” tile at the hallway carpet balanced at the door. Clearly neither one of them look acceptable.
While the installer did meet the first part of the second standard requirement by placing all the cuts at the outer edges of the field (along the wall), he did not follow the “no cuts smaller than half size” rule. The problem we see is that while the tile on the left is a full twenty-four inches, the one on the right is a sliver at 1-1/2”.
In order to fix this imbalance on the left and right tiles, simply add the nominal 24” tile to the 1-1/2” cut or 25-1/2”. Divide 25-1/2” by two and get 12-3/4”. The tile on the left and right walls would be 12-3/4” with one full tile in the middle. The cuts on the other sides should have also been balanced.
However, the problem actually began in the restroom which is through the door on the left. The restroom floor was just under six feet or three 12” x 24” tiles which brought the grout joint to the hallway side of the jamb. The logic here includes: full tile at the back wall of the rest room, an almost full tile along inside of the rest room wall at the doorway, and a full tile along the left side of the hallway. That does makes sense, but the sliver cut on the right side ruins the entire installation.
The bottom line here is that the installation looks bad. But the real issue is that when people view this kind of incompetence, in the back of their mind, they say something like, “If installed tile looks like that, I don’t want it in my home or business”. With this thought, the tile industry gets another black eye and the consumer will select a different product for his or her next project. When this happens, everyone in the tile industry loses.
Think about it and do it right, the first time. When there are deficiencies in a tile installation, the tile industry gets another black eye and the consumer will select a different product for his or her next project.