When it comes to performing tasks around your house, one of the most common works would be installing the tiles.
This procedure is quite simple, for all intents and purposes, but even the simplest task can be botched if you don’t prepare yourself for it or do the job half-heartedly. For example, you can stick all of the tiles throughout the bathroom, but if you’ve not used a leveling system, there’s no telling of how that thing will look after you’ve finished it.
Scratch that – it would probably look awful. And guess what else – once the tile adhesive’s set in, you can forget about undoing the damage easily. You’ll have to engage in a messy de-tiling process, which can damage your floor, take about 3 years, and also damage your precious tiles, too.
So, it would truly be a disastrous turn of events doing that to your tiles.
In this article, we’re going to talk about a certain tool that would allow you to install your tiles efficiently and without worrying about having to dig them out again, so to speak. The thing we’re talking about is intuitively called a tile-leveling system, and it’s used for determining whether or not the tiles you’re installing are level or not. Also, we’ve prepared a brief buyer’s guide, as well as a section where we ventured to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions.
Right then, folks, here’s the deal.
Editor’s Recommendation: Top 5 Tile Leveling System
How to Choose a Tile-Leveling System
Tool Size (Tile Gap)
One of the few, but very important measurement parameters to take into consideration with a tile-leveling system would certainly be the gap between individual tiles. The thing is, this value determines how much room there will be between each tile, so you can ensure that the distance between each tile is the same.
Now, this parameter matters because without it, your tiles can become misaligned, which won’t be a problem for the first couple you install. The more of them you set down, however, the larger the difference is going to be, so this is why tile-leveling systems are used – to help you fix the distance between the tiles to the same value. (The typical distance values are 3mm, 2mm, and 0.8mm.)
While tile-leveling systems aren’t the most expensive secondary tools in the world, so to speak, you don’t need to buy an extra-large package if you only have a small bathroom to fill with tiles.
You see, tile-leveling systems come in all shapes and forms, but they essentially do the same function. Also, the packages they come in can include anywhere from 100 pieces to 300 pieces or more.
Another thing worth mentioning would be the fact that most of these leveling systems consist of two parts – one of which is usually reusable. So, if you’ve saved a bunch of small wedges (one of the variants of these fastening parts), you can buy only the spacers next time around (the second part of the duo). This way, you can save some money buying these tile-leveling systems, which can be quite important if you do this sort of job often.
Probably the biggest point of differentiation between various tile-leveling system brands would be the reusability question.
The thing is, as far as the design of these systems is concerned, they come in all shapes and sizes, but when it comes to their reusability – they’re either reusable or partly reusable.
Since these doo-hickeys typically consist of two parts, the models that are only partly reusable allow you to reuse the top part, while the bottom spacer remains stuck between the tiles forever. With the entirely reusable models, on the other hand, the story is different. These usually feature some sort of mechanism that allows you to twist the thing into place and then remove it and then remove it again by untwisting it when you feel you’ve arranged your tiles well.
Since tile-leveling systems are mostly made out of plastic, their prices tend to be pretty consistent in the sense that they don’t vary too much, one brand from another.
About the only point of differentiation when the price of these tile-leveling systems is in question would be the amount of pieces inside the package. The more pieces, the higher the price will be, so make sure not to spend too much on a bag full of tile-leveling plastic parts you won’t be using.
(Of course, it’s always better to have more of these than you need than to be forced to buy more on the exact day you’re installing these.)
Although almost all tile-leveling systems are made out of some sort of plastic, it’s still worth mentioning some packages which are made partially out of plastic and then some part of them is made out of metal. The thing here is, these tile-leveling systems that are made out of part plastic and part metal tend to be reusable, so even though they may be a tad more expensive, you can rest assured that these will last you several tile-installing sessions at a time.
So, even though you may have to pay more at start, you can end up saving more money than if you’d just bought a bunch of these that aren’t reusable.
Best Tile-Leveling System – A List of Products
1) Raimondi Tools USA – Leveling System Starting Kit
With an appearance of a bucket of LEGOs, this tile-leveling starting kit can be an important piece of your tool arsenal for installing tiles. What you get with this model is a floor plier, 100 pieces of regular clips, and then another 100 wedges you can use to check the distance between every tile you’re trying to install. (Until you run out of these, of course.)
The working principle with this tile-leveling kit is simple enough.
The clip is inserted between the tiles and then you get to place the new tile around it. Since every clip is of the same dimensions, you’ll always set these tiles to the same distance from each other, which will ensure you haven’t wasted any space. More importantly, though, you’ll ensure that all of these tiles are perfectly aligned, so you won’t have to undo any poorly placed tiles.
- Comes with 100 clips and 100 wedges
- Easy to use
- Quick installation
- Enables you to level your tiles precisely
- These aren’t reusable
- The grout lines can get slightly enlarged if you press on the wedges
2) T-Lock – Complete KIT Anti-Lippage Tile-Leveling System
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to level your tile, this system from T-Lock can be just the solution for you. Thanks to the simple design they came up with, all you have to do to make your tiles align perfectly with each other is to place these between the tiles before you lay them and then make sure they fit together by moving them about with your hand.
The great thing about this tile-leveling system is that it doesn’t require any additional tools to use, so you can just crack open this package, whip out some of the clips and wedges and start using them straight away.
Here’s another thing worth noting. This package comes with 300 clips and 100 wedges, because you can take out the wedges from underneath the clips once the tiles you’ve been aligning have set in the floor. You can then reuse those same wedges for other tiles and so on.
- No tools required to use these
- Simple wedge ‘n’ clip system
- Fast installation and removal
- 300 clips and 100 wedges
- A bit expensive
3) OGORI – Tile-Leveling System
Suitable for tile thickness levels of 7 to 14 millimeters, this leveling system can be a perfect solution for folks working with larger and thicker tiles. As far as the basic system of functioning, this thing is practically the same as the two you’ve seen before it on this list.
So, you get a simple wedge system you can use to set these quickly and easily. Then, after you’ve set everything up, you can remove the wedges you’ve used and use them for even more tile-leveling tasks, or save them up for later.
What you get in this package is 300 clips and 100 reusable wedges. This tile-leveling system is suitable for both professionals and rookies. If you are a professional tile installer, you won’t have to worry about hurting your back having to carry these everywhere, because they’re made out of plastic and fairly lightweight.
- Easy to install
- Simple wedge design
- Easy to carry (an entire package)
- The cleanup is a piece of cake (the installed clips snap right off)
- Some tools required (to drive the wedge in tightly)
- Only partially reusable
4) Raimondi – 250-Piece Tile-Leveling System (Wedges Only)
As our entry number four, we’ve got a pile of only wedges coming from the Raimondi company. In this package, you get 250 of these, and since within the clip ‘n’ wedge system, wedges are reusable – a package of 250 pieces will last you a long time, indeed.
These wedges are made out of sturdy plastic, so you won’t have to worry about these malfunctioning as you’re driving them in the clips. The great thing about these is that they apply downward force on the tiles, as opposed to upward, which can compromise the adhesion.
Thanks to the simplicity and reliability of this clip and wedge system, you can finish an otherwise arduous task quickly and efficiently, without having to worry about spacing, or whether or not your tiles all fit together. After you’ve finished setting these up, you can simply remove the wedges, and take the rip off the clip tops, so that the entire area you’ve just tiled looks smooth and ready for use.
- The package contains 250 wedges
- The wedges apply downward pressure
- Tile laying is quick and efficient when you pair up these wedges with a bunch of clips
- Relatively inexpensive
- You have to buy the pliers as well as the clips separately, which increases the overall expenses
5) Peygran Leveling System – 1/8” Super Kit
The idea behind this system is pretty much the same as with the other systems you’ve seen so far. The only important point of differentiation would be that these clips have the thickness of 1/8 inches, which is about 3 mm. What you get as a part of this deal is 200 wedges, 400 clips, and special pliers designed to help you drive wedges into the clips.
Other than this thing, the rest is pretty much the deal as usual. You get your clips, which you place between the tiles. You have to make sure you’ve placed these carefully, because if you don’t, that pretty much defeats the purpose of using them in the first place. Once these are firmly set, and the tiles on the opposite sides are tightly in place, you can drive the wedge in the hole by using the pliers that you received as a part of this package.
Once everything’s set, all you have to do is wait out until the tile adhesive dries up and then you can simply remove the wedges and break off the clips.
- Fast installation
- Easy clip wedge and clip removal
- Reusable wedges
- Can be used by both professionals and rookies
- Lippage-free finish
- Fairly expensive
6) RMS Unlimited Goods – Premium Tile-Leveling System Set
For all of you folks in need of a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use tile-leveling system based on the good ole wedge ‘n’ clip system, this set from RMS Unlimited Goods can be just what you’ve been looking for. These wedges and clips are made out of high quality plastic, so you don’t have to worry about them breaking or ripping in the middle of your tile-laying task.
With this package, you get 500 pieces total. Out of these 500, 400 are clips and 100 are reusable wedges. So, an important thing to take into consideration here would be to understand how much time you’re using to set up a certain number of tiles. Because if you use up all of the 100 wedges, you won’t be able to keep leveling your tiles, even though you have more clips to work with.
So, you’ll have to wait until the adhesive’s dried up until you can continue working. The good news here, of course, would be that you can easily reuse the wedges, so you won’t have to buy more of these.
- A large package of 500 (400 clips and 100 wedges)
- The clips break away easily (when you venture to remove them)
- Easy setup
- 1-year warranty
- You will need to use pliers to set these up
7) RTC – Spin Doctor Tile-Leveling System (Just Caps)
Here we have a product that represents a part of another way you can ensure the tiles are the correct distance from one another. The idea here is that, instead of using the wedging motion, you use the screwing one instead.
Instead of the clips, there is a screw-looking thing that you place between the tiles the same way you would a regular clip. But, where the clips have that opening for the wedges to be driven through, a spin tile-leveling system possesses another way of securing the top part to the bottom. Namely, there is a screw that the top part comes on top of. You secure the whole arrangement by twisting the top screw (called a ‘cap’ here) onto the clip. Simple enough.
In this package, you get only caps, so you have to buy the bottom clips separately. Similarly to the wedge ‘n’ clip system, the caps here are reusable, so you only need to get stocked on the bottom parts. As for the top caps, these one hundred can last you a long time.
- Made out of high-quality plastic
- Does not require additional installation tools
- Easy installation
- Larger tiles may require more of these
8) CN-ZF – Ceramic Tile Leveler
When it comes to tile-leveling systems, one of the biggest headaches would be the fact that you have to leave the clips below the tiles forever, because there is no way to extricate them once the tiles are all set. With this product onboard, however, that won’t be a problem, because these tile levelers are made connected, so you don’t install them between the tiles individually as you would with the aforementioned screw ‘n’ cap or wedge ‘n’ clip systems.
The idea behind this system is fairly clever. There is a thin piece of metal that serves as the spacer. This piece of metal is attached to a small handle on top which you can screw on to make the entire leveler push the surface of the tile. The middle part just serves to create that tension point.
So, all you have to do is insert one of these levelers between tiles, twist it in place, and leave it there until the tile adhesive’s done its job and the tiles are firmly in place.
- Made out of high-quality POM plastic
- No deformation
- The T-needle is made out of high-quality stainless steel
- Can be used for DIY tasks
- You have to be very careful when installing these, because if you twist too hard, you can drive the tiles apart
9) Spin Doctor – Lippage Control System
If you tend to prefer the screw ‘n’ cap system to the wedge ‘n’ clip one, this Spin Doctor can be just the thing you need for leveling your tiles quickly and efficiently. Within this package, you’ll get 250 bases, painted in black, and 100 caps, painted in red. (These caps are removable, of course, so you won’t have to buy more of these. What you will have to buy more of, however, would be the black bases, in case you run out of them during your tile-laying job.)
The principle according to which these function is simple enough – you set the black bases in between the tiles, put the red cap on top of each of these, and then screw them on. These screw on easily, and you can do it with just your hands – no additional tools required.
Once the tiles have been properly installed, all you have to do is remove the red caps and you can use them again. As for the black bases, you’ll have to leave these where they are and then buy more if you need them.
- Comes with 250 black bases and 100 red caps
- Quick and easy to install
- Patented free-spin design
- Can be used by pros and DIY folks alike
- Some people have reported problems when removing these
10) Tanek – Premium Tile-Leveling System Kit
Last but not least, we’ve got yet another reusable tile-leveling kit, which you can use to arrange your tiles quickly and accurately in no time. The working principle of these tile-leveling kits would be the same as for this Tanek bunch as it was for the kit from the entry number 8 from above. The thing to remember here is the following – the two pieces one clamp is made out of are detachable, so you won’t have any problems cleaning these up if they get some of the tile adhesive on them.
In this package, you’ll get two special wrenches you can use for setting these and removing them, as well as 200 tile spacers set at 2mm and 100 tile-leveling system plastic parts that the screw goes into. Using these is a piece of cake – simply screw the spacer into the bottom plastic part, insert it between two pieces of tile, and then tighten the whole arrangement by screwing it in further. (Until there’s too much resistance.)
After you finish setting these up, you can simply untighten the thing spacers by unscrewing them slowly, and then take them out. This way, you can use them again for some other tile-laying task, but make sure to clean them up first.
- Made out of sturdy plastic
- Quick and efficient tile installation
- Works both on floors and walls
- Can be used by both pros and rookies
- Some users reported some defective pieces in the package
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) What is a Tile-Leveling System?
A tile-leveling system is, as it name itself suggests, a tool used for leveling tiles.
The thing is, setting up tiles can be a problem if you don’t have a means of determining the distance between different tiles. You can mismatch a couple of tiles and the whole arrangement will then snowball from there into a complete mess you’ll spend more time taking care of than actually setting the tiles. (Plus, you may damage the tiles along the way.)
So, a tile-leveling system represents a small plastic (or plastic + metal) tool that you place between tiles, so that they’re always on the same distance between each other.
2) How Do You Ensure Level Tiles?
The whole idea of tile-leveling system is introducing small pieces of plastic or metal between the tiles to ensure they’re the same distance from one another.
The way this is achieved is thanks to the two-part system that most tile-leveling kits use. One piece represents the spacer and the values are usually 3mm, 2mm, or 0.8mm. Once you place this spacer between the tiles, you secure it with either a wedge or a cap.
With this sort of arrangement, the small bottom part of a spacer remains stuck below the surface of the tile, while the top part is broken off. As for the wedges or caps, these are typically reusable, so all you have to do is remove them once the tiles have stuck to the ground.
3) Do Tile Spacers Stay In?
Most of the time, yes.
The thing is, these spacers are designed to be broken off at their ‘root’, so to speak, so you shouldn’t worry about them staying in – they are designed for this.
On the other hand, if you prefer to completely remove all parts of a tile-leveling system once you’re done with the tile-laying task at hand, you can opt for a fully removable kit. These kits usually feature small metal wires and can be tightened by screwing them in place.
4) How Wide Should Grout Lines Be?
It all depends on what sort of arrangement you prefer.
As we said above, the standard grout line width values are around 3mm, 2mm, and 0.8mm. These values are also the same sizes you will see printed out on some of those tile-leveling kit systems, so you can rest assured that you will be able to uphold these lines with any of the tile-leveling systems currently on the market.
Just make sure not to buy two tile-leveling systems with different spacer widths, because you’ll make a mess of your tile fitting task.
5) How Do You Tile an Uneven Wall?
There are two main ways to do this.
First, you can set up an entirely new drywall before actually going forth with the tiling. This will give you a smooth surface to work on, so you can rest assured you won’t have any problems with the lippage and awkwardly-protruding bulges.
On the other hand, you can use a tile-leveling system, which is a much simpler way of doing this well. Even though your wall probably still won’t be perfectly smooth, the tiles will, because a tile-leveling system will help you organize the tiles over the bulges perfectly.
All things considered, laying tiles is an undertaking that requires concentration and precision. Whether you are a rookie or a professional tile-layer, you can benefit from buying a sound tile-leveling system and set install your tiles both quickly and efficiently. We hope this article helped you pick the best tile-leveling system and we wish you best of luck with purchasing one.