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Old 06-04-2018, 11:19 AM   #1
poodlestix
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Whole house tile questions

Hello everyone,

My husband is going to tile our entire house with 6x24 plank tile (wood look). He is a novice, although not brand new (his first and only tile job was doing our master bathroom several years back in a previous home, and he did a beautiful job!).

Because he's doing the whole house rather than one room, and also because he's using rectangular tiles as opposed to the square ones in the previous job, he has a few questions:

1. We have seen conflicting information online about where to start. We've seen quite a few things saying to find the perfect center of the room, and mark it with chalk lines. This is an open floor plan where there isn't an obvious center of the largest room, for one thing (see photos). He also saw on Lowe's website that they said to go to the longest wall and start tiling two tiles away from it, and he's seen yet other sources say that you CAN start tiling at a wall. So we don't know which advice to take, or how to find the exact center of the room if need be?

2. We want a random staggered layout rather than the 33% method that has also been talked about online. We know that it can't be more than 33% due to lippage. But if he does start in the center of the largest room and tile to the end of the room, and use the cut end to start the next line each time, he says it'll end up as a mirror image on each side of the center line, and we wouldn't want that. How do you avoid that?

3. Should he precut tiles at random lengths for this job? Or perhaps thirds?

4. How do you do random offsets?

Btw, the tiles in the pictures (width-wise) do not depict the way he planned to lay them. He was doing that mainly to get an idea of how many he would need for each row. He knows not to lay them side by side!

Thanks in advance for all replies!
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Old 06-04-2018, 05:52 PM   #2
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If your walls are square, you can start there. I like to set the following rows in a random pattern as I progress. Obviously, you heed to avoid the "half stagger" and you go....but you can adjust the tiles smaller and larger as you progress across the room. Wood floor ARE "random" and that's what it should look like, IMHO.
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Old 06-04-2018, 07:24 PM   #3
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Great planning before the tile. There are two main schools of thought, center the room starting with center of the tile on the center line, or tile edge on the center line (whichever gives the biggest cut on the perimeter). Or have full tile at an obvious point of attention, say where carpet and tile meet to an entry of a living room. I'm a fan of full tile where it's seen most and have cuts fall against a wall, unless it's tiny then you center the layout. Layout is open to opinion and the guy who taught me had a saying. "There's an exception to every rule, and a rule to every exception."
With a random stagger you have a lot of leeway and just try not to line up with another joint say every 5 tiles. It will usually look too consistent the first rows you lay but after ten rows it will look random so don't think too much of it when you start.

If I read #2 correctly, you don't have to use the cuts sequentially or right away, less waste is always good but I save the cuts and start with them if they work out, or cut maybe an inch or two off to make it look more random.
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Old 06-04-2018, 07:37 PM   #4
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Here's a couple planks I've done to analyze the stagger. You can see lookin at 3-5 rows it looks similar, but overall "fairly" random.
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Old 06-04-2018, 08:43 PM   #5
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Nice Justin!! +1 on the random, I think that looks the best.
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Old 06-04-2018, 09:42 PM   #6
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1. Is there a long hallway, by chance? If so, you might try centering up on it, if the tile are to run lengthwise down the hall. I wouldn't like the looks of having two different size pieces on either side of a hallway.

2. You don't have to use that cut piece on the very next row. You can set it aside and use it in a later row to avoid the appearance of a pattern. Or if it's pretty small, you can elect not to use it at all.

3. The only cut pieces I would use would be at the walls.

4. Takes some planning. You can dry-lay out a row and see how it will fall, or just measure if you want. I would try to avoid slivers at either end.
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Old 06-09-2018, 01:20 PM   #7
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Thanks, guys!

Another question.... I've seen it said many times to start at the center of the largest room. However, I saw an article by a tile guy that said centering the tile in the foyer or hallway leading into the house is actually the most important since that's what you see upon entering the house. This seems to make a lot of sense. Thoughts?
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Old 06-09-2018, 07:52 PM   #8
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A neighbor used plank tiles.They look great except for a room and a long hallway off the main area. They kept the same direction coming in from the front.

So one room and the long hallway have the tiles running perpendicular to the length of the room not parallel. Looks bad, especially the long hallway. They would have been better off changing direction there.

Just my opinion but you should consider that before applying thinset
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:08 AM   #9
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Consider that much of your living room floor will be covered where it meets the wall, i.e. under the couch and other furniture. That's one reason I don't put as much attention to the tile size at those places, but more on areas that will be visible at all times.
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:19 AM   #10
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You'll probably find it easier to keep the tiles straight if you measure the width of 2 tiles with 2 grout joints and pop chalk lines on the floor that distance apart. Seems like the last plank job I did, 1 tile and 1 joint was 6 1/8. So I popped my lines every 12 1/4 apart. Of course, you only need lines going the long direction.

The problem with using spacers is that the tiles slightly vary in width and the further you get from your center line, the more crooked the joints will get.

It doesn't matter but I would probably run the tiles the other direction. That way when you walk in the front door you'll see the pattern and not the long grout joints. Either way will work, there are no rules to that.
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:34 AM   #11
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Another question. My husband read somewhere that you should make chalk lines that are wide enough to accommodate the width of two tiles plus two spacers to keep things aligned. It doesn't make sense to us that having the width of that second spacer would matter. What do you guys think?
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:55 AM   #12
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Recommend that you consider "tile size" as actual size plus 1 grout joint width. Makes things simpler in the long haul. So a 5 7/8" x 23 7/8" with 1/8" grout does indeed become a 6 x 24 module.

I'd also make a story stick for quick reference. A 1x2 or similar a few feet long with tile width centers on one side and length centers on other. You can flip this across floor for quick spacing judgements without laying tile that you then have to move to set.
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Old 06-16-2018, 12:59 PM   #13
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Yeah, I just explained that in post 10. Instead of popping a line every tile apart, I pop lines for two tiles. I set one tile on the line and free hand the other row.

If you are running a random length floor, you won't need the 24 inch lines for the long sides of the tiles.

Cassandra, what is the actual measurement of the tiles width?
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:45 PM   #14
poodlestix
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I apologize, Davy. That made me look like an idiot, but I created an account and have been a mouthpiece for my husband here. He has been the one reading through things and asking me to post questions in his behalf, and I am guilty for not reading through everything to make sure it hadn't already been addressed!

The tiles are 5 13/16" by 23 7/8" (as close as I can tell). We are using 3/16" spacers.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:34 PM   #15
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So, you're saying your husband is the idiot. Just kidding. The problem with using spacers is that if one tile is slightly wider on one end (and they will be), after this happens a few times, the tiles will get out of line. I would much rather pop lines and follow them. With 5 13/16 inch tiles, I'd pop the lines every 6 inches apart. If you want to use the spacers on the ends of the tiles, you can but I'd free hand those short end joints.
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