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Lay floor tiles

  • Difficulty: hammer hammer
    Close Difficulty
    Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy
    Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
    Experienced Do-It-Yourselfer - Difficult
    Professional - Expert
  • Completion Time : 10 to 12 days

Floor tiles are available in a vast range of colours, shapes, sizes and materials, from ceramic and porcelain to natural stone, including granite and slate. Since tile can be installed over floor heating systems, it is a stylish and versatile flooring option that can be used in any room of the house.

This project provides details on how to tile a floor – a relatively simple procedure but one that requires attention to detail and patience to allow for curing times. Some specialized tools such as a tile cutter or tile saw may be required.


Tools and materials required


  • Grout float
  • Chalk line
  • Tile cutter
  • Pencil
  • Rubber gloves
  • Knee pads
  • Rubber mallet
  • Measuring tape
  • 4' level
  • Tiling tools
  • Tile nippers or tile saw
  • Caulking gun
  • Ruler
  • Bucket
  • Notched trowel
  • Sponge
  • Square


  • Tile adhesive
  • Floor tiles
  • Thinset mortar
  • Grout
  • Plastic spacers
  • Piece of 2" × 4"
  • Caulk
  • Sealer

Before Assembly


The subfloor must be stable, level and very sturdy, to prevent the tiles from moving or cracking. If in doubt, avoid using large format tiles.


Decide on the pattern and layout of your tiles: straight or diagonal design; brick, square or rectangular; or other combinations. If your tiling project is simple and straightforward, you do not necessarily need to draw a plan. However, if you want to include patterns or borders, or if your floor is not completely square, it is best to make a tiling plan.

Measure the floor and copy the measurements to scale on graph paper (1 square = 1 sq. ft.). Remember to include all existing features such as closets, plumbing fixtures, floor heat registers and air vents. Consider the various layout possibilities, taking the size of the tiles and the room into account. The purpose of planning your layout is not only to achieve a pleasing, symmetrical look but also to ensure that you have the correct quantity of tiles.

As a general rule, you should place as many full tiles as possible in the most visible areas and locate cut tiles in the least noticeable places. Mark the area with reference lines to avoid ending up with very small pieces of tile at the edges. You may need to move the central reference line to the left or right slightly, so as to have as many full tiles as possible and the most symmetrical pattern.

All the grout lines in the room should be the same width (thickness) and evenly aligned.


Calculate the surface area and add a percentage to allow for breakages and spares. Add 5% for tiles laid out in straight lines and 10-15% for a diagonal layout (which involves more wastage).
Follow the recommended drying times. The mortar needs to set for at least 24 hours. The grout must also be left to dry for 24 hours before being sealed. Finally, you should wait at least 10 days before caulking expansion joints.


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