Often, designers and clients will ask for a standard brick layout for their floor and wall tiles, also known as a 50% offset pattern. This differs from most packaging installation instructions, which state the brick pattern should be offset by a minimum 33%. This type of pattern requires more tiles and additional expense for the client. So, what are the reasons tile manufacturers use this approach, and is it important to follow it in real-world installations?
Lippage and Lighting Problems
Most of the time, using the 50% offset brick pattern on floor tile installations results in lippage or may cause shadowing problems under lighting. (Note: lippage refers to elevational differences between adjacent tiles that can cause a lip to stick out.)
On walls in particular, lippage can become an issue which is amplified depending upon lighting and where shadows fall. This delivers a less aesthetically pleasing result.
Industry Standards and Manufacturer Recommendations
Manufacturers and industry standard guidelines recommend 33% or less offset used for tiles with one or more sides of 15 inches or greater.
This is necessary because when ceramic tile is heated to high temperatures and cooled in the kiln, a certain level of warpage does occur.
While this is a natural result of the process which cannot be completely eliminated, most modern tile manufacturers do a great job of minimizing warpage.
There are also limits in place for how much warpage a tile can have, detailed in the industry standard, ANSI A137.1
To minimize risk of lippage during installation due to warpage on larger tiles, a 33% or less offset is recommended.
Working with a Qualified Installer
It is often the responsibility of the contractor to explain to the designer and client the reasons for these standards and how the extra expense is worthwhile, as it yields a better result.
An experienced installation contractor with excellent working knowledge of industry standards and best practices will clarify the reasons a 50% offset pattern is unsuitable.
At Garmon, our team members will communicate the best method to deliver an excellent tiling result, utilizing mock-ups as a key element of demonstrating the expected outcome.