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  1. jamesbond

    jamesbond Active Member


    I recently received some great advice from you all regarding an ongoing dispute (Is this an acceptable edge cut? -, and I wondered if I might impose on you one more time for some information regarding BS 5385.
    I cannot afford to purchase a copy, and we are now going to mediation over the dispute in a couple of days, so don't have time to locate a copy in a library.
    I just wondered if anyone who owns a copy could possibly relate what it says with regard to quality of finish. In particular, lining up of tiles, quality of cuts and tiles being flush.
    These are the three main issues we have with the work, and three things we feel are a fundamental expectation of any tiling job (something which you all kindly confirmed in the above thread) and it would greatly help if we were able to provide some information on this in our defence from a respected organisation like British Standards.
    This issue has been going on for 4 months now. We have offered to pay half for the tiling despite being completely unsatisfied, but they still demand full payment.
    Any information on this matter any of you are able to help with would be appreciated enormously.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    Lining up and sitting flush I can help with. But as far as I am aware there is nothing relating to the quality of the cut. But I will have a good look through and post up whatever I can find. Hopefully this afternoon if I don't get too much thrown my way but more than likely tomorrow if thats ok?
  3. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    Sorry, just to clarify, is it just the wall tiles or floor as well?
  4. jamesbond

    jamesbond Active Member

    Hi Paul,
    That is great. Thanks so much!
    It is both walls and floor.
  5. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    Ok. Wanted to check as there is a standard for each. Leave with me.

    Pretty sure that the levels should be within +/- 3mm over a 2m stretch, and flushness i.e. lippage, should be no more than 1mm on a joint 6mm or less or 2mm for joints over 6mm. But I'll give you the exact wording when I get a chance :)
  6. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    BS5385-1:2009 Wall and floor tiling. Design and installation of ceramic, natural stone and mosaic wall tiling in normal internal conditions. Code of practice Finished tile surfaces
    The surface should be true such that, when checked with a 2m straightedge with 3mm thick feet at each end, the straightedge should not be obstructed by the tiles and no gap should be greater than 6mm

    There are permissible manufacturing tolerances for ceramic tiles defined in BS EN 14411; certain types of tiles, e.g. extruded or large format, might have permissible surface flatness irregularities that cannot satisfactorily be accommodated within the surface flatness tolerance permitted to the tile installer; this should be taken into account when evaluating the achievable flatness of a wall or floor tiling installation.

    Note: In my professional opinion, based on your images, the last paragraph should not apply to your tiles, but get written advise from your supplier to clarify. Paul C.... more to follow....
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    BS5385-1:2009 Wall and floor tiling. Design and installation of ceramic, natural stone and mosaic wall tiling in normal internal conditions. Code of practice Across Joints
    There should be no appreciable difference in level across joints (commonly called "lipping") and the maximum deviation between tile surfaces wither side of a joint, including movement joints, should be as follows.

    a) Joints less than 6mm wide, 1mm
    b) Joints 6mm or more, 2mm
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    There is nothing about the quality of cut that I can find, unless you want to clutch at straws and use this statement to your advantage:

    BS5385-1:2009 Wall and floor tiling. Design and installation of ceramic, natural stone and mosaic wall tiling in normal internal conditions. Code of practice

    7.1.4 Setting out

    It is important for the appearance of the finished wall tiling that unsightly cut tiles are avoided and that joints are of a uniform width, true to a line continuous and without steps: allowance should be made for an adequate width of joint. Cut courses both vertical and horizontal, should be:
    a) Kept to a minimum;
    b) determined in advance;
    c) as large as possible;
    d) arranged in the least prominent of alternative locations.

    You could happily argue that the cuts are unsightly and this could be backed up by giving a competent tiler a sample of your tile, cut properly and finished correctly, then compared to what has actually been installed. However this is more aimed at at cut positions and overall set out of the installation. Then again it is open to interpretation.

    To be continued.......
    • Like Like x 2
  9. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    BS5385-1:2009 Wall and floor tiling. Design and installation of ceramic, natural stone and mosaic wall tiling in normal internal conditions. Code of practice

    7.1.4 Setting out (continued)

    Where wall surfaces are interrupted by features, e.g. windows, access panels or sanitary fittings, the tiler should seek guidance from the designer as to the setting out to be adopted; similar guidance might be required in the positioning of movement joints, since they are predominant and could determine the setting out pattern.

    Horizontal joints and cut courses should be positioned depending on several factors, of which the following are examples.
    1) Tiled areas that adjoin or are adjacent should be set out so that horizontal joints are aligned
    2) The upper and/or lower extremities of a wall might not be level requiring a course or courses to be cut with a raking edge. Wherever possible, the horizontal joints should be positioned so that the whole of the rake can be taken up with the height of the tile in the cut course.
    3) If it is thought desirable to align a joint with a feature, this becomes the setting out point and might initiate the need for, and frequently dictate the location of cut courses elswhere
    4) To ensure that rows of tiles are truly horizontal, a level line should be established to position the starting course. This level line should be continuous across all surfaces.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    Slightly off subject but of interest to anyone who thought that the BS requirements were 2mm for wall tiles: Tile joints
    Tiles should never be fixed with butt-joints, as an adequate width of joint is necessary for the relief of local stress. Joints of approximately 1mm to 2mm should be left around every tile by inserting spacing pegs of suitable thickness between the tiles as fixing proceeds. If for design reasons wider joints are required, the same technique should be adopted.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. impish

    impish Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler

    Preston, Lancs
    Nicely done Paul!
    Just to add a cautionary note though: BS5385 is not law - just professional recommendations based on quite out-of-date information (in my opinion) and aimed at a completely ungoverned trade.
    Still, courts will refer to it as guidance in the absence of an expert witness I suppose.
  12. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    BS5385-3:2014 Wall and floor tiling. Design and installation of ceramic, natural stone and mosaic floor tiling in normal internal conditions. Code of practice Straigtness of joints

    The joints between tiles are an important feature of any tiling installation, particularly when small tiles, wide joints, or contrasting coloured grouts are specified. The width of joints between tiles should be even and of regular dimension (subject to the manufacturing tolerance for the type of tile specified.

    Generally the joints should be straight in alignment unless the tiles are, by design, irregular in shape. Special attention should be paid to large areas of floor tiling where the joint can be sighted.

    The straightness of tile jointing can be checked using a taut lightweight nylon builders line. The nylon line should be in alignment with the tile joint at all points along the nylon at any point within the width of the joint, i.e. the normal permissible tolerance being the width of the joint.

    Any sections of tile jointing not within this tolerance should not necessarily be considered to be a defect unless clearly visible by normal eyesight from both ends of the taut string line used for the test and viewed from a standing position.

    Note: this is from the floor tiling standards, and can't see why something to this effect is not also in part one for wall tiling....... odd..... unless I've gone tile blind!
  13. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    Indeed. Correct you are.

    Codes of practice recommend sound good practice as currently undertaken by competent and conscientious practitioners. They are drafted to incorporate a degree of flexibility in application, whilst offering reliable indicative benchmarks. They are commonly used in the construction and civil engineering industries.

    At the beginning of the standards there is a disclaimer:

    Use of this document

    As a code of practice, this part of BS 5385 takes the form of guidance and recommendations. It should not be quoted as if it were a specification and particular care should be taken to ensure that claims of compliance are not misleading.

    Any user claiming compliance with this part of BS 5385 is expected to be able to justify any course of action that deviates from its recommendations.

    Users seeking assistance in identifying appropriate conformity assessment bodies or schemes may ask BSI to forward their enquiries to the relevant association.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. jamesbond

    jamesbond Active Member

    Wow. This is perfect. Paul, I cannot thank you enough for this. This is above and beyond the level of detail I was hoping you would come back with. It is exactly what we need to help us all move on with this.

    I am of course aware this is not a law or anything, but if this goes to court, then we will most likely need to get an assessment done to support our case. The assessors' website states that they assess the work against relevant British Standards. Not law, but you do have to have some kind of benchmark when it comes to these things.

    I really think it is in our interests, and the contractors' interests not to waste any more time and money going to court over this. At the moment, it is a battle of opinions, so having this information available during mediation will hopefully help us all be more realistic and avoid such an unpleasant situation.

    I hope others in a similar situation will be able to find this thread too. The hardest thing we have found through all of this is trying to gauge what is reasonable. As I suggested in the other thread....It's easy to be unhappy with someone's work, but it is important to be fair and reasonable in your expectations too. This thread and my previous thread have been extremely helpful in trying to ascertain whether our expectations were reasonable before pushing for a resolution.

    I will of course let you know the outcome.
    Thanks again for the time you spent on this, it is very very much appreciated!
    • Like Like x 3
  15. jcrtiling

    jcrtiling Professional Tiler TTA Member Top Contributor

    I had a guy once complining about lippage on a floor because when he slid his chair back it caught the tile edge . He was demonstrating to me with a piece of square ended wood . I then took his piece of wood place it on the high tile then took one mm packer out of my pocket and tried to get it under his piece of wood. . It wouldn't go. I then told him about British standards and it was put to bed.
    Red packers are 1mm arent they
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