Decorating lay ceramic floor tiles - Homebase

Decorating lay ceramic floor tiles - Homebase

how to...

lay ceramic

fl oor tiles

A brief guide. Skill rating: intermediate

This guide shows you how to lay ceramic fl oor tiles. If you follow

the instructions you should fi nd this a fairly straightforward DIY

job. The amount of time it will take will depend on the size of the

area you are tiling, eg. a whole kitchen fl oor.

1: Working out how many

tiles you need

Measure the room’s length and divide it by the length of one tile.

Measure the width of the room and divide that by the width of the tile.

Multiply the two numbers together (round up any numbers to the next

whole number). This will give the number of tiles you need.

It can be a good idea to buy 10% more tiles than you need to allow for

incorrect cuts and broken tiles.

2: Preparing the surface

Ceramic tiles can be laid on concrete or timber flooring.

If you are laying tiles on a concrete floor you must make sure that the

floor is both dry and clean.

If working with an uneven concrete surface make sure the floor is clean

and dry and then apply a self-levelling compound.

Follow the instructions that come with your chosen self-levelling

compound when laying (fi g. 1).

Once you have applied it, leave it to dry overnight.


Once it has dried you may find there are some ridges on the floor, if so

use a medium grade sandpaper block to smooth them off.

If applying tiles to floorboards you will need to fix a layer of exterior

grade plywood (minimum 12mm thick) to the floor. Simply screw down

to the floor prior to laying tiles (fi g. 2).

3: Planning the layout

Before you fix any tiles to the floor it’s really important you plan the

layout, so you don’t end up with uneven spacing or poorly aligned rows

of tiles (fi g.3).

The most prominent line of tiles will be those that line up with the

entrance to the room, so use this as a starting point.

Using a pencil or chalk, draw a line perpendicular to the main entrance.

Lay a dry set of tiles along this line to the other side of the room. (fi g.4)

Use a spacer to make sure the tiles are evenly distributed (fi g. 5).

(You can use any object to act as a spacer, it’s just a case of using

something consistently to measure equal spaces).

Once you get to the other side of the room you will be left with a space

smaller than a whole tile. Screw a 1” thick piece of wood to the floor,

perpendicular to the tiles.

You will use this as a guide to lay all the other tiles against.

Lay a line of tiles along the timber guide (fi g.6).

The purpose of this is to ensure you end up with an equal border at both

ends of the room.

If you end up with a different size space on one side of the room to the

other you will need to shift your perpendicular line slightly to rectify this,

the point where this line touches the board will form your starting point.

helpful hint...

Remove inward opening doors before starting to tile as the tiling will

raise the level of the floor. You may have to adjust the door length

before re-hanging.

4: Laying the tiles

Now you are ready to start to fix the tiles to the floor, from the

starting point.

Before you lay any tiles, check there aren’t any colour variations.

how to... lay ceramic fl oor tiles

(fi g. 1) Uneven concrete fl oors can be

corrected by using a self-levelling compound.

(fi g. 3) Plan the layout to avoid poorly aligned rows of tiles.

(fi g. 4) Lay a ‘dry’ row of tiles perpendicular

to the main entrance of the room.

(fi g. 2) Fix a layer of exterior grade plywood

to fl oorboards, prior to laying tiles.

(fi g. 5) Use tile spacers to ensure even

distribution of tiles.

how to... lay ceramic fl oor tiles

Tools for the job...

Timber guide Pack of self-levelling compound

A medium grade sandpaper block Exterior grade plywood

(minimum 12mm thick)

Silicone tile sealer Sponge

Rubber hammer Tile adhesive and grout

Electric tile cutter Tile saw

Rubber-edged squeegee

Claw hammer

Tile spacers

Spirit level



Please recycle this fl yer

HBHOWDO38 October 2010

Use a trowel with a serrated edge or a notched spreader to apply

adhesive to a square area of the floor approx. 3x3 or 4x4 tiles wide.

Fix your tiles to the adhesive covered area (fi g 7).

Use a spacer to make sure they are equally spaced (fi g 5).

Use a spirit level to make sure the tiles are level, place it across each

row and diagonally (fi g. 8).

If a tile is higher than the others, place a piece of wood over it and then tap

with a rubber hammer. If a tile is too low, lift and reapply with adhesive.

Once completed leave the tile adhesive to set. Depending on drying

conditions and thickness of adhesive, drying times may vary.

Remove the wood border with a claw hammer.

5: Cutting tiles for your border

Place a full tile upside down on top of the last full tile so that it overhangs

and touches the wall. Mark this tile at the point it overlaps the one

beneath, this will show what size the tile needs to be cut to (fi g. 9).

An electric tile cutter can be used to cut the tiles.

If the cut is more complicated then a tile saw should be used.

Place tile adhesive to the back of the border tiles rather than on the floor.

6: Grouting the tiles

Allow 24 hours for the tile adhesive to dry before you grout the tiles.

Mix up the grout according to the instructions on the pack.

Use a rubber-edged squeegee to fill the spaces with the grout, holding it

at a 45 degree angle (fi g. 10).

Ensure you have a damp sponge to hand as you go. Wipe any wet

grout off the surface of the tiles, taking care not to remove any from the

spaces where you have applied it (fi g. 11).

Clean the floor every day for the first three days, this will help to make it

more hard wearing.

7: Maintaining your grout

If your grout cracks you cannot simply grout over it. You need to remove

at least 2/3 the depth of the old grout first, with a grout remover.

Once the old grout has been removed you can reapply your new grout.

If you wish to clean the grout use an all-purpose cleaner and a nylon scrub

pad. If your tiles are decorative it would be safe to test your cleaner on a

spare tile first to ensure there is no damage.

more how to leafl ets available at

(fi g. 6) Fix a timber guide at right angles to

your dry line of tiles, once you are happy

with their position.

(fi g. 8) Use a spirit level to ensure tiles are

level. Place it along the rows and diagonally

across them.

(fi g. 10) Use a rubber squeegee to push the

grout into the spaces between the tiles.

(fi g. 7) Lay your tiles onto the adhesive

covered area, working to a square of approx.

3x3 or 4x4 tiles.

(fi g. 9) Mark the tile to be cut using the tile

underneath as a guide. Ensure you leave

additional space between the tile and the

wall to allow for the grout.

(fi g. 11) Remove excess grout with

a damp sponge.

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines