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HOME IMPROVEMENT DIY: How To Fix Excessive Tile Lippage

Story by Taufiq Ul Alam

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Whenever you decorate the floors and walls of your home with floor tiles or wall tiles, you might face various problems after some times of tiling. Among all the problems that can occur, tile lippage is one of them. But when you look at tile lippages at first, they may not look like much of problem. As it is kind of a very common thing to have in your tiling, you will feel like this won’t trouble you. Even though having mild tile lippage
on your floor or wall can be tolerated, excessive tile lippage can cause huge problems for you. And when excessive lippage occurs in your tiling, you must take measures to fix that as soon as possible.

What Actually is Tile Lippage?

Lippage is a condition wherein the edge of one tile is higher than the nearby tile. The tiles are spaced evenly in width, but spaced differently in height. This creates an uneven surface to your floor tiles.

Tile lippage is actually a condition where one edge of a tile is higher than the adjacent tile, as a result the finished surface gives away an uneven appearance. The acceptable industry standard for lippage between adjacent tiles is 1/32 inch, for stone tiles. The acceptable lippage for porcelain can vary as it depends on the width of the grout joint.

The rate is either 1/32 or 1/16 inch. So you can see, not every anomaly is considered a lippage. It needs to meet certain criteria as mentioned above to be a lippage, plus the built-in tile warpage.

Why You Need to Fix Tile Lippage?

Tile lippage is not just aesthetically displeasing to look at, it can also create a number of problems at your home. For example, it is a tripping hazard for people that use walkers. The tiles also get more prone to damage when there is lippage, as objects can often hit and run over the edges of the tiles. Customers expect to get a perfectly flat surface for their floors or walls, tile lippage creates a hindrance to that. If there is lippage, lighting, natural or other stuff can cast shadows on the tile work, which might deem unsightly by the owner. And customers want to easily slide a dollar or some more if needed, across a floor without it popping up from hitting the lipped edge of a tile. In order to fix tile lippage, you have to tear out and replace the tiles.

How Tile Lippages are Caused?

There are some reasons that can cause tile lippage. Mainly, poor installation of tiles often causes the floor tile lippage. And tile lippages become almost inevitable if you take the responsibility to install your tiles all by yourself without proper knowledge of the tiling process and also without th knowledge of the problems that may occur. There are other causes of tile lippage that include the following:

● Having an uneven subfloor can cause tile lippage because tile lippage
happens when the surface is not properly levelled.

● Having inconsistent variations of tile. If you use a batch of bad quality tiles, they tend to show lippage more.
● Using too narrow grout joints. If you use narrow grout joints, they may look pleasing to your eyes. But it increases the chance of having tile lippage on your floor or walls.
● If you use long and narrow tiles. And as rectangular tiles are harder to lay flat, they have more tendency to show tile lippage.
● Tile patterns. Unorthodox tile patterns can expose height differences more than the usual patterns.

If you have done or used any of the above mentioned things, you are most likely to have tile lippage on your floor or wall. But no need to worry about that much, now we will see how to fix excessive tile lippage whenever you have it on your floors or walls.

How to Fix Tile Lippage

To fix tile lippage in your home, first you need to determine if the tile lippage is actually excessive according to industry standards, or if it is just an optical illusion that might have occurred due to the type and position of lighting in the room or because of the shadowing effect created by your light.

If you really have excessive tile lippage, then normally you might have to remove the affected tiles to perfectly correct the problem. However, if most or all of the grout joints are low, it is possible to fill them but it may not be a practical solution after all. Epoxy grouts can be applied in a very thin manner, but the existing grout that was used earlier, has to be properly cleaned and prepared.

To remove the tiles with problems, you should place painter’s tape along the edge of adjacent tiles, which you will not remove. Then set the blade of a chisel along the joint of the grout and use a hammer to tap it to remove the old grout that surrounds the uneven tiles. Thus you can properly remove the tiles and use new and even tiles.

Final Words

So, if you feel like you actually have excessive lippage in your tiles, you can go through the aforementioned process to change your tiles, as it is kind of necessary to change the uneven tiles to make your surface perfectly plain. Though it is an expensive process, you will finally have the perfect floor or wall you wished for.

Taufiq Ul Alam is a Content Executive at PlatinumLED Therapy Lights. With a knack for health and fitness, he tries to learn new information on athletes every day and share with his readers. He is also a Marketing Major Student at the University of Dhaka.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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