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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Tile Leveling System

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Tile Leveling System

Jan 31,2024
Tile Leveling System
Tile Leveling System
Tile leveling systems are an essential tool for DIY enthusiasts and professional tile installers alike. It ensures a consistent height between tiles, prevents tiles from shifting during installation, and eliminates lip cracks, ensuring a perfectly flat tile surface. Choosing the right tile leveling system is crucial to achieving a professional, smooth finish and reducing the potential for costly rework.

Managing Flanges: How a Tile Leveling System Can Help

Sometimes, even if the subfloor is flat, a lip may still develop due to irregularities in the quality of the tile material. This is where a tile leveling system can help. The tile leveling system interlocks the tiles to ensure the surface remains smooth and flat when the thin layer dries. ​
This minimizes the possibility of cleft lip and also reduces settling caused by shrinkage. In addition to preventing lip cracks, tile leveling systems can reduce installation time because there is little need to lift some tiles to add more sheets.

A complete tile leveling system consists of two main components: clamps/posts and caps/wedges, some systems require tools to install the components. These elements work together to prevent the tiles from moving while they set and improve the evenness of the surface.

Tile clamps/posts ensure that lip cracks are reduced and can be eliminated. Because of the reduced thickness, the clamps/posts can reduce the warpage to 1/16 inch, which is the allowable lip deformation of the grout joint.

The wedge interacts with the surface of the tile, and as the wedge is pushed further into the clamp, it exerts pressure on the tile, pulling it down and into alignment with the surrounding tiles. This helps ensure that the tile surface is flat and even, minimizing lip cracks.

The rounded base of the tile cover ensures that pressure is evenly distributed across the tile surface. Since the pressure is applied vertically, you don't have to constantly check for height changes between tiles.

The purpose of this tool is to provide the necessary pressure to the tile cover, making it easier for you to achieve a perfectly flat surface. The pliers can be used horizontally (on the floor) and vertically (on the wall).

If you don't have a tile leveling tool and you're just now considering purchasing one, make sure the pliers have an ergonomic design. The dual-material handle is lightweight and secure, yet strong enough to withstand years of constant use.

Types of Tile Leveling Tools

Wedge and Clamp System

Wedge and clamp systems, also known as tile clamps and wedges, are popular for their simplicity and effectiveness. They involve placing clamps under the tiles during installation and then wedging them to ensure the surface is level. Once the adhesive sets, the clamps can be removed, leaving perfectly level tiles.

- Advantages: Suitable for large format tiles, promotes even tile spacing, available in different sizes to match tile thickness.

- Disadvantages: The clamps are sometimes difficult to remove and there is a risk of slightly damaging the tiles if not done correctly.

Rotating System

Spinner Systems is a new entrant into the tile leveling systems market. They involve the use of rotating discs to help balance the tile lay, reduce lip cracks, and improve overall tile flatness.

- Advantages: Quick to set up, reduces lip cracks, easy to adjust after setting the tiles.

- Cons: Less common, slightly more expensive, and requires more time to master the technique.

Board System

A board system or paver spacer uses boards that sit underneath the tiles and place spacers between the tiles. They are typically used with larger tiles or pavers, providing a solid base for the tile and reducing movement during installation.

- Benefits: Great for large format tiles, reduces tile movement, and promotes even spacing.

- Disadvantages: Difficult to remove, more noticeable before grout is applied, requires more effort to set.

When choosing the best tile leveling system, consider the type of tile you are working with, the complexity of the project, and your comfort level with each system. Investing the time in making the right choice can produce impressive results, giving you a perfectly level tile surface that will stand the test of time.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Tile Leveling System

When looking for the best tile leveling system, whether you are in Australia or elsewhere, several factors should guide your decision. Below, we delve into these factors and provide insights to help you make an informed choice.

Tile Size and Thickness

The size and thickness of your tiles have a significant impact on the type of leveling system you should use. Larger and thicker tiles require a durable system to withstand their weight and size.

- For larger tiles, consider a wedge and clip system or a board system. These are usually strong enough to withstand the size and weight. Tile clamps and wedges provide excellent stability, ensuring tiles remain level throughout the installation process.

- For thinner or smaller tiles, the Spinner system may be a better choice. Its precise adjustment feature can help avoid tile lip cracks, even when using smaller, delicate tiles.

Project Type: DIY or Professional

The type of project you're embarking on - whether it's a DIY project or a professional job - will also influence your choice.

- If you are a DIY enthusiast or a beginner, simplicity and ease of use should be your top priority. In this case, a wedge and clamp system may be ideal. These systems are simple to set up and remove, shortening the learning curve.

- For professionals, more complex systems such as rotating systems or plate systems may be helpful. These systems offer greater accuracy and are better suited to processing a wider range of tile types and sizes.

Cost VS Value

Cost is an important factor in any project. However, when considering the cost of a tile leveling system, don't just consider the upfront price.

- While some systems may be cheaper upfront, they may not provide the best value in the long run. For example, a system that is difficult to set up and remove can result in a lot of wasted time (and time is money!).

- A slightly more expensive system may be worth the investment if it guarantees a superior lip-free finish and saves you time and possible rework. This is where reading reviews and recommendations can be very beneficial.

Easy to Disassemble

Ease of removal is a crucial but often overlooked factor when choosing the best tile leveling system. Once the tiles have set, you will need to remove the spacers, clamps, or levelers.

- Systems that are difficult to clean may result in cracked tiles or surface damage. Therefore, choose a system that is easy to remove after installation.

- Wedge and clip systems usually provide clean breaks, making them easy to remove. However, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid any damage to your newly laid tiles.

Remember, choosing a tile leveling system should not be taken lightly. Take the time to research, understand your needs, and choose a system that is a good fit for your project. A well-chosen tile leveling system can mean the difference between a frustrating, time-consuming project and a smooth, successful installation with a professional finish.
Common Mistakes When Using Tile Leveling Systems

Although the tile leveling system is simple, it can be abused. Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:

- Not Using Enough Adhesive: This may cause the tiles to not stick properly. Always make sure the adhesive you use is adequate for your tile size and type.

- Incorrect Clip Placement: the clips should be placed at the corners of each tile. Misalignment can cause uneven tiles and increase tile lip cracks.

- Not Enough Setting Time: Patience is crucial when using a tile leveling system. Make sure the adhesive is completely dry before removing the clamps and wedges.

In Conclusion

Laying tile doesn't have to be a difficult task. With the right tile leveling system, you can achieve professional, lip-free results, whether you're a DIYer or a seasoned tile professional.

Feel free to contact us and feel free to share your experiences with us or ask questions about tile leveling systems. We're here to help guide you in getting the best results with your tiles.

TILER is a professional custom tile-laying tools manufacturer. Since the invention of the first tile-cutting machine, we have been committed to providing installers with high-quality, efficient tile-cutting and laying tools. With over 28 years of experience, patented technology, and unparalleled production capabilities, TILER has become an industry leader, serving customers in more than 130 countries. We advocate the spirit of craftsmanship and are committed to creating perfect, precise, and safe products. Through advanced design, high-quality products, and customer service, TILER makes laying easy and provides an enjoyable experience for installers.

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