Before you lay your first tile, it is important that you get accurate measurements of the entire kitchen floor, and then plot them out on graph paper using a simple scale ratio. This will save you time, money, and hassle, by giving you an accurate picture of what the floor is going to look like in your kitchen. It will also give you an accurate estimate of exactly how much material you are going to need, including any custom cut pieces that will be required.
Measuring The Kitchen Floor
Measure Twice: Accurate measurements are the key to success when laying out a tile floor. Start at one corner of the room, and use the wall as a guide while measuring the distance to the other wall. Note down your measurements, and then repeat the process. Measuring twice will ensure that your numbers are accurate.
Square Things Up: To find out if the room is square, measure from a corner along one wall and mark it at 3 feet. Then measure from the adjacent wall out to 4 feet and mark that with a pencil. Then measure from one mark to the other. If the distance between them is exactly 5 feet then you have a 90 degree angle.
Fixtures: Be certain to get accurate measurements for all permanent fixtures such as cabinets and counters which will have to be tiled around.
Graphing Your Measurements
The first thing you want to do is create a scale that will be easy for you to use to convert your actual measurements into an accurate diagram on graph paper.
Some of the easiest scales involve a 1:10 or a 1:12 ratio. For example an 8’ X 10’ room would be 96” X 120” in size. This room reduced at a ratio of 10:1 would create a diagram that is 9.6” X 12” in size. A ratio of 12:1 would create a diagram that is 8” X 10” in size.
If you require a bigger diagram a 1:8 ratio would yield a 12” X 15” rendition.
The important thing is that you scale the entire room, including all fixtures, down by the same ratio.
Measuring Tile and Grout
The next thing you want to do is lay out at least ten tiles, with grout spacers in between them. Measure the length of this line, and then divide that number by ten. That will give you the rough size of a tile plus grout lines.
Scale these measurements down using the exact same ratio that you did to create the diagram.
Before lifting the tiles, place a spare 8 foot long 1X2 next to the tiles. Make sure that the wood is straight, and then position one end in the center of the grout line on the last tile. Using a pencil, mark off where each grout line occurs to create a story stick that will help you estimate how many tiles can fit in a given space.
Using your scaled down measurements, you can test out a variety of kitchen tile layouts by using transparent sheets.
Create a miniature story stick based on the scaled down size of each tile with grout, and then mark it off on a small piece of wood, the back of a wooden ruler, a piece of cardboard, or even a sturdy piece of construction grade paper.
This can be used to create layouts on sheets of transparent paper. Draw the tiles in your design, and then lay the sheets over the original diagram to see which way the patterns fit best.
Testing The Design
With simple designs, you will want to lay out one entire line of rows going horizontally across the kitchen from wall to wall, and another line of tiles going vertically through the room from wall to wall. Place spacers between the tiles to account for grout lines.
Make sure that the two lines intercept at some point, and that the meeting is correctly proportionate to the space.
If you have a complex pattern that you are trying to create in your kitchen, then you may want to do a dry run of the entire floor. Using spacers to act as grout lines, you can lay the entire floor out without adhesive to ensure that it fits, and looks, exactly the way that you want it to.