Tiling Your Home And Some Of The Pitfalls

I’ve had projects where clients supply their own tiles, appliances or their own contractors. There have been differences in quantities on numerous occasions. A while ago one of our clients calculated the amount of stonework tiling for their new home. They asked me to calculate the amount of tiles.

There was a twenty square metre discrepancy. I asked for eighty square metres and they calculated twenty square metres less. In the past I had found calculating the amount of tiles on a job to be frustrating, and many times I was out in my calculations. The way I used to calculate tiles was; length x width = square metres or the height x width. I used to add three to five percent for wastage.Greater_Toronto_Contractors_Tile_Kitchen_Renovations-300x219

What I do today

I work out the amount of tiles the way a tiler places them. In other words; sit down with a sheet of paper with a scaled drawing and draw the tiles the way it will look like in the room. Once you have done this; count the amount of tiles. If there is a small tile, you can place the other half of the tile above or in another area. Do not place two cut tiles next to each other, unless it is natural stone whereby you can get them cut with a wet saw onsite.

Why was I twenty square metres more you ask? I drew all the tiles and counted them, I allocated where the off cuts could or could not be used. As it turned out; the client was twenty square metres short. We had a heap of off cuts, the problem we had was; the stone tiles were out of that stock. Luckily the tiler used his wet saw and cut the remainder tiles into smaller modules. The cost of his extra labour was more than obtaining the extra twenty square metres.

I had to calculate the amount of tiles in a huge area in a mansion we are renovating in Kew at the moment. The tiles are proposed to be placed diagonally. It took me thirty minutes to draw all the tiles to scale. And around ten minutes to calculate the amount of tiles. As a check; I calculated how many tiles working on the length by width basis. The difference was amazing. Yes; it does sound boring and tedious. It’s either you go the extra mile or running around trying to find more tiles in the future.


Don’t be fooled by the Price


We had a client supply 100×100 tiles for their whole house. The price per square metre was really cheap. We found out why these tiles were cheap when the tile layer started to lay them. What the tile supplier did was: get a 200×200 tile and cut it into four. They probably couldn’t get rid of the stock as the smaller size was trendier. It was cut with a tile cutter and not with a machine.

The tiles were not cut straight; the variations in sizes were terrible. The client wasn’t happy with the workmanship. It took us a while to explain to her why we were having so much difficulty getting a good result.

Don’t think for one minute all tiles are square and straight. We have experienced bad bows in the length of 600×300 tiles. These weren’t cheap tiles, the manufacturers way of solving the problem was to push the middle of each tile to straighten the tile while the glue was drying. You might as well go outside and watch the grass grow or wait for an elaborate bill from the tiler while he was standing pushing the middle of your tiles in the bathroom.


Before you start tiling; make a drawing of the set out. This will save you time and arguments with the tiler or Builder. Or let the tiles be in the price for your new home or renovation, this will save you headaches.

Grab the tiles you are proposing and check them for bows and squareness. The main issue then is; to make sure that your walls and floors are plumb, level and square.

I want to thank everyone who has written or called me for advice throughout the year. Without this encouragement I wouldn’t have been able to write these articles. It has been a great learning curve for me, I am truly grateful.

Have a great one