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A bare floor being measured by a Bunnings team member with a tape measure

Overview

Proper preparation is a big part of making sure a tiling job goes well. We'll show you how to figure out the number of tiles you need. You will also see how to get the room ready to do the job properly.

Steps

1Estimate the number of tiles you will need for the job

Measure the height and width of the walls you want to tile. Multiply the two distances to get the area of the walls. Then calculate the area of any gaps such as windows. The gaps number minus the walls number is the area you need to cover with tiles. It is worth rounding up to the nearest square metre and then allowing ten percent extra for wastage.
A bare floor being measured by a Bunnings team member with a tape measure

2Check to see that the wall is straight

Put your spirit level vertically on the wall to see that it is straight. If it does bow you have a number of options. You can cover it with small, mosaic tiles, use layers of tile glue to build out the unbowed sections or take the panelling off the wall and level off the joists.
A spirit level being used to mark a straight line on a wall

3Draw a datum line one level above the floor

Not every floor is perfectly horizontal. To make sure you lay horizontal tiles, it's good to lay your first row of tiles one row above floor level. To do this, measure your tile height, and mark a point on the wall that is 20mm below that height. Then use your spirit level to draw a horizontal line, known as a “datum line”, at that height all the way around the room. The height is reduced by 20mm just in case there is a low point in the floor that needs covering.
A wall being marked with a pencil by a Bunnings team member

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.