Tile Layout Tools - What You'll Need
Most of the tools needed for laying out a tile installation are items that you should either have or be able to borrow for the short time you'll need them. The most important layout tool is a jury stick, and that's something you must make for each other.
What You'll Need - Be sure to check the accuracy of all your layout tools before you use them; a crooked straightedge will do you no good at all.
Drawing Tools - To make a plan view drawing and to sketch a tile layout on paper, you'll find 1/8 inch graph paper handy, as well as a standard ruler, a pencil and an eraser.
Squaring Tools - To check for level and square, you'll need a spirit level and a framing square. An accurate tape measure and a couple of straightedge are necessary for drawing reference lines. The straight-edges, level and square will also be used for tile alignment during tile settling.
Plumb Bob - A plumb bob is a small weight attached to the end of a string. If you don't own one and don't wish to buy one, you can make your own.
Chalk Line - To mark reference lines for a small installation, you can use straight edges and a pencil or piece of chalk, but for larger areas a chalk line is much more accurate. This tool is merely a length of string housed in a dispenser that contains chalk. Unreel the string, hold it taut, and snap it to leave a chalked line on the setting surface.
Jury Stick - A jury stick, also called a story pole or a tile-settling stick, is a homemade ruler marked with tile and joint widths rather than inches and feet. This simple measuring instrument costs practically nothing to make and is an invaluable layout aid. It allows you to lay out your tile installation without having to calculate each dimension or without setting each tile down in place.
To make a jury stick, use any piece of straight wood around 9 feet long if possible. You may need more than one jury stick if you are tiling a floor with short and long dimensions or if you are using tiles of more than one size.
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