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Be sure to take a look at my newer post: More tips for installing wood look tile flooring that talks about patterns, grout joint size, and has additional installation tips.
There are some frustrating things about porcelain wood planks that your tile contractor may not have told you… and the salesperson at the store may not know. By doing a 50% offset, where the middle of a tile is exactly in line with the grout joint of the next row, you have maximized the amount of unevenness, or lippage, between the tiles.
If your floor isn’t flat this will accentuate the problems with the crown of the tiles as you can see in the image on the left. If you want to see some examples of what can go wrong with these types of tile installations then take a look at this post here. Porcelain plank floors can look good but the biggest problems with them can be avoided by simply knowing what to watch out for and planning accordingly. So if most wood plank tiles are not flat in the middle, do “rectified” edges solve that problem? The bottom line is that some of the wood plank porcelain tiles are flatter than others and the only way to tell is to look at them before they are purchased.
If you want to know more about rectified tiles, Roger has a post on his Floor Elf site that does a good job of explaining it. We are planning to put wood plank tile in our basement since hardwood is not a food option down there.
I get asked this a lot and, for a variety of reasons, I’m currently not recommending any particular brands or lines of wood plank tiles. If you can make the floor reasonable flat, you’ll save yourself a lot of headache on the installation end of things.
Hi Leslie, this is a good question but if your friend is experienced in tile he should know the answer to this.
I just looked at a project that was built 3 years ago and the tile were loose and the grout cracked. Am I correct in assuming that the underlayment(cement board, hardibacker, etc) would only be needed when laying plank tile on a wall?
I have a pretty flat concrete floor that my contractor is laying 500sqft of 6x36in wood plank porcelain tile. You’ll not need hardi-back or any sub floor unless you are installing over a wood floor. Sometimes when grout cracks or crumbles it has something to do with the grout itself (mixed with too much water for example) but it seems that usually it has to do with movement, or lack thereof. Anyway, I had a professional installer and, since I was planning a staggered offset in any case, we decided to proceed and make the best of it, carefully selecting each tile for the best fit and cutting some of the tiles in different lengths to start each row with, which achieved the desired random joint pattern as well as reduced the discernable uneveness (by effectively halving the tile’s curvature). One trick we learned along the way was to place weights (5 lbs or more) at the shorter joints in case of uneveness. In the end, the overall finish and flatness came out to be quite acceptable, especially for an outdoor installation, with only the occasional negligible uneveness along some of the longitudinal tile edges visible. Can you tell me what the minimum grout space should be for porcelain tiles that are 6″x36″?
So if you line your tiles up next to each other, check how much variation there is between the sizes of them. A word of caution on your tiles: Even if they are consistently sized they probably have some sort of crown to them.

Take a look just a couple of comments up and you’ll see my remarks about grout joints.
At this point the tiles would have to be removed and the floor brought into the proper flatness before continuing.
With these sorts of tiles it’s basically impossible that a floor would be flat enough without having to do any prep work. My experience with patching is that you spend a lot more time and it doesn’t look as nice as if you had wiped the slate clean and started over. True wide plank, in widths from 5" to 10" and greater, is available in a wide range of solid and engineered flooring, both prefinished and unfinished. Mannington’s revolutionary patented embossing technology that recreates the most realistic ceramic, stone and wood visuals in hard surface flooring.
Improves resistance to everyday household scratches that can make floors look old before their time.
A FloorScore certification verifies that flooring and adhesive products have been tested and approved by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) in conjunction with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) for contributing to good indoor air quality. Here are some tips that you may be interested in before you shop for your wood grain tiles.
While I prefer Laticrete 4xlt for this, you may find Marble and Granite mix from Custom Building Products more readily available.
We had planned to put a wood grain tile floor in ourselves and from this realized epwhen were out of our league. The aim of this post is to arm buyers with the necessary information to be able to pick out what flooring will be right for them. I just purchased 8 X 48 wood look porcelain tile for about 600 square feet on the main floor of my house (all living areas, except the kitchen and bath). I am gathering supplies for him, and other than the mortar, grout, tile cutter, and tiles, is there something else he needs? You absolutely need some form of tile underlayment whether it’s cement board, Ditra, hardibacker, or something else. Since you have a concrete subfloor you don’t need to install any underlayment over it. I had resigned myself to what I thought was a defective batch (I had the tiles lying around too long to be able to return or exchange them with the vendor). The adhesive strength of the wet mortar, together with the flattening weights, was enough to considerably pull down and smoothen out the joints, which for concave tiles would otherwise be sticking upwards.
You will need them and I would suggest choosing a grout color that keeps the planks looking like hardwood. One thing that I saw mentioned in your comments section is the need for grout with wood look tile. A lot of tile that comes from Chinese factories are rectified due to the fact that they can’t produce a consistent size in their tile batches.
The installer should know this but the salesman would also hopefully know and have included some prep work into the price. You don’t want to plane down the subfloor and removing the subfloor and planing the joists is probably a better option. You’ll need to put movement joints (also called soft joints) in the installation every 8-12 ft.

Because these widths are highly regarded by homeowners, designers and architects, Southern Wood Floors mills wide plank in a wide range of styles, grades, species and finishes. We ideally want narrower tiles if at all possible to coordinate without hardwoods upstairs. There are benefits to using membrane-type underlayments over a concrete floor but it’s not required to use them.
It’s OK to bring up one corner to help flatten the floor without leveling the entire space.
The second step is the industry guideline which says that the grout joint should be 3 times the amount of variation in the tile. You are looking for flat- not necessarily level so don’t worry about what the bubble says.
Yes, you have to grout the tiles, and once you see the product installed you will be perfectly happy with the results. Italian and US manufacturers are much better at creating consistent sizes so each tile will still vary but a decent grout joint can hide the variation in size. The company is willing to replace the floor but the installer isn’t sure he can fix the issue so they are sending another installer to look at it.
Great dimension and texture make this pattern a perfect choice for those looking for a more rustic appeal. Yes, this uses more thinset and, yes, these types of mortars are more expensive, but this isn’t the time to skimp. If you use cement board it needs to be thinset and nailed (or screwed) down and the seams need to have mesh tape and thinset on the seams. Urethane grouts, Fusion, and epoxy grouts will work for this also but check the instructions to make sure. So when seeing the term rectified, it doesn’t mean that it should always cost more, it just means it has been cut along the edges. Otherwise you’ll probably see the shade variation which would be in a line across the floor.
We thought about tearing up the subfloor and plane the joist, but that involves quite a bit of work and working around 2 cabinets over the joist.
I know it’s more work and more money but I would recommend tearing out an entire section, wall-to-wall, if not the entire thing. I know you won’t like to hear that but the reason that your tiles are cracked and loose may not be because of the substrate.
Without more details it’s impossible to know but movement would be my number 1 suspect. I doubt your concrete floors are naturally that flat so you will probably need to do some prep work before hand.
The company installing the tiles should have stopped once the tiles did not match up, but continued to finish.

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