The Flooring Is In. [Wood Porcelain Tile]

And on the 104th day (yes, I did the math) the Lord said, “Let there be flooring.”

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And may I just thank Him for that?

Of course, I’ll go ahead and thank myself as well, because DAMNNNNNNN. That’s some fiiiiine looking floor!  I mean, once it’s grouted and cleaned up and finished, it’s gonna be fiiiine. This is just a little sneak peek.

If you are interested in using a porcelain wood tile product, I’ll go ahead and prematurely recommend, based on looks alone. Price ain’t too bad either. These are just in-stock Marazzi Montagna tiles from Home Depot in “Gunstock.”

We chose to do tile after our contractor pointed out (correctly) that after a flood ruined our wood floors, we were seriously delusional to consider wood again. I mean, God forbid we should have any water issues again, our insurance would *totally* drop us. However, I just don’t love a tile floor in the kitchen. We’ve always had wood. I have a hard time wrapping my head around tile.  Don’t get me wrong. Tile floors can be absolutely gorgeous. But for me? This whole entire house has wood floors. Some of them are even painted. Granted, they don’t match up very well, they are scratched and dulled as all get out, but still. They’re wood. I wanted the continuity. I wanted wood.

Then I saw this tile at Home Depot. I was all, “SAY WHAT NOW?” I purchased a sample piece and then promptly shoved it into the face of anyone who came through our front door, frantically asking, “WHAT DO YOU THINK?!?!!”  Luckily, I got the thumbs up from all queried.

So with my wood vs. tile dilemma solved, I began the obsessive compulsive google/Gardenweb internet forum/ Houzz research phase of the project. Obviously, I had nothing but time on my hands since this renovation didn’t want to begin, ever.  Anyway. One thing I didn’t realize I needed to know was that you want your tile to be laid like wood. I know. What? What does that even mean? Just lay it on the floor already! I’m tired of stepping on exposed nails and needing tetanus shots!!!  Ahem. Well, the point is, wood comes in random lengths. Tile does not. So you want your tile installers to lay the tile as if it does come in random lengths. Otherwise you get a very uniform (and artificial) look to your tile.  Kinda beside the point, right?

That being said, even though I discussed this with our tile installer, and he agreed, I found that three rows in, he was installing the tile in an “H” joint line– meaning the joints were lining up every other row. Apparently, this is not the proper way to install it if you want it to look like wood (thank goodness I had previously read that judgey and overly critical forum discussion in my obsessive late night porcelain wood tile research!). I just asked him if he could place it in a staggered pattern going forward- or in his words- “more crazy?”-  “yes, please”- and I think it looks great.  PS- I love how I use the term “H” joint like I have any clue what I’m talking about. Everything I know I learned on the internet.

Another thing I learned was that the smaller the grout line, the more your wood-look tile will look like, well, wood, and not wood-look tile.  If you look at old hardwood floors, you notice that the joint lines are darker than the flooring itself, so if you want to mimic this look with the tile as well, you should use a darker grout.  We (I am generously including Kase in these design decisions, but you can go ahead and read the “we” as “I”) asked for a 1/16″ grout line using the darkest brown grout we could find off the shelves. This was Mapei’s  “Chocolate” brown grout, which can be found at Lowes.  Similar dark grout can be found at Home Depot- but the “Sable” color was out of stock at our store and I’m impatient.  If you prefer a more contemporary look, go with a bigger grout line and lighter grout for added contrast.

The only issue we ran into was the transition between rooms.  Three different types of “wood” all meeting up- the wood tile, the old wood transition which was a honey oak plank, and the 100 year old 3 inch hardwoods in the family room. Wood floor party!  But no thanks.  I decided we’ll just bite the bullet and use a marble transition, rather than try to match up the old wood transition piece.  Since we’ll have the marble countertops, I figured what the heck. It will all tie in. Plus we have a pretty substantial door frame leading into the kitchen, and I think it will help to highlight the entryway. Well, that’s my story anyway. I’m sticking to it. And crossing my fingers. If you’ve got a better idea, lay it on me. Floor pun intended.

PS- If you edit this post about 30 times, the word “floor” starts to look really, really, weird. Seriously, read this 30 times. See what I mean?

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