Herringbone Tile Floors { #diy #tile #thetileshop @thetileshop }

I have anxiously been awaiting this day!!  The project I am showing you today was a little bit labor intensive and it took a bit of time.  But in the end, this project was 100% completely worth it!  Today I am thrilled to show off our Herringbone Bathroom Tile Floor!

How to Install Herringbone Tile Floors | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

This might just be one of my favorite projects to date!  And I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with The Tile Shop to help us complete this project.  You see, when we installed laminate wood flooring throughout our home we did not install it in our bathrooms.  I was worried that with two small children, if we ever had an “overflow situation” in the bathroom, it could ruin our floors.  It’s happened to friends of ours, and I just didn’t want to chance it.  So for several months our bathroom floor remained linoleum and looked like this:

How to Lay Herringbone Tile Floors | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

Now, I’m not complaining.  It was decent linoleum.  But next to our pretty wood floors, it didn’t look that great!  So we were thrilled to be able to do a little tile work and spruce up our downstairs half bath!

We had a blast shopping and looking for tile at The Tile Shop.  Their store was filled with bathroom and kitchen displays that were wonderful inspiration!  There were many options that I really liked, but in the end, I decided that I wanted a custom design.  I wanted Herringbone Tile Floors!

So we found the perfect rectangular travertine and were thrilled to get working!

Here is a basic supply list if you want to tile your own herringbone floors.  You will need to determine the amount you need based off of your square footage.


  • Tile:  Bucak Lt Walnut H/F 5x20cm, 657571
  • Grout:  Desert Sand, Unsanded
  • Flexible Grout Admixture
  • Epoxy Film Grout Remover
  • Proflex Thinset (aka mortar)
  • Travertine Sealer
  • Trowel
  • Notched Trowel
  • Grout Float Tool
  • Mortar Mixing Paddle (for use with a power drill)
  • Large Sponge
  • Sealer Sponge
  • Bristle Brush
  • 1/16″ Spacers
  • Eye Protection
  • Ear Protection
  • 3+ Buckets (one for mortar, grout and water)
  • Caulk
  • Touch-Up Paint and Foam Brush
  • Items to re-install toilet and sink if necessary
  • If you are laying on wood subfloor, you will need to purchase and install concrete backer board prior to installation

How Much Tile Do I Need?

To figure out the correct tile amount, you will take the square footage of your room (length by width) and add 10%.  Then round up to the next full box size and order that many boxes.

You need to account for a bit of breakage as well as cuts, and mistakes and this formula does just that.

Demo and Prep

First you will need to un-install any fixtures you have in the room.  We removed our pedestal sink and our toilet from the bathroom.

Next, you will need to demo your existing flooring.  We had linoleum so it pulled right up.  Make sure your concrete is in good condition prior to continuing.  You may need to do repairs if it is really damaged.

Then use a multi-tool to trim your door frames.  We set a piece of tile on the ground and added a piece of thin cardboard underneath it.  This gave us an approximate height of the tile plus the thinset.  We placed the multi-tool on top of it, and trimmed our door frames to the right height.

You can remove your molding, or leave your molding and plan to attach quarter-round after.

We also marked the middle of the room so that we would know about where to begin tiling.

Preparing to Install Tile Floors | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

Cut Tile

There are many types of tile saws.  There are ones that work like a table saw, where the blade is underneath the table and you move the tile.  And there are tile saws where the tile stays stationary on the table and you move the saw blade.  The first type of tile saw is generally cheaper.  The second type offers the ability to easily make more complex cuts.  
Because we hope to tile several rooms in our home, we opted for a nicer tile saw.  We didn’t pay a ton though (love Harbor Freight) and our saw has many options!  It also did a really good job cutting our tile,  especially our angled tiles.  
Now ladies (and gents), DON’T.  BE.  AFRAID.  OF.  THE.  TILE.  SAW. 
I will admit, I was a little worried about it, I truly was.  There are many saws and power tools I use and have no issues with, but this one scared me just a little bit.  But honestly, this was no harder to use then a miter saw is.  It is really easy. 
And just to prove how easy it is…look at me…cutting away!!  I was even cutting a 45 degree cut here!  
Cutting Tile with a Tile Saw | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

Me in my Duluth Jacket, the tile saw, my eye protection and ear protection spent a lot of time in the garage during the bitter cold weather cutting tile.  (And my husband helped too because he is amazing like that!)

But my point is, don’t let the worry of using a tile saw scare you away from tiling.  It is really easy to use!  Just use precautions and follow all safety guidelines!

Generally, you will want to measure and cut each piece individually.  So take your time, measure twice and cut once.


You will mix your thinset (mortar) mixture with water until it is a toothpaste-like consistency.  We used a mortar mixing paddle that attaches to a drill and it mixed it right up!

Mix Thinset (mortar) for Tile | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

Lay Tile

There are two ways you can lay tile.  One option is to spread the thinset directly onto the concrete using a notched trowel and then place the tile directly into the thinset.  When spreading the thinset, hold the notched trowel at a 45 degree angle to the floor to create grooves in the thinset.  The grooves allow room for the tile to be put in place without the thinset expanding too much.
Another option is to individually back-butter the tiles with thinset using a trowel.  After the tile is back-buttered, use a notched trowel at a 45 degree angle to create grooves in the thinset and place the tiles on your subfloor.  
We chose to lay our tile in this manner because we needed / wanted to lay the tile while our children were in bed, so it ended up taking us a few days to lay all of our tile since this pattern was a bit more complex.  (Typically you could lay a standard simple bathroom tile quickly, but our design took a bit more time.)  Because we knew it would take us several days to lay the tile, we did not want excess thinset left on our subfloor.  Back-buttering our tiles individually allowed us to lay our tile in sessions, without the mess of dried mortar to deal with.
We began laying our border around the entire room.  Then we started in the middle and lined up our herringbone pattern very carefully.  We laid all full tiles first and left the edges and complicated-to-cut tiles to do after.

How to Lay Tile | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop


As you lay your tile, you will want to use spacers in between every edge of your tile.  We chose to use 1/16″ spacers for this project.

You can also use spacers to scrape out any extra thinset that may ooze out in between your tiles as you are laying them.  (I don’t think this is an “official” use, but it works really well!)

How to Tile a Herringbone Bathroom Floor | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

Laying Tile

After the majority of the herringbone patterned tiles were in place, we made a million tiny 45 degree cuts to fill in all of the edges.  With two of us working it went fairly fast.  One of us measured and marked the tile, and installed the tile while the other one cut the tile.  We had our system down to an art by the end!

How to Tile a Herringbone Floor | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop


You need to let your tile set completely before grouting.  (Always read the thinset and grout instructions for time frames.)

You will mix your grout and grout admixture together until it is a toothpaste consistency.

How to Grout Tile | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

Use a grout float at a 45 degree angle to spread and work the grout into your grout lines.  Be sure that every grout line is filled well with grout.  Work one small area at a time.  And about every 15 minutes, take a break to wipe your surface clean using a large wet sponge.  Then continue until the entire floor is grouted.

How to Grout a Tile Floor | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

De-Haze and Seal

After your grout has dried, use a film remover (aka de-hazer) and a bristle brush to clean your tile.  Then wipe it up with paper towels.

Wait 48 to 72 hours and then you can seal your floors!  You will use a sealer sponge and a sealer for natural stone and/or travertine.  Follow the instructions on the back of the bottle.  But basically you will wipe on a coat of sealer with your sealer sponge, let it soak into the stone for about 10 minutes.  And then wipe off any excess with a clean, dry cloth.  Wait about 30 minutes and repeat for a second coat if needed.  

You will know if you have enough sealer on your floor by doing a drip test.  Drip a few drops of water onto your stone and if the water beads up, you do not need another coat of sealer.  If the water absorbs into the stone, you will want to apply another coat of sealer to your stone.

Be sure to follow all manufacture instructions and let your sealer dry completely prior to use.

De-Haze and Seal Tile | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

The Tile Shop holds tiling classes every Saturday morning at 9:30am!  This can be a great way to get a little hands-on experience prior to attempting to tile yourself!  Plus, the staff is so knowledgeable and helpful too!

And now it’s time to be inundated with way too many “after” photos!

Herringbone Floor | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

After your floor is fully installed, you will want to re-attached your baseboard (we used our super cool Ryobi AirStrike).

Install Molding | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

Then re-install your toilet and sink!  Be sure to caulk around the toilet and sink for a finished look.

How to Lay Herringbone Tile Floors | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

This tiling project has inspired another bathroom project that I will be showing off soon :)  Eek!  I can’t wait!

Herringbone Tile Floors | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop #herringbone @thetileshop

A few tips to remember when you are tiling:

  • Be sure to have all the right tools prior to beginning a project like this
  • Be careful to lay your tile evenly so that tiles aren’t higher then the next one.  Some like to use a level to help with this, others run a plastic cup (upside down) around the tile to be sure nothing catches, and some like to just use “feel” to get the tile level and smooth.  Either way, you don’t want any stubbed toes, so just be sure your tile edges are level with the tile next to it.
  • Measure twice and cut once. 
  • When in doubt, ask a professional!  The Tile Shop has many professionals that love to help answer your DIY questions. 
Isn’t this floor just amazingly gorgeous!?!?!?!  I am truly in love!
Sometimes I walk into my bathroom just to look at my pretty floor!  
Yes, I am totally serious.  hahaha
How to Install Herringbone Tile Floors | a complete tutorial for laying tile flooring and herringbone tile flooring | #diy #herringbone #tile #tilefloors #thetileshop @thetileshop

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As always, I am no professional.  I am just sharing how we installed our Herringbone Tile Floors!  Be sure to read and follow ALL manufacture instructions prior to completing any project like this.  Be sure to take all necessary safety precautions.  And if you get stuck, you may need to hire a professional.  

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  1. says

    Smart to start on a small room for this level of intricacy. Tile guy for 20 years and even we get challenged by such a layout. You could take your time and do it right. Nice job! The border is also a nice touch.

    • says

      You are welcome! And yes, you can do this with a 3×6 tile. The portions will look a little different then mine, but you can in theory do this pattern with any rectangle tile! The dimensions just determine the exact look! Good luck!

  2. says

    I think dealing with all of those angles might drive me a little batty, but it would be worth it to have a floor this gorgeous. I love seeing other DIY-ers and the amazing things they come up with! :)

  3. says

    That is beautifu!. I would love to know how to use all those tools you're using. I can no longer look at my icky tile bathroom floors the same again.

  4. says

    Love the look of your tiled bathroom floor. I wasn't that brave. I just did the square tiles. You did a much better job and it looks beautiful.

  5. says

    That is such a pretty floor. I've never seen one laid like that. I have to say, I'm really liking that pattern. And thank you so much for posting a detailed list of everything that is needed for the project along with detailed instructions. That really helps someone like me who's never done this, but would love to with some help.

  6. says

    Great DIY job! Love the Herringbone pattern too. It turned out beautiful. We took a floor tile class at Home Depot's Do It Herself class. They made it seem so easy. We want to do our bathroom floors also.

  7. says

    I am so impressed! Not only do you know the names of all these tools & materials, you used them yourself to tile a beautiful floor! Not to mention creating a wonderful post about the wonderful job…

  8. says

    I'm impressed! I've done several tile jobs with my husband, and since I HATE the grouting process, we elected for 18" tiles for our screened in porch – it looks gorgeous and meant fewer grout lines – yours would be a TON – like I said, impressive!

  9. says

    Wow. What a great job. Makes me want to run out and redo my own bathrooms. Which hopefully I will be doing sometime this year. And I will be referring to this post when I do. Thanks for the excellent instructions.

  10. says

    My husband is a tile setter, and it's definitely best to ALWAYS backbutter all the tiles. One step that I would highly recommend which I didn't see mentioned was leveling a floor before installing tile. It's crazy how crooked and wavy floors can be, and you don't really notice until you're trying to put furniture on a surface you think is flat, but isn't! I used to help my

  11. says

    OK, YOU are awesome! I love that you tackled this project. The detailed photos were amazing, but I especially appreciated that you put in a list of all the supplies needed. Some people don't do this and it can be soooooo frustrating!! You rock, did I mention that? Wow!

  12. says

    Beautiful work! I can&#39;t wait till we own a house and I can do projects like this. We are military so we have only lived in rentals. I hate the restrictions {especially since I&#39;m a crafty and DIY gal} I really love what you did!<br />-Stacey<br />GluedToMyCraftsBlog.com

  13. says

    Wow! That looks great, and actually like a lot of fun. We&#39;ve stopped making improvements since we now have an offer on our condo, but if we move into my grandma&#39;s house in a few years, a lot of these projects will be happening again. I&#39;m glad to know there&#39;s a resource which walks right through the steps. Nice blog!

  14. says

    Absolutely stunning! You guys did an amazing job! And A+ for teamwork! I bet the feeling of accomplishment after you finished this project made all the hard work worth it- plus being able to go in and admire your handiwork! Great instructions, info, tips, and photos. All- round, a very user- friendly how to! Thank you for the project idea!

  15. says

    Love love love it!!! So beautiful and now I want to redo our teeny tiny master bathroom! And you are awesome for doing this yourself, I normally leave this kind of work to my hubs. :)

  16. says

    As new homeowners, we can be overwhelmed by some of the DIY projects out there, but I love this one and will be adding it to my honey please do this wishlist.<br />I love the look of herringbone, and you took the &#39;scary&#39; out of this.

  17. says

    Your floor turned out beautifully!!! I think the small triangles to fit in the sides are what would get me. But I&#39;d be willing to try to get the outcome you did. Thanks for the tutorial :-)<br /><br />Jennifer @ The Jenny Evolution

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