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Installing rectangular tile in a herringbone pattern is one of the popular design trends of the last year with no sign of interest waning. This unique layout has the ability to make a mildly patterned basic rectangle pop with some geometric flair. Unfortunately what all the design photographs aren't explaining is the exacting requirements of the tiles size needed to be installed in a herringbone.

For a herringbone pattern to work the rectangular tiles long edge must be evenly divisible by the tiles short edge plus a grout joint. So for instance, to install a nominal 4" x 12" tile in a herringbone it would actually need to be 3 7/8" x 12", which would allow 3 tiles short edges with an 1/8" grout joint between each. If it were a true 4" or larger the pattern may work for a single course, but will slowly fan out and not interlock on subsequent courses.

The reality is most tile manufacturers aren't creating tile with this in mind, so most rectangular tiles aren't "herringbone-able". What is even more deceptive, is a lot if photos of this pattern are actually custom cut natural stone tiles to make the pattern work, ultra high end tiles that price themselves out of typical projects or possibly even a photoshop repeat of a single course that doesn't work when expanded to the whole room.

In other words before you by a tile to be installed in a herringbone, make sure it is herringbone-able.

Glass Tile 3x6 Herringbone
*60 Color Appeal Glass Tile 3x6 Installed in a herringbone pattern.

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