How to square a room for tile setting

Written by timothy sexton
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How to square a room for tile setting
Make sure the room is square before laying down your tile. (carrelage image by Ev" from

Squaring a room for tile setting is one of the first things you should do as part of your layout plan for a room. Finding out ahead of time that the room is out of square gives you the opportunity to hide the flaw as well as possible. Measuring the room for square can be done in several ways that each take a bit more effort and time, but may also give you a more accurate read.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Plywood sheets
  • Drywall sheets
  • Measuring tape
  • Tiles
  • Plastic spacers

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  1. 1

    Find some pieces of plywood or drywall that have perfectly square corners. Place the wood or drywall down on the floor in a corner of the room so that the edges are 1 inch away from both corners. Take a measurement to determine if the wall on either side is out of square along its length.

  2. 2

    Mark one wall exactly 3 feet from the corner. Mark the other wall exactly 4 feet from the corner. Measure the distance between these two marks. If the distance between the two walls is precisely 5 feet, then that corner is square. Get a more accurate reading for a larger room by expanding the 3-4-5 method so that you are using multiples, such as 6-8-10 or 9-12-15.

  3. 3

    Reduce the potential for mathematical errors by laying out the tiles themselves. Lay one row of tiles across the entire room and then lay another tile that crosses the first row to create a large T. Place plastic spacers between the tiles to represent the space taken up by grouting. This method of squaring the room will provide more specific information on how an out-of-square room will affect the need for cutting tile at the edges along the wall.

  4. 4

    Determine if the room is out of square by more or less than 1/8 inch for every 10 feet. Fine-tune the line in which the tiles will be laid if the room is out of square less than 1/8 inch. This compensation will keep the tiles from looking noticeably off-square. Readjust your layout plans so that the tapering of the tiles are along the wall where they will be least obvious if the room is out of square by more than 1/8 inch.

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