How can I incorporate movement joints in my tile work while maintaining aesthetics.


I read your article on movement joints and saw your email attached so I wanted to take a moment to reach out and introduce myself. My name is Jared and I am building a house and will be doing the tile installation myself along with a contractor on the side. I have a favor to ask as I need your expertise. I am using a wood look tile plank 8”x45.5” running lengthwise across the large area in red. I am wondering how I could incorporate movement joints into this while maintaining aesthetics.

My proposed movement joints are in red in the second image however the length of the room is over 25’ in some sections and running lengthwise staggered planks I am wondering how I can incorporate a movement joint for that layout. Would I have to zig zag across the floor?

I have searched the internet but haven’t found much information as it pertains to wood look tile. Any information you could help provide would be greatly appreciated. Note you can ignore the master bath portion.


ANSWER -  The TCNA EJ171 standards for installing movement joints in tile work are general recommendations.  There is an ASTM C1472 standard for calculating movement in movement joints, so you can consider the coefficient of expansion of the different materials relative to climatic or environmental conditions.

The most important movement joint is at the perimeters of the room.  You need at least a 1/4" wide joint between the tile and the restraining wall.  The joint can be filled with a backer rod or tape and filled with an ASTM C920 traffic grade sealant or it can be left open; particularly if you will have a tile or wood base over it covering the joint.

Interior wise you normally should have movement joints every 20 to 25 feet in each direction based on a 1/4" wide joint.  You can make the grout joint the same width so the movement joint won't stand out.  You should place the movement joints more frequently if you are going to have a more narrow grout joint, although never go more narrow than 1/8" wide movement joints otherwise the sealant can't work effectively.

When you install the sealant be sure to strike to make it concave so that when you walk over it the shoes don't make direct contact so it will be easier to keep it clean and have it not wear.  Sealants come in colors very similar to the grout colors if not matching the grout colors.  Although the texture will be different between the grout and the sealant, it really blends in and won't be noticeable by most people.

It is always good to have movement joints at transitions such as doorways or at change of planes.

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