How to install tiles on curved floor areas

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How to install tiles on curved floor areas

It seems that it is impossible to bend ceramics or stone, but there are simple techniques and techniques that allow you to implement the most unthinkable projects that anyone can master. It is about them that the story is told in this article..

How to install tiles on curved floor areas

Situations when it is required to lay tiles on the floor not in a straight line, but in a circle with a certain radius, or to join two or more parts of the floor, performed by different tiles, along a fancy line that has not been described in any geometry textbook, are common (photo 1) … The transitions “laminate – tiles” are very fashionable, which look only when they are made in the most bizarre way (photo 2).

Laying tiles

These situations are a special case, since they involve intersection in the same plane. A common case is the creation of volumetric structures from tiles that have non-linear shapes. These can be arches, niches for mirrors, steps, shower trays, made by yourself. When working on them, it is required not only to maintain the given shape of the curve, but also to complete the sidewall, which is most often made of contrasting to the main tile. All these types of work require careful preparation of surfaces and the use of special methods of work, without which accurate fitting and formation of surfaces of the required shape is impossible..

Preparation of the floor surface for tiling

As a matter of fact, the preparation of the floor surface should begin long before the tiling. The methods of obtaining even screeds existing today are very diverse. It can be a self-leveling mortar, a semi-dry screed, and a traditional sand-cement, made on beacons. There are also unconventional screeds: on OSB, on waterproof plywood, even metal ones, which can also be tiled. It is not the material from which the screed is made that is important, but its strength and surface accuracy. If the floor plane must be horizontal, then deviations from the level should not exceed 3 mm per linear meter of the surface in any direction, if the plane should have a slope in a certain direction, then it cannot exceed the values ​​determined in the project.

In addition, the preparation of the screed for tiling means that the communications defined in the project have already been laid in it, and you will no longer have to grind it to lay forgotten cables or pipes. Immediately before laying the tiles on the floor, it is necessary to remove from the surface of the screed overflows (especially often found along the perimeter near the walls), the remains of putties and mortars (plaster, mortar for masonry), carefully trim the abutment to the outlets of the sewer pipes from the floor. Then sweep everything with a screed or vacuum with a professional vacuum cleaner and prime the floor with soil corresponding to the type of screed. For standard sand-cement or self-leveling, deep penetrating acrylic primer is suitable. The prepared surface is shown in photo 3.

Preparation of the floor surface for tiling

If there is a warm floor…

Today, no one needs to campaign for warm floors. Where floors are made of tiles, it is vital. At least in the bathroom. Today there are four designs of warm floors:

  • water underfloor heating (heating with a heat carrier circulating through pipes of a special design, laid in a screed);
  • floor heating, performed with a heating cable (the cable is laid into the thickness of the screed before pouring and remains in it, without going outside);
  • underfloor heating with a heating mat (the mat is placed over the screed before laying the tiles);
  • underfloor heating, performed with a film emitting in the IR range (the film is installed on the principle of a heating mat);

Each underfloor heating construction is convenient in its own way and the feasibility of its installation is determined by the capabilities that are available in the house or apartment. So, water floor heating is good where there are autonomous heating sources. The good thing about a built-in heating cable is that the screed surface remains clean and completely ready for tiling. An electric mat or IR film is good where you forgot to install floor heating in advance or decided to arrange it in a room that was not previously equipped with a warm floor.

There are two peculiarities when tiling heated floors. First, you need to use a glue designed to work in a wide temperature range; secondly, floor heating can be turned on no earlier than three weeks after tiling. Warm floors with water heating and cable are a winner here. They can be tested in advance at full capacity. The rest of the systems can only be checked for serviceability by short-term power supply and assessment of heating capacity by touch before they are glued to the screed..

What are non-linear elements?

Strictly speaking, nonlinear elements can be considered any surfaces or transitions from one surface to another, whose shape differs from a straight line. The widespread introduction of drywall interiors into practice has significantly expanded the possibilities for creating completely unusual shapes. This applies not only to the well-known multi-level ceilings, but also to other surfaces. The walls can now be made not only with niches, but also change their configuration. They can be round and wavy, blend smoothly into the ceiling and floor. Openings can be made not only in the form of arches – they can be given any shape (for example, a giant keyhole or an apple).

The wide possibilities of decorating with non-linear elements could not pass by the bathrooms. Intricate figures framing mirrors, original round or oval tables made of mosaics or tiles for sinks, intricate steps to the jacuzzi or pool, shower cabins made in the floor – these are all non-linear elements.

The creation of an original surface of an unusual shape consists of two stages: the manufacture of a frame or supporting structure and subsequent cladding. Moreover, everything connected with floors should be not only beautiful, but also reliable. And for bathrooms, waterproofing is also important. As a practical example of working with curved surfaces when tiling floors with tiles, consider the shower tray shown in photo 3, cast below the level of the main screed, which has a rounding on one side with a radius of 90 cm.

Where to start laying for non-linear elements

If, in the classical scheme of laying out tiles on the floor, they tend to lay out whole tiles along the most visible places of the room, and remove the cuts to inconspicuous ones, then laying tiles in case there are curved surfaces on the floor in the room is necessary from them.

Photo 4 shows the “dry” tile layout. The first is the tiles from the pallet. It is taken with an overlap inside the pallet, so that later you can glue the sidewall. The tile is laid out taking into account the seams. In this case, trimming is suitable for the visible part of the wall. Whereas with a normal layout, a whole tile should have come from it.

Where to start laying for non-linear elements

The photo shows that all the trims that fall inside the pallet are large. It will be convenient to work with them.

After the picture of the upcoming sequence of work becomes clear, you need to remove all the tiles, except for the first one, and mark its location with a pencil on the screed. This moment is shown in photo 5.


The tile adhesive can now be mixed. In this example, “Plitonite B” was used, since the room is equipped with a warm floor. The heating cable is laid in a screed. The pallet is also heated. The adhesive is applied both to the floor surface and to the tiles. Then it is pulled together with a notched trowel in mutually perpendicular directions, after which the tile is set in place under the level. The whole process is shown in photo 6-8. With such a gluing scheme, we have a good margin for correction, and the mutually perpendicular grooves, when squeezed, penetrate each other and provide a much better contact. And the strength of the adhesive bond, given that the floor is heated, is very important.

Laying tiles in the bathroom

How to lay tiles

How to lay tiles

Photo 8 shows that the first tile already has a non-linear surface. Where did it come from? Let’s consider this process in detail. But first you need to find some good paper..

Stone, scissors, paper – templates and their application

Why did you suddenly need paper when laying tiles? The answer is simple – you need to make templates. That is, paper copies of tiles of the same size, on which preliminary marking will be performed. Then, according to the marking, we cut out the patterns according to which the real tile is cut.

For templates, you can use any paper except cardboard from under the boxes. Best of all is one that is well cut with scissors and on which the outline is easily imprinted. In this example, a repair non-woven material was used. The templates need to be cut out at once so that there is enough for everything. Photo 9 shows templates already prepared for work..

Bathroom tiles

To get the contour of the curve for the first tile, you need to attach the template to the markup, which was mentioned earlier and which is visible in photo 9. Then you need to run your hands along the edge of the sidewall of the pallet so that a noticeable imprint remains on the template, from which you need to step back 2-2.5 cm for the tolerance for the side tiles, draw a line parallel to the contour and cut off the excess along it with scissors. Now it remains to transfer the contour to the tile and remove the excess. The procedure is shown in photo 10-12..

After the first tile is installed on the glue in its place and has the required shape, a second template is attached to it, on which everything is repeated again. This moment is captured in photo 13.

Tips for laying tiles

Tiling assistance

We lay the tiles ourselves

DIY tile laying

Then all the tiles are glued in as usual. Throughout this example, the double glue method is used. It is also better to glue the trims that came out against the wall immediately. Although it would not be a breach of technology if installed later. The next difficulty lies ahead. There is a sewer pipe in the corner, which must be bypassed with tiles. The template will also help in this matter. In photo 14, you can see that all the tiles, except for the one that should go to the corner on the pipe, are already glued in. And photo 15 shows the pattern marking. The principle is the same. First, an imprint of the contour, then outline with a pencil with a tolerance and cut with scissors. The finished pattern must be tried on in place and if something is wrong, correct it.

Bathroom tiles


It remains to copy the contour onto the tile and cut it out with a grinder with a diamond disc. The only difficulty in this case is that the hole is located on one tile and it is large enough in diameter. To cut it, you first need to cut it crosswise in diameter, cut a square from the points of intersection with the circle, and then remove all unnecessary from the inside with a grinder from the front and inside. After that, it remains to glue the tiles in place. Photos 16-19 show the process of cutting such a hole step by step..

How to cut tiles

How to make a hole in a tile

Cutting tiles

Cutout tile

Then everything is repeated according to the same principle. Using templates, it is easy to get the outlines of not only the inner, but also the outer curves. Such as inside the pallet, for example. It is very difficult to do this using conventional methods, but using this technique, everything turns out quickly and without problems. In the end, the lined pallet and the adjoining upper plane take the form shown in photo 20. Along the way, it is worth recalling that all the tiles inside the pallet must be placed with a slope towards the ladder so that water does not stagnate. Now it remains to glue the sidewall. And here there are tricks.

Holes in tiles

Sidewalls – impossible to bend, divide!

The easiest way to make a sidewall is something flexible, like a mosaic on a mesh. But there is not always such an opportunity, and with a mosaic it is not so simple. Therefore, you will have to make the sidewall from the most ordinary tiles. By the way, in order to highlight the difference in level, it is best for the risers and sidewalls to take a contrasting tile to the main one so as not to stumble. In this example, an orange wall tile was used.

The tile for the sidewall must be cut into strips, about 3.5 cm wide. The strips are cut into one size with a tile cutter. The principle is that the smaller the radius, the narrower the stripes. But do not try to cut strips smaller than 12 mm. Even a professional tile cutter cannot do this. The number of plates can be calculated by measuring the length of the curve with a tape measure and dividing it by the width of the strips. It should be borne in mind that two parts can be cut out from each strip. Finished samples of blanks for sidewall parts are shown in photo 21.

Chipped tiles

Next, you need to cut out two parts from the blanks. They are installed on an abundant layer of glue, and special attention should be paid to filling the upper part of the sidewall with glue. Otherwise, if there is a void there, the top tile will break sooner or later. This principle is common to all tiled steps. Each sidewall detail must be carefully measured with a tape measure on both sides. It is best if they fit tightly. This significantly increases the strength of the structure. The parts are glued without a gap, one to one along the entire length. The initial stage is shown in photo 22, and photo 23 shows a general view of the pallet after finishing work with the sidewall and basement part.

We cut the tiles

Cut tiles

Conclusion. Useful Tips

In order not to calculate millimeters when working with sidewalls (read – with any stair risers), you need to take in advance a tolerance of at least double the thickness of the tiles used for them.

Before you start laying a new row of tiles, you need to put this place in a masonry cloth. Dust and sand appear from nowhere.

Do not cut the tiles with a grinder indoors. Better to go outside or on the balcony.

Any curves on the tile can be cut with a wet-cut machine. In order not to wash off the marking lines, you need to paste over the contour with PVC tape.

To prevent the tiles from spreading, they need to be pulled together with masking tape. Scotch tape cannot be used for this purpose, its traces are poorly washed.

Photo 19 shows the moment of working with crosses. To set the distance between tiles accurately, do not save them.

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