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4 creative projects for large format tiles

Large format porcelain tiles are more versatile than we might think. For several years now, these larger-than-life tiles have been breaking new ground in terms of look, size and installation.

While large formats are becoming increasingly popular, the fact remains that for many, "large" also means "intimidating".

Yet, there is no need to cover all the floors of your open-plan space with large porcelain tiles to fully enjoy their many benefits.

On the contrary, large format tiles are perfect for showcasing some of your home's greatest assets, such as backsplashes, fireplace, mudroom and countertops.

So, here are 4 small-scale ideas of turnkey projects that will enable you to finally tame this design giant.

Did you say “large” format ?

Prive 8” x 48” Wenge
Superwhite 12” x 36” Ven

While the definition of "large format" may seem to vary depending on what one defines as "large”, industry professionals state that a large format tile refers to "any tile with at least one edge greater than 15 inches " (ANSI 108.02-4.3.8.1). This definition mainly originates from the fact that installation recommendations change beyond this size for optimal result and performance.

Even so, 12" x 24" and 24" x 24" formats are so common nowadays that they are not even considered large formats anymore!

Size without compromise

It's hard to find any disadvantages to large format tiles, which is why their popularity is only growing.

Whether it's a marble, wood, cement or terrazzo imitation, large format tiles are now achieving high levels of visual realism, reproducing the most intricate natural and urban materials in the finest of details, and displaying them in all their glory in an uninterrupted fashion.

Moreover, the high technical performance of porcelain makes it stain, impact and heat resistant, and its absorption rate is very low.

In other words, this is the perfect material for rooms with high humidity levels or subject to wide temperature variations, and it can also be easily maintained. It's basically a dream come true!

Without further ado, here's how to get an instant makeover with just a few large format tiles and our best expert tips.

1. Backsplash | Kitchen & Bathroom

The backsplash is a prime area where large formats work wonders!

While mosaics have their appeal and relevance on our walls, the fact remains that large format tiles visually expand spaces by relieving backsplashes of multiple grout lines.

Kitchens and bathrooms, which are among the most functional rooms of the house, present some challenges, which porcelains such as Flodsten and Venice Villa overcome with flying colors.

Flodsten 24” x 48” Blanc
Venice Villa 24” x 48” Ivoire

To easily transform these rooms, select the large format tiles of your choice and apply OptiLite, a thin-set mortar especially designed for large formats, to your backsplash. Also, remember that large format tiles should always be back-buttered.

After install, apply a high performance grout such as Alpha, and voilà ! You're done!

Could your bathroom vanity or kitchen island use a makeover too?

Take advantage of this opportunity to create an unparalleled design continuity by using the same large format tiles on the wall and as a countertop.

2. Wall | Fireplace & Staircase

Although ceramics and porcelain are primarily known for their functionality, aesthetics play a key role in the design of our living spaces.

Fortunately, with large format tiles, there is no need to compromise!

Gatsby 24” x 48” Martini
Metallica 24” x 48” Acier

Available in a wide range of styles and finishes, large formats such as Gatsby Martini dazzle us by embellishing walls with patterns and textures that wallpaper and paint struggle to replicate.

To enjoy a fireplace with peace of mind, it's important to choose materials and products that can withstand wide variations in temperature, such as Metallica porcelain and the Prolastic system.

Porcelain is denser and more durable than ceramic. During its manufacturing process, porcelain is exposed to temperatures of over 1,200°C, making it the best choice for braving the flames!

3. Floor | Entrance & Mudroom

No matter how carefully you design it, the secret to a well thought-out entrance lies in your choice of flooring: a floor covering that can withstand the wrath of muddy boots and soaked clothes, while inspiring a warm and welcoming feeling for all who visit your home.

Rock Salt 24” x 48” Fumée

A large-format porcelain floor such as Rock Salt means, of course, less grout to clean, but more importantly, the possibility of adding the ultimate comfort: heated flooring.

Watch puddles disappear before your eyes by first installing a Schluter Ditra-Heat membrane over a layer of thin-set mortar.

After placing your heating cables over the membrane, simply apply Flex R20, a Schluter-approved thin-set mortar, directly over the cables before laying your tiles.

Finish it off with a complementary grout and everyone will be delighted!

4. Countertop | Indoor & Outdoor

Hot pans and tools, sharp knives and spills of all kinds are the daily lot of the countertops that furnish our homes.

This work surface must be able to withstand unpredictable conditions while blending in with the rest of the décor.

Large format porcelain is the perfect solution for an optimized island or bathroom countertop: a non-porous surface that is easy to clean, stain and mildew resistant, as well as heat and scratch resistant.

First, be sure to install plywood over your cabinets before applying a coat of Megaflex thin-set mortar. Then install a Schluter Ditra membrane over the mortar to reinforce your countertop.

Apply a final coat of thin-set mortar over the membrane, along with Schluter Rondec-Step finishing profile, and you're ready to place your large formats on your new island.

A little grout and you are all set; quick and easy!

Fragmenta 24” x 48” Nero Ombrato

You just renovated your interior, but your yard could use an upgrade?

Make the most of your summer and use large formats like Fragmenta to create an outdoor kitchen countertop that is guaranteed to impress!

Simply follow the same steps listed above but make sure to replace the plywood for a concrete panel, and to select freeze/thaw resistant installation products such as Optilite.

For the finishing touch, apply a MicroXpel sealer over your grout and your countertop will be protected from all weather conditions.

Now, which project will you start with to enhance your home with large format tiles?

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