21 February, 2008

Peel, Stick, Repeat: Vinyl Floor Tile Adventures

Crap. Crap.

The tile we picked up from Lowe's to re-do the sewing room floor at my mom's other house, the tile that we thought matched exactly the tile she already had in the rest of her downstairs rooms, doesn't match at all. Not at all.

Under the florescent glow of overhead lights at Lowe's, they looked the same. A perfect match. Even the Lowe's guy said so.

Mom already had three full boxes of Italia Stone tile left over from tiling her kitchen, hall, and downstairs bathroom, and we figured we would need only four more boxes of tile to complete the sewing room. Only the manufacturer, Cryntel, had fazed out the Italia Stone, replacing it instead with their new line of EuroStone tile. But the patterns looked the same. We would all swear to it. I just assumed Cryntel was remarketing their old product in pretty blue packaging with an obviously hipper name.

But back at my mom's house, under her lights, the tile didn't match at all. The new stuff is more bluish-greenish. Hmmm. Although it didn't match the old tile, it did nicely compliment the unplanned for mint-green wall.


But now what?

The top half of the photo shows the Cryntel Italia Stone tile in the hallway. Below the wood-like transition piece I still need to install because the floors are not level, I have the old and new tile laid out together. Can you tell the difference between the two?

Our choices were this: We could go back to Lowe's and pick up enough of the new EuroStone to complete the room, or we could return the new tile and search online and see if anyone was clearancing the Italia Stone. But after checking the Lowe's web site and elsewhere, it was clear we weren't getting any more Italia Stone tile without driving to 42 different places. Lowe's didn't even carry the product number anymore. The new EuroStone, no problem. Every Lowe's in the Chicagoland area was fully stocked with the new product.

"We could blend the old tile with the new," I suggested, still hoping to save a few bucks by using what we already had. "You know, scatter them in so it makes a patchwork." My mom the quilter just gave me The Look, indicating what a stupid idea that was. Ted shot it down pretty quick, too.

Stubbornly, to prove it did not look stupid, I arranged several of the old and new tiles out on the floor.

Crap. Crap.

The new tile has a beveled edge. Well why didn't they say that on the package--?


"Fine, new tile it is."

When I started to lay out the EuroStone vinyl tile, I was soooo careful, paranoid that just one set slightly off would ruin the whole floor. But by the second box, I was ripping off the backing paper, tossing it over my shoulder, and nearly flinging the tiles in place. The job is not as scary as it looks.

What is scary is this:

Does this really happen often enough, people sliding across the floor and injuring themselves, risking life and limb to tile a floor, that they actually need to put a danger label on the paper, telling you to throw it away?

At any rate, I got the job done without too much stress. Most instructions online advocated using an exacto blade to cut the tiles; those are all packed, so I used a cheap-o pair of scissors to cut them to size for the closet and along the edges. While the scissors didn't exactly cut through like butter, it was not a problem and I got the floor laid out in an afternoon. Or what would have been an afternoon if I didn't spread it out across three days. I can now happily check "lay vinyl floor tile" off my Bucket List.

Here is the final result, with our carefully staged furniture.

Why only two chairs? To make the room look larger, of course! Actually, I have no idea what happened to the fourth one; the third one broke when I sat down on it. Seriously. I'm no wee skinny thing, but all I did was sit on the damn thing. Definitely time to get to the gym.

Look how nicely the unplanned for mint-green paint matches the window blinds. The bowl on the table is one my grandmother brought back with her from Finland when she took her mother to visit with family in Helsinki. Great Grandma Marta (Aiti to those who loved her) emigrated to the United States, alone, when she was only seventeen.

The room looks fabulous now, doesn't it? Surely, someone will make an offer on my mom's house now. Everyone think positive thoughts!


Anonymous said...

The flooring turned out just great and I do like the way the green walls and window treatments match.

I like that you are doing some staging they say that's the only way to show a house these days.

With all of your lovely work, the house will surely sell.

Peace, Love and Joy,
Peggy in CA, SBS friend

Jennifer said...

Staging is important... I'm always SHOCKED to see houses that AREN"T staged!

I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the two... :)

Lady Quilter said...

Peggy - SBS friend - nice to see a familiar name, always ready to hear suggestions and comments.We need all the help we can get on this project! Now that the green wall, matching window treatment and floor looks so good I'm almost tempted to stay in this house now. Sewingroom hasn't looked this good in ages! :)

Joanne said...

The staging might be working--we had a woman come look at the house today who is coming back for a second look tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed!

MagiCatGlass=^..^= said...

Looks great! I just installed Italia Stone in my bathroom. Nice product.

Joanne said...

Thanks, Magicatglass=^..^=
For an inexpensive tile, I was pretty impressed with the quality. Now if only the house would sell...

glenda90621 said...

I'm about to use Cryntel 18"x18" groutable tiles in my kitchen, and was looking for info on cutting the tiles, and happened on your story. Your finished project looks terrific, and at about $10 per square yard, what the heck! And since I can't afford $400+ for a vinyl tile cutter, I'll give your cutting method a try (scissors and utility knife). Thanks for the inspiration! Gotta go--HGTV beckons.

Joanne said...

Thanks, Glenda90621. Would you believe we actually carpeted over my newly laid floor? We've been having trouble selling the house, and decided to rip out the 30-year-old carpet and lay down new stuff; as long as we were doing the rest of the house, we carpeted right over this. Oh well.

Good luck with your project!

Anonymous said...

Was actually looking up ItaliaStone vs EuroStone because I found both at a Lowes up here in Lewiston Maine (too late for you I guess), and read your blog. First of all, the work you did looks FANTASTIC. Second, that you for this blog (since I've never tiled before, or really done much of ANY home improvement), because hopefully I'll pay more attention to what I'm buying (never saw the bevel vs no-bevel). Again, looks great! Jenn

Joanne said...

Jenn, Thanks for visiting, and good luck with your tile project!

Anonymous said...

OMG I just bought a house last fall and now need to replace a few tiles, the Cryntel italia stone Italia Palazzo.  Went to Lowes, and sure enough it is discontinued.  I only need 6 tiles!!!  Any idea, anybody?  The Lowes website doesn't have it anymore, only a similar one which I believe would create the effect you were just talking about!!

Joanne said...

It's worth checking Craigslist.com; you might be able to find someone who has extra tiles.

Unknown said...

We have some Italia Palazzo tiles! We didn't purchase enough for my son's room and when we went back to purchase more they were gone. Looks like we will have to replace it. If you still need those 6 tiles, you are welcome to them! moenteam@cfl.rr.com

Anonymous said...

Lowes in Salem Oregon still has those tiles, I have a box in my lap right now. The store number is 1600 and the phone number is 503-589-4333 The item number on my box is 125734

Yldwolf said...

I just want to say thanks for the animated telling of your experience. I absolutely loved your post. I had to read it to my husband. We were both cracking up. We will be getting some Cryntel Eurostone tiles in a week or so and wanted to here about other peoples experience with it. A few had commented that after a few weeks the edges started popping up. Did your mom have any issues like that? I hope you always keep that beautiful spirited personality. Take care!

Karen Anne said...

I'm here late, following a link from a more recent posting. I actually prefer an unstaged house, then I can see the whole room, and know that there are no nasty surprises on the hidden floor area or walls, plus I can imagine what my own belongings will look like in there.

Joanne said...

I agree with you. I wish we had seen the garage, for instance, without all the junk in it. Then we might have been able to see the carpenter ant infestation and the badly, badly spalding brick at the back. Oh, and that the windows were falling out. :-) Oh, well.

Anonymous said...

A word to the wise - when you purchase tile - look for lot#/run# and make sure they match. If you are trying to match and existing floor - don't expect a perfect match. Run/lot #'s have variations.
This applies to many things -including wallpaper. In other words - always buy enough to complete your job and if you expect any future damage/changes - buy enough to cover.