How to Lay Out Tile
Time Required: 2-4 hours
Before you tile any floor, you must first lay out the tiles to gauge size and fit. No matter what kind of tile you are installing, the layout procedures will generally be the same.
The secret to success in tiling is having well-established 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. This guide will show you how to create layout lines for easy, successful tiling.
- Measure opposite sides of the room and mark 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 opposite sides of the room. The intersection should be at the center point of the room.
- Measure and mark one layout line 3 feet from the center point.
- Measure and mark the perpendicular layout line 4 feet from the center point.
- Measure the distance between the marks. If the layout lines are perpendicular, the distance will be exactly 5 feet.
Tip: 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.
- Starting at the center point, lay tiles along one line from the center to the wall. Insert tile spacers between the tiles. Do not apply grout, this is a dry layout for spacing.
- Tile spacers come in a variety of widths. The wider the spacer, the wider the grout line between the tiles. Wider grout lines with require more grout.
Tip: 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.
- It is best to divide the floor into manageable sections, roughly 2- by 3-feet squares, 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
- Measure both branches of the L-shape from the center point 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.