As a design associate working at a stone & tile gallery that practically has unlimited tile options, this is the perfect topic for me.
In this article, I will chat about large format tiles and their role in home decor.
I am all set to help you navigate the world of tile formats.
Before deciding on which tile size is good for your project, Make sure you read everything about Pros and Cons of Large format tiles.
Ready to dive in? Let’s get started!
This post is about Pros and Cons of Large format tiles.
What are Large Format Tiles ?
- Large format tiles (LFTs) are the ‘big guys’ in the tile family.
- They’re any tile with a side larger than 15 inches.
Larger size tiles are mostly that are 16″ x 16″, 18″ x 18″ or 24″ x 24″, 36″ x 36″ , 48″ x 48″.
The extra large tiles are available even up to 60 inches.
From ceramic to porcelain, Large-format tile come in a variety of materials.
They give you an opulent, seamless look due to their size.
But, is bigger always better? Let’s find out.
Types of Large Format Tiles
These are the most popular types of tile:
- Porcelain tiles are a popular choice for large format tiles due to their durability and wide variety of designs.
- They’re also less porous than other materials, making them resistant to stains and water damage.
- Due to their durability, factories have started to manufacture large porcelain slabs.
- These are basically large size tiles that are available in variety of colors and patterns.
There are large-format porcelain slabs that mimic natural stone slabs.
Traditionally floor and wall tiles are thin porcelain tiles.
However the large porcelain slabs are manufactured to be thicker as they are meant to be used for countertops or kitchen islands.
Ceramic tiles offer a cost-effective option for large format tiles.
While not as durable as porcelain, they are easy to install and maintain.
Natural Stone Tiles:
- Natural stone tiles bring a luxurious, high-end feel to any space. However, they require more maintenance and can be on the pricier side.
If you want to get natural stone tile larger that 18″ x 18″, In most cases, it has to be a special order.
What that means is that, they will cut the tiles for the size you when you order them.
On the flip side porcelain and ceramic tiles being man mad are readily available in lot mostly for larger tiles.
Pros of Large Format Tiles
Let’s talk about the upside of going big.
- One of the biggest attractions of large format tiles is the fewer grout lines.
- Since you have minimal grout lines, your floor or wall will have less grout joints.
- That means, it will have a smooth, uninterrupted finish that smaller tiles can’t compete with.
- Large format floor tiles are an excellent option as they create a great visual interest.
Powder bath walls are just a perfect place to use large format tiles as they can give the wallpaper effect.
- Less grout means less cleaning – music to anyone’s ears, right?
- Grout lines can be a magnet for dirt and grime, so the fewer, the better. Plus, Larger format tiles are often easier to clean due to their larger surfaces.
Porcelain tiles are water resistant. Since they are available in larger sizes, they are a very good choice for shower surround.
A lot of my clients choose large format tiles for shower walls and are very happy with it.
- Whether it’s your living room floor, bathroom wall, kitchen splashbacks, or even a fireplace surround, large format tiles can do it all.
Their versatility makes them an excellent choice for various applications around your home.
Larger sizes are perfect as wall tile to show off patterns with minimal grout lines.
Make a Small Space Look Bigger
Using large format tiles in a smaller room creates an illusion of a larger space.
Fewer grout lines mean less visual interruption, making your room feel more expansive.
But…Is There a Downside?
Like any design choice, Large format tiles aren’t without their cons.
While these tiles offer many benefits, there are some points to consider before going the ‘big tile’ route.
Cons of Large Format Tiles
The Installation Process
Installing Large format tiles can be tricky and usually requires a professional hand.
Bigger tiles due to their size and weight, they’re harder to handle and require a flat substrate to prevent cracking.
Larger floor tiles are less forgiving when it comes to imperfections.
Even minor leveling issues can lead to ‘lippage’ – where the edge of a tile sticks up higher than its neighbor.
It’s something you definitely don’t want to see in your newly renovated space.
Limited Design Options for Traditional Designs
While big tiles are great for a modern, seamless cohesive look, they may not be the best choice if you prefer a more traditional or intricate pattern.
Smaller format tiles offer more options when it comes to detailed designs.
If a tile gets damaged, replacing large tiles can be more challenging than smaller ones, as you might need to replace a larger area.
Limited Usage on Curved Surfaces
Curved surfaces or walls may not be suitable for large format tiles due to their size and rigidity.
Applications of Large Format Tiles
You can use large format tiles practically anywhere you want, most of the time.
Large format tiles require less maintenance. Porcelain tiles are the perfect choice for high-traffic areas like airports or train stations.
The use of large format porcelain tile is very common in commercial applications.
Living rooms or Bedrooms
Since large format tiles are available in wide range of colors, interior designers love using them on fireplaces.
Large tiles are the best way to create a feature wall in bedrooms or living rooms. This modern look has become quite the tile trend.
As I mentioned earlier, shower walls need materials that have water resistance.
If you use large format shower tiles, they can create the perfect modern appearance.
I would recommend using a clear glass shower door as well.
There is one place I do not recommend large format tiles.
For your shower floor, you need to use small format tiles or mosaic tiles.
The grout will give you the traction and chances of slipping will be minimized.
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I have seen my clients selecting large format tiles over natural stone standard sizes.
By using porcelain large dimension tiles, you get the expansive look and easier maintenance.
Also, the cost is less as compared to natural stone tiles. You can get tile flooring with all these benefit and they will look like natural stone. It’s just a great choice.
Large tiles are a very good option for kitchen backsplash. In a lot of cases, backsplashes are not very wide. You may not even have any grout lines on your backsplash.
On the flip side if you have a high ceiling and you want to do backsplash up to the ceiling, you can use large tiles that create a book match pattern.
A book match pattern is when you install two tiles together and they are a mirror image of each other.
Tips for Choosing Large Format Tiles
Assess Your Space
The first step is to evaluate your space. How large is it? What’s the current design style? Would large format tiles enhance or detract from it?
I will say from experience, yes large tiles make a small space appear larger.
However if you have a narrow bathroom floor, selecting very large size may give one of two gout lines which would not look good. You always want to balance grout lines.
Consider the Cost
Let’s not forget about the financial factor. Are you ready for the potential extra costs that may arise due to professional installation and surface preparation
Choose a material that fits the purpose of the room.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles are commonly used due to their durability, while natural stone tiles can offer a more luxurious feel.
Choose a grout color that complements your tile color to enhance the overall aesthetic of your space.
The layout of your tiles can drastically impact the room’s visual appeal. Experiment with different layouts like straight lay, diagonal, or staggered.
What’s the standard size for large format tiles?
While there’s no strict standard, tiles that exceed 15 inches on any side are generally considered large format.
Can I install large format tiles myself?
Due to their size and the complexity of installation, it’s usually recommended to hire a professional.
Are large format tiles more expensive?
Yes, large format tiles are more expensive than small format tiles.
Can large format tiles be used on walls?
Yes, they can! Large format tiles can be used on both floors and walls.
This post was about Pros and Cons of Large format tiles.
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