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

August 2009

Cement tile installation on first floor 

Back several months ago, December probably, I got the tile laid in the downstairs bathroom in strategic places like where the toilet goes and around the tub so the inspector would pass us. We were shorted on our floor tile order so couldn't finish it until we got more. Well now we have all the bathroom cement tile and want to go ahead and get the first floor tile laid. I am tired of living with boxes that cannot be unpacked and not knowing where anything is.

So I found out about Elmer, from Guatemala who is an excellent tile layer.

Dave and I laid out the tile in the foyer at least one tile wide in all directions. This was the only way we could really see how things were going to line up in this L-shaped room.

I got a good belly laugh when I realized that this room, because of the "L" shape would have 'inside" corners and I had not designed a specific inside corner and had a mold made. I am lucky that the regular 'outside' corner's sea shell lines up when turned 180 degrees like this and just sorta looks like an unusual sea shell :o)

Determine where you want the tile laying to begin. Make some pencil marks to establish the 'center" and also decide how the tiles will be oriented that go at the 'center' since the pattern interlocks in all directions. It may matter to you since you may want the tile to end at the border at a certain rotation.

I still have General Contractor Dan's big strong vacuum so we vacuumed the floor to be tiled really well.

Elmer marked the center lines to work off of and sprayed them lightly with clear spray paint so they wouldn't smudge or wear from foot traffic.

We used some extra coolers to soak the tiles prior to laying them.

More coolers are being used to let the tiles drain a bit before Elmer grabs them to set.

Elmer places the first tile at the crossroads of the "center" we established. Since this room is not rectangle, we had to figure out a starting point that we could call center.

Try to use a tile layer who will actually look at each tile. Some of them will have minor smears, or perhaps a small place where the wrong color was poured. A good tile layer will set those tile aside for ones that get cut or that go in inconspicuous places. In our case there were a few tile that Elmer put aside to use under the stairs where there is limited visibility.

Elmer setting tile without using a hammer to level them. He has used a 3/4" notched trowel and a thick mortar bed then places them by hand. He has done a wonderful job of making a very level surface in spite of the fact that the tile tend to vary in thickness. This is "Italian Trellis" cement tile from Villa Lagoon Tile. He is using a grout color called "Buckskin Beige" from "C-cure" line of 2 part grout.

The foyer floor is just great. With a lot of trial and error we were able to get the layout just right with the Shell Scroll border and a border of solid Goldenrod all around the complex shaped room.

The tiling downstairs continued with the Savona "Beach" pattern going into the guestroom. The plan was to have a border of Trellis Shell pattern and then use solid Light Turquoise in two rows along the edge of the wall. I had ordered tile in the numbers necessary for this layout.

Well, Elemer and I started in the center with the layout and we put tiles out dry in several directions to see how the design would fall at the edges, etc... I thought we were on the same page. I left the room after the first couple tiles were in place. When I came back Elmer was telling me that we did not have enough Savona "Beach" tile. he had decided on his own to shift the central tile over 2 rows. He said it looked better.

So I am then about 24 pattern tiles short. And I have about 24 solid Lt. Turquoise tiles extra !It will take about 6 weeks to get the additional tile I now need.

There are so many new colors. I have chip sets of all the colors in plastic cases now for designers and architects.

The new colors are so great, esp the greens that I have decided to change what I had planned to put on the upstairs hall. I took one of my border corner designs, the Trellis Shell and made a new color map with some of the awesome new colors. I will have to pull up a few of the Venetian "Taupe' tiles that are already there now and I will have a few unlaid ones to sell off at discount. I think I have enough left for a tiny foyer or tiny bathroom.

I have received photos of the new tile which will be sent to me in the next shipment. I plan to use then in groups of four with solid Honeydew Melon green tile around each grouping down the hall.

You know, originally all my "decoratorish" friends told me to do the tile in neutral colors. That is what they liked best on paper. But now, everyone likes the colors and the neutrals get ignored. I had planned to do the upstairs hall in one of these neutral color patterns as it was a good lead-in to the various rooms off the hall... nevermind that... we all want color. And I want some of those new colors. Plus the custom colored tile will make a good web example of what is do-able in custom colors.

So here is a factory shot of the new upstairs hall tile. They made it quickly. This tile will have rows of melon green all around it.