Making a Dimensional Layout Drawing

warbar79 says:
Yep! This advice is good. I made my room for 3 days very easy without mistakes
Yep! This advice is good. I made my room for 3 days very easy without mistakes
A dimensional layout drawing helps you plan precisely by putting on paper all the details of the surface you'll be tiling.

A dimensional layout drawing puts on paper all the details of the surface you'll be tiling. It reflects the outline of tiled surfaces and the layout of the tile.

A dimensional layout drawing helps you plan precisely, assists a supplier in helping you make estimates, and acts as the basis for answering other questions about your project.

The making of a drawing is a fairly straightforward procedure. The process begins with a rough sketch on which you post the measurements of the room. Then you make a scaled drawing based on the sketch and measurements. In the final stage, you use tracing paper to draw in the tile pattern or to experiment with options.

Although tile is sold in cartons which contents cover a specified number of square feet, you should count the tiles on your layout drawing to give you a more accurate estimate, especially if the project contains several cut tiles.


About an hour to sketch and measure a medium-size kitchen. Time for making a dimensional layout drawing will vary with the complexity of the design and the number of alternative layouts drawn.

Sharp pencils, measuring tape, ruler, architect's scale, plastic drawing square

Measuring and drawing accurately

Selection of tile

Large sheets of graph paper and tracing paper, masking or drafting tape

Sketch Room

Before you measure the room, make a rough sketch of its contours. Start in a corner and measure to the nearest 1/8 inch the length of every surface where it changes direction. Post the measurements on the sketch as you go. A floor sketch will note the dimensions of appliance recesses, cabinets, and built-in furnishings. A sketch of a wall or countertop will account for anything on the surface that interrupts a line of tile, such as windows or electrical outlets.

Typical Dimensional Drawing

Using a ruler and drafting tools, transfer the rough sketch and its measurements to graph paper -- this time to scale. Because you will draw your tile pattern on this dimensional drawing, choose a scale that accommodates the size of the tile you plan to use. A scale of 1/4 inch = 1 foot may be perfect for 12-inch tiles but too small for 4- to 6- inch tiles. Smaller tiles are easier to render on a larger scale.

Getting the Layout Right

Tape your dimensional drawing securely to your work surface; then tape a piece of tracing paper over it. Carefully draw your tile layout on the tracing paper. Experiment with various designs, using new sheets of tracing paper until you arrive at the layout that looks best in the room. Use the total of the tile width plus the width of the grout joint in determining the layout. You can hide the edges of cut tiles under toe-kicks, along an inconspicuous wall, or under a countertop backsplash. Doorways should start with a full tile and edges should end in at least a half-tile border if possible.

Half-Tile Border: Revise the Layout

If your first layout results in unevenly spaced half-tile borders, try adjusting the grout lines. If things don't come out evenly, revise your layout. Remove the partial tiles and the full tiles on each axis. Redraw the layout with the remaining section of full tiles centered in the room. This will leave enough space for wider tiles at the borders. Measure to the edge and divide by 2. In this example, seventeen 2-inch border tiles and fifteen 12-inch full tiles were removed, leaving a space of 14 inches / 2 = 7 inches, or more than a half-tile at each border.

This method also allows you to make more accurate material estimates. If you count the tiles in the first layout, you'll find there are 55 full tiles and 17 cut tiles. Counting the tiles in the final layout results in an estimate of 40 full and 32 cut tiles.

Laying Out Irregular Ceramic Tiles

Almost all irregularly shaped tiles have a reference point you can rely on when making your dimensional layout. Use a ruler to lightly draw layout lines and space them to conform to the tile-grout dimension. Cut a thin cardboard template scaled to the overall configuration of a square of the tile and use the template to draw trial layouts.

Most irregular tiles are sold by the square foot. To make material estimates, divide the total area by the coverage per carton.

Estimate Materials

To estimate the materials needed, first compute the area of the surface by multiplying its length by its width. For complicated surfaces, compute the overall area and subtract the space in the nooks and crannies.

Estimate tile quantities by dividing the coverage-per-carton into the total area and adding 10 percent for breakage, cut tiles, and mistakes. Count the tiles on your layout drawing for a more precise estimate. Save unused tile for future repairs.

For ceramic and stone projects, figure backerboard quantities by dividing the sheet area into the surface area. Grout and adhesive coverage will vary among manufacturers. Consult your supplier, and don't forget tape, screws, and other materials.


Comments (2)
warbar79 wrote:

Yep! This advice is good. I made my room for 3 days very easy without mistakes

2/16/2011 11:12:04 AM Report Abuse
one72elcamino wrote:

thank you for your advice its made my home improvements a lot eazyer keep up the good work. a fan for life?

2/15/2011 09:48:47 PM Report Abuse
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