Kitchen Floor – Tile Colors Used (I THINK)

Finished Floor

Finished Floor

I have gotten a few comments requesting that I share the color of the VCT Tiles.. duh I should have totally thought about that.

I am so bad at this blogging thing.

The problem is that I only have one of the three boxes left downstairs, so I am 100% positive on one of these colors and 95% positive on the other two. I looked at the order on Lowes.com and picked the other two out of the order history and am pretty sure that its right.

So without further adieu… These link to the exact link of them on Lowes that I purchased them from.  Lowes has excellent customer service and are becoming my favorite more and more over HD.

The first one is the one I am for sure about (because I still have the box)-

Armstrong 12-in x 12-in Charcoal Speckle Pattern Commercial Vinyl Tile

Armstrong 12-in x 12-in Charcoal Speckle Pattern Commercial Vinyl Tile

 

Armstrong 12-in x 12-in Soft Cool Gray Chip Pattern Commercial Vinyl Tile

Armstrong 12-in x 12-in Soft Cool Gray Chip Pattern Commercial Vinyl Tile

 

Armstrong 12-in x 12-in Shadow Blue Speckle Pattern Commercial Vinyl Tile

Armstrong 12-in x 12-in Shadow Blue Speckle Pattern Commercial Vinyl Tile

 

Also, I wanted to take the time to thank everybody for the feedback about the kitchen.  It’s very inspiring to keep working.  I’ve been so busy and I haven’t quite got there, but I am truly trying.  Thanks for the encouragement!

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Before, During, Progress, Kitchen, etc.

As I gather up my half-assed pictures of the kitchen reno at every step I have realized a few things. They all boil down to one thing: I need to take better pictures.  For starters, I am not the best photographer.  But there’s also the fact that I never bothered to clean off the countertop for any of the pics.  It’s always full of chaos.  In fact, I don’t even have a picture of the full kitchen post painting the countertops.  God only knows why.  So, to the best that I’ve equipped myself, here’s three pictures of our kitchen along the way, with a quick cap of what changed in between.

Progress Shots

Progress Shots

I seriously need to work on my photography skillz.

Our kitchen to do list looks like this now with this update–

  • Prime, paint, and seal the cabinets. (we opted to not seal)
  • Buy new hardware and add it to the cabinets (duh)
  • Paint the walls and ceiling
  • Re-do the countertop (either paint or re-laminate)
  • Re-redo the countertop again (surprise surprise!)
  •  
  • Finally finish installing the big light (it needs a sealing gasket thing installed, but we couldn’t find it for awhile lol)
  • Replace the under cabinet light
  • Find a permanent solution for the trash and recycle bins (on our way!)
  • Make the upper corner shelf open shelving (just have to add the shelves back in – more on that later)
  • Paint the new open shelving in the corner (still have to paint the actual shelves + maybe a pattern in the background + hang the shelves)
  • Possibly replace the above-window light
  • Add some sort of curtains to the window and the door
  • Strip and repair the doors to the outside and to the basement
  • Paint the doors to the outside and the basement
  • Bright gloss white paint on the trim and doors
  • Create a family command center on the big open wall that includes a calendar, mail center, meal planner, and anything else we may find useful.
  • Add a light in the little nook where the doors are?
  • Decorate.
  • Enjoy.

So here’s where we are now…

Completed Kitchen Floor

Completed Kitchen Floor

So happy with this finished step!

Laying VCT Tiles

In our last post, we discussed how to get old tiles up before laying new tiles.  Today, we’ll talk about the incredibly scientific process we used to lay the new basketweave patterned vct tiles that we decided upon for kitchen.

Once your floor has dried from the soap and water bath, you are ready to move to the next step.  Leveling.  With VCT tile, we read that any variation in the floor may lead to the tile cracking or shifting, so its very important to start with a nice flat surface.  What this amounts to is that basically you fill in any nail holes, cracks between subfloor boards, etc.

Once we removed our old tile, we were greeted by a huge rotted space of subfloor where the refrigerator sits.  When we first moved in, there was a gigantic fridge that leaked and smelled & we got rid it of within our first week.  We figure that was the likely culprit of the damage.

Instead of replacing all of the subfloor, Kevin took out his circular saw, set it for a very limited depth cut and cut as straight as possible around the damaged area.  He then just cut a fresh piece of luan and fit it down into the hole.   Then everything was ready to be leveled.

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As far as leveling goes, we used Ardex Feather Finish cement compound.  We mixed up a very small amount to where it was slightly thicker than recommended and filled in all of the holes, divets, ridges, cracks, etc.  For example, between the fresh luan and the old subfloor, there was a small gap.  I filled the entire gap in with feather finish and then feathered it out so there wasn’t a noticeable ridge.  It then just had a small very low-grade ridge.  For good measure, we covered all of the old nails and any place where the subfloor had any sort of texture with the feather finish.  This whole process took maybe all of 15 minutes and was well worth it.

Once the feather finish dried completely, we laid out a chalk line as our “starting line.”   I decided where I wanted our basketweave “to intersect” in relation to the door and then Kevin did whatever magical math he needed to do to decide how that meant the tile needed to be laid.  We wanted to lay them at an angle, so we placed our chalk line the longest diagonal point our kitchen had.  Once that chalk line was down, we laid out our tile pattern along it and covered the entire kitchen floor. (NO ADHESIVE AT THIS POINT).

Our reasoning for laying out the pattern without adhesive one last time was to ensure we didn’t make any mistakes.  Once we had the pattern completely laid out and we were happy with it, we’d pick up one tile at a time and where that tile was Kevin would mark out which tile would go there.  It should be noted that the pattern in VCT, while subtle, is definitely directional.  The small dots of the pattern move from one side of the tile to the other and it is very noticeable (to me) if from one tile to the next, the pattern switches directions.  As a result, he also put an arrow on the floor, denoting which direction the pattern would go.  We used “D,” “M,” and “L” to denote dark, medium, and light, respectively.  This is a crucial step to the process.  Otherwise, you are left to not screw up the pattern once the adhesive is down.

 

Marking Out Tile Pattern

Marking Out Tile Pattern

Next it’s time to trowel out your tile adhesive.  Your local home improvement store will sell VCT tile adhesive.  Be sure that before you walk out of the store with your chosen adhesive, that you read the back of the bucket.  The back of the adhesive will also tell you what size trowel to buy.

Troweling on the adhesive is just what it sounds like. Put your trowel in the adhesive and scoop some out on the floor, then spread it out.  If you’ve ever laid any sort of towel before (say, ceramic tile for a backsplash or bathroom), its generally the same thing.  Here’s a picture after our floor was covered in adhesive.

Fresh Adhesive

In the pic, you can see the trowel marks of the spread adhesive, and also the marked out floor pattern.

The tile adhesive has a really long dry time, giving you plenty of time to lay your tiles correctly.  So don’t rush.  Carefully lay each tile, butting it up to the next tile and then pressing down hard on to the floor so it doesn’t shift.  Once you put it in the tile, you “can” pull it back up and adjust it, but more than likely it’s going to snap if you pressed it into the adhesive.  So do it right the first time!  Lay every tile carefully so as to avoid having to adjust it.

We started our pattern by just laying the first line of tiles along our chalk line.  Kevin went straight down that line, laying the first tiles, then standing on them to lay the next, until he had a straight line across the kitchen.  Then, he backtracked and laid down the next row to the side.  Eventually, he broke this straight line pattern and just laid full chunks at a time.

Laying the new floor

Laying the new floor (as you can see, we went with a 3 tone muted grey color palette) 

Laying the full tiles (ones that did not have to be cut) went down really quickly.  We had  nice system going on.  We started with Kevin going around the house to the outside door and starting the floor from that end, working towards the entryway from the dining room.  He took about 10 of each color tile with him.

As he ran out of tiles. I stood in the doorway of the kitchen and handed them to him – usually one at a time, sometimes a chunk of one color at a time.  Whatever he needed or preferred.  The main bulk of the floor (again, the ones that didn’t need to be cut), went down in about 20 minutes tops.  We were starting to think this was going to be an hour project and done.  We were grossly wrong.

It turns out, cutting tiles is time consuming.  The best advice I can give you on that is to start with the easy cuts first and again pay attention to the pattern.  A few times Kevin cut a tile and then realized he cut it with the pattern going the wrong way.

As for how he cut the tile, he consulted a youtube video.  This one to be exact.  I’ll let explaining how to cut be done by somebody who actually understands it.  As I do not.

We didn’t buy the tile cutting tool, mainly to keep costs down.  If we had to do it over again, we may have, but I believe it was somewhere between $30-50 at Home Depot.  So keep that in mind when decided whether or not you just want to use the razor blade and snap method that we employed.  I will say it seemed to work just fine, but it may have been more time consuming than the tool.  No way for me to really know about that now.

After you get all of your tiles laid and your floor is completely covered, I’d highly recommend using a floor roller over top of them.  We rented one from home depot for 24 hours and had plenty of time to spare.  Its basically just a giant weighted roller on a stick and you push it around in all directions.  It’s actually kind of fun.  You can hear the air bubbles in the adhesive beneath the tiles popping.  Kind of like a giant bubble wrap.  Don’t run over your toe.

Now stand back and admire your work.  Your/our new floor is beautiful.

Finished Floor

Finished Floor

If you are anything like me, you’re obsessed with it.  I am completely obsessed with it.  I think it makes the kitchen look so much bigger.  I’ll post more pictures of it soon.  Truth be told, I chose this picture because all of the pics of it from right when we were done that show the whole kitchen also show Kevin’s extensive empty beer bottle collection.  For Homebrewing.  But it makes us look like huge drunks.  Yikes.

 

 

Removing old Vinyl/Lino Tile

Today we will talk about the steps we used to remove the old, cracked, filthy tiles in our kitchen.   It’s a lot of work, time wise, but not really muscle-wise.  I shouldn’t really comment on that since I had minimal involvement with it, but I will say that all that bending over really does a number on your back.  So take that in mind. However, as far as DIY goes, it’s simple and you probably have the skills needed to pull it off.

Our Original Kitchen Flooring

Our Original Kitchen Flooring

Say bye bye to that old floor.

First, gather your supplies:

  • Knee pads (optional, but not really optional)
  • Adhesive Remover
  • Gloves
  • Putty Knife/Scraper
  • Iron (or I suppose a heat gun would work, but we used our iron – which, be forewarned, was ruined & had to be replaced.  We also used a hair dryer in some places, but the iron worked best.)
  • Plastic sheeting (just the cheap stuff they sell in the paint department – like we used to cover out cabinets when we painted out countertops)
  • A bucket (that you will fill with soap & water)
  • Scrub brush
  • Time (I’d say, a weekend – depending on the area of your floor)

 

Admittedly, I did not take very many pictures of this process.  It went by pretty quickly and it’s really quite self-explanatory.  Here are your basic steps:

  1. Place the iron on top of the tile to be removed.  Keep the iron moving.  The heat from the iron (or heat gun or hair dryer) liquifies the adhesive and the tile will come loose.
  2. Put your putty knife/scraper under the edge of the tile and separate the tile from the floor.  If it doesn’t come up easily, put the iron over it for a little longer.  Just keep rotating between ironing the tile and scraping underneath the tile until you’ve easily removed it.  After the first couple tiles, you’ll find your sweet spot.
  3. Once you’ve got a few tiles up (Kevin removed about six 12 inch tiles at a time), put on your gloves & cover your freshly uncovered subfloor in the adhesive remover.  Be generous.  This stuff looks like almost-clear snot.  We put on a nice 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick layer of it.
  4. Cover your adhesive remover smeared section with the plastic sheeting.  You do this to seal out the air while giving the adhesive remover some time to work.
  5. Wait 15-20 minutes.  (I suppose during this time you could start ironing/scraping up some more tile, but we didn’t.  We just used the time for a nice break.)
  6. After your time has passed, pull up the plastic & discard.  Then, using your putty knife/scraper, scrape up the adhesive remover (and, accordingly, the adhesive).
  7. With fresh soap (we used dawn dish washing liquid) and water, use your scrub brush to scrub the floor.  I wouldn’t even go so far as to say “scrub vigorously” – just scrub it up.  This gets the remaining adhesive off and cleans the floor up nice.
  8. Repeat these 7 steps until the entire floor is done.  Be sure to let your entire floor dry before proceeding to the next step of “leveling the floor” and subsequently “installing the new floor.”

 

It should be noted that the ironing/heating element is not really necessary.  You can just scrape up the old tiles, but then you risk damaging your subfloor.  We wanted to keep and reuse our subfloor, but if this is not an issue for you (you already plan to replace the subfloor), then you can just scrape away.

 

Simple!  Voila!  Do you have any tips/questions/etc?

 

Stay tuned for our tips on leveling the floor, installing the floor, and the big reveal!

 

Let’s Talk Cheap, Temp Flooring

Our Current Kitchen Flooring

Our Current Kitchen Flooring

Look at that awesome floor!  That’s what’s currently in our kitchen.  There is no doubt about it that whoever did the last major reno to this house loved pink.  We have pink countertops, an entire pink bathroom that feels like a ceramic womb, pink floors, pink window ledges, pink walls.  There is no end to the pink.  But for now, lets just focus on that floor.  At a distance, say standing up and just looking at it, it’s ugly, but you can’t tell that it’s actually that filthy until you get down close to it.  Granted this picture is from underneath the fridge.  But you get my point.

So what are we considering?

Well we know for sure we are going to rip out those stick on tiles.  Thanks to the above picture we can see what’s underneath it and no part seems to be “soft” as we walk on it (and trust me I walk heavy) so we should just be able to put the new floor down on top of the existing subfloor.

We also know that we are aiming for “cheap, yet modern and stylish.”  The cheaper the better without compromising the looks too much.  We want this kitchen update to satisfy us for about 5 years and then we hope to gut it and rip out walls and have a much more open floor plan.  So we are not opposed to vinyl or laminate.  However, we are opposed to tile because it hurts the feet. Plus who wants to clean grout?  Not this girl.

These are some options and ideas that I’ve bookmarked and perused.  (For an ongoing and up to the minute look into my brain, follow me on pinterest! http://www.pinterest.com/jessiedrm – nobody pins harder than I do)

First off, I am pretty obsessed with laying the floor in a herringbone pattern.  However, with the options of actual flooring we are considering, I don’t think this is possible based on the size of the planks/tiles vs. the size of our kitchen.  The scale is off.  I am still brainstorming on whether or not this is possible, though, so it’s still in the running.

Herringbone Patterned Floor #1

Herringbone Patterned Floor #1

Herringbone Patterned Floor #2

Herringbone Patterned Floor #2

Originally, the plans were for a grey floor, but now we are unsure.  I also really love Home Depot’s fake cork options.  The end real kitchen update in ~5 years has a planned cork floor in my head, but as of right now, fake cork-look is much more in the budget.   We don’t want wood because the rest of the house is wood and it’d be killer to try to match up.  Plus, it seems like it’d be a lot of work to maintain in a kitchen.  Here are pics and links to the options we’ve been discussing:

TrafficMaster Ceramica 12 in. x 24 in. Coastal Grey Vinyl Tile Flooring (30 sq. ft./case)

TrafficMaster Ceramica 12 in. x 24 in. Coastal Grey Vinyl Tile Flooring (30 sq. ft./case) at Home Depot for $1.69/sq.ft.

Armstrong Imperial Texture 12 in. x 12 in. Classic White Standard Excelon Vinyl Composition Tiles (45-Pack)  for $0.73/sq. ft.

Armstrong Imperial Texture 12 in. x 12 in. Classic White Standard Excelon Vinyl Composition Tiles (45-Pack) for $0.73/sq. ft. – but NOT in this classic/retro checkered pattern, but still patterned in someway

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Lisbon Cork Dark Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Lisbon Cork Dark Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft – This is a terrible picture. Who has a bright orange kitchen?

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Natural Cork Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft.

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Natural Cork Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft.

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Natural Cork Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft.

TrafficMaster Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Natural Cork Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 sq. ft./case) for $1.99/sq.ft.

 

There are also some considerations from Lowe’s, that d0n’t have “room views” —

Cryntel 12" x 12" Ebony Marble Finish Vinyl Tile for $0.88 each

Cryntel 12″ x 12″ Ebony Marble Finish Vinyl Tile for $0.88 each

Style Selections 18"x18" Aspen Gray Stained Concrete for $2.21 each

Style Selections 18″x18″ Aspen Gray Stained Concrete for $2.21 each

Style Selections 12" x 12" Crescendo Marble Gray Marble Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile for $1.13 each

Style Selections 12″ x 12″ Crescendo Marble Gray Marble Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile for $1.13 each

Congoleum 16" x 16" Quartz White Stone Granite Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile at $73.04 each case of 10 tiles

Congoleum 16″ x 16″ Quartz White Stone Granite Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile at $73.04 each case of 10 tiles

Congoleum 16" x 16" Quartz Midnight Granite Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile at $73.04 for a case of 10 tiles

Congoleum 16″ x 16″ Quartz Midnight Granite Finish Luxury Vinyl Tile at $73.04 for a case of 10 tiles

 

As you can see, the choices are wildly variable and we’ve got a long way before we make a decision.  We like to mull over things until we’re sick of thinking about them then we just make some sort of snap decision like it shoulda and coulda been made in 10 minutes lifetimes ago.

What we found under the carpet in every room

Dirt Under Carpet

Dirt Under Carpet

Under the carpet in every room in the house was just piles and piles of dirt.  This made me really appreciate hardwood floors and (must easier to wash/maintain/replace) area rugs.  Hello hardwood!  Stay tuned for a post on how we removed the carpet, then exposed & cleaned the hardwood!