In recent years, interior designers and home decorators in Los Angeles have used large-format tile—usually 15” or longer—to create exciting new looks for tiling projects. Large-format tiles (LFT) appeal to many homeowners because they offer the texture and surface of small-format tiling with fewer seams and grout lines.
However, large-format tiles come with their own set of nuances that can make installation tricky. If you have a vision for your home that involves large-format tiling, contact a professional tile installer who has extensive experience cutting and setting large-format tiles.
What Does “Large-Format Tile” Mean?
Large-format tiles have at least one edge that’s 15” in length or greater. A large-format tile can be a large square or a long rectangle, and it can be much longer than 15”. Of course, as a consumer, it’s not as important that you know the exact criteria for tiles to be considered “large-format.” What’s important is that you recognize that the longer or larger the tile is, the more prone it is to buckling and breaking. This means that large-format tiling requires special installation expertise. It’s especially important to hire a professional tile installer for this type of job, no matter the tile material you select.
Popular Large-Format Tile Materials
Large-format tiles used to be a specialty item, but now you can find them made out of many materials in various sizes and shapes. Here are some of the most popular LFT materials:
- Granite – Granite is an igneous stone sporting an uneven, mottled appearance. Because of its strength and heat resistance, granite is often used for kitchen countertops and backsplashes. Large-format granite tiles can be used to cover nearly any surface.
- Marble – Marble is known as a temperamental material because of its porous surface. This is why large-format tiles can be an ingenious solution for homeowners who desire marble surfaces in their home, but are worried about possible damage. The tiles can be replaced easily in the event of damage to a single piece.
- Terrazzo – Terrazzo is a versatile, beautiful composite of stone chips and a binding material. Large-format terrazzo tiles can be used uniformly or to create patterns (i.e. checkered, lines, et cetera) in floors.
- Travertine – Travertine is beautiful, but like marble, it’s also soft and porous. Large-format tiles are a common-sense approach to incorporating travertine in a kitchen, bathroom, or the floors of any room.
- Limestone – Limestone is a sedimentary rock, but it’s much harder than many of its sedimentary counterparts. Large-format limestone tiles can be used nearly anywhere in the home.
- Flagstone – Also a very durable sedimentary stone, flagstone large-format tiles can be used for floors, showers, bathrooms, and other surfaces.
- Slate – Slate large-format tiles are strong, durable, and carry distinctive hues of gray. Because the gray tones of slate vary, make sure all your tiles come from the same batch and that you keep a supply of reserves in case any of them break or sustain damage.
- Ceramic – Ceramic tiles also come in large-format. As with small ceramic tiles, there are an almost infinite number of ceramic LFT colors and shapes available.
- Concrete – Large-format concrete tiles provide the beauty, durability, and feel of polished concrete with the flexibility of being able to replace and remove individual tiles.
Pros And Cons Of Large-Format Tiles
Large-format tile is beautiful in appearance. The size of the tiles can reduce the time involved in cleaning and maintenance. LFT also have a distinctive, modern look that’s ideal for many contemporary decorative styles. However, large-format tile doesn’t work for every situation, so it’s important to consult a professional installer before making a purchase. Here are some of the pros and cons of LFT:
- Large-format tile can mimic the appearances of other surfaces, like wood, without the time-consuming upkeep.
- It’s easier to wipe down or mop the surfaces of tile than the grout between them. Large-format tile is easier to clean because there are fewer grout lines.
- Large-format tile covers more surface area, so there are fewer individual pieces to install.
- You can replace individual large-format tiles if they become chipped, discolored, or damaged.
- Large-format tile is more fragile than smaller pieces of the same material. That means that there’s a slightly greater likelihood that tiles will break and you’ll need to replace them.
- With large-format tile, there’s a greater occurrence of air pockets between the tile and the subfloor. If the tiles are on the floor, there may be a hollow sound whenever you step on the pocket of air.
- Because LFTs have more surface area, they’re more vulnerable to air pockets and buckling than smaller tiles are. If this happens, the tile can crack or break under pressure.
Of course, with proper installation, it is far less likely that buckling or breakage will occur. Reputable tile installers guarantee their work and will repair any kind of tiles that break within the warranty period.
Large-Format Tile Installers In Los Angeles
Proper tile installation is a highly-skilled job. The more experience the installer has, the better the tiling job will turn out. Renovo Stone has been tiling Los Angeles-area homes for over forty years. When it comes to specialty flooring and tiling jobs, it’s the right choice to hire a team with the skills, experience, and expertise to give your home a finished, professional appearance that will make you proud. Contact us for a free large-format tile consultation and estimate.