DIY Tiling Series Part 3 – Laying Tiles Correctly

Once you have prepared your subfloor(Part 1) and mixed your adhesive(Part 2) you can start laying tiles.

We learnt in Part 2, how to mix  the adhesive. Lets recap a few main points to get you back up to speed.

Step 6: Applying your adhesive (Main points)

  • Use your trowel to spread the adhesive
  • Press adhesive into the floor with the trowel at a 45-degree angle
  • Don’t apply adhesive to too large an area because it will dry before you lay your tiles
  • Apply enough adhesive for 2-3 tiles at a time to be safe
  • Plan your layout so you don’t tile yourself in

Step 7: Laying your tiles

Placing your tiles

Line your first tile up with your two chalk lines to make sure it is straight and cornered with the room’s midpoint. Apply slight pressure to the tile and move it around slightly to make sure it bonds correctly. Place the next tile the same way, lining it up with the edges of the first tile.

Place the spacers between the two tiles on either end of where the tiles meet close to the corners. Make sure the spacers are sticking up and out of the tile so that you can easily remove them once the adhesive is dry.

Laying tiles and making sure they are level

While laying tiles you need to make sure they are level. Ensuring your tiles are level comes down to your sub-floor. If your floor was not 100% level then you need to adjust these areas to make sure they are all the same height to ensure accurate tiling. You can use a spirit level as you are laying your tiles and ensure they are all the same by gently pushing your tile until it is parallel. To make sure your tiles are the same height, run your hand over the tiles and feel if they are uneven. If the tile is too low, add some adhesive to the bottom of the tile and relay it.

Clearing excess adhesive

Once you have finished laying the first set of tiles, scrape up any excess adhesive on the sides of the tiles. If this dries you will have to get a hammer and chisel to remove it before carrying on with your tiling so it is best to remove it while it is still wet. Continue in the straight line applying adhesive and placing your tiles until you can no longer place a full tile, then start your next row. Keep the process going until you have placed all your full tiles.

Straightening tiles

To double check that your tiles are straight every so often place a straight edge at one end of your tiles. If all the tiles are touching the straight edge then your tiles are straight. If you are diligent with your spacers and lining up each tile your tiles should be straight.

Drying process after Laying Tiles

Once you have laid all your full tiles let the adhesive dry for about 24hrs then you can carry on and move onto placing the cut tiles. Plan your tiling route properly so that you don’t tile yourself into a corner that you can’t get out of the room without stepping on tiles. If you would like to pause your tiling process simply scrape away any excess adhesive on the floor and come back when you want to carry on. Remember, if you are going to pause your tiling make sure you have finished your bucket of tile adhesive otherwise it will go hard and you will have to discard it. It’s better to finish off the adhesive before stopping so you don’t waste any adhesive.

Now that you are done laying your full tiles the next step is laying down the cut tiles but first, you need to measure and cut them. That brings us to Part 4, cutting tiles.

If, up to this point, you have any questions you are welcome to ask away on our facebook page or pop us a mail at