preparing to tile diagonally [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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05-18-2005, 12:11 AM
I'm going to start tiling soon,
have bought tile for about 350 sq.ft. of space and hauled it to my house.
For diagonal layouts, I'm having trouble figuring out the spacing...initially I had planned on dry laying the tile to see but dry laying about 300 tiles seems like a pretty big job. (
blue=tiling area (kitchen 17*19' or so plus bathroom, laundry room, entry way)
red=areas to place best cuts?
My thought were that I should put the fullest cuts (i.e. full half tiles) up against the walls with the red arrows...there are multiple entry ways to the area which will be tiles and I can't figure any other way to line things up. Do you think I should dry fit them ALL? Lots of work but better safe than sorry?

I've read a lot in John's book about laying the regular direction but laying diagonally seems completely different:
should I find the 'center' of the room and tile from there?
just seems that the center is hard to find in my kitchen b/c there are so many cabinets and the island...

could someone go step by step and tell me the best way(for my layout) to measure and get the diagonals for my room layout and how to fully chalk up the room for my tile and in what order to lay? I thought I was pretty educated but now staring at all this tile I'm pretty scared.. Shouldn't I just base the 45 degree line off the longest wall in my kitchen(the red arrow pointing to the right)? I understand all the 3/4/5 triangle and stuff but just need help on chalking the floor for diagonal layout!

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05-18-2005, 06:22 AM
Hi William,
First, you will need to decide what size grout joint you want. Your rooms are very cut-up so trying to lay down a diagonal chalkline grid to follow would be super difficult for a rookie. I suggest that you consider using spacers. Lay out four tile in a square with your chosen grout joint. Next, add a fifth tile to the square so that you have three tiles in a diagonal line. Measure two tiles diagonally including two grout joints. Now measure from the opposite end just to confirm. Write down this dimension. MEasure and mark two "tics" on the floor from the "Bedroom 3" wall in the kitchen. Run a chalkline through these two marks all the way through to the garrage door. You can now use this line as your "baseline" to measure and plan your layout from.
Does the kitchen/Family Room door have a hinged door or is it an open portal? If it's hinged, mark your baseline at the center of the hinge (this will be where your tile will end). If it's an open portal, you have more freedom to adjust the termination point on the baseline. It can be withdrawn into the kitchen side of the portal if your layout requires or extended into the Family Room side if that gives you a better layout. The reason that the point remains fixed if you have a door is that, with the door closed, the seam of the tile to other flooring transition is covered by the door. You *could* adjust this mark, but it's a lot less attractive.
Next, take your dimension measurement from above and write down a progression of dimensions by adding it to itself. This incremental ladder can now be used to mark off the intersections along the baseline. Remember that the dimension includes two joint measurements however! How does the cut at the garage door look? The garage door cuts and the middle of the hinge for the library door should be very close to one another in size as they appear to be on the same wall and both open in the same direction. How does the cut look along the "bath3"/"Pantry" wall? That should be your vertical layout, and you can play around with it as you need.
Now, using the first intersection mark on your baseline as your starting point, create your 3-4-5 triangle in the kitchen to square up the room. The intersection mark will be the apex of the triangle. With this line snaped perpendicular to your baseline, you can now figure out the horizontal layout, including the hall sections.
Once you have adjusted your horizontal and vertical baselines for optimal cuts, you can then use these lines to assure you are staying "on mark" by occasionally comparing the points of your intersections to the chalkline intersections. Thay should match throughout the installation.
Hope that helped?

05-18-2005, 06:40 AM
:crazy: That's why Shaughnn makes the big bucks! :crazy:

05-18-2005, 08:18 AM
thanks Shaughnn!
I read through your message about 3 times (not because it was hard to read-but because there was so much detailed info) and I think I get it now! Now I have to go see if I can actually do it in my house!

Here are a few comments on the layout/transitions in the house:

1)the family room/kitchen area doorway is open and there is no carpet yet in the family room so while I want a great tile cut here-you raised the point this juncture is adjustable and it is very adjustable so I should probably use other entryways on the other side of the installation for the baseline intersection determinations and just check to see if this one can be made good
2)the garage door and the library door are not lined up together as shown: the library/hall doorway is pushed down a few feet so the library is square shaped. Regardless I think my baseline intersection transition points will be based of the combination of transitions to the library and garage doors and the southern hallway wall-if all 3 can give good cuts... the southern end of the kitchen is lined mostly with cabinets with overhangs on the floors so it would hide any good/bad cuts
3)Dining room/kitchen transition-dining room already has carpet so this transition is not adjustable so I'm just gonna lay out the baseline and march across with the tape measure and make sure it looks ok..

I hope all the above makes sense-all this is starting to make sense to me-looking at the floorplan and thinking about the room I am going through each wall and thinking about the priority of cuts and how easy cuts are hidden and such and I think I'm coming up with a good game plan! I owe you a 6-pack!

05-18-2005, 08:08 PM
Glad to help William,
Fly me out to Houston and I share that six-er with ya. :D Any more questions you have, just run them through here and I or somebody else will help you tackle 'em.
Go get 'em tiger!, :D

Steve in PA
05-18-2005, 08:31 PM
eh William,
I understand your center is somewhat undefined there but I thought I’d use this thread to post a general tip for laying out on the diagonal.

When I can I get a centered 4’ line from all 4 walls making an + in the center of a room.
I then set one tile dead center where all points hit the lines.
Now using the method Shaughnn described, I measure from a point to a wall to see what my pieces will be. If I see I’m going to have little 1” points I’ll shift my lines.
The shift is a half of a half tile.
Example… say a tile is 18” from point to point. that would be 9” at center.
I would shift the line 4.5”. this way it still is centered and the bigger pieces will be the same size on each side of a room.

05-18-2005, 08:36 PM
I think Shaughnn explained it well, which isn't easy to do. :) Using the 3-4 and 5 to square up is very important. You can multiply those using 6-8 and 10 or 12-16 and 20. The bigger, the better. :)