I'm excited to attempt a complex entryway pattern, but I'm having trouble figuring out the best way to start.

The idea is to have a herringbone pattern with 36" x 6" large format wood look porcelain tile centered in a surrounding symmetric double border separated from the herringbone pattern by schiene edge strip. The outside border is also finished with edge strip where it transitions at doorways.

The floor has been prepped, stratamat has been applied measurements and planning have been completed but I'm having trouble figuring out the best starting point to avoid having tight spaces with the trowel or not being able to place the leveling clips and wedges [levtec] on the right spots where the border would meet the herringbone pattern. Perhaps over thinking it a bit.

CAD Layout of entryway pattern

The top of this design is actually facing eastward toward the front door and the bottom branches out to the left into a hallway and on the right a kitchen. Refer to floor plan.

enter image description here

From what I read you are supposed to start the herringbone pattern centered on the floor but I feel like working outwards would leave little room for troweling adhesive between the wall and the herringbone pattern without making a mess, however I feel like the levtec wedges can be placed better, and if I start with the border it leaves more room to trowel the inside where the herringbone pattern goes but then I might have trouble aligning the levtec clips on the right locations to meet up with the herringbone pattern later.

The dry run looked like this [ignore the non symmetry of the border, I didn't want to cut anything yet]: enter image description here

Edit: I will add that the East, South and West walls are perfectly plumb as measured with a 345 triangle, the north wall is off about 1/2" over 20'. One idea was to get the inner border perfectly square and steal some space from the outer perimeter on the northern wall.

Where would you recommend starting this pattern?

Edit: Final thought: trowel direction. Most literature recommends having the trowel lines running in the same direction but also having the trowel lines be oriented in such a way that the lines run in a direction that the air has a shortest path to escape when collapsing the troughs (ridges). In the case of herringbone would we run the lines in a v direction giving each long tile section a 90 degree orientation with the ridges or do we go from left to right or up and down having to spread a large area of adhesive to work around and hopefully not make a mess, this way the ridges run under the tile at a 45 degree angle?


  • 3
    As you are aware, standard tiling advice is to start in the center. One reason for that is that walls are rarely perfect, so tiles at the edges often need to be trimmed. If you start with full tiles at the edges and work inwards, you may have to trim tiles in the middle of the field, and that will look much more odd than trimming the edges. Your roughly 12" border should be fine (plenty of room to work) if you do it in one go, not 6" at a time. 6" is do-able, but fiddly.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 23, 2021 at 13:00
  • I agree with @Ecnerwal on general principle, however, I think it would look really funny if you had to trim one of your border pieces to fit into an angled spot. I'd start with the border then center the herringbone on the centerlines of the border. As you go along the 20' run, you'll slowly add a grand total of 1/4" to the length of the outside herringbone angles and nobody, but nobody will ever see that.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 23, 2021 at 17:39
  • @FreeMan this was my initial thought too, but then I got lost on how I would need to place the clips for the wedges on the border blindly to level it with the herringbone. Especially if I stopped with the border one day and continued the herringbone the next. I suppose I could mark an extended 45 diagonal from a tile line all the way to the border and mark the midpoint of a 45 cut straight and place a clip that many units apart?
    – sbarnard
    Mar 23, 2021 at 19:58
  • Clips and wedges I'm not familiar with. The last tile job I did was 4x4 square tile on the shower wall. We leveled them by adjusting how they sat in the thinset. You might be able to temporarily hold the border tiles down with a loop of duct tape so that you can get all the alignment right, then pull them off the tape and properly set & level them against the field as the last step... Again, might...
    – FreeMan
    Mar 24, 2021 at 11:05
  • 1
    @P2000 the internal schiene edge strip is just to make it look nice, could go directly from herringbone to border but having the inner edge strip gives a nice look, and it's cheaper and easier than doing some other stone/tile transition between the two.
    – sbarnard
    Mar 25, 2021 at 5:54

1 Answer 1


With the hearing bone pattern you start in the center. Make all angled cuts the same or it will show to a trained eye at 20’ everyone else will notice something wrong. Any deviation in the room is taken up in the border you can hide a 1/2” out of square room with the border and it can be hard to detect but have the same deviation in your angled cuts and it shows.

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