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If you’re not satisfied with the look of your home’s bathroom or kitchen, a great do-it-yourself (DIY) is to put in your own flooring as part of a remodeling project. 

When you opt to install brand new ceramic tile, you have a wide variety of colors and designs from which to choose. Our team will be happy to consult with you on your tile selection. Read on for information on what the key is to laying tile.

Where to Start in a Room

It’s best to obtain boxes of tiles that have the same lot number so they will as consistent as possible in appearance. Take all tiles out of their boxes and spread them around randomly in case there are minor color variations. That way, you won’t inadvertently lay them down next to one another to form a random pattern. Feel each tile to make sure it is uniformly smooth.

You can imagine laying tile as a kind of game where your goal is to use as many whole tiles as possible. You’ll usually have to cut some tiles to accommodate gaps as you get closer to an edge or corner.

Begin the project by measuring the floor and writing down the dimensions, so you’ll know how many tiles will be needed. Then, snap down a chalk line at the midpoint on the floor’s longest dimension and another line on the midpoint to cross it. This separates the floor into four quadrants and the intersection will be in the middle. Now, you can create a pattern, such as diagonal, brick or square.

Getting the Spacing Right Between Tiles

Do a test run, putting a half row of tiles along each side, starting from the center point that you discovered when making chalk lines for the midpoints. This will prove that you have everything lined up properly.

Put plastic spacers in between the tiles as you lay them to keep them separated uniformly. Choose spacers with a width that is the same as the grout lines you plan to add after laying tile. You will remove the temporary spacers after laying the tiles, before the adhesive dries.

Stop placing the spacers when there is no more room for a full-length tile. If a tile is 2/3 too long on one end (which you will cut for), there will be a corresponding 1/3 tile space on the other end, so they will balance as you lay them down. Remove the test tiles when you are satisfied, and then spread the thin-set mortar when it’s time to start laying the tiles.

Ensuring Tiles Are Smooth and Level

During your initial inspection of the tiles to verify there are no color variations (that could wind up making an unwanted pattern), you also checked that each one was smooth. But you also must take care to ensure each tile is nice and level, so you will feel comfortable walking and standing on them. They will also be more aesthetically appealing. After spreading the thin-set mortar on the floor with a trowel, lay tiles one at a time, beginning from the center and working toward edges of the floor.

Periodically you will need to level tiles. Install about four tiles, then put a wooden 2x4 atop them. Tap the 2x4 with a rubber mallet to level out the tiles and press them further into the mortar. Resume putting down tiles along the chalk line guides and continue using the mallet and 2x4 every 3-4 tiles to keep everything level.

The time and effort that you put into a DIY flooring project can be quite rewarding, whether part of a bathroom remodel project or a kitchen remodel job. You’ll have changed your home to be more to your liking, and the remodeling work will add more value to the home when it comes time to put it on the market. 


David C. has written thousands of articles on a variety of topics for websites and numerous print publications, including Popular Science, Wired, Wired Japan, OMNI, Space News, Ad Astra, The Net, Diabetes Interview, Mobile Home Monthly, Video Guide, Food and Beverage Journal and The Optimist. Dave has written on construction topics for a variety of websites, on topics ranging from reading construction blueprints, doing HVAC work, donating construction services to charitable causes, using LEDs for home lighting, incorporating home automation technologies into houses, installing home elevators, and working with plumbing and electrical contractors.