Are there standards for tile installation workmanship?


Had shower tile work in my home. Seeking remedy with builder for poor workmanship and want to know if there are basic tile installation standards for quality installation? I have some toes bulging from the wall 1/16 inch or more, gaping at mitered corners and a lopsided niche. Help please! Thank you


ANSWER - Yes there are industry standards for workmanship.  ANSI A108 .08-2013 4.0 General requirements for tile installations provides many of the workmanship requirements for the installation of tiles.

Walls cannot be out of plumb, or the required plane, more than 1/4" in 10 feet or 1/16" in 12 inches for tiles less than 15" in facial dimensions.  Tiles that are 15" or larger cannot be out of plumb, or the required plane, more than 1/8" in 10 feet or 1/16" in 24 inches.  

It states what the allowable tile lippage is for tiles with various grout joint widths.  It has a section 4.3 on Workmanship, cutting, fitting, and grout joint size, and sections on other aspects of a tile installation.

Consumers should make sure their tile installers and their helpers are ITS Verified through the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone at   This is an online course they can take that will verify that they know and understand the industry standards.  Of course that doesn't teach them how to install tile properly.  Consumers should ask for photos and references from their installers to make sure they will perform quality work.

2 thoughts on “Are there standards for tile installation workmanship?

  1. Ronnie Prudhomme says:

    I recently had tile work done ( kitchen back splash) and have many problems with the work. I am looking for standards to determine what the problems are. The company I hired claim the work is OK but I cannot agree with this. The glass tile are 4×12 and are laid in a running bond with overlay at 50%. I feel that this tile should have been laid with a 30% overlay and the problem with lippage would not be as great. Can you help me with this?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      ANSI A108.02-2019 says that any tile with an edge larger than 15 inches should not have an off-set greater than 33%. Even though your tile is only 12 inches long at a 50% off-set it will tend to show maximum warpage that will generally increase the tile lippage in those spots. Glass tiles tend to have more warpage than ceramic tiles particularly if it is a cast glass.

      Lippage on wall tiles with a grout joint between 1/16″ and 1/8″ wide can’t have more lippage than 1/32″ (thickness of a typical credit card) PLUS the inherent warpage in the tile. So if the warpage is 1/32″ you add that to the 1/32″ allowable lippage so in that case the lippage can’t be over 1/16″.

      Review a copy of the glass tile manufacturer’s brochure and data sheet and see tolerances they commit to and look at their photos to see if they install it at a 50% off-set and if it looks similar to your installation.

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