Perfectly leveled tiles are no doubt a symbol of a contractor’s skill level. It looks modern, clean, and professional. In addition to that, if tiles are uneven, it becomes a safety issue since people can easily trip over them.
It’s difficult to achieve leveled tiles without leveling systems, because some tiles can be bowed or cupped. These tiles, especially long tiles over 2 feet, can become deformed when they are dried in the manufacturing process.
I have over 15 years of experience installing tiles and have an extremely strong knowledge of the tiling process. This post will definitely help you select the best tile leveling system and level the tiles perfectly!
1. OGORI Tile Leveling System 1/8 inch Kit
OGORI is very competitive in terms of pricing. You don’t need to buy any additional tools like crimping wrenches like other systems because of the unique flat tile clips it comes with. You can simply use your hands and the included wedge system to complete the leveling process. These are great for large format tiles.
However, OGORI can be only used on tiles that have the same thickness, whereas some of the other leveling systems allow you to level tiles with different thickness if needed. So if you are installing the tiles with the same thickness and are more cost conscious, OGORI is a good choice.
Spin Doctor is a great product for both amateurs and professionals. It is sturdy, easy to work with, and great at minimizing lippage. Unlike others, it can be used on corner edges and level off up to four tiles. Plus, Spin Doctor has openings in the cap so you can clearly see the grout lines. Another additional bonus is that y ou can reuse the cap for more than 5 jobs. Spin Doctor offers multiple buying options. You can buy baseplates and caps separately.
Spin doctor also offers clear plastic cover, which differs from a regular tile clip. It prevents the glue from oozing out of grout lines and protects the tiles from being scratched by the cap.
However, Spin Doctor is costly compared to other systems. If you prefer quality and don’t mind paying a little extra, Spin Doctor would be a perfect fit for you. If you’re looking for a complete system that helps with leveling, tile lippage control, and reducing glue oozing out, this is a great choice for you.
3. DGOL 10 Packs Wall Tile Leveling System 3
Getting a straight and even line near walls can be extremely difficult, especially on uneven subfloors.
DGOL is definitely a unique tile leveling system, because it helps you achieve a perfect level by the walls, which is unachievable with other products. This product is best used as a supplementary leveling system and should be combined with another leveling system such as spin doctor. This leveling system is also reusable and sturdy.
The other side of the sword is – DGOL is not a free standing leveling system. It can only be used by walls and should be used with another leveling system. It’s a little pricey but keep in mind that it’s reusable.
Overall, this system will be of great help if you want to save time and headaches leveling close to the walls.
4. Tavy Tile Spacer 1/8" 500 pcs
Tavy tile spacers are very easy to use, especially with large square tiles. You can simply stick them in between the tiles, no extra tools are needed. They are reusable and very affordable.
However, you do need to make sure the tiles are straight and soft because it doesn’t bring the tiles together like the spin doctor and wedge system levelers do. If you skip this step, there could still be tile lippage.
5. iRookie 100pc Reusable Tile Leveler Spacers with Special Wrench
iRookie is a reusable T-shape shim leveling system. It works similar to Spin Doctor: insert a shim between the tile. The shim is made of metal so it won’t break easily.
iRookie is also very easy to remove. You do not kick/break off the shim. You can simply unscrew when the glue dry.
However, you need to use a wrench to tighten them down while other systems like spin doctor are able to be tightened without any tools. You will also need to pay attention not to use too much glue. Otherwise the clips have a tendency to get stuck between the tiles.
Like the saying goes, one size doesn’t fit all. Same goes with leveling systems. Some people might be looking for the most cost effective option and others might want a product that will be easy to work with and deliver exception results even though it might cost more than others.
There are many different factors that can effect which leveling system is right for you. In an ideal situation, your job site will have a perfectly straight and level subfloor and will use tiles that aren’t bowed or cupped. It’s important to see what your job site and tiles are going to be before buying a leveling system.
The more expensive the leveling system the easier and faster it usually is. For example, the Spin Doctor is more expensive, but the caps are very durable and you don’t have to worry too much about breaking them while tightening.
Cheaper leveling systems aren’t always bad choices. Most of the time they require more prep work, leveled subfloors, and leveled tiles to work effectively. Another important pricing factor is their durability. If you find a good budget option, but break a quarter of the clips and have to buy more, it may have been cheaper to just buy better ones from the start.
Importance of Durability
Quality of the leveling system will determine the time spent working on the project. More durable and thicker plastic will be less likely to break during installation. Thinner and cheaper products have a tendency to break easier which can mean having to buy replacements, taking longer for a project to finish, and potentially having to redo some sections. Tile material may also be a factor you would want to look at. If you do run into issues with your tile leveling system, a durable tile will be more resistant to being scratched or damaged. The general rule of thumb is that if you’re looking at using expensive large format tiles (for example), you will also want to spend the additional money and get a high quality leveling system like the Spin Doctor.
Most leveling systems will take a little more time than traditional tiling. The extra time you are spending with the leveling systems will save you frustration later on if you missed an uneven tiling if tiling the traditional way. A few extra minutes with a leveling system and you are guaranteed to have perfect floors with no lippage.
Each tile leveling system is made by a different company which gives them unique features. Such as the Spin Doctor that allows you to see grout joints and comes with clear discs to prevent damaging the floor.
DGOL attaches to walls and keeps edges of tiles straight up against walls in ways other products do not.
OGORI wedges are large enough so that you can push them into the leveling clips with your fingers.
Tavy are just simple, easy-to-use and fully reusable which makes them a great option.
IROOKIE comes with a wrench to help you tighten the tiles together and has metal clips inside of it making them nearly unbreakable.
There are different types of products for different types of job conditions. Some sites will require you to do some prep work if you’d like to use a cheaper option or you can buy leveling system that gets rid of most of the prep work like the Spin Doctor which will save you time but will cost more.