This was the final project in our little bathroom makeover, and it was brutal. Not particularly difficult, but tedious. So very, very tedious.
We weren’t initially planning on putting down a new floor, since the existing one was in really great shape. But after we removed the wallpaper, repainted, and installed the vanity top, it just wouldn’t do.
Living on Kraft Dinner (that’s Kraft macaroni and cheese for all my American pals) for a month afforded us the luxury of splurging on the floor. And when I say “splurging”, what I really mean is spending $250 because we are poor af.
I chose Luxury Vinyl Tile because of its durability and the ease of installation (according to all the research I did, more on that house of lies later) and you can grout it, which I think instantly ups how “expensive” the floor looks. A lot of the cheaper options have the super heavy “faux stone” finish, which I am not personally a fan of because they are very ugly. I opted for these tiles which are a nice slate gray, and came in at $2.29 per square foot. Not the cheapest, but definitely not the priciest, either.
I have to say, I am on the herringbone bandwagon and loving every minute of it. There are a ton of examples on Pinterest for herringbone floor patterns, and this wicked tutorial was a really helpful guide on how to install peel and stick LVT with this pattern.
I measured the floor space and did the math on how much tile I would need. If you don’t know how to figure out the square footage of an area you should probably be focusing more on getting your 7th grade math instead of installing floor tiles, but I’m not here to judge. (I’M KIDDING! I suck at math just as much as you guys.) If you really don’t know, just multiply the length of the room by the width, and that is your answer. Add on a little extra to allow for cut waste, etc. The tiles I chose are 12″ x 24″, so I had to cut them into 6 tiles measuring 4″ x 12″ each in order to get the look I wanted. I just scored the top of the tile a few times with a utility knife and then snapped it down the line. (Make sure you use a square/straight edge.) No messing around with a wet saw is a big bonus.
Measure, score, snap; measure, score, snap. Hot DAMN this gets old real fast. After five tiles I wanted to stab myself in the eye with my knife. Dramatic? Maybe. I somehow found a way to soldier on, cutting a few tiles, and then laying them down to break up the monotony. I did a half row using my tetanus-laden square to start off. After I was sure I liked the placement/it was relatively straight, I peeled the backing off the tiles and stuck them on, pushing down really hard. After the first few, I just went from there, sometimes using tile spacers and sometimes not, peeling and sticking as I went. As you can see I stuck them directly on top of the old floor because it was in great condition. No new sub floor necessary.
Obviously cutting the tiles by hand like this is not going to yield perfectly even, equal tiles which means you’ll have to improvise for some areas and adjust accordingly (or you could just be a lot more careful and precise than I was. Your call.)
When I came to an edge, I used a template tile cut out of paper…
…lined it up and folded it where it would need to be cut…
…then put the paper tile stencil on top of the real tile and used a straight edge to cut it.
Clever as hell, is what that is, and way faster than using a measuring tape and messing with angles, because I don’t do numbers. I cannot take credit for this stroke of genius: it was all Matt.
Make sure you save all the bits that are cut off. You’ll need to use them to finish edges, and you don’t wanna waste an entire tile for a little baby piece like this.
Recommended: force your dog to keep you company by asking him over and over again if he wants a non-existent treat. (Or you could just teach him a basic command like ‘stay’. I prefer my way but whatever.)
This project took me two whole days of non-stop work, start to finish, with a few short breaks. It could absolutely be done quicker if you have someone to help. I had no help because Matt is a good for nothing layabout but he did install the new toilet so I shouldn’t complain. By day one, hour five I was feeling the burn. Hour ten and I was in pain. The next day I could barely move and my knees/back hurt so bad. SO BAD. If you are going to tackle a flooring project, get some knee pads, and a work table to cut your tiles. The hunching is what did me in the worst.
Grouting sucked. It was likely due to the fact that I was
Quasimodo so sore and tired, but it was an unpleasant, tedious task and messy and just stupid. I did little areas at a time and then wiped off the excess with a damp sponge. It doesn’t seem like it would be rocket science but I really didn’t get into a groove until the very last patch, and by that point I’d already lost the will to live.
100% you should get a sponge that is smaller than your tiles. The one I used was huge, and I would end up wiping the grout right out of the grout lines which…angered me. I had to touch up a few spots that were pretty thin, but by the grace of some higher power I finally finished and left it to dry for about four hours…
…and then went back in to scrub off the grout haze, a process that can only be described as hell on earth. I used Windex, as recommended by an LVT manufacturer’s website, and even still it did not come off easily. It was horrible. My hands and wrists and knees and ass were so sore, and trying to scrub that stuff off the tiles while being careful not to get into the actual lines was the worst. But I did it. I did it.
Was this project difficult? No, it was definitely beginner level — but it was hard work physically and you will question your life choices by the end of it. Also, keep in mind I chose to cut all the tiles into smaller tiles, which absolutely doubled the amount of work and made grouting way more time consuming.
The work and pain were well worth it in the end. For the cost and effort, this floor is the bomb.com. Does it look professional? No. Do I care? Also no. Check out the full bathroom reveal here.
Next up, our
den of sin master bedroom.