Things to think about

If you use nails or screws to fix a sub-floor before tiling, use a cable, pipe and stud detector to help find safe, secure fixing points.

How many tiles you need can be worked out by simply dividing the floor area in square metres by the pack size.

Length of room x width of room = number of square metres.

Square metres ÷ pack coverage = how much you need (add 10% for cutting waste).

Concrete floors can be tiled on direct as long as they are flat, sound, level, clean and dry. The floor must contain an integral damp proof membrane – standard in modern homes, but not always in older properties.

Floorboards must be covered with thin ply or flooring grade hardboard (unless otherwise directed) to provide a sound, flat surface for applying tiles. Ply is easily cut with a hand saw, or jigsaw, cut hardboard with a retractable knife. Stagger joins of adjacent sheets.

There are alternatives to the grid design, here. You can stagger joins, or consider going diagonally across the room for a diamond-effect pattern. Whichever you choose, tiles are laid in the same way; just adjust the start position accordingly.

The starting point is important to establish a balanced design that allows for manageable cuts. If possible, make sure that you don't have to cut small slivers on any wall edge of the design.

A starting point square to one wall is important. If you dry lay a row of tiles close to one wall, you can then measure across to the opposite wall to check what size of cut tiles this position will leave. You can then adjust the dry laid row until a good balance is achieved. Check at each end of the row, as this will help to square up your starting position relative to the walls.

Leave tiles in the room they are to be laid in for at least 24 hours, to acclimatise to conditions before you lay them.

Most carpet tiles don't require adhesive and are laid dry. You can use double-sided tape in the first row, but, then, unless guides specify, lay dry. Some tiles have adhesive tabs, so replacing a damaged one is easy: simply lift out the old one and fit in the new one.

Cork tiles are normally self-adhesive with a finished surface, so laying instructions are as shown here. Sometimes they require a separate adhesive and may need to be sealed after laying. Wooden parquet tiles are also laid in a similar fashion as shown in this guide. Like cork tiles, they may require a sealer once laid.

Fit vinyl tiles


At your chosen starting point (see overpage) just draw a pencil line across the floor surface with a straight edge like a length of batten.


Remove the backing from the first tile. Make sure you don't get any dust or grit on the adhesive surface, or the tile might not sit well or stick securely.


Place the tile in position at the starting point and smooth it flat. Be exact with positioning as the adhesive will go off quickly.


Position the second tile, tightly against the first – a rolling pin is a good tool to use for flattening down tiles. Keep adding tiles and rows across the floor.


For the space around the edge, measure the gap and mark on a tile for cutting. Accuracy is important for a neat finish up to the skirting.


Use a straight edge – an aluminium rule is ideal – and a retractable knife to cut tiles on a wood surface. Remove the backing from the cut tile and stick it in place.


Continue filling gaps. Use a profile gauge to mark out the contours around the base of an awkward shape, such as by the architrave.


Mark off the profile of the cut required on a tile with a pencil. Cut the profile using a retractable knife and stick the tile in place.


At doorways, measure and cut thresholds to fit and cover the join. A junior hacksaw is ideal for cutting down either wooden or metal thresholds.


The threshold can be screwed down. If particular screws have been provided, use them. You can also use grab adhesive to hold it in place.

Fit carpet tiles


Unroll and stick a length of double-sided tape adjacent to the starting line. Tape every third row and the flooring will be securely held in place.


Take off the adhesive tape backing on the double-sided tape and start positioning the first row of tiles. Butt tiles tightly up against each other.


You can also use spray adhesive to hold tiles in place. Make sure you use one recommended for the tiles. Also, wear a mask and keep the room ventilated.


The direction in which you lay the tiles will affect the pile pattern you achieve. Check directional arrows on the back of the tiles before laying.


Build up rows, working across the floor. Keep checking that edges are firmly butted up against each other, laying the double-sided tape every third row.


Around the edge, measure and cut edge tiles accurately for a neat finish. Use a retractable knife and a straight edge. Stick in place until all gaps are filled.