Now that all the things have been done to the third floor playroom/guest room, it’s time to do the final bit: laying the wall-to-wall carpet tile! Isn’t it exciting when a complicated project nears the finish line??
As I’ve shared before, this is our “inspiration room.” I’ll take a minute while you marvel at it’s beauty:
Done? Yeah… I pretty much want to move into this space. It’s so bright and clean and fun and inspiring. And I’ve been hell-bent on recreating it in my house, come what may. Determination… I haz it.
Matt, at the Flor store, was the unlucky design assistant that helped us the day we arrived at the store. I say unlucky because Poppy barfed all over herself and me just as I was taking her out of the carseat. She didn’t seem sick, other than the barf, and since we drove more than a half hour to get there, we decided to continue on our mission to check out and buy the Flor tiles that we needed for the space. But I know that I reeked of vomit but Matt never flinched or made a face as we worked together to design the perfect Flor space. Bless him.
I brought in the measurements of the entire space and he input them into the computer and after some beeps and boops and picking out colors and such, we had a rendering of what it would look like finished and had placed the order for the tiles. An idea I had been toying with was to tile the guest area in a solid neutral color (grey, since that’s my fav color these days) and then pixelate into the bright multi-color of the playroom. I know it’s a risk, but after seeing the rendering, I was all about it.
We paid the guy, drove home, cleaned the puke off ourselves and a few days later, 13 heavy square boxes arrived on our porch. Sorry UPS guy!
I was nervous to start the process… I googled and saw the instructions from Flor involved using chalk-lines to find the center of a room and working out from there… that kind of thing has a high probability of SWFIU (Steph Will Fuck It Up) so I was relieved when friends in a Facebook mommy group all said that none of them had done that when they laid their Flor tiles and it turned out great. No chalky chalky for me!
Flor.com also advised me that I should use a carpenters square and a carpet knife, neither of which I had. I didn’t want to spend any more money than I already had, so I decided to make due with what I did have. So I wasn’t following the directions from Flor or using the tools they recommended I use… I was definitely on the road to SWFIU.
But guess what?? I DIDN’T FIU!
Here is how I did it:
- Since the guest room was one solid color and those tiles were kept in their original square shape, I started against the front most wall. It went quickly… I just made sure to press each tile up to the wall or its neighboring tile as firmly as possible, working in rows. Whenever I would get to the end of the row, I was left with a space in which a tile would have to be cut to fit into it, so I left those blank and decided to save all cutting for last. I followed Flor’s directions by putting their “dots” (super-sticky stickers that bind together tiles that meet up) in all the corners, except anywhere there would be a cut-to-fit square. I didn’t know how long it would be until I got to the cutting process and I didn’t want half of the sticky dot exposed, collecting dust and crap while it waited for me to cut and place the tile.
- When I finished the guest area (the full square pieces), I started in on the multi-colored triangles. I picked only the darker hued or grey ones as I worked on the “pixelating,” saving the white or light triangles for the dedicated playroom part. While placing the triangles, I worked within two parameters: no triangles of the same color should touch and be sure to change up the alignment of the triangles so they weren’t all pointing in the same direction. This would (hopefully) ensure a really random looking pattern. Can you call it a pattern if it’s random???
- With the triangles, working one row at a time just as you would the square tiles is imperative. Especially with a large project like ours, it’s tempting to want to work with a partner to get them laid faster, but as we found out when we were just playing around with placement and not really laying them, they will get all kinds of fucked up alignment-wise if one person is not keeping vigilant of the tiles being lined up precisely to the previously laid triangle. And if you’re doing multi-colored tiles like we did, any misalignment in the corners will be wicked obvious. So, friend: you’re on your own. (This is where the online streaming subscription comes in…. laying the tile triangles is detail-oriented mindless work. It was an awesome time to catch up on the last few seasons of “Entourage” that I never got to see!)
- Continue laying the triangles in random directions, with random coloring choices, but as precisely as you can to the previous tile you laid. I seriously can’t mention that enough. If you’re doing a really long room like we did, a tiny smidge off from one triangle to the next becomes inches off by the time you get to the end of the row.
- Once all the tile triangles that won’t need to be cut are laid out, it’s time to start doing the pieces that hit the wall and will need to be cut. Our room is so not a perfect square, and pretty much no corners are really 90 degree angles (when they’re supposed to be)… it’s a 110 year old house. Nothing is level or square anymore. This is where you get out the ruler and measure.
I measured every line on every open space in which I would need to place a tile. The FLOR instructions on how to measure a tile to cut were good if you were in a house where you were sure the wall was straight and you were laying square tiles and all the corners of the room were 90 degrees. My situation had none of those things going for it. So old fashioned measuring was what I had to do, even creating a pattern out of a piece of cardboard before I cut the carpet on instances when it was pretty complicated, like the teal tile shown above. When I was certain I had the right measurements, I used the ruler to draw a straight line on the back of the tile with the Sharpie and cut along the line with the utility knife. Don’t go very deep on one pass… take two or three shallow passes.
- Save your scraps! Especially if you’re doing the random triangle pattern that we did, some triangles can be cut down many times depending on the small spaces you need to fill.
My parting words to anyone about to embark on the wall-to-wall carpet tile journey are simple but probably the most important:
I’m off to put the finishing touches on the whole third floor
and I shall reveal the entire makeover to you post haste!It’s done! Check out the whole room here!