Planning Your Project for Success

Plan now – minimize those expensive surprises

Take Your Pleasure Seriously

Vision to Reality

Planning your tile project is often seen as a small part of your home remodel or building project. In reality, it is a major part of the project as tile is very visible and will help you complete your design style objective.

quote from Charles Eames

Reduce Your Stress

With adequate planning, you will remove a significant amount of stress, worry, time and cost from your remodel/build project — so a little extra effort at the start can lead to a long-lasting smile through your project and after completion.

Beautiful Design Made Simple

There are different ways to approach your flooring project planning, and these will depend on budget, style, effort and preference. In this article I will try and provide a guide to setup your project plan.

STEP 1: How Much Time Do You Have?

Home remodel and building projects take a lot of effort and require an eye for detail and constant project management. When thinking about a remodel/build, you need to decide how much time you have and how much time you can allocate to the project. This will determine whether you need or want an interior designer. This is different from a General Contractor, who is responsible for the actual build and installation.

An interior designer will help to take your vision to reality but first understanding your style, and then investigating the options on the market, providing a “story board” or “idea book” and really allowing you to invest as much or as little time as you have. Of course, this can increase your project costs as you need to pay them for their time but the amount may not be as significant as you think.

STEP 2: Calculate The Actual Cost Of Hiring An Interior Designer

To calculate the TRUE cost of an interior designer, try this calculation,

“Estimated cost of interior designer for entire project” less (“estimated time you will need to invest in project” x “your hourly cost”) = actual cost of interior designer
(depending on how much you earn, you may actually find that you save money by hiring an interior designer)

Of course, some people have a specific vision, love interior design and want to be involved every step of the way — and for them the idea of giving this task to someone else is not an option; irrespective of cost or saving.

STEP 3: Decide On Your Flooring Plan

Once you have decided how you run your project, you then need to consider what type of flooring you want or need in your home. And this is pure preference – the options are wood, vinyl, carpet, tile and even cement.

Water Considerations

There are however some givens, it does not make sense (from a hygiene and/or longevity point of view) to install anything other than tile or vinyl in your bathrooms – I know people do but after that first water leak or bath overflow, you will be wishing you had installed one of these. Also, in kitchens, wood floors are common but again this would not be recommended. Basically a rule of thumb should be that anywhere you have water, you should install a water resilient product – it is common sense. Vinyl and tile are water resilient. Wood, and especially carpet, are not.

Also when it comes to dining rooms, carpets trap food crumbs and these bring little animals and bacteria. When considering your dining room, I would suggest a hard surface like tile. Wood is appropriate but again, you really need to take into account that any water or liquid dropped onto wood floor needs to be dried and cleaned up immediately otherwise your wood flooring will get damaged. Tile is more resilient and definitely longer lasting in these type of areas.

Warmth considerations

A lot of people like to install carpets in bedrooms and areas where warmth is required and although this does make sense initially – carpets are simply unhygienic. Anyone who has seen a carpet under a microscope, a few months after installation, would 100% agree. In addition, if you have allergies, carpets are your enemy. Today under-floor radiant heating is easy to lay, inexpensive and provides a much better and hygienic alternative to keep your home warm and cozy.

When asked to recommend a flooring for the bedrooms, I would suggest either a wood floor; as wood will always remain a room temperature and is quite pleasant to walk on bare foot; or tile, ideally with comfort heating installed if you live in a colder climate, and/or the use of rugs. Rugs (not fluffy ones ;-)) are definitely a better option to carpet as these can be dry cleaned every few months and hence kept quite clean and allergy-free.

When considering your living room, wood or tile is ideal depending on your preference. Both should stand the test of time although wood flooring will require a bit more maintenance given that it is a natural material and highly porous. Tile will be cooler in winter but depending on where you live this may be a good thing. In cold climates, wood floors in the living room are probably more desired but again this will depend on your heating system – under floor heating or comfort heating creates a nice warmth for both wood or tile flooring.

If you have young children, you may need to consider their comfort. I would still not recommend carpet as kids are more susceptible than adults to bacteria and allergies but instead would consider installing rubber play mats (these come in rubber tile squares or as bigger pieces.) in the kids play areas or rugs in their rooms – this way they will still be able to comfortably roll around on the floor and even fall without hurting themselves.

In regards to vinyl flooring – I would only recommend vinyl if the plan is to have it for a short time (i.e. you are planning a future remodel in that area) or if your budget is limited. The quality of vinyl floors have definitely improved significantly over the past few years but I have never seen a vinyl floor add value to a house; the first thing people say when they see a vinyl floor is “we need to replace that floor”

Room-to-room considerations (i.e. transitions):

Give special thought to how you plan to handle transitions from one room to another. The best way to handle these is to make them seamless. In other words that there is no lip or change in height. This is not always possible, especially in older houses where the floors have “settled” over time, but a good contractor can correct this if needed and there are some good solutions to handle transitions.

Remember to discuss this with your contractor prior to starting your project.

Stair Considerations

Deciding what flooring type to put on stairs is very important. Very often carpet is used on stairs and this is a good solution, however tiles and woods are also used in modern and contemporary style homes as well. If you decide to put tile on your stairs, make sure that you choose a tile that either has a bullnose trim or is a tile that can be bullnosed (i.e. that the sharp edges of the tile can be rounded.)

A good tile contractor will be able to round the edges of the tile to make them safer and will lay the tile in a specific pattern, depending on whether you are looking at the stairs from the bottom up, or from the top down. This is very important as your brain subconsciously negotiates stairs and if the tile is laid in the exact same pattern, from the top looking down, and with the same grout lines; the stairs may appear “invisible” to you subconsciously.

I know that this sounds strange but discuss this with your tile contractor and it will make sense when you see the tile installed on your stairs.

Next, we move onto selecting the right contractor for project……