I received a call from a customer in South Tampa that was redoing the kitchen in her home and wanted to have wood looking porcelain plank tile installed. She found me online by doing a search for a porcelain plank tile installer in Tampa, Florida and then again on other websites. That’s when she decided she would contact me to look at her project. It wasn’t a big job but they wanted it done correctly and have it come out perfect so she was going to be selective with the installer she used. I met her at the house and showed her some of the planks I have and install. She was already out at some tile stores in the Tampa area and found a few she was considering. We talked about what she was going to do to her kitchen so we could narrow down a color and style of the plank tile. She decided she wanted to go with a dark walnut looking porcelain plank tile since her cabinets were going to be white and her granite is tan with dark brown in it. We both thought having a dark floor would bring a rich look to the room.
She also selected a tile that had the “hand scraped” look rather then a smooth one to add more warmth and character to the floor. After getting the go ahead I ordered the tile from my tile supplier. They had the cabinets removed and also removed the tile floor in the kitchen and hall. Then the granite counters were installed and we soon followed. The day we showed up we cleaned the slab, undercut the door casings and did some minor prep. There was a small hairline crack in the slab and I mentioned to her that the slab crack could actually transfer into the tile if the slab moved again during expansion from the season change. She wanted it done right and to last so she approved the use of the crack membrane as insurance. We addressed it with a liquid crack membrane from Laticrete called HydroBarrier which we also use to waterproof showers. We then did the layout of the plank tile while the membrane dried so the installation would go smooth. We also shuffled the tile so the color mix from box to box would look good and flow.
The beauty of a real wood floor is to have slightly different colors, shades and textures and this wood look replica tile did just that. The slab was flat so it made the setting of the plank tile pretty easy. The thinset we used was Laticrete 253 Gold. It’s a multi purpose thinset mortar and perfect to use with porcelain tile. I set the tile using an 1/8″ grout joint to give the look of a real wood floor once grouted with a matching colored grout. We were able to get the kitchen and hallway all set that first day because the planks went down smooth and the layout was spot on. The next morning we came in and sponged the tile down and grouted the plank tile. The grout the owner selected was Laticrete PermaColor #25 Espresso. It’s a maximum performance stain resistant sanded grout that can be used in grout joints tight as 1/16″. After we did the first wash we started to install the wood base, door threshold and we also made a matching walnut back door threshold that we installed. We did a final clean wash to remove any dust or haze and moved the appliances back in for the customer.
The homeowners loves their new porcelain plank floor and gave me an A rating on the Angie’s List. I like making sure that my customers are happy with the final product I give them. I just talked to the owner and she told me she had a bunch of people over for a Holiday party and they didn’t even notice her new granite counters, they were all raving over her beautiful wood looking plank floor……. That made me smile 🙂
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