DIY Network

How to Make a Tile Grid and Lay Tiles

Host Paul Ryan demonstrates how to mark a grid for tiles and begin the tile-laying process.

More in Remodeling

mark grid for tiles and begin tile laying process
  • Time

    1 hour

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Create a Grid

The first thing you have to do before laying the tile is to create a grid. Do this by laying out three tiles and measuring two tiles with grout joints included to determine the square size for the grid.

Start along the longest wall to establish your straight wall. Make a mark the size of your square.

create a grid before laying tile

Step 2: Mark the Grid Points

Once you have your marks, put the first line down with chalk going the length of the first wall.

Mark the square from the back wall, then mark your grid points.

mark the grid points

Step 3: Mix and Apply the Mortar

Now that the grid is marked out, it's time to start laying the tiles.

Mix the mortar to the consistency of thick mayonnaise. Apply a thin layer of thinset mortar using the notches in the trowel to set the thickness. Try to get nice even coverage, but don't cover the grid lines.

use notches in trowel to set thickness

Step 4: Lay the Tiles

When it's time to lay the tile, apply a thin layer of mortar on the back of each tile, spreading it with the flat edge of the 1/4 x 3/8" deep square notched trowel.

Once the tile is down, apply thin, even pressure with both hands to set the tile in place. Make sure all the tiles are set at the same level.

Step 5: Wipe the Floor Clean

Clean up any excess thinset with a damp sponge. Be sure to squeeze all the water out before wiping the surface.

Note: For small areas, don't apply thinset to the floor, apply extra to the tile.

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