Stephanie worked with a contractor to remodel her kitchen and dining room floors in the fall of 2013.
What I Learned From My Home Floor Remodel
people found Stephanie's experience helpful.
In June of 2013, my husband and I bought our first home, and we were so excited at the possibilities. However, we quickly learned that with home ownership comes responsibility. If something breaks, there is no landlord to come fix it. In November of that year, our refrigerator broke, leaving about an inch of water in our kitchen. We were able to get the fridge fixed easily, but the damage was done. Our laminate tile began to bubble and blister. Within a few weeks, we had a huge, unsightly hole in our floor, and we had no choice but to replace the floor.
To make our floor more durable, we decided to install tile. It would be more expensive than our original laminate, but we decided it would be worth it because it would add value to the home and it would be less likely to need future repairs. However, we didn't realize that there were so many different types of tile. There are the obvious differences: color, shape, and size. Then, you have to choose what type of tile you want — granite, ceramic, porcelain, marble, or slate. The list seemed endless. You can see how this choice became pretty daunting.
We decided to go with "plank" tile, which is a faux hardwood. Actually, choosing this design ruled out several choices, which made looking for the perfect tile a whole lot easier. Plank tiles have a limited range of colors and sizes, and they only come in porcelain or ceramic. We went with a dark brown color called mahogany, which had a slight texture on top to give a more wood-like effect. We chose porcelain material because of the way it's made. The color goes deep into the tile, so chips are less noticeable. Ceramic just has color on top, so chips show the white material beneath it. Porcelain costs a bit more, but we chose to go with quality over cost.
Our contractor was so amazing. We were referred to him by a tile company, and we were not disappointed. He took his time, paid attention to the small details, and he was so nice to my family. Like most tile contractors, he charged by the square foot of installation. I liked this payment option better because I knew he wouldn't try to overcharge me by taking his time and charging by the hour.
The installation process itself can be hard on a family, especially when the area being tiled is the center of the home. While the tile is drying, you can't walk on it, and for us, that meant we had limited access to our kitchen and laundry room. Originally, the job was projected to take about one week, but it slowly extended to last more than three weeks. I had to take our laundry to the laundromat. The refrigerator had to be kept in the living room. We ate fast food a lot. It was pretty challenging.
One night, when the tile in the kitchen was dry, but the tile in the dining room was not, I became determined. I was going to make a home-cooked meal. To do this, I had to gather food from the living room and then walk out the front door, through the garage, and finally into the kitchen. At one point, I had some meat on the stove, and I realized that since the cooking utensils were normally kept on the counter, my tongs had been relocated to the living room. Needless to say, that dinner didn't turn out so great.
Knowing what I know now, I would have tried to be more prepared for the loss of so many home essentials. I know that our contractor tried to get the job done quickly, and the floor really did turn out amazing. But I shouldn't have been so naive as to think that the job would have only taken a week. It was more than 290 square feet, and there was a lot of work to be done. Baseboard had to be taken out and replaced, a subfloor had to go in, and the grout had to be finished. Seven days just wasn't enough.
For those looking to install new tile, I would say that a good contractor is the key to a good experience. Contractors know the best tile retailers, and they can help you pick the best tile for your space. I also recommend creating a good relationship with your contractor. Making them feel welcome and appreciated means they will want to do a good job.
And now, it's like we have a homeowner superpower: Refrigerator leaks are no match for our floor!