Large Format Tile Installation
Guide To Thin Gauged Porcelain Panels
WHAT ARE THIN GAUGED PORCELAIN PANELS?
Over the last decade, designs for porcelain tile and the technology behind how
products are made have both advanced quickly. One result of this advancement has
been the widespread availability of large format tiles with reduced thickness (typically 6mm). More so than ever before, consumers are interested in these so called thin porcelain panels.
Extra-large format porcelain tiles otherwise known as porcelain slabs, cover bigger areas and need less breaks and spaces (grout lines and growth joints) and produce the impression of a monolithic, smooth surface. As tile installers specializing in porcelain panel installation, we ensure that the installation also meets guidelines set by the manufacturer as well as ANSI A108.19 and ANSI A137.3.
Porcelain slabs for shower walls is a very popular way to tile walls in 2022. It limits grout joints and makes for an easy to clean shower floor and wall
Porcelain slabs for shower walls can cost anywhere between $25-$30 per square foot.
These large porcelain tiles can be also used as fireplace tiles which in the case of statuario porcelain slabs, they can be book matched to create an amazing look with these big slab tiles.
Many times they are used as porcelain wall panels to give a room a feature wall.
WHAT DOES “LARGE FORMAT TILE” REALLY MEAN?
Large format tiles are technically specified as those having one side longer than 60 cm. However, large porcelain slabs can be as large as 5 feet by 10 feet. These very big tiles are what most people refer to when they mean thin gauged porcelain tile. These porcelain panels are often 6mm in thickness which is why they called them thin gauged porcelain panels.
WHAT ARE THE PORCELAIN PANEL INSTALLATION STEPS THAT WE TAKE?
STEP 1: PLAN THE TILE LAYOUT
Layout is critical to an aesthetically pleasing gauged porcelain tile installation. Tile layouts should be centered and balanced as much as possible with respect to the tiled area and any specific focal points. Depending on if these big tiles are going into a shower or a fireplace, we analyze the best layout for the situation. In most cases when we are planning the layout, we are consulting with the client to make sure they are happy before we proceed with the thin gauged porcelain panel installation.
STEP 2: TESTING THE LAYOUT STRATEGY
Using a computer generated render of the space and the tile to be installed, we do a render in order to make sure that you are satisfied with the layout. Even if we need to move a half an inch, we’ll catch it here before the porcelain panels go up.
STEP 3: PLAN FOR SAFETY
We also want to make sure the installation of these porcelain panels are going to be safe by using approved installation methods as per ANSI A108.19. We use proper trowels to ensure proper coverage of each tile as well as making sure we are back buttering every single porcelain panel that is installed.
STEP 4: USING PROFESSIONAL MATERIALS
Thin gauged porcelain panels require special thinset mortar in order to be properly bonded to the substrate without risk of cracks or worse, falling off the wall! Not only do we want close to 100% coverage, we use only approved professional grade thinset and grout for the installation of these big porcelain tiles.
STEP 5: PORCELAIN PANEL INSTALLATION
We follow ANSI A108.19 and all TCNA recommendations for the installation of thin gauged porcelain panels. To assure that the tiles do not crack from point load or impact, we ensure that the mortar coverage is greater than 80% for interior walls, 85% for interior floors and 95% for exterior and wet area installations, ensuring that all corners and edges are fully (100%) supported with thinset.
HANDLING OF THIN GAUGED PORCELAIN PANELS
The big tiles are typically managed and moved around on the job site using suction cups and stiff assistance frames. Managing big tiles likewise needs a correct number of tile installers who install porcelain panels.
The substrate to which large format tiles are bonded, especially when utilizing thinner tiles, should be completely flat. This requirement is appropriate for the installation of flooring and wall tiles in basic, however it ends up being even more vital when installing large format and slim ceramic tiles.
It deserves bearing in mind that substrates on which porcelain slabs are to be bonded need to be level and flat in order for the best coverage to be obtained.