Laying Out Floor Tiles

 
 

Once your surface is prepared, you will need to lay out the tiles on the floor before they are installed. No matter what kind of tile you are installing, the layout procedures will generally be the same. The keys to success in tiling are the guide or layout lines. They show you where to start laying the tile and are arranged so the tile is evenly centered in the room.

 

Layout lines must be square otherwise you will end up with odd-shaped tiles at the walls. The best way to ensure square lines is to make a floor plan by drawing the walls of the room as accurately as possible on a sheet of grid paper. Be sure to include doorways and floor obstructions such as cabinets and fixtures.

 

To begin, you will “dry layout”  the tiles and place spacers upright between them to maintain the right gap for the grout joints.

 

Preparation

 

• Make a floor plan for greatest accuracy and draw your plan as large as possible on the page. Mark the 
  dimensions of your scale, for example, 1” gridline = 1’ floor space.
• Tile spacers come in a variety of widths.  The wider the spacer, the wider the grout line between the tiles.  
  A wider tile space creates a wider grout line which means more grout will be needed when completing 
  your tiling project.

 

Safety

 

• Make sure your subfloor will be able to support the tile, mortar, grout, and furniture when the project is 
  completed.

 

Savings

 

• Select tile that is suitable for your floor.  
• Select mortar, grout, and sealer that is suitable for your tile.


WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS JOB:

TOOLS:


Step 1: Establish a layout line by measuring opposite sides of the room and marking the center of each side

Step 1: Establish a layout line Snap a chalk line between the marks. Measure and mark the center of the chalk line. From this point, use a framing square to establish a second line perpendicular to the first. Snap a second layout line across the opposite sides of the room. The intersection should be at the center point of the room.
  

Step 2: Check for squareness with a carpenter's triangle

Step 2: Check for squareness with a carpenter's triangle

 

 

Measure and mark one layout line 3 feet from the center point. Measure and mark the perpendicular layout line 4 feet from the centerpoint. Measure the distance between the marks. If the layout lines are perpendicular, the distance will be exactly 5 feet.

  

Step 3: Lay tiles and spacers along one line from the center to the wall

Step 3: Lay tiles and spacers along one line from the center to the wall Starting at the center point, lay tiles on the dry floor along one line from the center to the wall. Insert tile spacers between the tiles.  If the space at the wall is narrower than half a tile, move the center point back by half a tile. This will give you wider cuts of tile along both walls.
  

Step 4: It's best to divide the floor into manageable boxes, roughly 2- by 3-feet square, for setting the tiles

Step 4: Determine the exact size of box by laying out tile It is best to divide the floor into manageable sections, roughly 2- by 3-feet square, for setting the tiles. The best way to determine the exact size of the section that is right for your tiles is to lay them out and measure. Begin by laying out the tiles in an “L-shape” in the center of the room. Separate the tiles with spacers.  Use the chalk lines as a guide.
  

Step 5: Measure both branches of the L from the center to determine the size of the boxes you will lay out on the floor

Step 5: Measure both branches of the L from the center Measure both branches of the “L” from the center to determine the size of the sections you will lay out on the floor. Add the width of one spacer to each measurement. Mark the area with the marking pencil.
  

Step 6: Remove the tiles

Step 6: Remove the tiles

Lay out a chalk-line grid, with each section the size that you measured in Step 5.

 

You are now ready to set the tiles in mortar. Follow our step-by-step instructions to learn how to set your flooring tiles.