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Laying Out Tiles

Project Overview

Laying Out Tiles

Once your surface is prepared, you'll need to lay out where the tiles will go. For a good-looking installation, layout lines must be square. Otherwise, you'll end up with odd-shaped tiles at the walls.

6 Steps

  1. Establish a Layout Line
  2. Check for Squareness
  3. Lay Tiles and Spacers
  4. Divide the Floor in Boxes
  5. Measure Both Branches
  1. Remove the Tiles
Show all steps »
Establish a Layout Line

Step 1

Establish a Layout Line

Establish a layout line by measuring opposite sides of the room and marking the centre of each side. Snap a chalk line between the marks. Measure and mark the centre 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.

Check for Squareness

Step 2

Check for Squareness

Check for squareness with a "carpenter's triangle." Measure and mark one layout line 3 feet from the centre point. Measure and mark the perpendicular layout line 4 feet from the centre point. Measure the distance between the marks. If the layout lines are perpendicular, the distance will be exactly 5 feet.

Lay Tiles and Spacers

Step 3

Lay Tiles and Spacers

Lay tiles and spacers along one line from the centre 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.

Divide the Floor in Boxes

Step 4

Divide the Floor in Boxes

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 centre of the room. Use the chalk lines as a guide and separate the tiles with spacers.

Measure Both Branches

Step 5

Measure Both Branches

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

Remove the Tiles

Step 6

Remove the Tiles

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

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Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 2 hours

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.

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