Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Creative floor tiling

It's a bit of a story to this tile project as this section of the floor has been concrete for a few years. I've been a builder and blogger for some time now and we have a home on Cupid's Cay, Eleuthera, Bahamas that we work on every year. There are many more posts to read all dealing with your home on my blog, The Building Blox. Now you know the story about builders finishing their own homes right?

Well this year we decided we would tackle this floor when we returned but there were complications that worked out for the best. We went to the tile store that we had purchased from here in Eleuthera and they no longer carried the same tiles that we had used so it was decision time. We looked through the offerings and due to the increased cost we settled on a beige color tile and got 6 boxes, which worked out to 48 tiles that were each 18" x 18". Now how to make 48 tiles cover the area that we had? I thought about it for a day or so and did an experiment to see if it was going to work. It looked great!

Now once the decision was made I had to start the layout and plan on the concrete floor for how the tiles were to be spaced so that they looked like the design that I had made.

Once that was determined it was time spread out the thin set and lay the tile with the appropriate row spacing.  Now the reason that I did the large tile rows first was so that I would have the level in between to gauge the height of the pieces that I would be adding after.  This way I could determine if they were above or below the tile height and adjust them according.  Some of the thinner pieces needed a bit more thin set to bring them up to the tile height and some pieces had to be shaved on the tile saw because they were too thick.

The outer edge band is made by breaking up tile that we had. The tile store also gave us a box that had been broken to use, which was really nice of them.

As I started down the rows it was very much like making a puzzle.  Over the years we have collected pieces of glass, broken plates, bottle bottoms and a slew of random things on our beach walks and now was the time to use them.  We used everything we had but had run out so we had to make a trip to the north where we knew a beach that would have a new supply and Success! 

The stick you see in the above photo was used to make sure that the pieces were at the right height between the two tiles.

I also added in some blue that I cut out of bottles that I had been saving. The blue around the floor really catches your eye. Any guesses on what bottle they come from?

Luckily for me, throughout the project I had professional supervision. Here she's checking to make sure the thinset is the right consistency!

Broken tile, plates, found tile pieces, bottle bottoms and more all became part of the floor.

The finished floor.

So with a bit of creative thinking a floor that stands out from the rest and also uses a great many recycled pieces was made. The other thing that I didn't mention was that other than my labor this floor cost $200.00 to do. I can honestly say it was a great project and fun to do.

As to the degree of difficulty and if you should attempt something like this? I believe that a person with good DIY skills and/or someone that has done previous tile work could undertake a project like this. The key is of course having the knowledge of how to do it and just as importantly taking the time to plan it out and the patience to make the puzzle work.

Let me know what you think. Like it or not so much? Would you consider undertaking a project like this?

If you hadn't already guessed, the blue bottle pieces are from Bombay Blue Sapphire Gin that I cut with the tile saw.

A short post script.
When I first thought about doing this a good friend, Paul Anater, said it was very similar to what is done in Spain called Trencadis.

Trencadís (Catalan pronunciation: [tɾəŋkəˈðis]) is a type of mosaic used in Catalan modernism, created from broken tile shards. The technique is also called pique assiette. This mosaic is done using broken pieces of ceramic, like tiles and dinnerware

Although its a similar style, I adapted it to the materials I could find here on the island or more accurately, could find on our beach walks. Duel purpose walks- treasures and exercise!


Jeremy Parcels said...

Your floor came out great Todd! Fantastic use of available materials and it surely adds to the appeal of your house. Bravo!

Unknown said...

Thanks Jeremy. It was a fun project to do and came out really well. We have people stopping by just to see it. Word travels fast on an island.

Unknown said...

Love the look of the finished floor! It has a very mediteranian feel to it. I also wouldnt mind enjoying a couple bottle of Bombay in order to create that look!

Unknown said...

Thanks Brian, this was a challenging but also very interesting floor to do as it regular a plan and also a bit of patience. The blue of the Bombay really stands out and focuses your eye to certain spots as they are scattered around the floor. Cheers!