Tile Knowledge Essentials: Tile Selection & Tile Laying - Tips, Steps, Advice

Step 1: Choosing Materials

When deciding on what type of material to go with for your tile installation project, it’s important to consider where the tile will be in your home and what tile it will be. Choices are endless. 

Tile mosaic of fish; mortar mounted versatile picture

Tile is a multi-purpose material for space that works well in a variety of places and for different projects. The tiling job can be during the construction of your house or as part of an essential renovation project.

When choosing between different types of tile and their shape, it's important to understand what purpose each type serves and which would make the best choice for your particular project or task. Let's look at what makes some types more suitable than others.

Bathroom Tiles come in many styles, shapes, and colors that create wonderful patterns when put together on walls or floors. Ceramic tile can also get wet, so it's important to use special adhesive materials when installing them.

Bathroom Tiling, Tile Installation, Tile, No Dust

Porcelain tiles are more durable, resistant to pressure, and can be heated in a kiln for firing, which makes them a popular choice for kitchen backsplashes. Porcelain tile for the bathroom is also easy to upkeep.

Tile makes and ensure a difference picture

Stone tile like natural stone tiles come in many styles, from sleek quality glass, granite to rustic travertine. They're the most expensive money option, but also likely to last the longest and make your place feel extra luxurious.

Smooth Granite Print

Ceramic / Porcelain Tiles are a true quality standard, ceramic tiles come in a range of colors as well as different sizes (also large format tiles) and shapes that can be used together or separately in most cases.

Porcelain Tile Historic Picture

Other Tile Types are also a good choice like graphic tiles, matte tiles, porcelain tile, subway tiles, neutral-colored tiles, square or hexagonal tiles. Ceramic or porcelain tiles are ideal for walls or kitchen backsplashes because it doesn't need to be sealed like other types of tile.

Portugal Hard Porcelain Tile

Rubber Flooring or rubber tiles are great when kids are around because they're durable, soft, and easy to clean from dust or stains. They also come in many colors and styles that can be used together or by themselves for individual rooms in your homes like the kitchen or bathroom.

 Rubber Floor with Football on It

Linoleum Tiles of which many people think as shag carpet's stiff cousin but this material is actually a type of flooring made from natural materials like linseed oil and wood flour, which means it has a nice quality feel underfoot and adds some warmth to your interior. It comes in both sheets and tiles so you have more design options with something that feels handmade.

Linoleum Rag Floor Linoleum Linocut Scraper Craft Art

Cork Flooring is a versatile and sustainable option because the bark of cork trees can be stripped and used multiple times. Cork tiles come in many different colors and patterns to create warm and inviting rooms in your home.

Cork Flooring, Texture, Seamless, Tillable,

Some other choices of materials: cement, marble, mosaic, granite, limestone, travertine, quarry and others.

Marble Tile, Tiling, Floor, Stone

Once you've decided what type of tile would look best in your home, here's what's next, feel free to check.

Step 2: Set-up & Space Preparation


Before you start laying tiles or drilling any holes, it's important to prepare the surface for tile and tools. It's important to remove any old flooring and make sure the surface is leveled even before starting. This may require the use of a self-leveling compound to create a completely flat surface on which to install your tiles.

Floor Level Check Preparing Floor for Laying Tiles

Any damaged, loose or uneven areas must be repaired, patched, and leveled. Make sure all surfaces to be tiled are clean, smooth, dry, and free of wax, soap scum, and grease. Quality is key here.

Water can cause tiles to break or become loose after installation due to expansion. This may lead you to have to re-do the project at a later date - so save and avoid this issue ensure that your tile area has dried sufficiently before proceeding with any further steps in the process.


For walls, this means removing everything down to the studs so that old tile, stone, granite, wallpaper or paint doesn't get stuck on the adhesive underneath and allows all-in access. 
Preparing Walls for New Tiles Hammer Tools Level System

Remove all moldings, trims, appliances, etc. which may interfere with the installation. Door jambs may be undercut for tiles to slip under.

Next, take up all of your furniture or cover it with quality plastic covering or tarp that will prevent scratches while being moved out of the way for your installation process should they get in the way.

Tape down the edges of the covering so it doesn't move. Now would also be a good time to determine the removal baseboards and door casing, if possible, so that you have a better work area and can easily replace them when you're finished.

STEP 3: Space Layout & Measurement

Professional Tile Installer, Man standing on tile floor wearing protective helmet

Guideline for the first row of tiles

Measure the surface that will receive the tile, making sure to add at least a few inches to each side so you have some wiggle room when installing tile. This will ensure that your tiles fit nicely and don't create any gaps.

To begin tiling walls, tubs, or shower areas, find the center point of the wall and use a level to draw a plumb line in the center of the wall. Align a row of loose tiles across the bottom of the wall from the centerline, leaving uniform joints between tiles. If your tiles have integral spacers, the tiles can be abutted to automatically leave consistent 1/16" joints. If this layout leaves small cuts (less than 1/2 tile) at walls then adjust the plumb center line a half tile closer to the sidewall.

Now determine the lowest point of the floor horizontally using a level. Stack two tiles here, and at the top draw a horizontal line on the wall. With a level, continue the line around all side walls to be tiled. 

If this layout leaves small cuts (less than 1/2 tile) at walls, then adjust the center line by snapping a new chalk line a half tile closer to the wall. Repeat this process along the other center line, adjusting as necessary.

Grid Division

Now divide the room into smaller grids by snapping additional chalk lines parallel to the center lines. To fit the exact dimensions of these grids, layout, and area of tile approximately 2' x 3' starting in the center of the room along the center lines. Use tile spacers or leave equal joints between the tiles. Measure this grid and use the dimensions for each smaller grid throughout the room.

Begin installing tiles in the center of the room. Install one-quarter of the room, one quarter at a time. Finish each grid before moving on to the next one. Cut and fit the perimeter tiles in each grid last. Leave a 1/4" gap between the tile and walls.

STEP 4: Mix the Adhesive

Tile Installer Mixing Adhesive in a Plastic Bucket

For different types of tiles, granite, stone, there are different types of tile adhesive. If you use the wrong adhesive your tiles will not bond with the sub-floor correctly and your tiles may lift. When purchasing your tiles, be sure to ask, which adhesive is the correct one to use.

When mixing the mortar, keep these tips in mind:

  • Add the amount of water recommended by the manufacturer
  • It should be as thick as peanut butter
  • Let the adhesive set for 2-3 minutes after mixing
  • Mix for one minute before using the adhesive
  • Notice when it begins to stiffen up

Once you’ve cut your tiles to fit the area they will be installed in, have the adhesive ready, you are prepared for the next step. 


STEP 5: Tile Setting & Installation

Grout Installation Tiling A Man Presses Tile with Sponge to Grout

Begin installing tiles in the center of the room. Install one-quarter of the room, one quarter at a time. Finish each grid before moving on to the next one. Cut and fit the perimeter tiles in each grid last. Leave a 1/4" gap between the tile and walls.

You can get creative with the way you set your tile up on the floor or wall, depending upon where it will be installed. Using spacers between each tile ensures that there aren’t any gaps and makes sure everything is level while setting them up. Another thing that makes installation easier is having a small rubber roller for spreading out the adhesive over large areas quickly.

Another way to make sure the tile is secure on the floor or wall is with mastic. It’s applied in thin layers to ensure that there aren’t any gaps, and then using a rubber roller will smooth it out. This product helps keep tiles stuck down flat so they won’t accidentally be knocked loose when walking or standing on them for an extended period of time.


Begin installing tiles to the center of the wall above the horizontal guideline. Install one half of the back wall at a time. Set the lower two rows last. Cut and fit bottom tiles against the floor (or tub) if not level. Leave a 1/8" gap above the tub for caulking to seal around the tub.

Repeat the above process for sidewalls. Mark outside tile lines on walls that will not be completely tiled in order to spread adhesive.

Leave out tiles where you plan to install ceramic accessories (soap dish, towel bar, etc.) - for those drill bits, holes saws, shaping blades and cones are the right tools.

Use bullnose trim pieces to finish edges on walls where necessary.


Installer Installing Square Tile Floor

When tiling floors, begin by marking the center points of all four walls. Snap chalk lines between the center points of opposite walls. The lines will intersect in the center of the room. Make sure that the lines make perfect squares and adjust if necessary.

Lay out a row of loose tiles along the center lines in both directions, leaving spaces for uniform joints between the tiles: use tile spacers.

Flooring with tile spacers

Step 6: Installing the Grout 

The next step is to install the grout. Try not to worry about getting grout in your tiles - it's nearly impossible, and is just a part of the process. Work with it and learn to love it.

Installing the grout tile techniques

If you're using tile that has color or texture and you want them to show through in your finished product, place them face-down on the floor when installing the grout. Once dried, turn them over for a different look when you’re ready for your final step: sealing tile areas.

Step 6: Sealing Tile Area

Sealing your tile adds an extra layer of protection and guards against moisture, dirt, and mildew buildup. When properly applied and maintained, a sealant can help keep floors, showers, or backsplashes looking new. Here are some tips on how to seal bathroom tile:

-Seal your tile as soon as it is installed for the best protection against moisture and dirt.

-Be sure to use a quality sealant that is appropriate for your type of tile.

-Sealants come in both water-based and solvent-based varieties; choose the type that is best suited for your project.

-Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application, and be sure to test a small area before applying to the entire surface.

-Maintain your sealant by reapplying every few years (or as recommended by the manufacturer).

Taking these simple steps can help keep your tile looking beautiful for years to come!

Quick Tile Drilling Tips 

Calidad Tools Diamond Hole Saw Drilling

More often than not, you might discover that you need tile drill bit to drill a hole into the tiles to solve pipes, drainers or tap connections finishings. Drilling tile requires mathematical precision and high-quality tools to ensure that you’ll break through the surface without cracking it.

A tile drill bit kit is a vital tool, especially if you’re working with different tile materials like natural stone, porcelain, glass, ceramic tile etc. Find tile drill tip bits with different diameters that enable you to cut holes of different sizes through granite, porcelain, glass or marble tiles -drill slowly.

Look for a diamond bit tools that features wet cutting, so that you can reduce the amount of dust and noise on the project site and prolong lifetime of the tool. Additionally, make sure the drill tool has lateral openings that can improve the speed and cooling of the drill bit. These openings will facilitate the removal of residues after each drilling, making the installation process fast and smooth

Thank You & Until Next Time! 

Calidad Team 




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