Drawing Reference Lines For Tile Installations

  • 01 of 03

    Measuring The Walls

    While it may seem intuitive to install tile by starting at one wall and working your way out, you will actually get more attractive results if you radiate your pattern from the center of the room. This is true of both straight parallel line tile designs, and more complex patterns. Drawing a series of intersecting reference lines on the subfloor, that run through the center of the room, will divide the space into four equal quadrants, and will give you a guide you can follow as you begin to set the tiles in place.

    Difficulty Level: Low

    Time to Complete:15 minutes

    Materials Required

    • Tape Measure
    • Chalk Line
    • T Square
    • Shop Pencil

    Step 1: Measuring The Walls

    The first thing that you want to do is take the tape and measure the size of the longest wall in the room. Divide that size in half, then mark the center point on the wall with a pencil. Next use the tape to measure the distance from the pencil mark to each end of the wall, in order to double check that you actually have the exact center.

    Then go to the wall opposite this one, and repeat the process, making certain to double check your measurements. Once you have the exact center of both opposing walls, you can lay down the first line of your tile design grid.

    Take the chalk line and place the hook against the mark you made on one of the walls. If you can, attach it to something on the wall near the floor. ​Otherwise, you may need the assistance of someone to hold the end of the wire. Draw the box across the room, so that a chalked wire stretches out from one center of the wall to the marked point at the center of the opposing wall, and lays a line down on the subfloors surface.

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    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Squaring The Reference Line

    Now you want to take your tape and measure the length of the chalked line. Divide this number in half, then measure out that length until you find the exact center of the line. Mark this off with a pencil. Then measure back from this point to the other wall, to ensure that all of your measurements and numbers add up.

    Next, line up a T-square with the long side pressed against the length of the first chalk line. Position it so that the crook of the cross is pressed against the pencil mark indicating the center of the room. Use this to pencil a line that runs perpendicular through the first, creating a 90-degree angle on both sides. This can then be used to snap another chalk line down from one wall to the other. This effectively divides the room in four, based around a point in the exact center of the space.

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  • 03 of 03

    Laying The Tile

    As you start laying tile, work outwards from this center point. Place the first tile against the intersection of the two lines. Then tile one complete quadrant before moving on to any of the others. This will allow you to estimate how much material you will need for the entire room. It will also make you aware of any specially sized tiles that you will have to cut on a wet saw, in order to complete the design and flush it up against the walls.

    You need to be careful not to step on the floor until the adhesive is completely dry. That means that you want to be aware of the space around you, in order to ensure that you don't back yourself into a corner as you work. In some cases, you may need to leave rows of tile empty until the end, so that you have a path out. You should also leave the quadrant which contains the main doorway for last.

    Laying Out Tile Projects