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DIY tiling: Advice for Tiling a Concrete Floor

diy tiling advice tiling tips DIY Tiling Advice: Tiling a Concrete Floor

Q.I have recently moved into a new house in need of major refurbishment. While I am getting contractors to assist with the bulk of the work I am planning to tile upstairs bathroom floor surface myself. I have a small bit of experience in tiling, having helped out a family member with his house in the past. The bathroom floor is concrete. Do you have any advice on what to look out for or tips to make it easier?

A. First things first – while it is great to get stuck in and have a go, it’s also important to be aware of the pitfalls in doing a job like this as an inexperienced tiler. So make sure you weigh up the pros and con’s before proceeding with this job. In the event of it going wrong, what are the potential costs for you? Will you be able to re-use the tiles or will you have to re-invest in new ones? How much would it cost for a professional to undertake this job for you in the first place – it may be cheaper that you think. Get a quote from our tradesmen members on

Assuming that you have analysed everything and are content to proceed, let’s suggest a potential approach for you – it is not comprehensive by any means but may get you started.

The key to any good tiling job is in the planning. Before you do anything measure your room’s dimensions and then the dimensions of your tiles. Draw a scale model of the room on a sheet of paper and draw in individual tiles in the design that you require – starting in the middle of the room and working your way out, keeping as much to scale as you can. Try to keep the design as simple as possible for the best results – especially if you are inexperienced. In doing this you create a loose floor plan of the surface to be tiled. This will enable you to determine whether you are happy with the design before start the manual work aspect.

The floor plan that you will have created will show that the edges of your room will require tiles to be cut in order to fit flush to your walls. Do not undertake any cutting yet – your plan will assume that the room is perfectly square however, in most homes this is not the case. Avoid any cutting until you absolutely need to. Draw a straight chalk line from each corner to the opposite wall where you can in order to get a view of how ‘off straight’ your walls are.

You can then start laying out the tiles onto the floor based on your floor plan pattern. Do not use any adhesive at this point – just lay the tiles out flat. This is the acid test and will tell you whether or not your floor plan is going to work in this room. Experiment until you get the fit right and remember to allow for any spacing between tiles that you want in your design! You will undoubtedly have to move things around to get the right fit but hopefully this gives you a foundation.

For the concrete floor you should ensure that they are free from any dust or loose materials. If your surface is not 100% flat, with bumps and depressions, and you are laying vinyl, or other soft tiles, you will need to apply a self-levelling floor screed. This is bought in bags from builder’s merchants and DIY stores such as our own at

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