Help! Stuck with a white tile floor!

Suzi AKA DesertDanceMarch 11, 2013

We got an incredible deal on a short sale. Beautiful home! First owner builder built a custom home and kitchen, then lost it to Foreclosure. Evidently they wrecked it prior to foreclosure.

Second owner did their best to fix, lived there for 15 years, and lost it on a short sale.

It came to us, seriously neglected and in terrible outdated shape. The bill from our contractor is almost $100K, and that does not include appliances, irrigation, landscaping or anything but basics like paint, carpet, and he isn't even including the bathrooms!!

Due to the high price, I'm stuck with a white tile floor! It flows through many rooms, and no way to stop it. So the kitchen is here [IMG][/IMG] and here [IMG][/IMG]

I'd like cheap builder grade cabinets that look good and function. I need ideas for counter tops. This how desperate I am... I'm considering porcelain floor tiles for the counter tops! Tough, impervious to stains.........

This post was edited by desertdance on Mon, Mar 11, 13 at 19:35

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The cabinets need replacing? They look OK from here, BUT you surely have the closer view. You've considered staining or painting the ones that are there or maybe paint/stain the boxes and just get new doors?

I would suggest checking out IKEA cabinets or one of the RTA lines that people here have used and been happy with like Barker or Scherrs. For the countertop, how about a nice laminate or butcher block? Discussions of those come up every now and then, so it might be worthwhile to go back and search for them. The easiest fix for the backsplash, presuming you want to change it, is to cut around the edges and remove the drywall the tiles are attached to. Put in new drywall, prime, and paint.

If you (plural) are at all handy, you can save a bundle by doing some of the work yourselves. I hate it when previous owners trash a foreclosed house. I understand their frustration and anger, but still.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 8:32PM
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Before you go with the white floor tile, have you considered luxury vinyl or other less expensive options? Keeping an expanse of white tile floor clean might be difficult, and there are so many options in vinyl now!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 9:50PM
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Oh, the beautiful IKEA kitchens you can find here! Seeing my final cabinet bill makes me wish I had made more of an effort, but with the store about 3 hours away and my work schedule it just wasn't something I could do and still make all the other things work.

I am horrible at remembering screen names. But have you seen the beautiful walnut IKEA kitchen here? IKEA boxes, walnut edge banding and trim, walnut doors DIY finished with tung oil. I want to do that in my next kitchen. Seriously, it's stunning.

And then the white gentleman's farm IKEA kitchen with the DIY stained IKEA butcherblock, if I remember correctly. Gorgeous!

And everything in between! I might try some IKEA cabinets in the "office". Sorting through all the customization I could do at home (hacks) sounds like fun.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:32PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Thanks, but you don't understand. The white tile floor doesn't stop at the kitchen. It comes from the entry and flows through many rooms. I'm stuck with it.

The cabinets and countertops are a dilemma.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 11:47PM
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$100K sounds high for paint and carpet. Did you get more then one estimate?

The tile doesn't look white in the picture. It looks more beige to me.

There are some new formica options out their that look very close to marble and granite. Here's a link:

I'd paint the cabinets white or stain them black to save $. New cabinets (even stock) are a big expense and it sounds like you have a tight budget and could use the money elsewhere.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:06AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Flooring is one of those things that you need to prioritize in changing before you move in. It is just so nasty dirty and disgusting to try to jackhammer tile up later than you'll just end up living with it.

I echo that 100K for paint and carpet is grossly overpriced. There has to be something else in there like plumbing and electrical and some type of addition or something. If not, then it's time to learn some DIY skills and rent that jackhammer yourself. Heck, even if there's a ton of other stuff in that 100K, it will still help it go further if you can DIY some of the stuff, especially the demo. That tile can be replaced then. You could even DIY that as well. It's well within the average person's ability to do with some practice. And you've got enough square footage to get that practice!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:15AM
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I do understand about the tile, but it sounds like you don't like the idea and I thought I'd suggest something instead. I put in 1500 sq ft of vinyl "wood" plank for less than $1000 and 4 days of labor. So if you really do hate the tile there are inexpensive options.

Carpet and paint should not cost $100k! I live in a very very high labor expense area (SF bay area) and it wouldn't cost that much here. Is that all the price includes?

The cabinets in the pictures look fine perhaps refinish them and put the extra money saved towards countertops?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:40AM
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desertdance, we have tan (palomino) tiles in our kitchen and entryway, which I love, but of course when we were able to tile the rest of the house it wasn't available anymore, and ended up going with an "almond" colored tile, which I wasn't too wild about. What I've done is use traditional rugs to give some color/texture, and that really does help. I've got it in living room, bedrooms and one bath. We're getting ready to remodel second bath and (thankfully) are getting low on the white.

I also invested in a steam mop, and that helps, too.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:20AM
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We just replaced the carpet in our rental and it was about $2K, if I remember correctly. And it was not the cheapest carpet but was quite decent, actually.

Something is wrong with the $100K estimate. A friend of mine just had her house re-painted and paid $100 for a room. A lot of painters do work "on the side" and charge $15-$30 an hour. You may look into it.

I was shopping for tile the other day and saw gorgeous laminate and vinyl floors that looked very much like wood, slate, and almost anything else you might want.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:43AM
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I'm assuming desertdance didn't mean they were paying $100,000 just for paint and carpet. She was describing a house that was first neglected on the upkeep end and then trashed when the PO got foreclosed. I've seen houses like that that need lots of work, things like closets and built-ins that have been partially destroyed, holes in the walls, missing/damaged plumbing and wiring, even heating/cooling systems ripped out. Add that to roofs that couldn't be replaced when they were needed and outside walls that needed attention, but didn't get it. It adds up fast. A country property next door to my in-laws needed to gut the entire kitchen back to the studs because the previous tenets had been cooking drugs in the kitchen and, along with other damage, had started a little fire that went through an exterior wall to the water heater. This kitchen looks pretty good in the photo, but I can easily imagine $100,000 worth of necessary work to the entire structure.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:11AM
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DIY as much as you can. Painting is totally DIY. Remember you are paying someone for their time. The less timethe contractor spends at your house the lower cost.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

The $100K definitely is for more than paint and flooring. The entire HVAC unit needs to be replaced and sofits built. The electrical is not up to code. There were fires in the chimney, and the fireplaces (3) are not up to code. The front doors are rotting, and the stair case rail (beautiful detail) needs to be refinished. 1.4 acres of irrigation is leaking and needs to be fixed so all the fruit trees don't die. There are decks off every bedroom, and they all need to be fixed. Huge pool and view decks are rotting and need to be replaced.

The inside of the kitchen cabinets show signs of rats and they are sticky, and I can't live with them. They are going!

The white floor tile does have hints of beige. The carpet is filthy, white, and really nasty, so that definitely is being replaced. My dilemma is the cabinets.

What you don't see in the cabinets is the water damage from kitchen steam and years of use. The style is dated. They are to be replaced, but I don't know what color.

A shaker style will fit the environment. I fear a dark cherry will show steam damage also, and I'd love a beat up graying knotty pine...too expensive!! Granite, even the pre-fab kind is too expensive. Has anyone tried porcelain floor tiles in a kitchen?

Here is another photo

As far as DIY, we are retired and the energy and strength are not what they once were. The cut-out for the double ovens is too small for ours, so many changes will happen in the kitchen.

Thanks for all your ideas!

Here is a link that might be useful: another kitchen view

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:27AM
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OK, that's officially gross. Try IKEA first, many have been really pleased on both quality and price. It doesn't hurt, though, to get estimates from local places and even local cabinet makers. You have plenty of space, so frameless cabinets like IKEA aren't a necessity. While you're doing all the structural work, see if you can get a vent installed to the outside to help with the steam issue. That would be a big help.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:44AM
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I can see doing a plain white Ikea slab cabinet here and plain white laminate or butcher block counters from Ikea as well. It will fit the budget, is easily DIYed, and can be easily upgraded at a later time. You can order custom doors later, do granite later, and all of the upgrades you want. But the guts will all be in place. Ikea is well regarded and budget friendly.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:49AM
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OK it looks much cleaner and nicer in the pictures than it must in real life, but you are the one who has seen it in person! We had to replace the furnace in our townhouse it was the original 1980 furnace and pretty scary. Those "hidden" costs do add up and take away from your budget for cosmetic things!

The tile in your pics actually looks pretty good it is larger so not so much grout. I second the steam cleaner advice. Also you can get a big truck grout cleaner service to come and steam the grout and re-seal it which will make it easy to keep clean, and make it looks like new tile!

With all the tile, I'd be hesitant to go with tile for countertops as well 9plus I hate tile countertops just having eliminated them in my own kitchen - though they can certainly be done better than our old tile was). Butcher block and laminate can be inexpensive - and easily replaced in future if you want to upgrade!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:18PM
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I would suggest steam cleaning and also seeing if you can go over with a thin layer lighter colored grout. I don't mind the tile as much as the grout. The lighter grout may make it more uniform and nice. Try epoxy grout for ease of cleaning. Many people here have used laticrete spectralock epoxy grout. There are some DIY posts as well as videos on the web. That may be a small cost upgrade that makes the floor more appealing.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:40PM
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Since you're considering porcelain floor tiles for the counter, I would throw out a suggestion for granite tiles. That's what we have and before that we had marble floor tiles on the counter for almost 10 years. We got the granite for $5 a tile and used epoxy grout.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:51PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

I have granite tiles at this house, and they work fine, but they are sort of salt and pepper boring. The porcelain tiles have more interesting patterns, but I may use granite. Porcelain is more than half the cost of granite tiles.

Also, I'm stuck with the floor tile because of the budget, and sad that it's whitish. Love white kitchens, but no contrast between that and the floor. Cabinet color is my main problem.



    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:11PM
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What about preform laminate counters from Lowes or HD? They have some pretty nice ones. They even have the Formica 180FX in preform that wouldn't cost much at all. As for the cabinets, just go for a builder grade cabinet. They will be nice enough.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:41PM
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robo (z6a)

Great house!

Compared to my super-shiny, cracking 80s grey tile yours looks inoffensive and like a dream (although I know photos can be deceiving!). I think you could SO do a light cabinet if you wanted, just being sure to pick an off white that didn't clash with the tile (color consultant or sharp-eyed benjamin moore salesperson could probably help you there) and doing contrast with counters and fixtures.

Here are some photos of light kitchens with light tile:

Traditional Kitchen design by Boston Kitchen And Bath Venegas and Company

Traditional Kitchen design by Atlanta Interior Designer Christy Dillard Kratzer

Traditional Kitchen design by Minneapolis Architect Murphy & Co. Design

Traditional Kitchen design by San Diego Design-build Marrokal Design & Remodeling

Looks extra lovely with dark counters:

Traditional Kitchen design by Boston Architect Oak Hill Architects

This post was edited by robotropolis on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 14:04

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:44PM
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robo (z6a)

Also, and this is just a personal choice, I'd probably do laminate counters before tile. Less grout and easier to remove when I had the $$ to upgrade.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:49PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Thanks for the nice photos! White on white? I love a white kitchen, but there are no beams for dark accents in this one. A dark counter top might overwhelm.

I should have mentioned the theme of this house is Vineyard Rustic. We are on 1.4 acres of rocky hillside with city light and mountain views, and plenty of decks to enjoy the views. Vineyards will be planted, but there are two groves of pines, and they will stay. The rocks and the pines. Huge stone fireplace in master. 2 acres over, a neighbor has donkeys! Wow! They are LOUD!! Lol!

I can see knotty pine cabinets with a light counter top, but those knotty pine babies are not cheap! Sigh.

Love the photo ideas! Thanks!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:16PM
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Hello -

I would shop IKEA for sure, but I agree with others that pricing area manufacturers may work out surprisingly well. I can't speak for the quality of the Martha Stewart line of cabinetry, but it certainly looks like there are many styles to choose from and may be affordable as well. As far as working in your flooring goes, have you ever considered a different finish for the lowers and white or cream for uppers? That would work the floor in beautifully without fearing that dreaded "dingy" look when you put two different whites next to each other.

Another way to save on some cabinetry - replace some uppers (definitely not all - I'm not that neat for sure) with open shelving. Keep trims simple - no rope braid, fancy moldings, or ornate hoods. That can keep costs down. Chrome fixtures and hardware will also help. Don't do custom panels on appliances, and certainly if you need a microwave, work it into a cabinet as opposed to being forced into a fancy "drawer" style or built in.

Sorry - your counters...I went into a kitchen fog! Butcher block is affordable and attractive - I would much prefer that to builders' grade granite with crazy busy speckling. That would actually be my first choice it I had to stay within a budget, and it works with the style you describing.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:02PM
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If refinishing the current kitchen cabinets is indeed out, what about IKEA Lixtorp, currently 20% off (all IKEA kitchens are until sometime in April):


I wonder if you could have a concrete counter poured.

And below a link to white floors in kitchens. You could go with a white kitchen and wood butcher block counters.

Here is a link that might be useful: white floors

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Check out tinan's 500.00 kitchen makeover below.

Here is a link that might be useful: 500.00 kitchen makeover

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:46PM
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Yes if you're into saving the existing cabinets (get them steam sanitized?) they appear to be in good shape so if dirt is the only problem, steam them and paint them. Commercial steam cleaners can clean and sanitize just about anything. Cabinets are the biggest expense.

Concrete can be poured in place over the existing tile, my 55 sq foot countertop was $100 in materials - concrete mix, a few basic tools, wood for forms and the sealer included. Yours appears slightly bigger but could still come in very cheap. Removing all that tile is a a major demo, usually there is a 1-2" bed of concrete underneath!

I think you could make this pleasant and liveable for $1000-$2000. Later when budget allows you could gut and remodel if desired.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to try cleaning the insides of the cabs with a solution of bleach, vinegar water, or bioclean, 409 or other spray of choice, and see if I could remove the sticky residue and mousey "treasure." If they remained sticky, I would probably put contact paper down on the shelves until I could replace the cabinets.

Or, I might consider pulling the cabinets and doing something like Jenny from the block did in her kitchen. Perhaps it has the rustic style that you would like.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jenny from the blocks' white oak/rustic kitchen

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:27PM
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I thought I lived in a money pit!

Cut to the chase and clean those cabinets with TSP. It cuts grease like nothing else, and if they're as gross as you've described, you need it.

I've had to scrape grease off cabinets with a knife, and deal with the most disgusting elements in the world: nicotine and tar. I'd rather clean cat poop with my bare hands. But enough about me.

Save yourself time if you do try to keep them. Go stratight to the chemicals.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 11:20PM
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Or, if you don't want to clean them yourself, hire someone to clean them - much cheaper than buying new cabinets, for sure!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 12:53AM
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You can buy knotty pine cabinets for much less money in Mexico. I had mine made in Ensenada for about a tenth of what they cost here. They are rustic, though, and don't have 'soft-close' doors or nice pull-outs.

You can hire someone to clean the cabinet boxes and repair them and buy all new full overlay knotty pine or alder doors and drawers for a reasonable price. For the cabinet that must be modified, you may find it's cheaper to have a cabinet maker just rebuild that opening to fit your new appliances.

If your theme is vineyard, you may want to go with the Tuscan style that was so popular a few years ago, and use a travertine tile or a glazed tile backsplash and counter. It's a beautiful kitchen, so I'm sure that whatever you do will look fantastic.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 1:05AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Well, the choice has been made. Thanks to all for your great advice!

We will be using TSP on all the other cabinets for sure, but because these cabinets won't fit the new appliances, they will be used in the garage and my potting shed. They will be replaced with new. The new cabinets have been chosen.

We brought one of the whitish floor tiles to our contractor's showroom and chose a shaker style cabinet in a honey color from PCS. Disgusted with the prices of quartz and granite, we chose an amazing matte porcelain tile that looks and feels to me much like brown swede cowhide in a 13 x 20" offset with a Schlutered edge in brushed stainless and a diagonally placed 6" tile backsplash with a decorative band that includes oddly shaped tiles in a metallic swirl (picks up the stainless), a white (picks up the floor) tile, and a couple shades of the matte brown. The choices we made give us the rustic feel we wanted with a touch of bling!

My husband's comment was "It will look more high-end than granite!" He said this gleefully, knowing the cost was about a third of the other two! I'm happy because it's a hard baked surface and will not stain or absorb. The grout will match the tile, be narrow and also treated to not stain or absorb. The decorative band ties it all together!

I'll post photos once it's all in.

I'm finally happy to be stuck with that white tile floor in the kitchen!

Well, sort of....... Now I have to deal with it elsewhere in the house!!


    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 10:21AM
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