- What is a tile leveling system
- Varieties of alignment systems
- Cost of various systems
- Floor tile laying technique
- Wall cladding using SVP
Today, you don’t have to be a professional bricklayer in order to lay high-quality tiles on walls and floors. In the article we will talk about the cladding technique using tile leveling systems, describe the process and help you choose the right consumables.
What is a tile leveling system
Strictly speaking, all modern tile laying is carried out using alignment systems, the simplest example of which is crosses and wedges. More modern devices allow not only maintaining the same seams between tiles, but also leveling the tiles in a single plane due to deformation of the glue seam and changing its thickness up to 2-3 mm.
Instead of crosses, a plastic retainer with a wide lower shelf is inserted into the tile seam. When both tiles are laid at the edges from the joint, the latch is pressed by the counter element, thus, the inner and outer surfaces of the tiles are brought strictly to the same level.
The leveling system allows you to leave a perfectly even seam with a minimum thickness of 1.5 mm. Naturally, tiles of poor quality with a running start in linear dimensions will look equally bad regardless of the laying technology. At the same time, the leveling system allows you to fully reveal the potential of expensive tiles..
The shrinkage of the glue mixture is absolutely unpredictable, with the use of SVP this factor can be excluded. And if we take into account that the installation with the SVP is done at least twice as fast, the absolute advantage of this method is quite obvious.
Varieties of alignment systems
Despite the simple design and principle of operation, the designs of different alignment systems may differ significantly. It is customary to divide SVPs into those that require a special tool during installation, and those that do not. The first ones are suitable for use by home craftsmen: the quality is high enough, and additional financial investments are not required. Professional liners prefer to use special tools to squeeze the retainers as tightly as possible, which not only makes alignment more convenient and faster, but also facilitates easy removal of the system after use.
The most widely used are systems with a wedge-shaped tensioner with a serrated bevel. The obvious advantages of this design are the high support area of the pressure element: you can even visually control the alignment quality. The wedges can be reused almost an unlimited number of times, you just need to purchase the required number of sites. Compression is performed with or without a tool (Mustang) (SVP, CHSG).
Another type of system uses rack-type braces with a serrated strip (Rubi, DTA), the counter part is a strip or cap with a one-sided wedge lock. The systems are distinguished by the largest range of tile thickness – from 3 to 20-30 mm. The locks can be reused up to 20-25 times, however a special tool is required to tighten.
For non-professional tilers, inexpensive leveling systems (Tuscan, SeamClip) are optimal, in which the retainer and platform are combined in one element. Pulling is done by snapping in the shelves of the upper clip, reuse is not possible. The main disadvantage of such systems is that they need to be selected for the thickness of the tile to be laid, the deviation is very small – up to 0.5 mm.
Another type of leveling system is characterized by the presence of a screw tensioner. In one case, the structure looks like a platform with a T-pillar, which is tightened by hand with a flat serrated nut (Tornado). Other alignment systems are tightened with a metal stud using a screwdriver (NTCA).
None of the systems have obvious advantages in the quality of laying, therefore, you should choose based on ease of use and economic justification within the framework of a particular project.
Cost of various systems
Products of domestic and Chinese manufacturers are massively represented on the Russian market. The most popular brand is SVP, it also has the most democratic price: up to 4 rubles per wedge and up to 3 rubles per clamp.
The Rubi brand, familiar to many finishers, offers caps for 12 and stands for 14 rubles, a set of 100 sets of clamps and special pliers will cost 4800 rubles. Unlike cheaper counterparts, Rubi consumables differ in the least number of defective elements, and the struts practically do not break when tightened.
Online you can order original sets of SVP (Tile Systems) manufactured by the EU or the USA. Their cost is 2–3 times higher than the popular ones, so this option is most interesting for tilers working with luxury and premium tiles. The other extreme is ordering kits on popular foreign Internet sites. On them, SVPs can be found at a price of 3-4 rubles per set, which is interesting for large volumes of work.
Floor tile laying technique
The floor under the tiles should not have a height difference of more than 2 mm per meter and more than 4.5 mm in the level of the room; if necessary, make a leveling screed. Remove dust and debris from the floor and prime it until it stops absorbing, when the floor practically stops discoloring when primer is applied.
Hit the baseline – the compromise perpendicular between the two walls, stepping back from the edge by the width of the tile. Lay the first two tiles in a level, holding them together with clamps. Lay out the first row, holding it together on one side and aligning the tiles with the markings. Change the laying direction on the last 2-3 rows to avoid uneven slopes of the tiles adjacent to the wall.
Do not forget to put two platforms under each open end, and if the side of the tile is more than 80 cm, use three alignment points. Place the last clips at a distance of 40–50 mm from the corners. If you need to increase the minimum seam, use distance crosses.
Wall cladding using SVP
It is recommended to lay on strictly vertical walls with irregularities up to 2 mm and deviations of right angles no more than 0.5%. Remove dust and primer before laying..
Begin laying tiles on the walls from the second row, hitting the base level and screwing the boundary bar to the wall along it. If you are using tiles with a side of less than 200 mm, you can fasten 4 tiles before laying without completely tightening the clips. After installing the prefab on the wall, press the tile seams by tapping on the open end with a rubber mallet, then tighten the clips completely.
Do not apply too much adhesive under the tiles to prevent it from squeezing out of the joints. It will not work immediately to wash off the remnants of the glue, this is the main disadvantage of the SVP, however, it is imperative to clean the seams with a bar.
The tile alignment system can be removed already 24 hours after installation. This is done very simply: with a rubber hammer you need to hit the retainer in the direction of the seam. This will tear the retainer post off the platform and release the spacer. If the stand breaks off elsewhere, pry it out with pliers.