How many tiles will I need?

Arming yourself with all the information you need when you get to the tile store is the first place to start. You should have a clear idea of the area you wish to tile and the amount of foot traffic it will be exposed to. For help with working out what rating tile your project will need check our PEI rating guide.

Measure the floor and wall areas to be tiled. If the tiles are regular in size (150 x 150 mm or 200 x 200 mm) then you should add no more than 10 to 15% for cuts, breakages and spares. Some tiles will have to be cut and the off cuts may not be useful anywhere else, others may be damaged in transit or blemished. Always order an extra 10 – 15%, even if you don’t use them, they often come in handy at a later date.

If you are taking your measurements from the builder’s plans make sure you have the most current version. Establish the tiling technique and pattern you are going to use, this can make a difference to the amount of tiles you need, always consider grout width and patterns when determining final measurements.

To make sure you calculate the correct amount of space to be tiled it can help to draw each separate area on a piece of paper. You will need the height and the width in millimeters which you then multiply to give you the square meterage. Then add the totals of each different area to establish the total square metres of tiles needed adding the extra 10 – 15%. Remember to take out the spaces for windows, but add in sills and tiled skirtings.

Some people prefer to work out the number of tiles needed rather than the number of square meters. To do this you divide the spaces in millimetres by the number of tiles. For example let’s take an area 2400mm x 1800mm to be tiled in a tile which is 450mm x 450mm. Doing your calculations you would need 6 tiles across or actually 5.3 tiles (tiles aren’t sold in pieces) and 4 tiles high or 24 Tiles in total. Doing this for each area to be tiled will give you the total number of tiles required. You can then find out how many of the tiles you have chosen are in each carton and work out the number of cartons you will need. Remember tiles are sold in whole cartons only.

If you are using a floor or wall border, measure the linear distance to be tiled and divide it by the length of each border to arrive at the net number of tiles required. Again add a few extra pieces for cuts and spares. If you are tiling the bathroom walls, why not tile to the ceiling or even the whole room. There’s only one thing more tiresome than painting a 900mm strip of wall between tiles and ceiling, and that is having to repaint it every few years.

Think about any accessories like soap dishes, step edges or brass strips to finish off your tiling and give you a professional looking project.