Step 2: Dry layout, Part II

step 2
Photo: David Carmack
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From the center tile, measure to the opposite wall (call it B; mark this distance along the tile row. Adjust the center tile along the A-to-B line until measurements at walls A and B are the same.

After adjusting the A-to-B line, mark the center tile where it touches the chalk line between the other walls (call them C and D). Align these marks with the C-to-D chalk line. Repeat the measuring and adjusting process for walls C and D.

Lay a straightedge parallel to the C-to-D line and against one side of the center tile. Mark the straightedge where it meets a corner of the tile. This mark is your starting point for laying tile.

Trim door casings with a flush-cut saw so tile can slip underneath. Cut with saw held flat against a tile on top of a piece of cardboard (to represent the thickness of the thinset).
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    Tools List

    • straightedge guide
      10-foot straightedge (for aligning tile
    • rubber float
      Rubber float (for spreading grout
    • notched trowel
      Notched trowel (for spreading adhesive
    • rubbing stone
      Rubbing stone (for smoothing cut tile edges
    • drill
      Drill-driver and epoxy-coated screws,
      to secure backerboard to subfloor
    • mason's trowel
      Mason's trowel (for mixing thinset and grout
    • margin trowel
      Margin trowel (for cleaning cured joint lines
    • hand saw
      Flush-cut hand saw (for undercutting trim
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • tile cutter
      Tile cutter
    • power flush cut saw
      Power flush-cut saw (for undercutting trim
    • tile nippers
      Nippers (for breaking off small pieces of tile
    • carbide tipped scorer
      Carbide-tipped scorer and utility knife,
      for cutting backerboard
    • folding A-square
      Folding A-square,
      for checking squareness of tile layout)
    • wet saw
      Diamond blade,
      used with wetsaw to cut corner notches and curves in tile

    Shopping List

    1. CERAMIC FLOOR TILE

    2. THINSET MORTAR

    3. TILE GROUT

    4. TILE SPACERS

    used to ensure consistent joints



    5. MIXING PADDLE

    used in drill to mix up mortar and grout



    6. KNEE PADS

    7. FOAM SPONGE

    for wiping up grout haze