an installation pattern primer

by clé tile | published: Jan 22, 2020

our post on patterns to ponder for our various brick tiles showed several visuals of our favorite installation layouts. here, we aim to break down the most popular to help you plan your next installation of any rectangular tile, from our subway collection to various thin brick options.

there are limitless possibilities for patterns that you can create. you can also play with different tile and grout colors to further make your pattern your own. these guides are a great place to start to find your ideal combination of tile color, installation pattern, and grout.


this is not to be confused with the chevron pattern (see here). a herringbone pattern is made up of rectangular tiles laid at 45 degrees that meet at straight edges to form a zigzag pattern. the only cuts needed for this pattern are edges and trim. tiles do not need to be cut and the end of one tile adjoins length of the other plank. the angle of the herringbone should always be 90 degrees, as one straight edge is placed against the other.

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this pattern is created when sets of tiles are laid perpendicularly. each set alternates between vertical and horizontal installations. then, the direction of the sets of tile alternate in the next row. important to note that this can only be achieved when the short side of the tile needs to be exactly half the length of the long side (4×8, 3×6, etc). most commonly, basketweave is 2-3 tiles per set.

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the simplest and cleanest of all, this modern look is made when tiles are stacked so that the grout lines are continuous throughout, forming a grid. this is a great way to make a traditional tile feel more modern. also, this can be done both vertically and horizontally.

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running bond

whether installed vertically or horizontally, this is the most recognizable pattern of all, and is often referred to as either offset, a brick pattern or subway pattern. the tiles are staggered in alternating rows with the end of each tile centered on the tile above and below it.

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stacked variation

mix them up? absolutely. you can take two patterns and join them to make your own. below left: an examples of how we alternated a simple stacked row with a row of running bond; and right, the use of grout joints can make their own pattern, adding a variation to a vertical stack.

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for even more pattern play, check out our pinterest board with some of our favorites.