The tile industry has established installation standards in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) documents to guide all involved: the design professional, the general contractor and the tile installer. The ANSI specifications further provide the consumer, whether commercial or residential, with reasonable expectations of a finished tile installation.

Listed below are the errors made on this job and the appropriate ANSI specification found in A108.02, General Requirements: Materials, Environmental, and Workmanship.

1. The cut tile on the left is 1-3/4” while the cut on the right is 1-1/4”. They are almost balanced which means that they are close in size, but not exactly the same. 

ANSI A108.02-4.3.1 Center and balance areas of tile, if possible.

2. The left and right cuts are very small and many times, in the tile industry, are known as sliver cuts which quickly draw the viewer’s attention. They may not know what is wrong, but they do know that something isn’t right with this installation.

ANSI A108.02-4.3.2 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.  

This eyesore and the two problems above could be easily eliminated and would be in compliance with the ANSI requirements by adding the two small pieces together plus the width of one full tile, as in this example: 1-3/4” + 1-1/4” + 11-3/4” = 14-3/4”. Divide this number by two to obtain the proper balance and equal tile size on either side: 14-3/4” ÷ 2 = 7-3/8”.

3. The vertical inside corners were filled with cementitious grout that dries hard and brittle allowing no movement. The result of this “get it done quickly” trick yields unsightly cracked grout joints extending from the floor to the wood border. This lack of movement can cause other issues which may result in the failure of the tile installation.

ANSI A108.01-4.4.1 Movement joints are required over all construction, control, and expansion joints in the backing and where backing materials change or change direction including terminations of tilework where it abuts restraining or dissimilar surfaces.

ANSI A108.02-4.4.2 Movement joints are a requirement for tilework.

ANSI A108.02-4.4.3 Movement joints shall be kept free and clear of all setting and grouting materials.

Completed correctly within the ANSI specifications, exemplifying work done by qualified labor provides all involved with an installation that will be easy on the eyes and will stand the test of time.