Especially in order to facilitate and speed up the process of finishing the interior of apartments, houses and offices with tiles, experts in the construction industry are developing various options for so-called tile leveling systems. In fact, this is a set of special devices, consisting of both disposable consumables and items designed for repeated use, which allows you to cope with the task of properly arranging rooms where tiles are planned to be used.
The peculiarity of modern tile leveling systems is that they are quite simple to use, which makes them a real godsend for a layman who does not want to overpay for the services of a tile team and decides to make repairs in the apartment on his own.
The specifics of laying tiles in the bathroom
The installation of tiles in the bathroom only at first glance seems more simple than in other rooms and rooms. In the case of a bathroom, its relatively small size is more a circumstance complicating the task of the tiler, rather than a plus. Judge for yourself - in a compact enclosed space all the flaws are much more noticeable and the imperfectly fitted squares of the tile are immediately evident.
It is also necessary to understand that the tiles on the floor will go into vertical rows on the walls of the bathroom, which makes even slight unevenness in the laying unacceptable. Add to this the extreme humidity and high temperatures that will have to withstand the tiles in daily mode - and it becomes clear that without a perfect calculation, a firm hand and a professional approach, the tile in the bathroom can not be put correctly.
As already mentioned above, in the case of laying out tiles in the bathroom, the approach "by eye" is inadmissible - differences in height between different tiles and uneven gaps between them can lead to penetration of moisture under the tile. And this is fraught with various undesirable consequences - from the appearance of mold to the flooding of neighbors living on the floor below. When using the tile leveling system in full accordance with simple instructions, the bathroom will by default be insured against all these and any other troubles associated with improperly laid tiles. Actually, the main purpose of tile leveling systems is to ensure a perfectly flat horizontal (or vertical - in case of the walls of the room) surface without any difference in height and neat equal gaps between the tiles.
Methods of leveling tiles before the arrival of the SVP on the market
Before the advent of modern tile leveling systems, builders used plastic crosses that acted as guides when laying out individual elements. It should be noted that with the task of ensuring the uniformity of the joints, the gaps, these devices with a certain success cope. However, they could not affect the fact that neighboring tiles could "walk" on the level.
To partly correct the situation, the experts of the old quenching tried using a thread stretched parallel to the floor along the upper boundary of the laid tile. However, the unevenness of the floor and the inevitable shrinkage of the tile adhesive, onto which the elements were placed, in effect, reduced all these efforts to naught. The current technology, which is gaining wider recognition and dissemination, solves both these problems.
The principle of the tile leveling system
The success of laying out tiles with the help of SVP (in this case, this abbreviation refers to the development of any manufacturer, rather than the brand with the same name that sells such a product) depends on a clear following of the instruction.
The starting step is absolutely standard and includes the preparation of a grout for tiles. It is important to stir and apply the glue exactly as indicated on the package with the mixture. The consistency of the adhesive should not be excessively liquid or thick. Next, it is necessary to lay the first tile in such a way that all subsequent segments go in the desired direction. Particular attention should be paid to the horizontal alignment of the first tile (and in the case of laying the tiles on the wall - vertical), because it is the correct level of the starting square that determines the level of the entire resulting surface of the tile.
After the first tile is ideally placed, one or two are installed on each side of it - depending on the particular system - a one-time clamp with an indentation from the edge of the tile. At this stage, developers of some tile leveling systems provide for the use of plastic crosses for more accurate "joining" of neighboring elements and obtaining ideal joint gaps. After completing all the preparatory steps, put the next square of the tile. Convinced that the lines formed by the edges of the neighboring tiles are straight, without any distortions and "spasms", the master inserts special wedges into the clamps that are placed between the tiles. The purpose of this action is to achieve a close fit of the "sole" of the wedge to the outer surface of two adjacent tiles. Once this goal is achieved, we can say that there are no differences in level between the tiles.
Next, you need to repeat all the steps the required number of times until the glue is frozen. The advantage of the tile alignment system is that its use makes it possible to speed up the process of laying tiles several times, even if the amateur is engaged in this work, and not a whole team of professionals. A consequence of thorough implementation of all stages of leveling the tiles with the help of such a system is that the tiles fixed by the clamps and wedges will not "lead" during the shrinkage of the drying glue.
After the glue is completely dry, and all the tiles are firmly adhered to the floor, the most beloved by many of those who have already used tile leveling systems comes in, the stage is the removal of wedges and jaws sticking out of the gaps. This is done with a rubber kiyanki or football - a neat foot strike on the "stem" of the clamp. The thing is that the lower part of the clamp remains under the tile, and the upper part of it is easily separated along the line, where a cut or perforation is made by the factory method.
After removing all protruding elements of the system, it is also necessary to remove the adhesive residues from the gaps. After that, these joints are treated with a special grout, which is a dry mixture, which is diluted with water and applied to the seams obtained during the laying. To impart aesthetic appearance to these gaps, the grout is applied and treated with a special trowel.
Comparison of options for tile leveling systems from different manufacturers
At the moment, the market offers a wide range of SVPs of both Russian production and those produced by companies from near and far abroad.
Among the domestic developments, tile leveling systems under the trade marks "SVP" and DLS are distinguished. The first abbreviation, in fact, stands for "tile leveling system". The second name ("DLS") means "daz levelling system". Between these two systems there are fundamental differences. So, the creators of "SVP" offer to use two clamps on each edge of the tile, and also advise in some cases to install on the edges of the tile plastic crosses.
At the same time, according to the manufacturer of "DLS", their system allows you to limit yourself to four clamps instead of four and completely abandon the plastic guides along the edges of the tile. In addition, DLS, in addition to disposable clamps and plastic wedges, also includes a special device that resembles a clamp-door closer. With its help, the alignment is not two, but four neighboring tiles.
Also, a separate mention deserves the development of manufacturers from Belarus - the company "Farton". Their tile alignment system, called Farton, in many respects resembles the technology used in the Russian "SVP". In this case, the creators position Farton as a system for laying and leveling not only tiles, but also porcelain stoneware with a thickness of 6 millimeters to 1.4 centimeters.
In the western market there are both analogs of the above systems, and fundamentally different in construction clamps offer. Thus, in some SVPs special nozzles are used instead of wedges, resembling hemispheres in shape. After drying the tile adhesive they are supposed to be removed with the help of special tongs.
On the sites of manufacturers of various modifications of tile leveling systems, as well as on specialized forums dedicated to repair and construction, there are regular reports and comments of those who managed to evaluate one or another SVP.
Professional finishers say that the functionality of such systems is very useful when laying large tiles. At the same time, specialists pay tribute to the fact that, even with conventional dimensions, the use of a tile leveling system allows significantly speeding up the process and saving time.
Feedback from ordinary users can be roughly divided into two approximately equal parts. One of those who started repairing their own hands was appreciated by the SVP, recognizing its usefulness in carrying out tasks requiring special skills and experience. Others complained that the simplicity of the idea and design of such a system, in principle, allows you not to spend money on it and make an analogue of wedges and clamps yourself.
Homemade tile leveling system
The craftsmen in the network are divided by methods of handicraft manufacturing of the tile leveling system. Consider the most, judging by the number of reviews and the lively discussion, the popular one.
As a material for the clamps it is proposed to use an ordinary 1,7-mm aluminum wire. From it are made rectangles with a height of 1.5 and a length of 0.9 centimeters. The upper edge, which will protrude above the tile, is formed by folding the two ends of the wire. In order for the upper part of the clamp to be easily removed after the glue has dried, the wire is bitten with nippers at the right places.
To make a clamp base that will ensure its reliable fixation in the glue layer under the tile, it is suggested to take a small scrap of mounting tape, a flat metal plate or a piece of a thin profile. The role of the wedge in this construction will be performed by a conventional plastic wedge from the tile, reinforced with trimming of fiberboard. Being pinned to the stop under the twisted wire, this improvised wedge will ensure the unification of the level of two adjacent cladding elements by the same principle that is used in the factory tile leveling systems.
For more information on the tile alignment system, see the following video.