A guide to laying large format tiles

Large Format Tiles

In recent years large format tiles have become a popular choice, thanks to their easy maintenance and ability to visually increase the size of the room. However, as tiles increase in size, there are some steps you will need to follow to ensure a successful high-quality installation.

Useful tools and accessories

  1. Baseboard panels
  2. Montolit Superstick
  3. Montolit Moto Flash Line
  4. Python adhesive
  5. Mixing bucket
  6. Mechanical stirrer
  7. 10mm notched trowel
  8. 4mm notched trowel
  9. Hard rubber float
  10. Levelling system
  11. Python CS Tile Grout High Flex

Step 1: Create a flat surface

It is important to ensure that the wall or floor surface is perfectly flat, so that one edge of the tile does not sit higher than the adjacent tile, an issue known as lippage. According to the BS 5385 standards, when the tiled area is checked with a 2m level, the difference in height should not exceed 3mm.

A great option are our Baseboard Panels, which are suitable for use on metal and timber stud work, or on existing walls and floors which are uneven or unstable. The boards will create a stable, flat and impervious surface which is ready for tiling.


Step 2: Consider tile handling

Before moving any tiles, it is important to consider how they can be moved safely, bearing in mind the large size and fragility of these tiles. There are a variety of tile lifting systems available, such as our Montolit Superstick, which will ensure tiles remain safe, stable and flat during transportation. This particular system is designed for large format tiles measuring more than 300x150mm and will offer tiles a flexible solution thanks to its modular form.

Before using the lifting frame, you should ensure the tile surface is completely clean and free of dust. If there are any protective layers or dust on the tiles surface, this could prevent the frame from being able to suction correctly.


Step 3: Cutting a large format tile

If any of the large format tiles need to be cut to size before laying, they should be transferred to a stable base. The Montolit Moto Flash Line is designed to cut porcelain tiles and slabs up to 20mm thick, with all the advantages of a manual flash line cutter. Its patented locking system, motorised head and professional diamond blade are ideal for making precise cuts in large format tiles.


Step 4: Choose the correct adhesive


There are a variety of potential adhesives available, so it is important to choose the correct choice for large format tiles. Our Python adhesives are ideal choice for fixing large format tiles, thanks to their brilliant workability and non-slip properties. As polymer modified cement-based adhesives, they are specially formulated for use with many tile types, including natural stone, porcelain and ceramic.

Your chosen adhesive should be poured into a PVC bucket and mixed with the correct amount of water using a mechanical stirrer. Begin by stirring for roughly 3 minutes and then leave for 2 minutes before remixing, this will allow the polymer to create a smooth adhesive paste which is free of any lumps.

When it comes to large format tiles, it is important not to take any risks. This means using a solid bed fixing, with a thin layer of adhesive set over the substrate, which should then be combed with a 10mm notched trowel. The ribs of adhesive should be parallel to the shortest length of the tile, with all lines running in the same direction.

Another layer of the adhesive is then applied to the back of the tile using a 4mm trowel. To ensure even coverage, the ribs should be applied to run in the same direction as the lines in the back of the tile. It is good practice to lift a tile occasionally to check the coverage of adhesive and ensure the correct bedding level is being achieved. If any ribs are visible, this will indicate insufficient coverage and that more adhesive is required.


Step 5: Lifting the tile into place

Once the adhesive is applied correctly, the lifting frame can then be used to position the tile in place, Next, you will need a hard rubber float to compact the tile and remove any air, as it is important that the tile achieves 100% contact with the adhesive and the reverse of the tile.


Step 6: Levelling the tile

Once the tile is in place and compacted, a tile levelling system can then be used to create even and level joints. A great example is our LevTec Levelling System Kit, which includes tile spacer clips, wedges and pliers.

The system is designed to create a flawless tiled finish and can be used with tile thicknesses between 3 and 12mm. Simply position the clips beneath the edge of the tile where it will act as a spacer when the next tile is butted against it. To ensure the correct grout widths when using the LevTec system, 3mm or 5mm clips should be used alongside the LevTec clips. Once the tile is positioned in place, the wedge can be fitted to ensure a level finish.

Finally, wait for the adhesive to set and use a rubber mallet to remove the wedges and the top of the clip. The breakpoint will then be positioned below the tile ready for grouting.


Step 7: Grouting

It is important to use a grout with a class level of at least CG2, such as the Python CS Tile Grout High Flex. This specific grout is designed to offer a highly versatile and smooth mixture with controlled workability. The grout should be applied liberally with a grout float and smoothed firmly into the tile joints.


Quantum Group NI – Wholesale suppliers of tiles and tiling equipment


As one of the leading wholesale suppliers of tiles and tiling products in the UK and Ireland, we have a wide range of tiling tools, grouts, adhesives and tile handling equipment available. To find out more about stocking our products, please contact our knowledgeable team today.