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.


99 Comments

  1. kate-v says:

    oh, it is bee-you-tee-full!! (but you had me worried for a while)

  2. Ritz says:

    mdr!
    And you’re funny, too!

  3. Mindy says:

    We put down VCT in our bathroom and kitchen and love it.
    Looks great! Congrats on crossing it off the to-do list. That always feels so good.

  4. Jen says:

    Am I the only one who giggled immaturely at #2 because I thought it said that it is “an easy lay” and then the rest of the sentence just got funnier.

    I may be just me…I have the sense of humor of a junior high boy.

  5. Sara says:

    Karen, you are amazing! You have solved my ongoing flooring dilemma. BTW, I bought some Bogs on your recommendation last fall and just love them. Kept doing all my research for me:)

    • Karen says:

      Great! My neighbours read the blog and are doing the VCT in their basement because of it too! Glad you like the Bogs too. 🙂 ~ k

  6. Barbie says:

    OH Karen ….as I said when you did the video of it…it looks FABULOUS! Good job! I hope you had a nice BIG hamburger!

  7. danni says:

    It does look great. Now. I too, was taken in by the good looks and comfort of this flooring. And maybe in your house, which seems sane-ish, you’ll be fine, but in MY house, within a year, I was having trouble with them. Specifically, the people who live in my house, to whom I am related by blood get water on the floor, and the substrate sort of lifts over time and they come loose. I mean they do it a lot, so maybe not a problem for normal people, but I’d never use it again and never, ever in a bath or kitchen. I have it in a mudroom in the same colors as you, and in the upstairs laundry in cream and a yummy green. And it lifts right up. Professionally installed etc., but I am going to have to address it and I will replace with slate or comething charmless like that.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Danni – You have VCT (vinyl composite tile)? Not regular, residential vinyl tile? You should have that looked at by the company who laid it. There shouldn’t be any problems at all with getting the floor wet. I mean, they use it in hospitals and schools because of its indestructible qualities. Who knows. Maybe they used the wrong glue or … or … I don’t know. Something. ~ karen!

  8. danni says:

    Yup, we have that tile. And I know! that was why we got it bc it looked like the school kind, but I am told that magic ingredient in the old school stuff is asbestos (!) and maybe I didn’t impart the amount of water I am talking about. Like, washing machine overflows kind of water. Around the dog’s water bowl kind of constant dribble of water. And I should have called them back, but given how horrible we are to our house, I felt kind of guilty. Knowing what I know now…. slate in the mud and marble in the laundry. Ah, maybe once we finish the new deck and pergola!

  9. Juliet says:

    Can this be laid down over existing lino or vinyl?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Juliet – Yes it can, but the surface needs to be completely flat. So no noticeable seams or indentations in the linoleum or vinyl. A vinyl floor that’s embossed for example wouldn’t work. But if it’s perfectly smooth and you pay attention to making sure the surface is completely clean and free of dust or bumps you should be good. Alternately, if you have the room and $ you can put a new layer of thin plywood overtop of the old vinyl and use that as your base for the VCT. ~ karen!

  10. jenny says:

    I’m clearly late to the party, but you are my Doing Stuff Hero!

  11. Staci says:

    LOVE this floor and planning on doing the same thing in the kitchen of the house we just bought. Every flooring store I go to I get the same thing: “Really, you want VCT tile?”. Yes, people!! Just sell me what I want already!! 🙂 Can you tell me what colors the Armstrong tiles are? Thanks!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Staci – The colours are classic black and classic white. My Home Depot seems to carry the classic white all the time, but I had to special order in the classic black. ~ karen!

  12. Wonderful job, they look great! It is impressive that you can heat them up and cut them with scissors unlike traditional tiles. I think when tiling with ceramic tiles the most important piece of equipment is the tile cutter, to make sure that they have a professional finish.

  13. Lori Kubin says:

    Karen,
    You are amazing The floor is so awesome. I just had 300 sq feet laid in my kitchen sunroom. There has been a lot of workers finishing the other renovations. The fiord is so dirty. Can you tell me what was you use and how you apply. I also have ab few scratches antsy suggestions. I live it but I am nitj liking the finish as if today. Can you help me?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lori – Have you waxed it? The floor comes with a pour on wax that’s clear. Before you first use the floor you’re supposed to apply 4-5 layers of wax. You pour the first layer and then buff it with a floor buffer. Then repeat 3-4 times. I don’t own a floor buffer so I used a hand held car wax buffer I own. ~ karen!

  14. Myrna says:

    Almost a year later, somewhere in SW Ontario, I’m looking for ways to work around taking out my clawfoot tub when I put down my VCT. Google finally offered up your site and I am glad I did. I’ve used the tiles in the kitchen, love it but was hesitating about getting started with my bathroom project. I knew in theory that jacking up the tub could be done so when I came across this, I just DID it. I’ve decided I’m not going to remove/loosen the taps unless I absolutely have to. I’ve got some tiles to practice with and am bound and determined to get things just right around the three openings, thanks to the magic of the heat gun. And thanks to your post I am back to my usual try anything once self 😉

    • Karen says:

      Excellent! When I posted about lifting the tub with a jack I was actually hoping it would help someone in the same situation one day. 🙂 ~ karen

  15. Lis says:

    Karen, I’m just in awe of your vision and hard work. Beautiful practical space! I’m clearly backtracking thru earlier posts. Question please: just purchased a prefab garden shed with an insulated plywood floor and I’d love to use part of it as a fair weather study/office ( in New England), and as storage / potting room. Do you think this floor would do fine for such uninsulated place? Or would it buckle in no time?
    Thanks!

  16. Kathy says:

    Hi Karen… we are considering putting colorful VCT tiles in the kitchen of a house we are buying for my daughter and son-in-law to rent and I’m wondering how you feel about the upkeep of the floor at this point. I’m worried that they won’t be as interested in the waxing and buffing routine and that if they don’t the floors will be covered with scuff marks from shoes, etc. I’m sure they will take pride in their place but whether or not they will want to spend hours of time waxing and buffing, I’m not so sure. Any thoughts you may have, now that you have lived with the floors for almost two years, would be greatly appreciated!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathy. I actually just rewaxed and buffed my floor. It isn’t that bad to do really especially since you only have to do it once a year. But you do have to do it or it won’t have any shine. The other thing you have to keep in mind is the floor can sometimes yellow if it gets too dirty before washing it because the dirt literally gets ground into the wax. Having said that I’d still say it’s a low maintenance floor that withstands a lot of crap! I don’t notice any scuffing in particular. Maybe if you were to really drag something across it but under normal conditions I don’t notice it. I still love it and find it way more comfortable to stand on than ceramic. I hope that helps. ~ karen!

  17. Erycka says:

    Hello, did you add a wax or seal to the top of the tile?

  18. Sarah says:

    ok, so I know this post is old, but I’m looking to put down new b/w vinyl tiles in my kitchen, just like this. But I want it to be pretty and shinny, like in your finished photos! How did you get yours to do that?? Did you seal the tiles, Wax? Whats the secret? I’m having trouble finding info online…

    • Toni Tosh says:

      Just put down vct, wondering what product(s) to use to seal/wax!? Definitely not enough residential info out there. (100 sq ft kitchen)

  19. Rita Kolycius says:

    Karen, I’ve just discovered your blog and IMMEDIATELY drove to Lowes to buy a few samples as I’m in the middle of a kitchen reno myself. Question: there are two shades of whitish tiles. did you choose the “greyer shade” with the bigger flecks or the warmer shade with very small flecks?

    I love ur style of writing too and your taste is divine! i think we would get along…..

    • Toni Tosh says:

      Just put down vct, wondering what product(s) to use to seal/wax!? Definitely not enough residential info out there. (100 sq ft kitchen)

  20. Karen says:

    Now that your kitchen floor is a few years old, I’m wondering how happy you are with it. I have always wanted a black and white floor in the kitchen, and I am totally remodelling right now. We need a thin floor, so the vinyl would work, but I want it to last and be easy care.

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