Step-by-Step Instructions for Laying Herringbone Floor Tiles

Updated February 21, 2017

Tile patterns offer a variation to the standard side-by-side installation. A herringbone pattern produces seeming rows of arrows or stair steps while breaking up the vertical and horizontal seams. Standard tile installation normally starts along a back wall or at floor level for walls. However, herringbone patterns require you to start in one corner and work outward from that corner. On walls, start in the lowest corner, but for floors, you'll need to start in the corner farthest from the entryway.

Cut several tiles to half their length, using a tile wet saw, which is available for rent from most hardware stores. The end result will be several square tiles that you will use along the edges.

Lay the first square tile in the corner of the floor farthest from the entryway.

Lay the next few tiles with the long edge sitting horizontally. Place the first to the side of the square tile, the second beneath the square and rectangular tile and the third one beneath the second flush with the edge.

Place the next set of tiles starting with the side edge of the floor, working toward the back edge with the tiles placed vertically. Lay the first one beneath the third horizontal tile with the long edge against the edge of the floor. Stair-step the next few tiles to the side, working up toward the back edge of the floor. The last tile will be a square tile to complete the stair-step effect.

Lay additional sections, alternating between horizontal and vertical tiles, with each section creating the overall effect. Install square tiles where necessary to complete each section.


Always wear eye protection when cutting tiles.

Things You'll Need

  • Rectangular tiles
  • Tile wet saw
  • Eye protection
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