Kitchen Floor : Groutable Vinyl Tile

When researching options for our kitchen floor, we knew we wanted something durable that could stand up to the boys.  Originally I wanted stone, but realized that it wasn't kid friendly.  Then we thought that we wanted ceramic tile.  The problem is that it would raise the floor by almost an inch after the hardieboard goes down, the thin set, and the tile itself.  Not an issue except for the dishwasher.  There wasn't enough room to go under the dishwasher because of the counter top.  I decided against removing the current vinyl because I wasn't sure what floor was laid underneath (there were several layers).

I was exploring the aisles at home depot, and spotted a vinyl tile that was groutable.  It looked pretty great, the grout gave it texture, and the bonus is that it is not cold on your toes and makes for a softer landing for toddlers learning how to toddle.  The other bonus was I was able to purchase everything I needed for under $300.  

They had both the 12x12 and 12x24 inch tiles in the style I liked.  (Sagebrush).  I went with the 12x24 subway tile becuase of the way it would make the kitchen look longer.  It took about 6 hours from start to finish with the bulk of the time spent on measuring and cutting in the strange corners.  The only tools needed were a tape measure, t square, pencil, and utility knife.  The tiles were extremely easy to break - all I had to do was gently score the top with the utility knife and bend it and it snapped along the score.  Here are the results...

before - floor was sheet vinyl

Peel and stick tiles went down really easily

Just peel back the corner and lay it down.  I used 1/8 in spacers.



Rolled out fridge so I could tile under it

Had to make some fancy cuts.

Used a wax pencil to make my marks.

used a utility knife and t square to score the tile

tile prior to grout

Originally I wanted to go with an off white grout because it made the tiles really pop.  Once I got going I realized that it would be really difficult to keep it clean with the boys dropping food.  I ended up going with a color called Earth and really love it.

Pre Grout

Grouting the tiles with Earth

Whaddya think?  Here are some takeaways...

Follow the old adage - measure twice cut once.  I can't tell you how many tiles I ruined.  Luckily I had just enough to finish.  

The spacers were a godsend.  It really helped me keep my lines perfect.

I was lucky and had a grid already laid for me on the previous vinyl floor.  In the event that you don't, you would just need to find the centers on each wall and make a chalk line.  Confirm that the angles are 90 degrees and start your first tile right in the middle and work out from there. 

The tiles can get scuffed, so make sure that any furniture has the sticky pads on the feet.  Also, make sure if you have anything on wheels like a high chair that the wheels are not locked when you move it.  

UPDATE - click here to see a more recent blog post with pictures from a friend of our blog who recently put in groutable vinyl flooring in his own kitchen. 

Connected again...

The Verizon Fios truck rolled in this morning at 9am.  I have been incredibly frustrated with the cable companies over the past two weeks and was expecting another snag in the install plan.  I was so pleasantly surprised!  Kevin was our tech.  He was able to install all of the tv's exactly where we wanted them.  He removed a bunch of old wires that were left over from previous people.  He even fixed a light fixture that was malfunctioning...yes, a light fixture!  He had mentioned that he was an electrician in his former life, so I asked him why a light fixture would work one day and not the next.  He whipped out his tools and had it fixed in about 5 minutes.  I was so grateful and thrilled with his service that it pretty much made the wait worth it.  The kids are both napping now, so I figured I'd check in quickly with news that we are back up and running.  I cannot wait to get caught up on the news and HGTV design star.

Here is a little update on the boys. As you can see, Owen has already started tormenting his baby bro.


Still no Internet, but lots of chalk

Sadly, we are still waiting for verizon to come out an install our
phone/internet/cable. The new install date is august 30 and it can't
come soon enough! I feel so disconected, behind on the news, my
favorite blogs and tv shows.

We have a new washing machine arriving tomorrow. The one that was in
the house was broken, and in doing research on a diy fix, I realized
that it was most likely the transmission which would cost us close to
what we would pay for a new one. So, we purchased a kenmore from
sears. Initially we wanted to do a front load, but given that we are
going to keep the laundry in the basement, we went with a top load to
avoid the mold/smell problem that can arise with the front loaders.
It's a kenmore that is energy star rated, high effiiency, and is
really unique in that it doesn't have an agitator. I can fit our
comforter in there no problem.

We are still living in box city, but it's getting better day by day.
Once the verizon people come out to do the install, I'll post the
house stuff. In the mean time, here is a shot of Owen enjoying the
afternoon with his box of chalk.


My first stay at home mommy day!

I am posting a quickie today. The move went well. Special thanks to
Laura and Linda for coming down to help out! We are still without
cable, phone and Internet due to the verizon strike. Grrrr. They have
no idea when they will be here to do the install. I am uploading this
from my phone that we had turned on yesterday. Once we have the
Internet up and running, I'll be able to post more house updates, I


Moving Day

I know that I have been a little absent this week.  We are preparing for the movers to come tomorrow.  I can't believe that we are going to be in the house tomorrow night.  I have so many updates to share with you including a new floor in the office and spare bedroom, a hardwood floor update, progress on the mudroom and kitchen floor.  For now though, I am going to leave you hanging becuase I have to get back to packing!  Look for updates SOON!


I am thinking about this rug for the dining room.  What are your thoughts???


Kitchen Backsplash

The kitchen backsplash is complete.  I started it on Thursday last week and finished grouting it this evening.  I think that it really came out well.  I learned a few new skills and have some take-aways that I'll share.  I think you'll be surpised at the progress that has been made.

first needed to trim some overhang of paneling above where I was tiling...I used the circular saw set at the same thickness of the paneling

wall is ready to go

used contractor paper and blue painters tape to protect the countertop

With my notch trowel, I spread the thinset onto the wall.  First, I skim coated the wall with the smooth side, then used the notch side to create lines in the skim coat.

Added 1/8 inch spacers to the tile once it was adhered to the wall.

My tile that I cut using the wet saw...which wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be.

Once I had all of the tiles in place, I used a grout float to smear the grout into the tile.  This was a tedious process and took quite awhile to complete. 

Once the grout is well smeared, then I took a wet sponge and cleaned off the excess.  I had to clean the sponge out over and over again until it was able to take the majority of the grout off the top of the tile.  I used an old bath towel to wipe the tile down after the sponge.

My new backsplash...and cabinets are finally painted.
Here are the steps...

  • Clean space well and prepare the walls.
  • Protect space with construction paper found at Home Depot in large rolls of paper.
  • Apply thin set or mastik with a trowel, first by skim coating with smooth side then using the notched side to create lines in the skim coat.
  • Push your tiles into the thin set and get them in place.
  • Use a wet saw to make the special cuts that you need for the edges. 
  • Apply the grout with a grout float.
  • Use a large sponge to clean tiles.
  • Follow up the next day with the sponge again to remove any haze that remains on the tile.
Take-aways -
The grout went fast.  The instructions said that once container should be more then enough, but I ended up running out half way through the job and had to run out for more.
Removing grout is my new least favorite thing to do...even trumps painting ceilings.  It is messy and takes patience. 
Grout drys darker then it appears in the container...just like patint.
Have a spare towel on hand to wipe down the tiles after you get most of the stuff off with the sponge.

Up next...the floor