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How to Lay Herringbone Tile & Paving Patterns

Herringbone paving tiles 03

Herringbone paving, also known as the herringbone pattern or herringbone brickwork, presents a classic method for laying rectangular bricks that offers a visually attractive look. This technique has a rich history dating back to ancient civilizations and has found application in various forms across different historical periods.

From ancient Roman roads to designs in the Elizabethan Renaissance era, herringbone pavers often collaborated with other patterns to craft complex and artistic floor and walkway designs. Today, herringbone brick paving is a popular choice for outdoor spaces and patios.

To achieve this unique and distinctive look in your home, arrange rectangular tiles to form a zig-zag pattern, where the short end of one tile meets the long end of another.

Continue reading to discover the precise steps for laying herringbone tiles and the essential components to perfect your tiling project. This guide helps DIYers find assistance, providing a simple way to achieve this look in your home.

Related: How to Lay Paving Tiles? | How To Lay Concrete Exterior Tiles? | How to Install Peel-And-Stick Tile Backsplash? | Can Glass Bricks Be Installed On Exterior Walls?

Table of Contents

Preparation

Careful surface preparation is essential in any tiling project to ensure its suitability. Repair any damage and add backer boards where needed.

Ensure that the chosen surface can bear the weight of your selected tiles, especially when tiling walls, fireplace surrounds, splashbacks, plasterboard, and similar areas.

Next, gather your tools and remember all instructions beforehand to complete the process more quickly. There’s a high chance you’ll need to cut tiles to fit your surface, so use a tile cutter. For more information on dry and wet tile cutters, click here.

The preparation also includes choosing the right type of tile. Your tiles must be rectangular, and the height should be divisible by the width for the effect to work optimally.

Here’s the key rule: you have more flexibility with patterns, colors, and grout shades, as they won’t impact the layout. Take your time to carefully consider these details, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free laying process.

installing herringbone backsplash 01

Tools & Equipment You'll Need

Tools

  • Mitre saw or hacksaw
  • Notched trowel
  • Tile cutter
  • Grout float
  • Combination square
  • Tape measure
  • Tile file
  • Tile scorer
  • Spirit level
  • Pencil

Equipment

  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Bucket and sponge
  • Masking tape
  • Spray bottle filled with soapy water

Choose the Right Tiles for Herringbone

Herringbone paving tiles 01
  • Rectangular Shape: Ensure the tiles are rectangular to achieve the desired herringbone look. Pay attention to the width: length ratio mentioned earlier.
  • Color and Pattern: Explore various colors and patterns to find ones that complement your interior space. Whether you prefer a contemporary look or something more vibrant, the choice is yours.
  • Design Options: Consider designs with several colors spaced in order or randomly across the wall or floor. Herringbone offers plenty of flexibility, allowing you to personalize the look according to your preferences.

How to Lay Herringbone Tile

Herringbone patterns may seem complicated, but with the right angles and a steady rhythm, you’ll see the design coming together seamlessly.

The key is to start correctly. The initial tile you lay determines the angles for the entire design.

We recommend doing a dry run to familiarize yourself with placing the first tile at a 45-degree angle from your midpoint line and building the design from there. You can also start from a corner point of the room and work outward if you prefer.

Some tiles will likely need cutting to fit correctly. Measure and mark these tiles, numbering them for reference. Additionally, cut tiles for gaps and overhangs. For triangular gaps, use a combination square to measure 45-degree angles from one corner of your tile and line the angle with masking tape.

How to Lay Herringbone Tiles

Step 1: Apply Adhesive

After measuring, cutting, and preparing all tiles, mix up the adhesive. Apply it to a small area using your trowel.

Avoid covering too much surface as the adhesive might dry out before laying your tiles. Hold your trowel at a 45-degree angle for an even spread.

Step 2: Lay Your Tile

Begin laying your tiles onto the adhesive, starting with the center triangle and working outward width-wise. Use tile spacers to ensure uniformity, allowing for natural surface movement and even grout appearance.

Step 3: Apply Trims on Edges

Cover any raw edges with tile trim, cutting it to size if necessary using a mitre or hacksaw. Always wear eye goggles and a dust mask for protection.

Step 4: Apply Grout

Once the adhesive is dry, remove the spacers and apply your chosen grout using the grout float. Wipe away excess grout at an angle and clean the tile surface with a sponge and warm water.

Remember, contrasting grout can highlight the uniqueness of your herringbone design, so consider this. Colored grout can also transform the look of your project. Seal the edges with silicone sealant.

Step 5: Clean Up

installing herringbone backsplash 02

Allow your tiles to set for the required time. While adhesives and grouts often dry quickly, leaving them overnight is a good practice. Clean your tiles thoroughly with a fresh bucket of warm water to remove smears or residue the next day. Buff them to admire your work.

Regarding cleanup, wait until the next day to leave mixing buckets, trowels, and other tools. Grout and adhesive are challenging to remove once set, so wash them off immediately for easier cleanup.

Herringbone Brick Paving Ideas

Vertical Herringbone Paving

One popular choice for laying tiles is the herringbone pattern, known for its timeless appeal. Currently, it’s making a comeback in design trends.

A common way to achieve this look is through vertical herringbone. This layout sets tiles at a 45-degree angle, forming a straight pattern. This style is especially effective for pathways leading to patios.

Vertical Herringbone Paving

Horizontal Herringbone Paving

Like vertical herringbone paving, the horizontal approach involves installing tiles at a 45-degree angle to create a horizontal pattern.

This technique requires a simple rotation of the herringbone direction, resulting in a distinctive look with the stone stackers. It visually expands narrow patios or garden paths effectively.

Horizontal Herringbone Paving

Diagonal Herringbone Paving

Consider an alternative twist to herringbone paving by installing the bricks diagonally. This less common approach genuinely adds interest to a garden scheme, providing a modern variation on a traditional design. Departing from a linear layout, it introduces a more staggered step effect, with each brick sitting horizontally or vertically next to each other.

Diagonal Herringbone Paving

Horizontal Staggered Brick Paving

A timeless and classic way to lay tiles is the horizontal brick bond, a running bond or a stretcher bond. In this common tiling pattern, the stone stackers are staggered by half in length, preserving a classic and enduring layout.

Horizontal Staggered Brick Paving

Horizontal Stacked Brick Paving

As another classic choice, the horizontal stacked bond offers a neat and clean look. Each tile is placed directly above the other in this arrangement without any stagger in the grout joints. Horizontal stacked brick limestone paving adds a striking touch to modern garden designs.

Horizontal Stacked Brick Paving

Vertical Staggered Brick Paving

As the name implies, the vertical staggered brick bond is similar to the half-brick bond but flipped vertically. This variation can offer a distinct look and feel to limestone bricks, contributing to a sense of elongation in spaces.

Placing the stackers vertically can quickly establish a more modern style, so it is an excellent choice for pathways and entryways connecting patios and different garden areas.

Vertical Staggered Brick Paving

Double Weave or Basketweave Brick Paving

The double weave pattern is a favorite outdoor design trend, appreciated for its capacity to bring a creative and decorative touch to even the most basic areas.

Drawing inspiration from basket weave tiles, the collection of limestone brick paving complements this style well. In this layout, the width is a quarter of the length to allow tiles to be arranged vertically and horizontally in four sets.

Double Weave or Basketweave Brick Paving
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