Kitchen – tiling the floor…

Back to the actual DIY projects…

We had decided early on that we would tackle the tiling ourselves. Tiling is hard work but is definitely a DIY project if you have time and patience.

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The floor…should have been pretty straight forward and easy….

The first debate came when deciding whether the tile should go in before or after the cabinets. I assumed that we would tile the whole room before the cabinets went in and that the cabinets would sit on the tile. Tad assumed that we would tile after the cabinets went in and that we would cut the tile around the installed cabinets. This debate went on for several weeks. In the end, we did it Tad’s way and it seems to have worked out just fine.

We went with a 12X24 porcelain tile laid in a half offset/brick pattern.

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The first move should have been to make sure the floor was level. We knew that our floor was not level. Everything I read and everyone we talked to said that the floor should be leveled prior to installing the tile with a self leveling product. We ignored that advice for a variety of reasons. My reason was that I didn’t really care if the floor was perfectly level (we live in 100 year old house and nothing is level) – I just wanted it to be flat. Our floor ended up perfectly flat and mostly level but it was really time-consuming and frustrating on Tad’s part (since I wasn’t as committed to the level floor, this ended up being Tad’s problem to resolve). For future projects I will level the floor with self leveler prior to tile installation – I advise you to do this as well.

Our first move (which would normally be everybody else’s second move since leveling the floor should be first) was to install the uncoupling membrane (the orange mat – we call it Schluter but I think it is really called Ditra made by Schluter). We decided to use this product rather than cement board. It was really easy to install – if you decide to use this product, read the instructions carefully – you do have to use a specific type of thinset.

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Our second move, was to do a dry run of the tile layout – I wanted to make sure I didn’t have a bunch of really small pieces along one edge. If you read the advice and follow the practice of most tile professionals, you are supposed to find the center of the room, start there and work your way out. This particular advice doesn’t ever seem to work out for my projects and it didn’t work out for this project either – I ended up adjusting the “center” tile a couple of inches off center to minimize the number of distracting small pieces. My planning paid off, no small pieces!

Third move – stick the tile down!  We used ¼ inch tile spacers for our grout joints – this is a bit wide according to contemporary fashion trends. I did a fair amount of research on tile installation prior to this project and found that the smaller grout joints on floors aren’t as strong as the wider joints. I decided to forgo fashion trends for improved function…

Fourth move – let it dry.

Fifth and final move – grout it! We used Grout Boost to mix up our grout (instead of water) – it replaces the need to seal the grout – so far so good….

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We have had a ton of positive comments on the floor – we think we did a really great job on it – one of our prouder moments…