Tile is a finish that many homeowners are willing to tackle on their own as a remodel project.  While getting tile down is not difficult, a quality tile job requires a lot of attention to detail and a fair amount of finesse.  Most of our clients who have laid tile in the past are happy to let us take on the task now.  Nonetheless, tiling can be fun and provide a nice sense of accomplishment.  In this series of blog entries, we will try to help provide information that can be important when looking at a tile job.

It is a good idea to make your layout a part of the design process.  We like to map the layout on the computer but it can also be done on a piece of graph paper with a pencil.  Proper layout that avoids tiny pieces of tile and considers major sight lines helps create a sense of craft.


Before you can start the layout process several decisions will have to have been made.  Obviously the tile will have to have been selected.  Many tiles come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  The width of the grout lines will need to be known.  Also are their accents or trim pieces that will need to be worked into the layout.

Starting point

Start your layout from primary place that the tile will be seen.  Center your pattern on the most prominent spot.  This is often the in front of the primary entry into the room, or the wall that is most commonly seen.  In a bathroom consider that the most commonly seen tile may be from a reflection in a mirror. Try to arrange full tiles in this area.  Now extend your pattern in all directions adjusting to avoid sliver cuts.


NEVER tile to the base board pinching it in behind the tile.  This will create a condition that encourages rot. It changes the scale of your base trim making it look too narrow.  Also do not fail to cut your door jambs and casings up so that the tile can slip under them.  These are telltale signs of a poor job.  Sadly this is often found in work done by low end “professionals.”

Often shoe mold will create an extra generous coverage for tile at the intersection of the wall.  We prefer to tuck the tile under the baseboard and eliminate the shoe mold.  This requires a tighter job that will take a little more time, but we think that the clean lines are worth the effort. Shoe mold tends to get scuffed and catch a lot of spills that would otherwise be caught by a mop.

Starting your job with a good pre-planned layout is the first step in creating a quality tile job.  This will also allow the job to flow much more smoothly. So start dreaming about a tile job that you would like to do.  Then again you can always call us to do the work.  Knowing the essential elements of your job will help create a deeper appreciation of a good job.