Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tile Layout - Planning and Preparation Are Key

After you have made some choices for what style and type of tile you would like for your project, the next step is to determine the tile lay out. This is the planning stage to ensure that your project comes out looking perfect. To start things off I measure the floor or wall areas to be tiled. Then using graph paper I transfer these measurements to my sheet. There are also software programs that are available from Laurel Creek Software and others that will aid in the process. I, personally, have not used any so if you have, please leave us a comment below.

Now once I have discussed the desired pattern with the client, I then have to see how it will work into the space. Therefore my next step is to take the tile dimensions and put them into the graph and see what it will look like. I also have to keep in mind what will be the most visible areas so as to avoid smaller broken patterns or tiles. Mistakes can be avoided before any tile is even set.

In a shower installation, layout is vital for a great looking project. If you look at this photo with the corner, transition band, straight and angled tile, you'll will see just how many things could go wrong without planning.

After I have done my planning on paper, I then take some measurements in the space that needs to be tiled and with a chalk line, I snap reference lines on the floor or wall. I can then do a sampling with the actual tile to see if the pattern I decided on was going to work out.

This phase of the project is where I spend a great deal of time because once I have started to actually lay the tile in thin set, it will be too late. It is also important to note that if using custom tile or varying sizes that the pattern be fully laid out dry to make sure that it fits and looks perfect. Also color variations in tile from varying lots can be spotted and moved to different places within the layout or taken out all together. Doing the entire project in a dry layout does take extra time, which of course relates to a higher cost, but a beautifully finished and matched end product are well worth it.

 Once I have dry laid the tile, checked the overall pattern and colors, made sure that all is good I can then start the process of applying the tile in thinset. You have surely heard carpenters saying, "Measure twice, cut once." The same applies to tile work.

Without proper planning and layout tile, a project such as below could have a totally different look.

Beautiful designs and layouts are not an accident. Careful planning and preparation are the keys to a successful project that you will enjoy for years to come.


details said...

Nice post Todd! But what about te step where you do all that planning in order to determine quanities?? This is huge issue with us as with higher end tile, if you do not order enough then you face addl shipping charges! And ordering way too much makes the client mad! We do all the above planning on paper first then order. Also in my world, the installer is following carefully laid out plans. No executive decisions on where the cuts will be. We plan it. Of course, we consult with installer also on it but i find most designers allow the installer to determine way way too much!

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by! Excellent point about shortages and additional costs of shipping/freight if the overage/waste isn’t calculated correctly. It’s important to educate the homeowner on what waste/overage is required and just how expensive and timely coming up short ten tiles can be (shipping and bring a crew back to finish the work).

A good installation results from the appropriate level of involvement of the stakeholders – homeowner, installer, designer/architect, and tile dealer. The knowledge and experience that each role has will determine their level of involvement. On some jobs, it may be just the installer and homeowner ‘working it out’. On other jobs, the homeowner might delegate everything to the designer/architect. If everyone knows their roles and responsibilities and understands the consequences and risks, there won’t be any finger-pointing and they’ll be working on a winning team.