How-To Guide: Buying Tiles and Laying Them

In this section of our site, we would like to offer you some helpful hints and tips when it comes to buying tiles for your home, preparing your walls and floors for tiles as well as technique for laying the tiles themselves if you wish to do so. You can also check out our blog where we regularly post useful information on cleaning your tiles, laying them, taking care of your grouting, re-grouting, and much more.

Buying floor tiles

All are tiles can be purchased by the single tile, so you don’t have to buy more of them than you need. We stock a huge range of tiles including the following:

We also offer a range of tile accessories. You can find out more about each of these various tiles on their respective pages, or alternatively you can come visit our tile showroom in Bedford or call up our team to have a chat.

All are sales staff are fully trained, and will be more the happy to offer you assistance in working out your area.

Weight Limit for Wall Tiles

The maximum weight of tiling which can be supported by a dry, well-adhered plaster background is 20kg/m². This is equivalent to ceramic tiles with a maximum thickness of 8mm plus tile adhesive or natural stone tiles with a maximum thickness of 7mm plus tile adhesive.

The weight of tiling to a plasterboard background direct (without plaster skim) should not exceed 32kg/m². This is equivalent to a ceramic tile and adhesive with a maximum thickness of 12.5mm and natural stone and adhesive with a maximum thickness of 10mm.

It is important to emphasis that the weights quoted includes, both the tile and adhesive.

Further advice should be sought either from the manufacturer, regarding the suitability of the adhesives and grouts and also guidance must be sought from board manufacturer regarding additional information on recommended methods for the installation of boards.

Please see below for some common types of building board and the maximum recommended weights for tiling:

  • Gypsum Plaster – 20kg/m2
  • Gypsum Plasterboard Direct (Without a Plaster Skim) – 32kg/m2
  • Plywood (WBP) – Up to 30kg/m2
  • Lightweight Tile Backing Boards – Up to 40kg/m2 Dependant upon the type and thickness of the board
  • Glass Reinforced Cement Sheets – Up to 50kg/m2 Dependant upon the type and thickness of the board

Laying Floor Tiles

Floor tiles are an ideal floor covering for both kitchens or bathrooms and can also be used in high traffic areas like hallways. There are quite a few benefits of having tiles, the main two being that they are notoriously easy to clean and are very durable.

Tools you will need for laying floor tiles:

  • Notched Trowel
  • Tile Cutter or Diamond wheel cutter
  • Grout Spreader
  • Spirit Level

DIY Materials you will need for laying floor tiles:

  • Floor Tile Adhesive
  • The Floor Tiles
  • Spacers
  • A Sponge
  • Floor Tile Grout
  • Flexible Sealant

Preparing floor for tiling

Tiles can be laid directly on a concrete floor as long as it is level. To lay tiles on a wooden floor the wooden floor boards should be 18mm thick and screwed down every 300mm centres. For the best results choose a tile adhesive that is suited to the surface that you are laying the tiles on.

Positioning the tiles

The first tile determines the position of all the other tiles so it is key that this tile is positioned correctly. Don’t start by laying tiles up against a wall the best option is to start laying tiles in the centre of the room and work your way towards the edges. This will help to ensure that your design remains symmetrical.

Positioning the first tile

Find the centre of the room and lay out a dry row of tiles towards the edge make sure that you don’t have thin piece of tile at the edge as this will look strange up beside the skirting board. Repeat in the opposite direction until you are happy with the edges. You are now ready to start tiling.

Laying the floor tiles

Starting in the centre of the room pour out enough adhesive to cover roughly a square meter of floor. Spread the adhesive using a notched trowel or spreader. Place the key tile in position give it a wiggle to ensure that it sticks in place. Fit a plastic tile spacer at the edge of the tile and move onto the next tile. It is always a good plan to have a spirit level handy as the last thing you want is an uneven surface.

Repeat this process until you reach the edge of the room where you need to cut and lay the edge tiles. Using the damp sponge wipe down the tiles to remove any excess adhesive.

Check you don’t have a collection of adhesive at the edges and leave the tiles for 24 hours before tiling the edges.

Laying the edge tiles

Measure up the edge tiles and mark with chalk where you need to cut the tile, using your tile cutter cut the tile just short of the line to allow space for grout and sealant. Lay the edge tiles on top of some fresh adhesive and leave for 24 hours.

Grouting the floor tiles

Once you are sure that the tile adhesive has set mix up the tile grout into a paste following the instructions, spread the grout over the tiles using a grout spreader. Once the grout begins to set use a striking tool to compact the grout, wipe the floor down with a damp cloth and seal the edges with the sealant to ensure the tiles are waterproof.

I hope you have found this guide to laying floor tiles useful.