Bathroom Floor Tile Layout
It seems like a simple project- a small bathroom floor. You’ve picked out your tile at the local box store along with a few supplies and your ready to go. The problem is: Where do you start?
This post assumes that your existing floor is removed and your tile underlayment is installed. Basically you need to layout your bathroom floor for the tile that you’ve picked out and begin installing. So let’s get right into it. Here’s your plan of attack in 5 steps:
1. Find something to go off of
You have to measure off of something and draw a line. How do you know what to start measuring from? Generally, I look for the longest wall. Even better if it’s a long exterior wall.
Look to avoid small interior walls and tubs (plumbers go through extensive training to make sure they’re not put in straight). Sometimes a vanity works and sometimes it doesn’t. Longer vanities work better but look to go off of walls first.
In the diagram I measured 18 inches. This is an arbitrary number and you can draw it wherever you like.
2. Draw square lines off of it
Draw a couple of square lines off of your main line to see how the tub and doorway(s) are square. Use straight edges and a framing square, a 3-4-5 triangle, or whatever works.
Then go around and check how straight everything else is. Check: the tub, the vanity, the doorway(s). Some things will probably be off. If everything is off- go back to step 1 but try a different wall and then (step 2) square off of that. How does that work? Ask your self this question: Does the room look straight and square off of these lines?
Sometimes there are bathrooms where everything is out of square. If that’s the case with your bathroom floor just do the best that you can and move onto step 3.
3. Make adjustments
Sometimes a minor adjustment can fix everything. For example: in the photo below the tub is out of square by 1/8 inch. Nothing will cover the tile at the tub but there will be wood floor base at the wall on the left (1/2 inch).
Since it’s easier to make square cuts than it is to make not-square cuts you may consider moving the layout to square off of the tub. That way you can cut the tub cuts in square and the wall cuts will be covered by the base. If the tub is out of square by 1/4 inch or more do not do this. Go off of your original square lines, bite the bullet, and cut the tub in at an angle.
4. Draw a layout line the length of the floor
Now that you know what’s square you’ll need to adapt this to your bathroom floor tile layout. Do this: Place two tiles at your starting point with a grout joint in between. Remember to leave a gap at the wall. In the drawing, the starting point was off of the long wall. Draw that line the length of the bathroom (long green line in the diagram). You now have one of your layout lines. See photo below:
5. Make intersecting lines every two tiles
Now for the other direction. Tile should start 1/2 way under the door when the door is closed. Start your tile under the door and measure two tiles and two grout joints. Draw an intersecting line. Do this again every two tiles until you get to the tub. Your tile will start tight to the lines in one of every four corners. Draw an X in that corner. Make sure you start your tile in the same corner every time.
With these 4 tips you should have success with your bathroom floor tile layout. If there’s anything I’ve left out please let me know in the comments below.
Be sure to check out the related post: Why a Centered Tile Layout is a Bad Idea