Thoughts on tiles for downstairs? Anyone? (Read on for some crappy pictures.)

Decisions are always hard. Remember how long it took us to pick a color for painting upstairs? And it was due to peoples’ help that we ended up with the awesome color that we now have.

But now we need to tile downstairs, so we can be done with the Virginia Design Builders-built home addition nightmare.

Ways to floor:

  1. Hardwood. Our favorite, but: No way, not downstairs. Not recommended for moist OR concrete slabs. Don’t want warping.
  2. Laminate / Parquet. No fuggin way. Not after all the bad things we’ve read about it. Tapping noises, can’t repair scratches, etc. Forget the specifics other than reaching the conclusion multiple times “NO LAMINATE”.
  3. Carpet. If only I could trust my guests to care for my property as much as I do, but they never do. 95% of spills are guest-induced. Many of those are wine. (Of course, carpeted tiles could be easily replaced, but… well, that’s just weird.)
  4. Ceramic Tile. Expensive as hell. $7500 for downstairs. Could use glow-in-the-dark grout like we wanted, but the hump between the section built by Virginia Design Builders and the existing section is uneven enough that at least 1 tile installer has said they would not give it a lifetime warranty against cracking, like they usually do. (Thanks Dan.) Improper installation can end up with even more cracking, and I trust the average contractor to be competent about as much as I trust a retarded monkey to replace my faulty heart valve.
  5. Vinyl tile. This would be easy to install, and not as cold as other types. But we’re going to be setting up a pool table and an air hockey table. Don’t heavy things typically leave imprints? The guy said a pool table would definitely leave imprints in vinyl tile. And I’ve seen permanent dents in our kitchen tile simply due to guest behavior. (Always the guests…) This is just about the right choice for us.
  6. Vinyl sheets. Probably what we have in the kitchen. Basically, a “cheaper easier” vinyl tile. Huge sheets (several feet across) mean self-instal would be quite easy.
  7. Vinyl composite tile. Colder and harder, like ceramic tile. But they would not get imprints from our pool table, and things would slide on them easier (but would they scratch?). moving furniture would be easier as these are VERY SMOOTH, smoother than hardwood even. The only thing smoother is actual ceramic tile. It is also super cheap

right click view as (firefox) to view any pic here in full size  (for IE, you have to copy and paste the URL, losers!)
$0.89-$0.93 per sq ft; we’re doing about 600 sq ft. Install = $2.30/sq ft. Total=$1,938.
These were some “interesting” candidate colors that we rejected.

Now, the vinyl composite tiles are far from fancy. They remind me of something you’d see in a bowling alley snack area, or a school classroom floor. NOT FANCY. NOT FANCY AT ALL. But they seem easy to install, and I believe we would have the option to use glow-in-the-dark grout as well. And they wouldn’t leave imprints. They would be a bit slippery (Dance Dance Revolution dancepads will probably need anti-stick measures, which we already use). They would be a bit cold. But for some reason, the vinyl “kitchen” tile just doesn’t sit well with us right now. Even though it might actually be more expensive than this vinyl composite tile, it just seems “cheaper” somehow. I think it’s the softness.

But perhaps that’s not how we should be thinking of it.

So anyway, the color Carolyn and I really liked was called “Violet Bloom”, and was an incredibly intense purple:

“Violet Bloom”, upper-right.
Actually purpler than in this picture! (See next pic.)
The vinyl composite tiles do seem a bit….. “industrial” in nature. NOT FANCY, as we said. But then we looked down and saw ceramic tiles in a checkerboard pattern, and thought: We could do that with these, using a Violet Bloom and Black checkerboard. It’s freakin’ crazy, but so are we.

Now imagine the lighter ones being this bright purple (brighter than this pic) and the darker ones being black. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
UPDATE: Dave O made a simulation of this for me! Here it is:

Nice work, Dave!!!!!!!!!!!!


So anyway, that was the result of us going down the “tile boulevard” corridor near the Edsall Rd 395 exit on Carolyn’s day off (after the Chemlab concert we went to with Eli & Dan, where I got too trashed to even drink at Joe R’s Decemberween party the next day). A lot of unfriendly places full of imps, including “by appointment only” and “for wholesale only” and “install only, not sell” places. Century Tile in particular had… very strange looking people. I felt like I was in Lord Of The Rings. Outside, I saw another strange looking orc, and assumed he was with Century Tile. And he walked right in :) I think the guys who sent us over to the wholesale-only place played a trick on us too.

But anyway — What do you think?

We have pretty unique opinions, but hearing others’ definitely helps us flesh things out a bit. Are we insane?


I’ve seen this exit for all my life, but never at this angle until today.