The customer wanted a tile rug that would take up the entire rectangular area of the patio floor space. She wanted the patterned field to be framed with a single row of border tiles that would run next to the edge of the patio. She needed a floor tile plan or layout drawing to help visualize the tile layout and determine the quantity of tiles needed. She wanted to use 12"x12" Colonial border tile with an 8"x8" Mission Espanola field tile. The colors for the pattern tiles were all specified using the Mission Color Palette. To complicate matters the patio was irregularly shaped.
To determine the tiles you need, start with a scaled drawing of the patio. Make a rectangle in the main area and find the center. This is where the tile rug will be. Start laying tile from the center out using paper and pencil, rather than mortar and grout. Right away you'll encounter any problems with the layout that you will need to take into consideration and resolve. You can see this design isn't going to work. Something has to give. We can't place the border pattern along patio's edge without making unsightly cuts. In the drawing below, we show this by the uncut tiles on the left.
I generally don't recommend a border pattern that is a different size from the field because for this very reason. It adds complexity to the layout design. If you choose to use border tiles that are a different size than your field tile, your rug width and length will have to be a multiple of both tile sizes to avoid cutting the border tile and disrupting the pattern. If you are using an 8”x8” field tile for the rug and trimming with a 12”x12” border; the width could be 48” (6 tiles x 8” = 48"; 4 tiles x 12" = 48").
So, we did just that. We found multiples that would work! The rug has to be 48" x 168". That's the only way it can work without cutting tiles. Notice, you still have "one-half a pattern" of field tile on the left edge? Not ideal.
Therefore, we presented another option using an 8" tile for the border that the customer liked. Here's the result: a winning cement tile layout!
I'm really pleased with the final design and so is our customer. The tiles have been ordered and arrived. They should be installed soon. I can't wait to see the cement tile patio! What about you? What design to you prefer?
Tips for a Successful Cement Tile Layout
- Generally, use the same size border tile as field tile. It makes the installation and layout much easier.
- If you choose to use border tiles that are a different size from your field tile, your rug width and length must be a multiple of both tile sizes to avoid unsightly cuts in the border pattern. If you are using an 8"x8" field tile for the rug and trimming with a 12"x12" border; the width could be 48" because it requires exactly six 8" tiles and exactly four 12" tiles.
- Don't run the border to the edge of the room. Even if it fits; nothing is ever square and they'll need to be cut. Cuts on pattern tile really accentuate a room being "out of square." Allow for at least one or more rows of solid-color fill tile outside the border. Fill tile are solid color tiles that fill the irregular parts of the room outside the border.
- Center the rug in the main area of the irregularly shaped room. This will usually be a rectangular shape, so it's easy to find the center. Make sure you use the same number of tiles on each side of the long axis.
- Create the floor layout plan to scale otherwise the drawing is useless. Any obvious omissions or errors will become obvious with a floor tile plan or layout for your cement tile installation. It's also a great way to communicate with your installer and avoid costly installation errors.