# Laying out floor tiles

Once your surface is prepared, you'll need to lay out where the tiles will go. No matter what kind of tile you're installing, 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'll 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. Include doorways and floor obstructions such as cabinets and fixtures.

When you're doing the dry layout of the tiles, place spacers upright between them to maintain the right gap for the grout joints.

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Step One

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

Step Two

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 Three

Lay tiles and spacers along one line from the center to the wall. If the space at the wall is narrower than half a tile, move the other line back by half a tile. You'll end up with wider cuts at both walls.

Step Four

It's best to divide the floor into manageable boxes, roughly 2- by 3-feet square, for setting the tiles. The best way to determine the exact size of box that's right for your tiles is to lay them out and measure them. Begin by laying out an L in the center of the room. Use the chalk lines as a guide and separate the tiles with spacers.

Step Five

Measure both branches of the L from the center to determine the size of the boxes you will lay out on the floor. Add the width of one spacer to each measurement.

Step Six

Remove the tiles. Lay out a chalk-line grid, with each box the size of the sample you measured in Step 5.

Once you have finished laying your tiles you are now ready to set them in place. Follow our step-by-step instructions to learn all you need to know to set your flooring tiles.

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