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cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Posted by johnmari (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 25, 07 at 4:18

I know, it's probably an oxymoron, and definitely a tall order. We're putting our house up for sale in a couple of months and the existing sheet-vinyl floor is in such bad shape that it has to be replaced - stains, hopelessly-ground-in dirt (the idiot who thought off-white was a good color for the floor of a kitchen with three outside doors and a muddy lot needs either heavy medication or an intimate discussion with a baseball bat), peeling-up seams (the kitchen is almost 13' wide x 16 long and the seam parallels the French doors) and tears that are stapled down where the repair glue stopped sticking... *sheepish grin* A flooring allowance is a last resort since left as-is it'll detract from the other features and skew toward "fixer-upper", which the house definitely isn't. There are nice 2-year-old honey ash hardwood floors in the adjoining room with a 6' wide doorway, slightly dated but solid oak cabinets, and soon new laminate counters (dark/light brown, black, gold, and cream granitey-looking stuff).

However, we're squeezing every penny until Lincoln screams because we're quite low on upfront cash (and things keep cropping up to eat yet more money), and we're admittedly useless in the DIY department - slow, unskilled, up to our *ahem* eyeballs in work to do, and short on time. There's about 300sf of flooring divided between the U-shaped kitchen and the attached utility room, which is an ugly maze of closets and niches; we can scrounge up about $1000. I was thinking about VCT because it's about $2.50/sf installed and _I_ think it's nifty looking, but the reaction from local people I've mentioned it to has been undiluted horror. Is there a nice-looking, low-priced vinyl tile that's either fast and moron-proof :-) or cheap to hire someone to do, that doesn't LOOK "cheap, quick and dirty"? We'll have to pull up the sheet vinyl, which I am dreading because it wasn't perimeter-glued, because if we put an underlayment over it we won't be able to open the doors! They scrape as it is. The Novalis planks at Lowes are fantastic but with the real wood right by it, not so good.


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

I would go with a 1.50/sf off white ceramic tile that has a little swirl to it to hide dirt. It's what we have now in our little cookie cutter home, and yes it's crazy to put white in kitchen. However, when it's clean, it looks fresh and the light tan variation going on does camoflauge well. You should be able to find this at HD or Lowes. Try a bargain floor store as well. Tell them situation and they'll give you a deal.

We just sold our home and the fixing up does eat up alot of money especially when you are not do it yourselfers, which we are NOT. Besides us being total goof balls with tools etc., we are very busy with work and kids too.

I feel your pain, but I think that a cheap ceramic will sell MUCH faster than a vinyl.

good luck,
bridget


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

The vinyl tiles, although they aren't everyone's first choice, can be one of the best solutions for your situation. I have installed several floors using these tiles, and it's a "do-it-yourself if you can use scissors" kind of project. There are slate looking products at both HD and Lowes that are magnificent at hiding any dirt. I think I used the HD Morrocan slate pattern.. (or something like that..) last time, and if you don't feel like it, you really don't have to clean it because it's the color of dirt anyway :-)The one I used also had a 25 year warranty, and that's a good selling feature for your house. I have this product in my own kitchen...(that's how I know about the dirt thing) and I am a real estate investor, and have had great success installing and and selling this product in my properties. You may want to try a flooring specialty store for more choices, but I have had some really nice results from the Home Depot stuff....and, it's about .99 per square foot. Most of these tiles at the Home Depot or Lowes are self stick..the more expensive designer tiles are not (usually) So here are my best tips to moron- proof your project. 1.)Buy a little extra for uhh..scissorical errors 2.)Start in the center of the room, and lay out a row of tile. When you get to the last tile on each end of the row, you might need to make an adjustment..what I mean is this: if on one side of your room you need to cut a very small piece of tile, you might want to adjust it so that the ending tile on each side of the row is even. I install the entire first row and then use it as my guide. 3.) *Most important and best tip* Self stick tiles are surprisingly self stick..that is very bad for installers who aren't fully confident in their sticking abilities. You accidentally mis-stick that puppy and he's there to stay..or, a pain to lift..not so bad if you do it once, but chances are you'll do it a lot. Most of the vinyl floors I see installed, it's pretty obvious that by the third or fourth mis-stick the installer said..."well, it will just have to stay that way...it will look more realistic with the bigger cracks anyway" not good, not true, and certainly not beneficial for the resale of your house :-) So, here's what you do: buy yourself a few nice paint brushes..try to get the ones that the bristles don't pull out too easily, and make sure you buy a few....don't bother trying to clean them, it's not worth the hassle..and the cheap paintbrushes will make this harder..so consider the destruction of three $17 paintbrushes a casualty of a successfully waged war against anti-do-it-yourself-dom. I buy a vinyl floor adhesive, I think last time I used an Armstrong product. Keep in mind..the Home Depot or Lowes associates will look at you like you're mad if you ask them to recommend an adhesive product for a self-stick floor tile..so you may want to locate this product on your own... to avoid being reported to the vinyl flooring police. I am quite sure this was in a white bucket with blue lettering and a lighter blue background..but that could have been the carpet stuff..or maybe it was carpet and vinyl in one...I can't remember. Anyway, pretty much any vinyl sheet/tile adhesive in a bucket (never a tube!) will do.
The tiles will come with a paper backing, and if you need to cut the tile, leave the paper on while you do that. Otherwise, peel the paper off, and put a very very thin coat of the adhesive on the back. The adhesive will tell you to use a trowel..don't!! It'll ooze up through the cracks and you don't want to have to clean it up (goo-gone will do it for small mishaps, but you don't want have to mop with it) The reason the instructions say to use a trowel is because you need more adhesive for non-self-stick floors, and that's what the adhesive is made for. The adhesive will do several things for you and the new home owners...it will allow you to position, slide, or reposition your tiles as you go...and your installation will be perfect..no cracks. Also, the floor will be stuck much better for longer. The self stickers do lose their stick sometimes, and this extra adhesive is double-duty fabulous for both installation and life of the floor. Tip #4: I install the center of the floor first...no cutting any tiles...just breeze through the center..peel, paint, position. The edges are the worst part, but you can use some paper to help make templates for really tricky spots..that way you cut the paper a few times but the vinyl only once. This helps to add additional "you can do it" reassurance to your project. Also...depending on your base moulding..the adhesive may allow you to slide the tile under the edges a bit...a welcome treat from time to time..less fancy cuts.
The vinyl doesn't look cheap...because it imparts a warmth to the floor..the tiles that are shiny white with fake green marble patterns..those are horrible, as are most of the high gloss peel and stickers...I think what really gives this product it's character is it's low shine and natural looking colors...and, it will really bring out your woodwork. Bring a few home to compare against the wood and your counter top..and it's hard to go wrong. You should get a great looking floor, for about $500..and a boost to your DIY ego. The ceramic is a great product as well, but costly for the install and very tough to do it yourself. Let me know if you need more info! breiah@prudentialmanor.com


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Underlayment + thinset + tile will raise the floor too high, just checked with a spare floor tile I had hanging around in the basement.


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correction..sorry

bhunter@prudentialmanor.com


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

I second the use of peel & stick tile. With that many corners and such, labor will be fairly expensive, so you can save the most by doing it yourself. The adhesive-on-adhesive trick is new to me. I'd be concerned about what the two adhesives might do when mixed (if anything), but if it's been tried successfully....

Pick a patterned tile, preferably not of the "patent leather" variety and just go slow. You could even hire this out if you needed to; it's not highly-technical work, it just requires someone who will sweat the details. Be careful in pulling up the old floor that it does not have asbestos fibers in it; if it does, the best solution is to leave it where it is and use a self-leveler to flatten things out.


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

I just noticed some 18"x18" adhesive floor tiles in Lowes that maid me stop and look back. They were beautiful and inexpensive.


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Can you level the current flooring with compound and do the stick&peel thing? It might be easier to cut the doors down a little rather than hassle with ripping up the old flooring and having to lay a new subfloor.


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

i saw a 68cent tile at HD today--very pretty--island something--i thought about you since it was such a good price.


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Hopefully this is not too off topic...
Once peel and stick vinyl is laid, what happens when you decide you want tile, or wood or something? How hard is it to remove this stuff?
I'm wondering if this is something to use for a year or two till you can afford something better, or is it more mess/hassle than it's worth?
Thanks!


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Rip up the old flooring and underlayment (if it was installed with one and install new underlayment and then the VCT tile or an inexpensive vinyl one.

You must keep VCT coated with an acrylic floor polish for a simple upkeep floor...but that is not a big deal. Start out with about 5 coats of polish initially and then renew the polish in the areas that get worn.

Since you're selling, you just have to make it functional and pretty...the new owners are going to tear it out anyway, so don't spend alot.

A professional could probably prepare your existing sheet vinyl and install cheap product over...risky, 'cause few 'new crop' installers have a clue how to do that.

Ceramic is not an option.


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

If you want it to look fancy beyond its price tag, could you add a border?

Can you cut stripes out of peel&stick tile, or wil the pieces be too small to stick well?

If so, perhaps do a "rug effect" rectangle of a slightly different color in the center of the room?

that would keep the price down, but make it look really nice. A lot of times (a lesson I learned from Martha Stewart Living magazine and my personal projects), it's the forethought and the small touches that make something look really fancy.


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

OK, we've settled on a "Cryntel" brand vinyl tile from Lowes, in something called "Italia Travertine" which doesn't look anything like travertine but is neutral variegated beige and reasonably attractive. Very similar to the HD Trafficmaster product (which didn't have any colors that worked well with the counters, else I'd have used it), much thicker and more rigid than most of the other vinyl tiles which were very thin and flexible. Some of them were downright floppy, like squares of regular sheet vinyl with adhesive on them! I did see those 18" ones at Lowes but they had a weird beveled edge that didn't look as nice and seemed like it would be less durable than the square edged ones.

breiaj, thank you VERY much for the extremely detailed instructions. We're worried about the time element (as in how much it will take) because we don't have a huge amount of it, but we're going to tackle it - well, in reality DH is tackling it, while I play "sergeant" and tell him what to do ;-) and take care of all the organizational stuff like making sure he has all the necessary supplies. (I have fibromyalgia, this kind of thing means mucho pain and I'm already in tough shape from overworking and overstressing.) I know exactly the floor adhesive you mean, I have seen it at HD. Having the tile a bit repositionable is a very very good thing!

The vinyl peeling commences this weekend. Our chances are extremely good that it does not contain asbestos, since it's less than 15 years old, so we are going to take the risk. The exterior doors cannot be trimmed. We're not ripping up the subfloor and putting down a new subfloor though; unlike non-craptastic-tract-house construction where there are 2 layers of plywood for the subfloor, ours has only one thicker one (we can see the edge of it at the basement stairs), so replacing the subfloor would be a MAJOR project! Many times I have wanted to do serious bodily harm to the builder for extreme corner-cutting.

roxyl, we're taking up the PO's super shiny fake PINK marble self-stick vinyl tile floor in one bathroom to put down nicer vinyl tile. We've been instructed that we need a wide, SHORT-handled wall-and-floor scraper, cheap work gloves (they will get all sticky and nasty), biggish old or throwaway pliers and a heat gun, which you can get at Home Depot or Lowes. Oh, and knee pads. Keeping the heat gun several inches away so you don't cause a fire, heat up a tile and pry/scrape it up with the floor scraper. Grab a corner with the pliers once you've got a couple inches up and peel it off. Drop it on some newspaper sticky side down. Go on to the next tile. Carefully warm any adhesive residue on the subfloor with the heat gun and scrape up as much as you can, and if you can't get it smooth use an adhesive remover.


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Just wanted to give you an update - here's a picture of the bath we did as a practice run today. DH prepped the floor yesterday and we laid the vinyl tile today. Took us 7 hours to do 45sf of floor, whew! That tip about the adhesive allowed us to maintain some semblance of sanity, because otherwise we would have screwed up a LOT of placements.

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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

The bath looks great! Nice flooring choice. And thanks for the removal tips.
Keep us posted!


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Johnmari--- Your bathroom really looks nice! I have this Cryntel Italia Travertine) tile picked out for our kitchen and I would love to know what you think several days after installation. I have Rolls Royce taste on a Pinto budget and we need to cover up white builders grade vinyl in our kitchen. I saw this tile in Lowe's and thought it really looked nice. However, I don't want it to look "cheesy" In our home the samples we have pick up the tan/gold colors already in place, but your pictures seem to be a bit more pink. Is that the case?


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

It's photographing pinkish but my 4yo camera tends to skew to the pink anyway. (I know I could adjust this with Photoshop but I'm too cheap to buy it and too lazy to go to all that futzing around for a snapshot anyway.) It's really a very neutral beige, and the blue wall paint (the gray-blue under the window is more accurate BTW, not the bright sky blue above the vanity) picks up some cool-toned streaks. We're putting this same tile in the kitchen and utility/powder room as well. I don't think it's a "high end" look but that wouldn't be appropriate for this house anyway (this is a "vinyl and formica" generic tract house), and it is attractive. I would bring home a box of the tiles and dry-lay them in your kitchen to get a better idea of how they'll look en masse - I would have done this if we were staying here and I had to live with it for more than a few months. One nice thing about it is that we didn't see any repeat in pattern, which was a big problem with the cheap tiles that were there before.


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Thank you for your response. We too are in a mid-higher end track home. We are in the process of up grading many of the builders' standard features. We have white formica, white sheet vinyl and carpet throughout. Within the next two years, we will change the coutertops, backsplash and flooring. I am thinking this might be a quick fix until then for maybe about $400.00. We are going to start in the laundry room and see what we get. I am just trying to decide to I live with the worn out white vinyl that (perpetually looks dirty) and save our pennies for an upgraded option.

Thanks again!


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Totally unsolicited advice, but unless $400 is chump change for you, I'd consider hanging onto your money and waiting until you do the counters and such, all in one fell swoop so you can coordinate everything. It seems a shame to go to all that work (and it is a nightmare amount of work to deal with that sheet vinyl if you can't just slap a layer of underlayment over it; we ended up renting an electric floor scraper) to potentially rip it all back up in two years because it doesn't match a countertop you fell in love with. Especially if you're considering going with an upgraded countertop like granite, I'm not sure the Cryntel tile would look quite up to snuff with real granite. Saving your pennies for real porcelain tile (which in itself can be had quite cheaply, it's the installation that costs) might be a better move with granite. I know you said you didn't want tile; if it's the coldness, check out the electric heating mats that go right into the thinset under the tile. Heavenly! I have them in my master bath. We're putting new laminate counters in as well (Wilsonart Milano Brown, which looks great with the plain builder-oak cabinets) and oil-rubbed bronze lighting, faucet and cabinet knobs I got cheap on eBay and clearance sales... I think it's going to be smashing when it's done. I needed a fairly light, warm-toned floor that wasn't white because the counters are quite dark. Aaaaanyway, blathering aside, JCPenney has washable area rugs you can put down to hide some of the icky usedta-be-white vinyl until you've saved up for your refurb. (Which is what we were doing, waiting and saving for a new kitchen, until the world went pear-shaped.)


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Thank you for all your advice! That is exactly what I am looking for. Tonight we started in the laundry room just to see what it was all about. It is a completely separate room so we can add a transition strip in the doorway and be done with it if we don't like it. So far we like it and it coordinates with everything else in the kitchen. However, you hit the nail on the head when you said that it may not look right with upgraded countertops. I'll keep ya'll posted about the progress! Thanks again


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

I'm curious. What about moisture from mopping? Does anyone have trouble with moisture getting under the tiles since it isn't one continuous sheet? I'm considering this product for my kitchen. We have the tiles in our entry, and we absolutely love them.
Any feedback from use in the kitchen?


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

We used Trafficmaster in the kitchen and bathroom. The bathroom tiles have a grout edge around them, the kitchen tiles don't. I love my new floors.

Adhesive was used in both rooms and allowed to set before the tiles were laid. The bathroom was laid over the subfloor and the kitchen was put down over the old floor tiles that my contractor screwed down with drywall screws, leveled in places, primed in places then adhesive put down.
The flooring tiles I had on both floors was 38 years old. Some splitting of the tiles in the kitchen and a couple lifted up where the dogs water bowl had been for years and only the only thing wrong with the bathroom floor was the pattern was worn.

I have 3 animals with dark hair, you can't see anything on these floors. LOL I am amazed at what I sweep up. I can't believe my friend who was doing this for me initially wanted to install cheap white flimsy vinyl tiles from a local flooring store that would have shown all the dirt and would have been destroyed by my dog's nails. They were the type of tiles you would find in a dollar store. I had 4 sleepless nights worrying about that white vinyl then he noticed how reluctant I was and purchased these tiles instead. 100 percent relief!

I'll link to the bathroom floor first.

Johnmari, your floor looks great.

Anne

Here is a link that might be useful: Bathroom Trafficmaster Floor


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Small corner of the kitchen floor. My kitchen remodel is almost complete excpet for touch ups but so far I haven't taken a picture of the whole room and floor. I am waiting until everything is done.

I really love this floor in the kitchen and it doens't show any dirt or animal hair until I sweep it. LOL

Anne

Here is a link that might be useful: Trafficmaster in Kitchen


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Oh my gosh, I'm so glad I found this thread! johnmari & cherryfizz, your floors look great! I have a few questions -- I hope I'm not hijacking too badly.

I've had 2 samples of the Cryntel tile on my floor for a few weeks. I'd like to put it in my utility room and my pantry over existing sheet vinyl. Both areas are one piece with no seams and no damage. Just ugly. I'm hoping to use the Cryntel over the old sheet vinyl -- and I'll definitely use breiaj's instructions for the extra adhesive. My question is how to prep. I've read several threads on this forum about vinyl tile over existing tile. If any of you did this, how did you prep?

The guy at lowe's said to just wash the old floor real well then peel & stick new. One thread here said to (1) put on 1-2 coats of encapsulator eg Ardex SD-F and (2) primer with a latex primer. Another thread just said to prime but didn't specify a kind of primer. We're diying this, so I'd love some advice -- and it can't be too detailed for me!!! Thanks so much in advance


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Something bad happened that actually was a very, very good thing... After following breiaj's instructions to the letter, two of the floor tiles in the bathroom popped up a couple of days later and wouldn't stay stuck. When I pulled them up the rest of the way, I found a leak! If it hadn't been for those tiles unsticking, we wouldn't have found that leak until it did a LOT more damage - like made a big ole mess of the kitchen ceiling. So here's one way in which vinyl tile might actually be BETTER than sheet!

A few notes WRT breiaj's instructions... I admit to dropping back to $3.99 paintbrushes because they became unworkable so quickly - the glue would start to dry up in the bristles while we were working and it would become more like a paddle than a brush! We didn't have any problems with bristle loss. 2" flat-ended paintbrushes were just the right size, a wider brush seemed like it would save time but was really more awkward to work with, especially with cut pieces. Don't bother wearing rubber gloves in hopes of keeping your hands clean, they stick to the tile's adhesive and to the adhesive you're spreading on and just generally irritate the crap out of you. :-) The adhesive - Armstrong's anyway - is kind of hard on your hands though, and contrary to the label does not wash off with soap and water! We ended up using a "painter's wipes" product we had on hand to clean up our hands about every hour because we would get too sticky to work effectively, and our fingertips were pretty raw and sore afterward. Even though it costs a bit more it's a lot easier to work with the smaller containers of adhesive using this brush-on method, because the bucket gunks up something awful.

If you're laying more than about 100 square feet, seriously consider coughing up for the vinyl tile cutter (homedepot.com has one for about $50, or you can rent a superduper heavy-duty one for about the same for a weekend)... scoring and snapping with a utility knife sucks after a while, it's slow and hard on your hands. Make sure you have a comfortable utility knife no matter what though, and a LOT of blades. Stanley makes a really nice knife in their FatMax line, with a rubber-cushioned handle. A jamb or undercut saw ($15) makes dealing with those door jambs SO much easier than trying to cut the tile around them! We removed the baseboards; we were going to replace them with vinyl cove but the damn stuff just would not cooperate so we patched the baseboards with wood filler galore and put them back, and it looked SO much neater than butting the tiles up to the baseboards.

deeje, I've checked around with several manufacturers of vinyl tile and the biggest deal WRT moisture is not to slop around too much water when you mop - contrary to popular belief, you don't need a gallon bucket full of near-boiling water and some vile chemical to get a floor clean! Try a well-squeezed-out sponge or terrycloth/microfiber mop instead of a sopping string or rag mop instead. Those microfiber cleaning cloths fit on Swiffer handles really well, if like me you are too cheap to buy the Swiffer cloths. :-)

ctaylors6, the instructions in the Cryntel box agree with the Lowes guy - wash well-secured vinyl very well, rinse well, allow to dry thoroughly. I'd use something like TSP that would destroy any gloss on the existing floor. Our vinyl was trashed so we couldn't leave it, so I can't speak to the adhesive method on top of vinyl.

We still haven't gotten the kitchen floor laid down yet. We had to tear out some of the subfloor and replace it, and then do a lot of leveling and sanding on the rest, got diverted with a day of electrical work, and to top it all off DH has been sick as a dog. :-( Cross your fingers for this weekend!


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Kitchen is finished. Two hard days of work by two people to get the 12x16 kitchen tiled. Took us a total of four days - one day to get the old vinyl scraped up with an electric floor scraper, one day of filling and sanding and patching, two days of tiling. Pretty much one day to lay the field and one to do the perimeter. There are imperfections in the setting, where some tiles drifted off by a half millimieter (even with that nifty adhesive method, which gives a little bit more fiddling time but after about 90 seconds that sucker is STUCK) but you have to look for them.

The Roberts Quick-Cut vinyl tile cutter broke before the end of the first day. I'll be contacting the place where I bought it for a replacement or refund.

Here are a couple of pictures. Please ignore the mess on the counters (and the pop-tarts LOL)!
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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

That kitchen is shaping up nicely, Mari!


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

Has anyone installed Cryntel Italia Travertine with grout? The Lowes grouted display looked exactly like stone. If you used grout, what surface did you install over, how long has it been down and how well is it holding up?

Thanks,
Pat


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RE: cheap kitchen floor that doesn't _look_ cheap?

I think all this is so interesting and I've been looking for information on Cryntel!! There's not much out there. We're considering putting down peel and stick vinyl wood planks. They look really nice. I've heard great things about the same thing in the Novalis brand, but not much about Cryntel. Does anybody know anything about this product and how well it adheres, holds up,...etc. We found it at Lowes. Thanks for any information.


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