Friday, January 28, 2011

The Floor Tile Saga

This is what I have learned so far about remodeling:  If you plan ahead, address every little detail, stay organized, and oversee things every step of the way, your remodel will be perfect practically perfect good enough.

Case in point:  the floor tile.

You may recall that I reluctantly abandoned my dream of a marble floor for the practicality, ease and, let's be honest, the price tag of porcelain.  I chose this beautiful 6 x 24 tile ...

which I blogged about here.  What I failed to elaborate on in that post was the trouble I went through to get the tile. 

The Italian-made tile was being discontinued, and my local tile store did not have the 6 x 24 size available.  I really thought the size and shape of the tile gave it character that couldn't be achieved with a good ol' 6 x 6.  So, the search began...

I hunted on the internet for days, and finally, I located the tile at a store in Alabama.  I called the salesperson, who was extremely friendly, and as luck would have it, had recently installed the same tile (different color) in his home.  After raving about how wonderful it was, he entered my order into the computer, and ... it was out of stock.

Now, I don't know what it is about being told that you can't have something, but for me it makes me want it even more.  I was on a mission, and if it meant I had to fly to Italy (eat some fabulous food, tour some ruins and buy some leather handbags), I was getting that tile. 

After a lot more research, I was able to locate the tile online and have it shipped.  It was quite nerve-racking ordering something heavy and fragile from a place with no return policy and a lot of fine print about how they're not responsible for anything.  I was so happy when it arrived unscathed and was gently unloaded in our garage. 

If you looked in my garage, you would believe that I am running a daycare center for at least 100 children.  The place is bursting at the seams with bikes, sports equipment and ride-on toys of every make and model.  The only space available for tile storage was directly in front of my car.  For months I have been gingerly parking my car, careful not to bump my precious tile.  I was so glad when the tiling process started, so I could stop worrying about crushing it in a head-on collision.

On Wednesday, the installers came and started laying out the brickwork pattern of the tile.  I don't think they had been working on it more than 30 minutes, when they told me there was a problem.  Apparently a lot of the tiles were warped and would not lay flat.  I felt a panic attack coming on.  My mind was racing.  "I've had the tile for months.  I can't return it.  I LOVE that tile.  Where the heck did I even order that tile?"  The tile wasn't the only warped thing.  I couldn't think straight.

The installers tore out tiles they had already put in and left for the day, so that I could think about what to do.  After some seething cursing deep breaths, I logged onto and sent out an S.O.S.  If you have never been to this website, you are missing out.  They have a home forum for every topic imaginable.  I went to the bathroom forum, posted a question about 6 x 24 tiles, and within a couple of hours, had several life-saving responses.

Here's the deal.  Large format tiles have special needs.  There are new guidelines to deal with their special needs.  If you want to know specifics, shoot me an e-mail.  Otherwise, in the interest of not boring you to death (if I haven't already), let's just say there was a good solution for working with them.  There will be some slight "lippage," but it's hardly noticeable.  Good enough!

The installers came back and installed the tile in the new pattern and voila...

(Excuse the dark pictures.  There is no electricity in the room, which makes lighting an issue.)

Should you be planning a remodel in the near future, my suggestions to you are:  don't give up on getting what you want; don't panic; and have resources available to troubleshoot problems that arise.

I am so proud of myself.  Not only did I get the tile I wanted, but I've now completed my first novel.  Thank you for reading it.  Hello?  Are you still there?


  1. Really enjoying the blog. Very entertaining. The tile looks great.

  2. What a big a soon to be beautiful bathroom! I am looking forward to seeing the progress. I am now your newest follower!

  3. ok, i LOVE the glad you didn't give up! Your blog is so funny and i'm so proud of you! xo

  4. Thanks for all your sweet comments. I am having a lot of fun with this blog, and I'm glad you're reading it :)

    Stacy, I'm honored that you became a follower. You were #20... I should have had a prize for you!

  5. well after all that effort (and deep breathing), it sure looks great! definitely worth not giving up! :)

  6. gosh, I really love those tiles, the shape too.

  7. Here from TDC and love that tile! I've never seen tile that size before. Good for you for not giving up. I'm like that too. If I get an idea of something in my head I'll search for MONTHS for it. Ugghhh! So frustrating sometimes, but other times SO worth it. I call it Design OCD :)
    You can find me at

  8. Oh, we can eat some chocolate together! I'm so glad everything worked out with your tile story and I know mine will as well.

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