The Kitchen Floor FINISHED.
Laying VCT tile.

Are you hungry?  I’m hungry.  Specifically for a hamburger for some reason.  A big one.  My wish for a hamburger has nothing to do with VCT tiles by the way.  I just thought I’d mention it since you’re here and we’re talking and all.

My floor is finished.  Done.  Complete.  I love my VCT (vinyl composition tile).  Here’s why …

love-2

 

The biggest pain about laying the tiled floor is figuring out the line you’re going to lay the tile on.

This is going to get a bit confusing so pay attention.

You need to figure out the centre width of your room, and the centre length of your room.  Where these two lines dissect is the centre point of your floor.  The centre point in the photo below is where the two blue chalk lines cross.

 

So that’s pretty easy actually.  And that’s all you need to do if you’re laying a “checkerboard” floor.  Just snap your chalk lines and start working.

VCT- Tile 1

 

If you’re laying the floor in a diagonal pattern like I did, you need to do a little more measuring.  You have to get your two diagonal lines.  To do that, measure from your centre point to the nearest wall.  In my case that measurement is 3 feet.  Then make a mark that’s 1/3rd the length of that measurement.  In my case, that’s 1 foot.

Cut a piece of string that measures longer than 1′ and less than the remaining 2′.

Your measurements will be different, but the principal will be the same.  10′ from centre point means a mark point of 3’3″ and a string length of around 4′-5′.

 

String Line

 

You’re going to tie a pencil on the end of this string and use it to mark your arcs by holding the end of the string on your “x” mark and running the pencil into an arc.  Do this on all of the “x” points and where the arcs intersect will be where your diagonal lines are.

String Me

 

I fear I’m not explaining myself well.

VCT- Tile 4

 

Once you’ve figured out your lines, the hard part is done.  Now you have the fun part of laying the tile to look forward to.

The first thing you should do is dry lay some tiles along your straight line.  I’m referring to the row of black tiles in the centre of the room.  You’ll have two choices.  Lay your first tile so it is centred over the centre point, or lay your first tile so the tip touches the centre point (like I did).  If you’ve  got your centre points right then you’ll have the exact same distance between the walls and the ends of your final full tiles.

VCT- Tile 5

 

Once you’ve determined your straight lines are good, it’s time to grab your glue and start laying tiles!  Buy the glue when you buy your tile and ask for help to make sure you’re getting the right glue for the tile you’re using.  Also read the bucket of glue to see what type of trowel you need.  All trowels are not created equal.  The distance between and depth of the notches make a difference. Only use the trowel size that’s specified on the back of the bucket of glue.
VCT- Tile 6
VCT- Tile 7

 

 

Open up your glue and pour a big glug on the floor.
VCT- Tile 8

 

 

Trowel it out.
VCT- Tile 9
VCT- Tile 11
VCT- Tile 12

 

It’ll take an hour or two for your glue to get tacky enough to lay your tiles so go take a walk.  Or taunt your cats. Or learn a new language.

Once your glue is tacky, it’ll stay that way for dayssss.  So you literally have a work time with this glue of 2-3 days.

 

Carefully, carefully lay your first tile. Make sure it is *perfect*.
VCT- Tile 13
VCT- Tile 14

 

Midway through laying my floor I looked down and saw this, exactly as you see it now.  A black cleaver on a white tile.  I saw it as a sign.  I’m not at all sure what it was a sign of, but it was definitely a sign.  It either has something to do with cooking or killing.  I haven’t decided yet.
Cleaver Tile

The laying of all the centre (full) tiles will go fairly quickly.

You will eventually get to the point where all of your full tiles are laid and you now need to lay the edge tiles which need to be cut.  Some cuts are as easy as cutting a straight line, others that have to go around corners or curved baseboards will be more elaborate cuts.
VCT- Tile 15

 

There are at least 3 ways to cut the tile, but I found the easiest way was to heat it up a bit with a hairdryer and then just cut it with scissors.  Next week I’ll be doing a short video post on how to cut the edge tiles of a diagonally laid floor.  There’s a little trick that makes it really easy.
Cutting Vct Tile

 

You may find the odd time you’ve laid a tile that doesn’t butt right up to the tile beside it.  Sometimes the tiles move while you’re kneeling on them, or maybe you just made a mistake.
VCT- Tile 16

 

No problem. It’s easy to fix.
Lifting VCT- Tile

 

Wondering how one would deal with tiling under a  cast iron bathtub?

Armstrong VCT- Tile Bath

 

A car jack. After you’ve trowelled glue underneath and let it set,  lift the tub *just* enough to slip your tile underneath the feet.

car-jack

 

Done! This is not the final reveal picture of the kitchen, it’s just a quick look at the completed floor

Armstrong VCT- Tile Classic Black

 

This completes my Big Spring Project 2013.  I had planned to finish redecorating the mudroom and get new fixtures for the bathroom … but I’ve run out of time.  It is now summer and I don’t want to be doing indoor construction projects. I want to be doing OUTDOOR construction projects.  The first of which, will be constructing a rather large hamburger.


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94 Comments

  1. Carla Barnes says:

    Beautiful, beautiful!

  2. Marti says:

    Wow! That looks great! Makes me want to go to my kitchen and get another big bowl of Szechuan Carrot Soup! Mmmmm!

  3. Robbin says:

    WOW!!!!! That floor looks amazing! Totally goes with the character of your house.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Robbin – It *must* look like it’s always been there because people have come over and not even NOTICED the floor, LOL. When I tell them I just laid it they say Really? I thought this was always here. ~ karen!

      • Audrey says:

        Hi Karen,
        I’ve been reading your wonderful blog for a few months now, but have never posted. Thank you for all you do!
        I have the same claw foot tub as you with a shower attachment. I really need to replace our ugly, yellow linoleum that has been in the bathroom since 1950. How did you deal with the issue of the pipes that are attached to the tub when you jacked it up?
        Thanks for any help.

        • Karen says:

          Hi Audrey. Well we did have to remove the tub from the room entirely in order for me to be able get the ceramic tile out. That was the hard part. I hooked it back up again then when the time came to tile under the tub (and the pipes were all hooked up again) I just lifted with the jack a TINY little bit. Just enough to slip the thin tile under the foot. There was enough play in the pipes to allow for the slight movement. – karen!

  4. Cathy says:

    You are A-mazing! Hope that burger tastes as great as your floor looks.

  5. Cathy says:

    Oh, and the cleaver thing? Really, it just appeared? That is one fine sign my friend. I thought you were going to incorporate it into your design as it IS your kitchen logo and all.

  6. Sue Hawkings says:

    What a fine job!! You made it look quite easy right from levelling to laying the tile – pictures made it easy to follow along. Enjoy that we’ll deserved burger!

  7. Elle says:

    Boy, I envy you for being so able, gifted, crafty, ingenious.
    Wish I knew how to renovate my house by myself – I would probably do a better job than the guys who worked here when we bought it… (it looks like you sure did!)

  8. Kim says:

    you are my HERO!

  9. Shana says:

    I love this flooring and want to use it when we redo our kitchen next year – do you need to seal it with anything?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shana – You don’t seal it per say, but you do wax it. The first time you wax it you have to put on 4-6 coats of wax. Then you just wax every 6 months – year or so. I’ll probably wax once every month or two because I like the shine. ~ karen!

  10. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    Is there anything you can’t do, Karen? (don’t answer that question). Just when I think you can’t surprise me more, you do. Beautiful job!! Great explanation (but not enough for me to ever tackle such a project). Can I just hire you?

  11. Pati Gulat says:

    Beautiful, as usual, Karen ! Is there NOTHING you can’t do ?????? Or is that isn’t there ANYTHING you can’t do ??? How’s about, can you do EVERYTHING ??? ;o)

  12. Maggie V says:

    Like I said to my Sista Marilyn, “That Karen amazes me”. Good job girl!

  13. Robyn says:

    I’m so glad to see you went against the ‘norm” by not choosing ceramic/stone flooring! I honestly don’t see the attraction. It’s always cold (unless you pay more to heat it) if you drop anything~it’s done for, and it kills your back after standing on it for any length of time!
    Your floor looks perfect…and comfortable!

  14. Feral Turtle says:

    I love it!! What a lot of work you have done Karen. I am excited for you this winter when your feet will be toasty and your head will be cool.

  15. Reg says:

    It looks fabulous. Great job. Now off to the great outdoors. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  16. Tigersmom says:

    Congratulations on a beautiful job. The floor looks great.
    I have a question as I am trying to figure out the cost of retiling my bathroom after the contractor failed to level my floor before the current tile went in. (Grrrrrrrrrrr.)
    I know you used self-leveling concrete to level your floor, but what are the white patches I see? Are they something to do with the radiant heat you put in?
    Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tigersmom – The white patches are just bits of Durabond 90, a compound filler. A few areas of the self leveller needed a bit of help after it was dried, so I just sanded and/or filled them. ~ karen!

      • Tigersmom says:

        Thanks. I would never have thought to check and see if the leveler did it ‘s job correctly and then I would have a wonky floor again. : /

  17. Laura says:

    Looks charmingly nostalgic! I put the exact same stuff down, in the same pattern, in my former family room and it wore like iron. It will ‘settle’ around any surface imperfections, revealing lumps and bumps, so it’s definitely worth all that extra prep work to create a perfectly smooth subfloor.

  18. marilyn says:

    love it! great job karen..as usual

  19. Alice says:

    Karen, looks great! And you make it seem so easy…my husband and I laid sheet linoleum in our kitchen many, many years ago, and it was a real test of our marriage!

    (Just a couple of typos, though…I think it must cost 0.85 dollars, or 85 cents a square foot, not 0.85 cents. Also, your piece of string should be longer than 1′, not 1″. Well, it should be longer than 1″, of course, but you know what I mean…)

  20. Deb J. says:

    Very nice! Have always loved a black and white checkerboard floor and am a diagonal fan myself – even if it does complicate pretty much everything. However, when you started with wanting a hamburger, I expected a comment (rant) on smeat:)
    One question – would these tiles work on an unheated plywood floor that flexes a lot? I have a cottage floor that needs a solution. It’s currently carpet. Ick. Carpets and cottages DO NOT go together!

    • Karen says:

      Deb J – These tiles work perfectly just about anywhere. But you do have to have a perfectly flat surface. That means no bumps or bubbles and no cracks. Even a small speck of dirt will end up looking like a mountain under the tile after it’s laid. So long as your plywood is in good shape and not splintering or anything you’ll be good. ~ karen!

  21. Mary Werner says:

    Diagonal sure makes it look larger. Love it!

  22. Susan says:

    It looks amazing! Thank you for telling us about VCT tiles, as well as showing the entire process of prepping and laying this floor. You make it look so simple, and it really is if you don’t let the thought of doing it overwhelm you. It’s all manageable, actually, isn’t it!

  23. Kat says:

    Yup, it’s a thing of beauty! Have you stood there and stared at it for hours on end and made excuses just to go to the rooms to stare at it some more LOL? I would have!

  24. karol says:

    “pour a big glug on the floor”
    I love onomatopoeic words. Even though I had never heard that before, GLUG was the perfect word for pouring glue.
    and I love how you work bare footed. Great job.

  25. DavidW. says:

    WOW! That looks really lovely. I bet that tile is more forgiving than ceramic tile if glassware should happen to roll off the counter (don’t ask). I wish I had the courage to take up the builder’s generic beige ceramic tile (which is in perfect condition and does not need to be replaced.. just that I hate it) that came with the house and replace it with more colourful VCT. When I mention it to my wife she just looks at me like I am crazy. Thanks for the inspiration and tutorial :).

  26. gogothrift@etsy.com says:

    LOVE it.
    and whoda thunk….a car jack

  27. toekneetoni says:

    very impressive! 😀

  28. ruth says:

    It is amazing! But I almost go into the fetal position at the thought of such a project. You are courage personified!

  29. joanna says:

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!!!!!!!

  30. Leslie says:

    Congratulations! It looks great.

  31. Call Me Patty says:

    Eeeps! You forgot to mention to lay the white tiles with the pattern all going the same way, and then the black tiles all going the opposite direction. We did pink and white tile YEARS ago in our kitchen. Got SO sick of the pink. If I had known that I could have maybe removed the pink with black, by just heating it up. I would have tried that instead of remove it all. Love the durability of the vinyl tile.

    • Karen says:

      That’s true. I did forget to mention that. However, now that you mention it, some people prefer to have a completely random laying of them. ~ karen!

  32. Jeannie B says:

    Your new floor really looks wonderful Karen. Do people still wax floors? I have an old floor polisher in my basement if you want it. Complete with lambswool buffing pads. It hasn’t been used for many years. Did spreading that glue, give you a headache? Sure hope you had lots of ventilation. A lot of work but the completed project looks charming.Well done!

  33. We had ceramic tile installed in the kitchen/front hall/powder room. Biggest mistake of my life.

    I would love to put something like this in my office. Would it stand up to the rolling around on the office chair exercise?

    How would I prep a plywood floor for that product?

    It’s gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Well done.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elen – It would definitely stand up. This flooring is meant for commercial use. Like restaurants or schools. Just make sure the plywood is in good condition. Very smooth. If it isn’t you need to lay new plywood, or pour self levelling concrete over top. ~ karen!

  34. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Love It!!!..But you lost me at the math part..Checkerboard flooring is my favorite and what we are going to do in our kitchen this year..Or rather HE is going to do only because I can’t get down on the floor due to medical issues..well..I can get down..I just can’t get back up..lol..Enjoy that burger but I really think you deserve a T-Bone steak!

  35. Lin says:

    As always…an awesome job Karen. It looks very professionally done. Yer the Mike Holmes of doing stuff…making it right! You earned a great big juicy hamburger on this one.

  36. Audrey says:

    I absolutely love your floor, Karen. Maybe because ours is exactly the same. On the diagonal is really the ‘correct’ way to lay the tile. What kind of wax do you use? Would love to know. Adore your blog and the fact that you do so much yourself.

  37. Theresa says:

    Love it!!!

  38. Wendy says:

    It looks great, Karen!

  39. Elisa says:

    I had a thought… Karen what happens next fall when you turn your radiant heat on? Will it heat up your tiles where they will be movable again?

    • Karen says:

      🙂 Excellent question. No. The tiles will be fine. The Warmly Yours Floor is completely compatible with the VCT tiles. ~ karen!

    • Linda S says:

      Oh, I’m so glad Elisa asked you this question. I was wondering the same thing, but didn’t have the balz to ask. I was afraid you might be just a bit testy if you haven’t had time to eat that burger yet! Kudos to you, Karen on a job well done.

  40. Annie Kip says:

    I love black and white tile! Yours looks great and the step by step is really helpful. Thanks!

  41. Ritz says:

    Wow! I’m scared of you!

  42. Stephanie says:

    Completely stunning, and you made it look so easy!

  43. Maria says:

    That is one sexy floor your got there lady.

    In the picture that says start laying? For one tiny second, I thought you were referring to chickens laying eggs. You were in the chicken laying eggs position in the photo too. I think, as we say in the south, my thinking is messed up!

    I like your floor a lot .

  44. Carey says:

    You are amazing! I know you must hear that all the time from the fella, but I thought I’d just let you hear it from me, too. I’m not sure who I’d rather intern with, you or Nichole Curtis (Rehab Addict). Either way, girl power rocks!

  45. ev says:

    Been wondering how the flooring project was going: now I see! Good for you Karen! wonderful. Love the look and the diagonal flow. You are a special women!

  46. KJ says:

    Looks great, but I’m confused about the waxing. Doesn’t wax build-up on the floor, turn yellow and then have to be stripped off? I thought that’s why everyone stopped using flooring materials that require waxing when they came out with polyurethanes, etc… I just assumed that vinyl tile would be no maintenance.

  47. nancy says:

    Dear Karen,
    This entire floor project has knocked it all out of the ball park!
    Beauty and Function meet!
    Warmly yours,
    Nancy

  48. gabrielle says:

    I agree totally with all the positives put forth for this tile! We have three large rooms that we have tiled in this way (kids room, mudroom and bath), and if you are not convinced, you should check out all the different colours available – really cool combos are possible!

    I have to add one other feature: we laid the kids floor and never got around to sealing it for 20 years. It was marked, scuffed up and grungy like you would not believe! But after repainting the room second time (now a conservatory), I got down and did some some scrubbing and soaking with “Bartenders Friend” (Home Hardware in Ontario), and it came out as beautiful as the day it was laid!

    As someone with a 19th century farmhouse, this serviceable, durable and friendly DIY product is a personal favourite!

    • Karen says:

      Gabrielle – I’m almost SURE I have a container of that somewhere. I bought it then don’t think I ever used it for some reason! ~ karen

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