If something is flat, is it automatically level? And if something is level, is it automatically flat? These two questions alone can tell that there is a difference between the two, however a very confusing one. In everyday conversation, they’re used interchangeably. This is not a problem, especially considering everyone has their own unique way of speaking and using words.

It’s a problem when it comes to construction, home improvement, and more. Flat and level hold different meanings, especially when it comes to construction work.

Whether you’re a contractor or a homeowner, these terms are not something you want to mix up. It can have costly consequences for your construction project. 

Flat Floors

It’s easy to confuse flatness with levelness. When you think about flat surfaces, you might imagine that some can help with balance and keeping upright. However, what’s flat is not necessarily level. 

Flat planes are surfaces that have no significant high or low spots. It’s essentially a smooth area free of bumps or lumps. Think of when you’re placing a sticker down on a surface, and it’s perfectly stuck on there without any outward or upward bumps on it. With this technique, tiles installed will have no lippage or vertical displacement, or space between tiles. 

There are many examples of areas that are flat but not level. One of them is your driveway. While the surface is flat, the driveways are naturally inclined to go up hassle-free and direct rainwater towards the pipe. 

Level Floors

Levelness is often associated with flatness and balance. However, just like how not every flat surface is level, not every level surface is flat. Think of it like you’re equalizing and balancing the ground. 

Level surfaces are parallel to the horizon. It means that any level plane is completely parallel to the earth. This is essential for any home. Regardless of what’s going on underneath the ground where your house stands, it should be level. This prevents occupants from constantly feeling titled or off-balance inside their homes. 

Of course, it brings more advantages than that, but this is one of the most important.

How to Determine the Flatness or Levelness of a surface?

You can determine flatness or levelness by using F-numbers. They are calculated using ASTM E1155, a standardized for testing floor flatness (FF) and floor levelness (FL). In flooring, you must know and adhere to the guidelines for the safety of others and to ensure that you provide a job well done.

The Bottom Line

For anyone considering home improvement or tile work, it is very important that you understand the difference between flat and level. It’s one of those things that can cost you significantly. 

The best way to ensure that everything goes the right way is to consults and hire a professional. Not only can they handle the complex computations, but they’ll also be able to tell you what is necessary and what is not.

If you are considering a home remodel, your tiles will probably require some repairs or replacement. Here at Miconi, we can help you with every step of improving your home by enhancing your tiles. Our team of designers and expert crew can ensure that your floor is shiny and new once we’re done with it. You can find us in San Rafael, California. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us anytime!