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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Layout for the Kitchen Tile

After getting all the Hardibacker down (this post), I spent some time laying out a plan. The tile that I was using was 13 1/8" square and we would use 1/4" grout lines. This means that each tile plus one grout line takes up 13 3/8" or 13.375".

Using this dimension I measured the walls of the room to see how best to lay the tile. I was hoping to start with a full piece at the doorway and end up with around a half a piece at the opposite wall. This plan worked well and I could tell by dividing the length or width of the room by 13.375.

I wanted to end with a full piece at the doorway, however, these would be the last pieces that I install so I don't tile myself into a corner. I would have to start somewhere in the kitchen and work my way into the dining room.

To figure out a good starting point I considered how many full pieces it would take to reach the kitchen. I did the math and 8 full pieces would end at 107" from the doorway that I wanted to end at (8 x 13.375"). I made my horizontal guideline a 107" and parallel to the dining room wall. (Thankfully, the walls in this home were nearly perfectly parallel and square which helps my layout a lot!)

I found the position of my vertical guideline in much the same way, figuring out where the tiles would line up if I wanted the edge pieces under the kitchen cabinets to be large and the ones along the walls to be at least half a piece of tile. I used a framing square to get started and then snapped a chalk-line. I like to go over the chalk-lines with a Sharpie marker so they're a little more permanent. Otherwise the lines might fade from me walking on them, etc.

With all of that work done, it was time to start with the real work! As you can see in the picture above I started tiling in the kitchen doorway and did the entire kitchen first. Then I worked down one side of the dining room and then the other.

No matter how much planning I do, I'm always amazed when it comes out perfectly. When I got to my last pieces at the door, they were in the perfect spot and I didn't even have to cut them! (I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but... :)

BTW, the owner had bought the tile for me ahead of time and I ended up with only ONE extra piece! Talk about feeling the pressure to not crack a piece or cut one incorrectly!


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