new herringbone kitchen floor - how to transition

elphaba_gwAugust 7, 2013

Kitchen floor in progress. What color for the grout? Dark? or Light? is the question. (I've posted this in flooring forum too. Hope that's okay?)

Below is a pic of the floor at the new 10 ft opening between kitchen and dining room (and liv room beyond). It was a loading wall that has recently been removed.
Kitchen herringbone floor (to be) is Exotica porcelain wood plank -Oak- (not rectified) from Floor and Decor.

Not yet grouted. I'm struggling with whether to have grouted with dark brown in order to transition better between herringbone and the linear hardwood oak floor in adjacent dining room. Colors don't match precisely. That's okay. We will be staining floors (probably) in a year or two. Maybe a darker grout would add a little "striation effect" to the herringbone that would blend better with adjacent hardwood? Or should I go light with the herringbone since my kitchen lower cabinets or medium gray and light kitchen floor would work a little better than darker kitchen floor with the gray. Probably "6 of one and half dozen of the other" or "hair splitting" but feel free to voice opinions.

Our house is 75+ years old and has lots of places that show remodeling decisions based more on function than form so I'm trying not to get too hung up about this but your opinions are welcome, especially strong ones. And no, I'm not trying to fool people into thinking my kitchen floor is wood. I like the practicality of tile and natural style of wood - as simple as that.

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My preference would be to have the grout lines disappear as much as possible.

Please post pics when done - it looks great so far! Herringbone adds a cool touch to kitchens that i've seen in pics. They seem Euro-chic

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 7:44AM
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I agree with "MareLuce", try to make the grout lines disappear.
It looks great.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 8:26AM
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Holly- Kay

I like it! I agree to try to make the grout lines disappear.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 9:16AM
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I personally wouldn't do the dark brown grout. Grout lines tend to darken over time soon enough. The dark line you see on the wood is simply dirt in the seams. If you sand and refinish your wood floors, those dark lines will no longer be there.

I would consider a grout color that matches the darker of the tile colors so the grout doesn't stand out. My opinion. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 9:23AM
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Add me too. I love that you matched the color. Amazing. Show us pix when you are done, please!
Also, if you go light, it won't stay light in all places. Heavy traffic will get dirtier looking. Even if you are great at scrubbing grout lines, I don't think it would be practical in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 9:25AM
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I would try to match the tile floor. I have both light and dark grout in my house and I prefer the dark. It looks better because dirt does not show.

Just want to mention that caulk goes in the seam between the wood and the tile. Grout will crack as the wood expands and contracts.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 9:48AM
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Thanks so much for input from everyone. We are going with the lighter of the two grout colors I was thinking about thanks to y'all and also to my own gut feeling. So nice to have confirmation.

FYI - This grout is called Fusion Pro which is something kind of new and which has a reputation for being easier to keep clean. It is supposed to have all the advantages of Epoxy but much easier to install than Epoxy grout. (And doesn't yellow like white Epoxy if you are going with white or something very light which we aren't here in our kitchen though we have gone with Fusion Pro white grout in our recent remodel of our master bath - crossing fingers.)

I will post when the grout dries. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 10:01AM
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Just a note to say, I loved this statement of yours:

"Our house is 75+ years old and has lots of places that show remodeling decisions based more on function than form so I'm trying not to get too hung up about this but your opinions are welcome, especially strong ones."

Our house is only about 50 years old, but we're struggling with this same issue, dealing with past remodeling decisions and worrying about how badly they impact the house, or how critical it is to change them. Your common sense attitude is a breath of fresh air, to me. I guess I needed to hear that, so thanks!

Love your choice of the tile, and looking forward to seeing more photos when finished!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 10:23AM
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I look forward to hearing how you like the Fusion Pro grout. I am planning to use it on my backsplash. Are you doing it yourself? Also love the herringbone pattern on your floor- one of my favorite tile patterns.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 11:48AM
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" those dark lines [may] no longer be there" It depends on the age of your floor. The older a wood floor is, the drier its become and the more the seams open from shrinkage and the less the darkness sands out.

I would go a bit lighter than the tile. The herringbone pattern is special (looks great!) and I would want to it to stand out more. So, like maybe oyster gray or linen or light smoke.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 4:38PM
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Hi Elphaba :) Did you have the great crew that did your bathroom, do your kitchen? Love the floor and it looks great with the real wood too.

I have heard people say to use a grout color like the darker lines in the tile. As I look at your real wood floor it has darker lines that separate the planks.

Do a sample board of both grout choices on a couple of tiles fixed to a scrap of drywall, then you'll know.

Here are my sample boards from several projects:

This post was edited by enduring on Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 19:25

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Enduring - I love the idea of sample boards for grout!

Thanks for the suggestion!

I love herringbone patterns too...I will have it at my foyer area!

Good luck with your project!


    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 8:15PM
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I like the idea of trying out the different grouts. It would be a shame to 'disappear' the neat herringbone pattern with the same grout color, to my mind. I'd probably try some lighter ones.

Say enduring... if you check back in can you let me know what that subway tile is that you show in your 'compare grout' photo? Not trying to hijack, but it's so lovely I'd like to know what it is.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Yes, sample boards are a good thing. Problem with this grout is that it is $60 bucks a "pail" of grout. And not all the grout colors are local so you have to order it in some cases and it has taken a week for the grout to be delivered in a case where we ordered.
Luckily, there is a closet adjacent to the kitchen that we have had the same tile put in (but not in herringbone) so we used that for our "sample boards". I made the decision to use the "earth" color but this was after buying two pales of the dark brown (can't remember if it was coffee or sable) and trying that. Final product looks VERY nice but after all is said and done, I think I need to do a SAMPLE KITCHEN with SAMPLE Cabinets and SAMPLE ISLAND installed, LOL before I can really be sure which direction to go in. Not gonna happen, of course.

The darker grout might have been stunning but since I am not an experienced designer, I continue to use my rule that says when in doubt, go with the simplest solution and that was to keep the grout somewhat light and closer to the color of the tile than the dark brown would have been. The opinions in this thread that "invisible" grout was the best thing helped a lot. "No guts, no glory" I guess. The sample of the darker color looked good but I had visions of it increasing the "visual clutter" of the room and since my lower cabinets have visible striations which already will increase visual clutter, didn't want to add too much more with the floor. Even the herringbone is a bit risky but it looks so great, I think sometimes "visual clutter" is a good thing.
enduring -- that herringbone marble backsplash really does have a "wow factor". Hoping my floor will have some of that. Crossing fingers.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 11:04PM
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Elphaba, your floor will be stunning with your cabinets. You know my bathroom herringbone is quite noticable, and my walls have some stacked and running bond going on, then a rather large crown rail on top of everything. There are times when I wonder if I have too much going on. Other times I look around and find it visually interesting. Especially in the AM when the east sun comes in and makes sun patterns on the wall and furniture.

Deedles, the little 2x4" subway tiles are a marble mosaic from "The Tile Shop". We have a local one in central Iowa. The marble comes in a variety of colors. The top picture is of Landsdale Carrara Amalfi. The bottom set is called Hampton. Both came in a running bond pattern. So for the top installation I took them apart (on a whim) in 2011 and put them up for my kitchen backsplash, even when others told me "too difficult" (neighbor). Then this winter I did my bathroom with a listello of the Hampton. I was using the running bond, but I still took it apart so the tiles could be a little more exact in spacing and sizing. I noticed that a few tiles were not quite square, or a bit smaller. I could cull them out.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 9:18AM
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elphaba: make sure to post pics, whichever way you go with the floor!

enduring: I've ordered a sample of that tile... it's so pretty. Maybe it will work in my kitchen...

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 10:10AM
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You can fake your choices with paint. Take your color chart and get matches in tiny sizes.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 10:09PM
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thanks bmorepanic - I find it hilarious that I have never thought of that! Too late for the floor, I will paste a picture sometime soon (just the floor in an empty room -kitchen won't be done for at least a couple months - maybe longer ). But I will definitely use this idea at some point because we still have several rooms to go. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 10:22PM
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