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Simple, appropriate tile--anywhere?

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Joined: Oct 9 2003

I'm anxious to rip out the carpet that covers much of my Oregon Rummer home, and replace it with tile. I'm having a terrible time finding tile that looks right to me in an Eichler/Rummer style home. Everything on the market seems to be cheesy fake marble, rustic pseudo-Tuscan, etc. etc.
Quarry tile is OK (I like the unglazed finish and natural colors) but I'm not wild about the sizes available which tend to be 4x8 or 6x6. Might look a little busy in quantity. Any manufacturers and styles that have worked well for you? Simpler is better!

Joined: Apr 26 2003

We used an 18" x 18" limestone and think it looks great.

You may want to look at some natural stone, such as travertine or limestone.

I think bigger tiles look much better in a modern home.

Good luck, and let us know how things turn out.

Joined: Mar 20 2003


go to your tile store and look at the commercial products. Dal Tile makes a nice 8x8 and 12x12 ceramic tile, simple with nothing added (no texture or goofy tuscany crap). If I were going with tile, I would look at a random mix of white and three tones of beige. These are solid color tiles. They are fairly inexpensive and work great with radiant heat.

Cork is a possibility too, which you will want to glue down if you have radiant heat.

Another idea is to strip out everything to the slab (if you're on a slab), and pour a thin overlay of concrete down. then polish. I have seen it in other Rummers. Looks nice.

Lastly, Armstrong's commercial vinyl composite tile (VCT), Imperial Texture line, is a nearly identical design to the Armstrong asphalt tile found in original Eichlers.

Personally, I think a 16x16 tile is too large, especially in small areas

Joined: Jul 1 2003

We inherited the new tile flooring from the previous owner; it was the major selling point of the house for my wife.

(1) Size - - it looks like 12 x 12 (perhaps larger, I'm not at home right now) and we like it a lot. It is layed throughout the house except for the bedrooms. A couple of other Eichler owners preferred a smaller size tile for the kitchen, but this is personal choice and esthetics. I agree with you about small sizes; OK for bathrooms or confined spaces, but not for large living spaces.
(2) Type - - the previous owners selected a sealed tile (from Italy) that resemble slate. Thus, it looks like slate (stone texture) but is a tile that is not porous like slate. It's is great for cleanup and wear, but a little hard for our 2-year old when she is doing her "dead animal" tantrum on the floor. Other Eichler owners have commented on noise echo from tile.
(3) Color - - I can't describe it well, but it is a spectrum of dark olive, charcoal gray, and has distinctive slate/stone texture. It is not smooth and my wife tells me it is a tile and therefore sealed. It also has a dull finish.
The previous owners also layed a faux rug in tile in the entry foyer. My wife loves it (it has detailing simulating a rug); reactions from other people have been mixed - - some love the faux rug others don't see much in it, but it's an interesting option to be considered when re-flooring.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

I have also been looking for ceramic porcelain tiles You might get some ideas from porcelanosa since several of their tiles fit a modern type home.

About the Vinyl composite Tile: Has anyone had experience installing these over the existing concrete slab? My slab has the asphalt black "cutback" all over it that was used to glue down the original VCT. My current slab cross section is: concrete with radiant heat/cutback/old VCT/carpet pad/carpet. I was hoping not to have to strip off the cutback since it is a major hassle (and I know it contains some asbestos). My current plan is to use ceramic tile but am still a little squemish about the hardness/noise. New VCT sounds interesting.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

Another possibility is Heath Tile in Sausalito, CA. Great tile and they have a huge supply of seconds (over runs) and thirds. Worth a trip - even from Portland.

Check out

Joined: Mar 25 2003

I used Armstrong's commercial vinyl composite tile (VCT) in my Eichler and it looked better than anything else I've seen. Considering, it's like $.29 cents a tile, it's a good deal more affordable as well. Email me for photos if.

The only stone I've seen that looked appropriate is slate. However, you need a lot of light to overcome the darkness of black slate so if you're in a real wooded area be careful. Green slate looks good if you have mahagony walls as the green contrast nicely with the orangish wood.

Joined: Mar 22 2003

We used 12x12 ceramic tile in a light color - light beige with darker, but subtle veins running through it. We did the entire home, including the bedrooms and we love it. With the open floorplans that Eichlers have, one is always better off using the fewest materials possible--in our case--1.

A neighbor of ours who is a real clean freak did her atrium model in white 12x12 tile laid on the diagonal. It is on all floors except the bedrooms, where she used berber carpet. Hers also looks beautiful and very modern. For a darker look, slate is a popular choice among Eichler owners and several of our neighbors have done this. I still remember seeing Sue Olsen's gorgeous Atherton Eichler (built by Joe for his son) and the fabulous slate bathroom and sunken tub. It was beautiful. All the slate I have seen used in Eichlers is the plain grey kind - not the widely varigated kinds that you sometimes see in tile showroooms.

Another neighbor who is a contractor did his open areas in 20x20 limestone with teeny tiny grout lines. Looked fabulous! Probably the most perfect floor I have ever seen. It looked like one solid piece of stone. However, this is a very difficult installation and you would need to hire someone with the skill and patience to do this right. I have digital photos and if you are interested, send me an e-mail at "cathyelynn at earthlink dot net."

Have you taken a look at Metropolitan Home or Dwell magazine? They feature modernist design and have lots of photos. You might get some good ideas from them as well.

Good luck!


Joined: Apr 10 2003

We've recently tiled our entire Walnut Creek Eichler (well, it's almost done) in porcelain tile we bought from The Floor Store in Concord. It's 12X12 and comes in three shades. We chose the lightest, but there's a slightly darker one and then another slightly darker than that. It has slight texturing on the surface and the random pattern of colors includes a taupe-y color, light grayish color, and an ivory-like color. We've paired it with different paints and color schemes and it picks up the tone of whatever it's near. For example, our family room is a rich, deep yellow (warm), while the master bedroom is a medium mocha shade (cool). The tile looks great with both of them! Good luck!

Marianne Daniel

Marianne D.

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