Measuring the room
Before you buy your tiles you will need to measure your room. First measure the areas that you are planning to tile. Measure the whole floor or wall, work out the area by multiplying the height or length by the width and then subtract any areas that you will not be tiling such as doors, bathtubs etc. In the example given Wall A (6m2) – Door B (1.8m2) = 4.2m2. Then add 10% to allow for cuts and breakage = 4.62m2.
Remember that it is a good idea to buy slightly more than you think you need as tiles, like wallpaper, can vary in shade between batches and you may not be able to get the same batch in future. You can always bring back any unopened boxes once you’ve finished.
You will need a tile cutter, a pair of nippers for cutting off smaller pieces of tile, a trowel for the adhesive, tile spacers and a grout float, plus a sponge or cloth for cleaning the grout off the finished tiles.
First fix a baton horizontally one tile height above the bottom of the area to be tiled. Starting in the middle of the wall, spread the adhesive evenly and place the first tile on to it. Work your way along the wall, using tile spacers between the tiles to ensure that they are evenly spaced. Continue up the wall, cutting any tiles to size where necessary. Once you have finished and the first row of tiles is firm enough, remove the baton and fix the bottom row of tiles.
If you are using an edging strip to conceal a raw edge, place it in position with the bottom edge under the end tile of the first row, then continue to place tiles on top of it as you progress up the wall.
Once the adhesive is sufficiently dry, remove the spacers and grout the tiles pushing the grout into the spaces between them. Then clean excess grout off the tiles.
Fixing Floor Tiles
Ensure that the floor is solid and that it does not flex under foot. Wooden floors should have sheets of thick ply screwed down at 10cm intervals and then use a flexible adhesive.
Decide on the pattern in which you are going to lay the tiles and work out the easiest place to start. In a square room this is normally the centre rather than one edge. Lay yourself a guide line to ensure that the first row is straight and follow this to the edges of the room, spreading an area of adhesive on the floor and bedding the tiles into it. Make sure that the underside of the tiles is fully covered as it could lead to cracking if there is space underneath them.
Use spacers to ensure that the tiles are evenly spaced and avoid walking on them until the adhesive is fully dry. Once dry grout the tiles pushing the grout firmly into the gaps between and then clean off the excess with a damp sponge.
Certain tiles such as natural stone and some porcelain need to be sealed after laying. Ask in store for details of how to treat your tiles and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sealing and cleaning products.
Download these instructions as a PDF.