Chronicles of the Design & Construction of Two Waterfront Hurricane Proof Dry Stack Modular Green Custom Homes
1. Villa Lagoon, Wilder Italian Style Home
2. Nasello Italian Style Home

Dec 2008 - Whole House of Cement Tile Floors

A BIG job !

This is page 2. You can find the first page here.

big room of encaustic cement tile

The weather has turned foggy and misty. The tile guys are cutting out on the porches as much as possible. They are working on the big main bedroom now and Adrian walks across the cardboard boxes that Dave has taped into place over our unsealed tile. It is not a great arrangement. Adrian is trying to be careful, but still we get drips and spots on our porous tile. We need to get it sealed ASAP.

It is really exciting to see these cement tile floors go in. We have waited a long time to see this. On the right is the floor of a small office space. It is really the right size for an ironing board and not much else ! But the room has a window and a Sun Dome tubular skylight, so it is a very cheerful spot. It is the perfect place for gift wrapping and such. The field tile is called Pescado "Caribbean" and the border tile is Shell Scroll "Azul". Around the outside edges is cut pieces of solid color tile in Light Turquoise. It was suppose to be a deep green around the edges between the border tile and the wall. I showed the boss, Roy the green tile to use and when I got back upstairs they were 1/3 done with the cut pieces of Light Turquoise Solid color tile. It looked ok, so that was that !

first cement tilein the office

laying a tile rug villa lagoon tile with fish and sea shells

Each place a tile floor meets another room's tile, you have to decide how to handle the part directly under the door, the threshold area. In this instance, I just got them to extend the light turquoise tile to a wider width where the little office joins the upstairs hall.

moroccan tile, cuban tile
hallway moroccan cement tile pattern

Somehow I didn't order nearly enough of this cement tile called "Italian Trellis" to run down the hall and join the Surf "Agua" tile that is in the living room. Tomorrow I am going to try to get a good count of what additional tile I will need to finish all the floors. I'll have to order it and it will be a while since it is hand made.

You can see the film of cement mortar on the tiles. They have not been cleaned yet. Also, in these photos, some of the tile is still wet. All the tile is soaked before it is laid with thinset.

The tile cutting wet saw has been moved downstairs and set up in the guestroom. Even tho they put some cardboard underneath and tapes some plastic to the wall, there is still a big mess. But when it is raining outside, working on the deck just is not an option.

tile cutting wet saw

Dave and I have worked really hard on cleaning and sealing the floors so the tile guys can come back to grout them. The cement tile is so porous that if we didn't seal them with a silicone based sealer first, the grout would stain the light colored areas in the tile and foot traffic and all can make a permanent stain. It has been a big job. Doing one room would not be bad, but when you have workmen all over a house, it is really stressful trying to get the floors all cleaned and sealed. Since no one here has ever had any experience with cement tile, the workmen just do not seem to be aware of how easily it could get stained before it is sealed. The tile pattern on the living room / kitchen floor is Surf "Agua".

I have warned some others who are installing cement tile in a big way to wait until all the workmen are out of the house if at all possible. Or invest in some covering that will totally protect the floor...maybe thin plywood everywhere or at least buy some of that temporary carpet protector plastic adhesive film. I wish I had thought of using that. It would have been well worth it.

In the old days it was recommended to oil your tile before they get grouted, but today the new modern sealers work better than oil on protecting from both water based and oil based stains later on. If we oiled the tile now with mineral oil, it would make applying the sealer later impossible.;

The kitchen and living room tile floor is now cleaned and sealed and ready for grout tomorrow morning. It will clean up and polish up a lot more once the grouting has been done.

cement tile living room floor

The main bedroom has cement tile Trapani "Midnight" with a border of Ribbon "Taupe" and a couple rows of solid black tile to the walls.

David stated the tile laying out in the center of the room to assure that the rug motif was properly centered. It was amazing to watch this floor come together.

beginning the cuban tile floor layout
how to lay cement tile from center out close up of the cement tile floor
black pattern cement tile in master bedroom laying the cement tile in the big bedroom
cement tile bedroom floor

We are now working like crazy to clean off the haze of mortar mix from laying the tile and using flat edge razors to scrape off dropped bits of mortar mix. Dave and I have spent all weekend cleaning and putting the sealer on the tile in this room.

Huge job, but this floor will be stunning.

All of these tiles and hundreds of other patterns and colorways are now available for others to order from Villa Lagoon Tile website.

old fashion shower pan of mortar

Roy worked late into the night to get the shower floor poured and ready for tile. I just do not have enough cement tile on hand to line the shower in it. I was thinking of using glass mosaics, but never knew the size until the last minute and never got the panels of mosaic tile made to install. Instead I went out on a dark cold night to Hood's in Foley, AL to buy some tile or something to use in the shower.

It was going to be a problem to get matching bull nose tile with out having to order it and wait.

I ended up finding some travertine that is a good color match for the floor tile. The ends and edges of the polished travertine can be buffed up to have a finished edge, so that eliminated the bull nose issue.

This upstairs bathroom is getting one of the pair of green sinks that I found in the bushes after Hurricane Ivan. I have had it in the mini-storage for several years.   Some people are squawking that the green is the wrong color, but I think not and am very headstrong about it. The sink cabinet got delivered when the kitchen units did. It still lacks its doors. Billy of Architextural Millwork and Cabinetry made it for me and did a great job. He used black lacquer on the outside.

custom made sink vanity cabinet
travertine shower pan

The next day, David and Adrian worked late into the night to lay the travertine in the shower.

polished travertine shower walls
Cement tile hall closet

The floor of the hot water heater closet got some of the leftovers from the hall half bath floor. It really didn't matter as no one will see them. I said it was OK to fill in the gaps with pieces of tile turned the wrong way. This is leftover Ribbon Border in "Caribbean" that we used in the upstairs hall half bath. It is designed as a border tile but can also be laid as a stripe. Upstairs in the bathroom, we laid it on the diagonal.

The foyer is suppose to get the three tile designs shown at right. I cannot afford to pay to have the tile laid on the first floor right now, except where plumbing had to go...ready for inspection. The foyer is a complicated shape so the Shell Scroll "Coral" border will have about 8 corners. The center tile is "Italian Trellis" cement tile and the solid tile that will go to the wall all around is "Goldenrod". It is good to use a solid to the wall around a complicated shape if you are doing the border thing because if you have small irregularities or the wall has little niches and such, the solids can fill in and give a clean look and not make the edges of the room look distracting.

See the first page for more cement tile floor photos.