How to Lay Tile

How to Lay Tile

Planning where your tiles will go on your floor is the first step in laying tile in any room. For a good-looking installation, layout lines must be square. Otherwise, you'll end up with odd-shaped tiles at the walls.

Skill Level: Beginner
Time:
  1. Step 1 Establish a Layout Line

    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.

  2. Step 2 Check for Squareness

    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.

  3. Step 3 Lay Tiles and Spacers

    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.

  4. Step 4 Divide the Floor in Boxes

    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.

  5. Step 5 Measure Both Branches

    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.

  6. Step 6 Remove the Tiles

    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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