Floor tiling with very large tiles

Recently, the use of larger tiles has become common practice. This has placed extra burden of the adhesive used, which needs to be highly flexible and allow for easy bedding.

Common issues and queries you can face

Tiling large tiles

Floor tiling with very large tiles

The recent trend has been for tiles to become larger, with tiles larger than 60 x 60 cm commonplace. This adds to the requirements from the adhesive, particularly where there is likely to be some movement or vibration. The adhesive needs to be highly flexible and should allow easy bedding of large tiles.

Temperature and moisture changes

Substrates move slightly with changes in temperature and moisture

When a substrate expands or contracts slightly due to changes in temperature or water content, the tile being of a different material will change by a different amount. This can arise for a number of reasons, for example:

  • Shrinkage in a screed as it dries.
  • Thermal expansion in hot weather.
  • Moisture-induced expansion on getting waterlogged.
  • Thermal cycling of under-floor/ under-tile warming systems.

High strain levels

Larger tiles suffer higher strain levels than smaller tiles

  • The increase in strain is cumulative across the width of the tile i.e. the further a contact point is from the centre of a tile the more adjacent points in the tile and the substrate will be stretched away from each other.
  • So for a given set of circumstances, a smaller tile will be less likely to delaminate than a larger one.

Stress by deflection

Large tiles are placed under more stress by any deflection in the floor

  • When a non-rigid substrate deflects, the rigid tile cannot.
  • For a given deflection in the substrate, the chord height that the tile tries to bridge will be higher for larger tiles.
  • This results in higher stresses and therefore requires greater flexibility in the adhesive to prevent failure when fixing larger tiles.