January 26, 2005

Ceramic Tile Projects

When I wrote about how I used Adobe Illustrator to layout the laminate flooring in the kitchen here at Rancho Indebto (back in September), I didn't think that I'd be revisiting the topic again soon. Well, that was before I got the bug to install a ceramic tile floor in our center bath. Next thing I knew, I was back in front of the computer, drawing up a bathroom floor plan and positioning tiles.

It's a whole lot easier leaning back in my desk chair, clicking and dragging, than it is being on hands and knees, lemmetellya ...

This time out, I built the project in CorelDRAW on my PC, rather than in Adobe Illustrator on my Mac ... for no particular reason, other than I happened to sit down at the PC. After taking measurements, I fired up Draw and started fiddling around with ideas. I quickly came to the conclusion that a 6-inch by 6-inch tile would be the optimum size for the room. And I decided that a running bond pattern would get the nod.

The next day, I went out looking for tile. And then I looked some more. After exhausting a number of possibilities, I lucked out with a local tile shop that had a big stack of leftover 6x6 porcelain terra cotta tiles.

I was a more than a bit wary of taking on a ceramic tile floor project, as I'd never done one before. But I was emboldened by my success with the kitchen laminate floor. And, to no surprise, my budget was severely constrained ... so take on the job, I did ... and I even lived to tell you about it.

While the prep work in Corel was a breeze, the physical prep work was a bear. I had to rip out the underlayment and replace it with waterproof concrete backer board. The concrete board had to be glued and screwed to the plywood sub floor. Once that was done, the tile work went pretty quickly. It took days for me to prep and only hours to tile.

A few days later, I grouted the tile. It took another couple of weeks to finish up the job, however, as I had to wait for some decorative tile for the baseboard moldings to arrive.

As I was waiting for the decos to show up, I got the bug again ... before I knew what hit me, I had ripped out the carpet in our front entryway. If the bathroom wasn't that tough, I just had to do the front hall.

And again, I found myself in CorelDRAW, trying out different layouts.

But this time was different. I did a bunch of shopping in the bricks and mortar world as well as online.

After I drew out my basic vector layout, I went looking for the tiles.

It took a good bit of hunting around, but I finally hit pay dirt.

We found some tile that we could all live with (hey, everyone has an opinion around these parts), and I set off to come up with a design that was anything but pedestrian.

When I checked out the tile manufacturer's web site, I knew I was onto something cool. They had photographs of all the tile -- not just the field tile, but the decorative borders, too. And best of all, they had photographs of every single color tile in the series. This allowed me to fiddle around with different combinations until I found something that I liked.

I went wild in Corel ... trying each color and decorative border to see how they worked with each other ... and just as importantly, with the colors in the adjoining rooms ...

After all, when you're going to be on your hands and knees for the better part of a week, you'd better be real happy with that selection.

Posted by geekbooks at January 26, 2005 10:40 PM


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