What are the standards for the proper alignment for tile installations?


A contractor recently installed long wood tiles in our kitchen/dining area. This is continuous with hard wood flooring in the living area. They did the tiles first. The tile placement was skew and the explanation given was that the house was not straight. We were gullible and believed it. The floorer then placed the hardwood floor in the living area and everything looked fine with the hardwood floor as it is parallel to both sides of the walls but the kitchen tiles are at an angle to the wood (perhaps as much as 20 degrees off). Its now obvious that the tiles were placed incorrectly. What are the minimum standards for floor tile misalignment in this case? We have challenged the contractor but they disagreed with us. It is visible to the naked eye to more than just one person. Thanks for your response.


ANSWER - ANSI A108.02 are the standards for tile installer workmanship.  Some of the standards are quantitative, but many are qualitative and subjective.

The only reference to alignment is that the tile should be installed "center and balance areas of tile, if possible."

Quite often rooms are not square or out-of-square.  That is a structural issued that can't be easily adjusted nor can the installer do anything to make it square.  The installer will try to lay the tile out so not to accentuate the out-of-square appearance and there are always trade-offs.  The standards say not to have excessive tile cuts, but sometimes when a room is out-of-square they can't avoid smaller cuts.

Now if the room was perfectly in square you would expect the installer to run their tile parallel to the walls relative to the rectangular shape, otherwise it would cause the installer a lot of extra work having to make tile cuts that could have been avoided.  Of if the room was out of square, then the installer may have been parallel to one wall, but that would not allow him to be parallel to an adjacent wall.

So again it is subjective as to whether the installer performed the work according to the standard-of-care for professional tile installers.   Only a qualified and recognized tile expert could provide a valid conclusion after performing an inspection and taking into consideration all of the various conditions that the installer had to deal with.

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