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Our “Staggering” Kitchen Update—New Tile

2013 October 24
by Becky

So remember how I mentioned we’d be retiling our kitchen floors?

The details in our beautifully updated kitchen—the open shelving, subway tile, and gorgeous range hood—were putting the dingy, cracked floors to shame. The beigey-pink tiles looked even dirtier next to our bright white cabinets and fresh grey paint.

I just tried never to look down.

I stupidly scheduled this little project for the weekend after my surgery and thankfully realized just how bad of an idea it was, so rescheduled for a later date. That date turned into another date which turned into another…until it finally happened.

KitchenFloor-Demo

KitchenFloor-Demo2

Our friend and flooring expert Pat showed up on a Friday morning to get started on tile removal. Ethan and I got the heck out of there and returned later in the afternoon to find Stu home early from work (a rarity), hard at work scraping nails and shoveling broken tile shards.

Here’s my biggest tiling tip. Be prepared for dust. Pat told us, we thought we’d covered things up and blocked off doorways with plastic, but most of the surfaces in our house were covered with dust once removal was complete.

What a mess.

KitchenFloor-Dust

KitchenFloor-DustControl

There were multiple rounds of mopping with a damp sponge mop (a dry cloth won’t work), most done by Stu since I was still not really supposed to do things that required bending and reaching (didn’t I luck out?). Even Ethan got in on the cleaning with a little Swiffer duster.

We tried to clean and stay out of the house most of the weekend so Pat and crew could move forward unencumbered. All the baseboard was removed, toilet and sink in the half bath went out to the deck, and the appliances (not the dishwasher) were moved as well. New backer board went down and at least one large floor dip was repaired before it was time to tile.

Gotta love old houses and their “quirks”.

KitchenFloor-Backerboard

Let’s talk about our tile choice for a minute.

We started out wide-eyed, looking at places like The Tile Shop and getting a few samples from an interior designer friend, but the price tags were quite honestly scaring us. With about 230 sf to cover, tile in the $5.50/sf range was just over the top. We just couldn’t pull the trigger. But all that looking helped us hone in on the color and size of tile we wanted. Oversized and, you guessed it, gray.

After buying a sample of every tile that fit these criteria, of which there were quite a few, we settled on this.

Tile We were shocked. Beautiful porcelain tile at $1.99/sf? And it was on an additional sale the weekend I called to place my order.  Our tile bill plummeted yet we didn’t sacrifice look or quality. My only dilemma was figuring out how it should fit in the space.

I stared at Pat’s sample layouts for a looooong time.

KitchenFloor-TileLayout

The herringbone pattern was oh so very tempting, but I was afraid the details would be lost in the large format. All that work for not much pay-off? Nope. My second favorite layout was “long ways” down the hall. It makes the space seem bigger and I liked the flow. To get the maximum detail, I asked Pat to stagger the tiles at 30%, which would then turn into more of a random stagger.

The next morning I was still moving tiles around when the guys arrived to start work, pretty sure they solidified their opinion—I’m nuts. But they were all too happy to work with the pattern (or lack there of).

KitchenFloor-LayingTiles

KitchenFloor-LayingTiles2

Those big, heavy tiles were looking mighty fine in record time. The guys used gray grout that went on dark and dried to a nice light hue, making the tile pattern pop.

The trim went back on, appliances and bathroom fixtures put back in place, and suddenly I had my kitchen back.

And oh did it look so fresh and new…

KitchenFloor-Closeups

KitchenFloor-ButlersPantry

KitchenFloor-FromMiniTable

I even had someone to test drive the floor comfort. Baby AJ was all too happy to squirm around on the activity mat while Erika and I made dinner one night during their visit. AJ gave the tile two chubby thumbs up.

KitchenFloor-AjPlayMat

And it wasn’t until the writing of this post that I realized a before and after was in order! While it’s pretty hard to get a good shot of the floor in the space with my amateur photography skills, I could hardly wait to see the pictures side by side so I did my best. We are pretty excited about the improvement.

If only I could capture the dirt-brown grout and gross texture throughout the old tiles.

KitchenFloor-Before&AfterOpenShelving

KitchenFloor-Before&AfterButlersPantry

I’m pretty sold on the large format tiles…square just can’t compare.

If we did have to use 12 x 12 tiles, I’d at least stagger them to add more interest. The straight lines just don’t do anything for the space. Luckily, Pat told us to pick a tile we loved and he’d make it work. So we did! And got it at a great price.

We didn’t tackle this project ourselves, which is typically a hard thing for us to accept. Especially after placing all that wall tile, one would think we could handle a little kitchen flooring. But after seeing how much time, equipment, and expertise went into this not-all-that-big floor, we are so incredibly happy we brought in professionals. Worth every penny.

Anyone else out there scared of floor tiles? 

 

 

7 Responses
  1. Linda Johnson permalink
    October 25, 2013

    I love the floor!! I especially like the bigger tiles; what a difference they make in the space.

    You did a FAB job with the kitchen! It’s so open and clean looking…aka also kid friendly.

  2. October 25, 2013

    Unbelievable difference. Way to go. Love it!!

  3. October 25, 2013

    Wow!! Makes me want to replace mine and we have a lot!!

  4. October 25, 2013

    As someone who takes three days per load of laundry (Day 1 – wash; Day 2 – fold; Day 3 (which may actually be 5 days later than Day 1 – put away), I find all of this SO impressive. Bravo!
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