Laying Out a Resilient Tile Floor

This story covers how to lay out a room in quadrants for a resilient-tile floor.


In most situations, laying out the room and setting resilient tile in quadrants works best. Starting in the center of the room allows the focal point of the tile pattern to correspond to the focal point of the floor area. More importantly, laying out the installation in quadrants results in edge tiles that are the same width on all four sides. The quadrant method, however, requires some experimentation. To get evenly spaced edge tiles you'll have to lay a row of tiles on one chalk line axis at a time and push the row back and forth until the spaces at the ends are the same depth.

Bear in mind that edges look better if they are at least a half-tile wide. If your first trials end up with narrow slivers, take a tile out of the row and recenter the row on the layout line. Repeat the procedure for the other axis. Because carpentry is an inexact science, almost no room is perfectly square. In older homes especially you may find the out-of-square condition so severe that it results in one wall of radically tapered tiles. Try to place your layout so tapered tiles fall in the least conspicuous part of the room, such as on a wall opposite a doorway, in indirect light, or hidden underneath furniture.


2 hours for an 8x10-foot area, not counting preparation

Tape measure, chalk line, carpenter's pencil

Measuring, marking

Remove furniture, appliances, and old flooring.

Step 1

Prepare the subfloor and mark the center of the room by snapping chalk lines between the midpoints of opposite walls. If the shape of the room is irregular or features protrusions that cover the center of a wall, snap the lines on the largest rectangular portion of the floor.

Step 2

Check the lines for square using a 3-4-5 triangle. Measure and mark 3 feet on one line and 4 feet on the other. If the distance between the two marks is 5 feet, your lines are square. If not you'll have to adjust the lines; use a long 2x4 to mark the diagonal on the floor.

Step 3

Adjust the lines until they are square by moving the chalk line slightly and resnapping the lines. If the diagonal measured more than 5 feet, move the line slightly clockwise with reference to the center point. If it was less than 5 feet, move it counterclockwise.

Step 4

Dry-lay a row of tiles along both axes from wall to wall. Measure the space for the tiles that will abut the wall. Adjust the line of tiles until the edge tiles are the same width and at least a half-tile wide. Repeat the adjustment on the other axis until you have even borders.

Step 5

Mark the floor where the adjusted lines will fall and pull up the tiles. Snap a new chalk line on these marks. This will give you a revised center point from which you will begin laying the floor. Make sure the adjusted lines are square.

Standard Layout

Snap perpendicular lines at the midpoints of the walls and square them. Dry-lay tile in both directions to center the layout and leave tiles of equal width at both edges.

Comments (2)
sgfsd wrote:

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6/9/2016 01:36:16 PM Report Abuse
jonib48 wrote:

how to install resilient planks

10/23/2013 04:54:58 PM Report Abuse
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