How to Lay Floor Tiles
Laying floor tiles
Floor tiles, like wall tiles, can be used creatively to make whatever pattern you wish. An imaginative design can help to improve the proportions of the room — stripes laid widthways will make a floor area look less long and narrow, while a chequerboard effect will create an impression of greater space.
Just as with wall tiles, floor tiles need to be centred on the middle of the floor or dominant feature. If you are creating a pattern, draw up a scale plan of the room on gridded paper, so that you can see how best to position the pattern and how many of each colour you will need. However sure you are of your calculations, always buy a few extra tiles to allow for accidents and wastage.
Store the tiles, especially cork, linoleum and vinyl, where you are going to lay them for about 48 hours so they can acclimatize. Make sure you have the right kind offor the tile. Some vinyl tiles are self- , and simply have a peel-off backing. Unsealed cork tiles will need to be sealed after laying.
Before you start
Make sure the surface that the tiles are to be laid on is stable and level. If the subfloor isn’t uneven, it is best to put downor before laying the tiles.
• steel measuring tape
• chalk line (string covered in chalk)
• craft knife
• cutting board
• profile tool and sharp scissors, if you have to fit round specific shapes, such as bathroom fittings
Laying self-adhesive tiles
These instructions are for self-adhesive vinyl tiles, which are the easiest to lay, but the principles are much the same for all tiles.
However, if the tiles are not self-adhesive, make sure you use the correct adhesive and only spread enough to fix one tile at a time.
Most of the harder types are best left to the experts: they are heavy to handle and hard to cut, and some have to be set in a bed of mortar.
1. Find the true centre of the room by marking the centre of two opposite walls. Snap the chalk line between the two points. Do this between the other two walls and you will have the centre point of the room marked as a cross.
2. Lay out the tiles in a ‘dry run’ so that any problems come to light before you commit yourself to sticking them down.
3. Peel the backing off the first tile and, aligning it with two arms of the central cross, press it down lightly and firmly. Work from the centre out towards the edges, carefully butting the tiles up to each other and checking pattern matches.
4. You will probably have to cut tiles to fit around the edge. Lay a tile (do not remove the backing) over the last full tile, and mark with the pencil and straight-edge where the cut is to come.
5. Cut the tile on a board, using the craft knife against the straight-edge.
6. Peel off the backing and lay in position with the cut edge against the wall, not abutting the last full tile.
7. To cut a non-rectangular part-tile (walls are seldom perfectly straight), you will need to turn the tile over to mark the fit, or carefully measure the space. For awkward shapes, especially curves, use a profile tool to template the outline. A fiddly shape may be easier to cut with scissors.