How to Make Reference Lines for Ceramic Tile Installation

What You'll Need
Tape measure
Carpenter square

Ceramic tile looks wonderful when it’s properly installed on a floor, and can add to the beauty of a room. However, there’s a great deal of preparation involved before they’re down on the floor. To ensure the ceramic tile sits properly and that you don’t end up with awkward small pieces at the edges, you need to create reference lines. It’s more work, but the results will make it al worthwhile.

Step 1 - Square Walls

If laying ceramic tile in a room that’s square, the job is a great deal easier. If the room isn’t a simple square or rectangle, you can still create reference lines for the ceramic tile. The first thing to find is two walls opposite each other that are square to each other. Measure along each of the walls to find the center and make a mark there on each wall.

Step 2 - Create a Square

Using chalk and a straight edge, join the two marks with a line (you can also snap a chalk line between the two points). Now look at the other walls in the room. Measure along the other 2 walls to discover the center point in each and then join them with a chalk line using a straight edge. Where the two lines cross will be the middle of the room, and the angles formed should each by 90 degrees. You should check these with a carpenter square.

Step 3 - More Reference Points

Those who aren’t used to laying ceramic tile can benefit from having more reference points. Measure from the edge of one wall to the center mark and make a mark halfway between the two. Repeat on the opposite wall and join the marks. Do the same in the other half of the room. When this is complete, do the same on the opposite walls so that you end up with a grid of 16 squares. These markings will make it much easier to ensure the laying of the ceramic tile remains straight throughout the entire room.

Step 4 - Using Reference Points

By measuring from the center point in the room to the walls you’ll be able to calculate  how many tiles you need to reach the wall, and also whether, and by how much, you’ll need to cut the tile to create and even edge. This knowledge makes it easier to plan for laying the ceramic tile.

Step 5 - Laying Tile

Start at the center of the room and work outward when laying ceramic tile. This is why the reference points are so important as they give you lines to follow and ensure that the tiles are straight. By working one small grid at a time out from the center you’ll be able to see the development of the floor and be certain that everything is even and square. Be careful not to obscure the chalk reference points before you tile over them. Taking time to have the reference points exact and square will result in great looking ceramic tile.