DIY How To

How to Lay Wall Tiles & Floor Tiles

DIY Projects - Planning layout

First of all work out how many tiles you will need. Let us do the working out for you, with our Tile Calculator

Before you start it is important to work out where the tiles will fall. The easiest way to do this is with a tile gauge.

Tile Gauge

Tile gauge

To make a tile gauge use a straight piece of timber approximately 1.2m (4ft) long. Using a tile, mark off the tile widths on one side and tile lengths on the other. Allow for the width of tile spacers if they are to be used.

DIY Projects - Setting out floor tiles

Setting Out Floor Tiles

Careful setting out of floor tiles is a must, if you wish to avoid awkward cuts and unequal size tiles around the edges. First find the centre of the room using string lines that cross at right angles.

Find middle of room In a regular shaped room, find the middle of a wall and run a string line to the middle of the opposite wall. Repeat the process for the other two walls and see where the strings cross. This marks middle of the room.
Find middle of irregular shaped room In an irregular shaped room, run string lines along the walls avoiding any obstacles (shown in red). Find the middle of one string and run a string line to the middle of the opposite string. Repeat the process for the other two pieces of string and see where the strings cross (shown in blue). This marks the middle of the room.

Run the tiles parallel to a main feature when viewed from the main doorway, (this may be the longest run of kitchen units or along the side of a bath), otherwise the tiles will look crooked as you enter the room.

Once you have found the centre of the room, use the tile gauge to see what size of gap will be left around the edges. If there is less than a third of a tile's width adjust the centre point slightly until you obtain the best fit.

DIY Projects - Setting our wall tiles

Setting Out Ceramic Wall Tiles

Very few houses have true vertical and horizontal corners, so never start tiling in a corner or at floor level. On a plain wall it is usual to start in the centre, mark a vertical line in the centre of the wall and use the tile gauge to mark the tile positions along the wall. Check that similar size cut tiles will be at both ends of the wall, as this will give a balanced look. If one end is going to end up with a 75mm cut tile and the other end is going to end up with a 15mm cut tile then it is probably better to start 30mm off centre and end up with both ends being equal.

Next start at the skirting board level and using the tile gauge mark the tile positions up the wall. If you are left with a very narrow cut tile at the top of the wall then move the start position up until there is a wider cut tile.

If more than one wall is being tiled, then you need to think about focal points on other walls. Even though each wall is tiled independently with respect to its width, the horizontal line of tiles normally continues on adjacent walls. If a wall has a window then you don't want to have a tile finish 20mm below the bottom edge of the window sill, so again use the tile gauge to work out the vertical spacing around focal points.

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