Instructions for installing a herringbone tile pattern on a floor

Written by john walker
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Instructions for installing a herringbone tile pattern on a floor
You can use herringbone pattern with tile, brick, or any rectangular floor or wall covering. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Tile layout designs are either of multiple types or specific patterns. The standard layout of tile is in either a square or rectangular grid fashion or in a brick pattern. A common but difficult design is the herringbone pattern which appears to be stair-stepped when looking from one direction and arrows when looking from another. Laying the tile into a herringbone design requires that the tile's width be precisely twice the height.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rectangular tiles
  • Tile wet saw

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  1. 1

    Cut several rectangular tiles precisely in half with a tile wet saw, making several square tiles. Start off with four or six square tiles cut from two to three rectangles. Cut additional square tiles as needed.

  2. 2

    Place one square tile in the far right corner of the room.

  3. 3

    Lay a rectangular tile horizontally with the long edge running from side to side to the left of the square tile.

  4. 4

    Lay a third tile horizontally so that the short edge touches the right-hand edge of the floor and sits just beneath the first two tiles. Place a second square tile flush with the right-hand edge of the floor just beneath third tile creating a stair-step design.

  5. 5

    Repeat the stair-step design with full vertical tiles where the long edge runs from top to bottom instead of side to side. Place the first one coming down off of the last square tile running along the right-hand edge of the floor. Place the next tile to the left of the first. Continue along the step pattern working towards the far edge of the floor with the last tile being a square tile.

  6. 6

    Continue laying tiles so that you are laying horizontal tiles coming from the far edge of the floor working in a stair step fashion to the right-hand edge of the floor and you are laying the vertical tiles working from the right-hand edge of the floor up to the far end of the floor. Add square tiles as needed. You will see the herringbone pattern emerge after just a few rows.

Tips and warnings

  • The basic herringbone design is two rectangles touching to form an "L" with the tiles. The easiest method of construction is to lay the horizontal row followed by the vertical row. As you begin to understand the design, you can tile the floor from side to side, alternating the direction of the tiles from up to down to sideways and repeating the pattern.
  • Do not waste tiles. Practice laying out the pattern without a tile adhesive to simplify the process when installing the tiles and to avoid having to demolish the work halfway through due to a simple mistake.

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