Foyer tile ideas please! [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-16-2010, 11:13 AM
I have an L shaped foyer that I'm re-tiling and need some suggestions on how to lay the tile. The space is 7ft x 7ft 3in - see drawing. I have checked the deflecto, and we're good-to-go with anything: 2x10 only spanning 6' 10", and 3/4 sturdi-floor and 3/4 b/c exterior plywood.
We've looked at 18" tiles, 12" tiles, 13" tiles, discussed cutting the 18" into 9", etc. Our initial thought was a diagonal lay with a 2" wide border of an accent tile centered in the space, then finish out around the edges using a horizontal lay. On paper, doing that with 18" tiles looks too big - see drawing? Any ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks for the great site - I've learned so much by browsing the forum. Someone should convert all this into a book!!

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Houston Remodeler
02-16-2010, 12:51 PM
To keep the tiles in scale with the room and the design, check out this floor; It has 12 inch tile, a 2 inch 'dot' and a 4 inch border along the walls except at the threshold where it is wider.

02-16-2010, 04:40 PM
1)So from a design standpoint, it's best to come up with a consistent border around the entire space, then center the diagonal inside that border regardless of where the diagonals need cut (of course following the 1/2 tile rule)? For some reason, I was trying to make the diagonal insert using only whole or half pieces.
2) A 9 inch tile seems to work out and looks better to me in this space. The left side of the diagonal is not cut in half, but I don't think it will be that noticeable. There will be some small pieces there, though....With this look, the diagonal section leading to the closet is centered and the diagonal on the main part of the foyer is centered between the front door and the stairs and between the living room and dining room. How does this look? Any other ideas?
3) Anyone have any experience in cleanly cutting an 18" porcelain American Oleans Elemental Naturals Allora tile? I'm wondering if taking an 18" down to 9" is going to be a huge pain. (I have a dewalt tile saw with a Pearl blade)
Thanks in advance,

Houston Remodeler
02-16-2010, 04:46 PM
In the latest diagram I noticed the corners (at the walls) right away. With that layout you will have to use diagonal cuts in the corners to get the tiles to fit. Otherwise you will have slivers against the walls, without a corresponding grout line in the perpendicular wall. Make sense? Did I manage to confuse that?

02-16-2010, 04:48 PM
is that porcelain right at 18" or is it 17 3/4 ?

02-24-2010, 08:43 AM
Paul and Ryan - thanks for the replies. good question Ryan - the tiles actually measure 17 5/8.... Paul - I was a little confused with your comments about the corners.
Back to the drawing board. I've played with 9 different possible layouts using different size tiles - we're now looking at 12" tiles and I've attached a proposed layout that I'd like some suggestions on.

The dilema is centering a diagonal pattern on the 30" wide section of the foyer that leads to the coat closet. If I center full and half cuts of tile there, put the 2" accent tile in, then what is left to fill in is about 4 1/2 inches on each side versus an outside border of 7-8 inches around the rest of the foyer.
1) Does this design look out of proportion with the smaller border on the leg of the L shape leading to the closet? (4 1/2 inches versus 8 inches)
2) in order to get a consistent border leading to the living room and the dining room, the diagonal pattern had to be cut off with less than full or half pieces on the section leading to the dining room. Does that look okay?
3) I'm planning on cutting the corner pieces from one piece of tile. Tricky cutting and I hope it doesn't break. Any other suggestions on how to finish these out?
To my inexperienced eye, this seems to be the best solution. I like the proportions and was wanting some experts to chime in. I can post a picture of the foyer as is if that will help visualize.
thanks much!

Bill Vincent
02-24-2010, 07:21 PM
The only thing that really looks out of proportion is the border stripe. Shrink that down to a 1" stripe, and I think the whole thing would look 100% better, just as you have it. It brings this one to mind:

03-11-2010, 08:40 AM
After getting a price of $8.60 for the porcelain we liked, we've decided to revisit using 12" travertine. I've visitied all the local tile places that stock travertine and have narrowed it down to a turkish Classic for around $4/sq ft, a mexican Durango for around $4.75/sq ft, and a Durango (not sure where it is from) for around $6.30/sq ft. The turkish and mexican tiles are travertine, and the Durango is a "select" grade limestone according to the dealer, and all three are honed and filled. Looking at the tiles, the limestone definitely has fewer top fill and the back has fewer holes than the travertines. All three look great from the top.
1) confusing info from the web about travertine versus limestone. It seems that limestone is softer than travertine? Any recommendations between the two?
2) confusing info from the web about sealing stone (travertine or limestone), even after searching on this site. Is it a case where each stone is so different that it depends on how porous this batch of stone is whether it needs sealed or not?
Thanks for any suggestions!

Bill Vincent
03-11-2010, 05:13 PM
1) Some are, some aren't. The reason it gets confusing is because travertine IS a limestone.

2) It ALL should be sealed.

Brian in San Diego
03-11-2010, 06:57 PM

When I was looking for ideas for my entry Trask posted a few pictures to my thread of floors he had done. I am going to link them here so you can see if they inspire you as much as they did me. Here are the first two ( Then there were these four ( From those I ended up with this (


03-12-2010, 07:08 AM
Brian - thanks for the pictures. I had found your picture from earlier research and had already downloaded it. Beautiful. I may tweak my border design somewhat based on Trasks work and try to follow the profile of the room closer rather than just a straight border of contrasting tiles. I'd already decided to reduce my contrast border from 2" to 1 1/4 based on Bill's advice posted earlier.
Bill - I'll go with your advice on the sealing. I came across Maurizio Bertoli's name when researching this issue on the web, and if I understood him correctly, he felt that sealing was only necessary if the tiles were very porous.
We've decided to go with the travetine. I'll definitely be doing a sample board so I can experiment with the sealing, grout, etc.
I'm using ditra and will be using Versabond over the plywood under the ditra. 1) Any recommendations about a good unmodified thinset to put over the ditra under the travertine?
2) What size trowel should I use for a 12x12 tile? I'll definitely be back-buttering the tiles because I want good bonding and all the little holes in the back filled. I'm also going to give the LASH system a try on this project.
thanks all!

Brian in San Diego
03-12-2010, 07:35 AM

Here are some of my recommendations. Maybe some of the pros will drop in and add or subtract from them.

1. I would start with a 1/4x3/8x1/4 trowel as a minimum and would have a 1/2" square notch handy as well.

2. I break rules when it comes to Ditra and stone. I use medium bed mortar which is modified. Good unmodifieds...there are many. If you can get your hands on Ditraset by Hydroment that's the one I'd recommend. Other good ones: Laticrete 317 or 272, Mapei Kerabond, TEC Full set plus to name a few.

3. Make sure you find the highest spot in the floor and start your tiling from there. You'll be disappointed if you don't.

4. Get a Tavy Tile Puck. The pros may turn their noses up at them but I think they are helpful to us who don't lay tile for a living. Helps to determine lippage and has a handy level in the top in the event your floor is level.

5. I find it easier to pre-fill the "waffles" when I am laying the Ditra. Let it all set up and tile later. If you aren't going to tile it all at once then I would lay all the Ditra and then go over and fill the waffles in an area around the high spot. You can use the modified thinset for this because you are going to let it set up prior to setting tile.


Bill Vincent
03-12-2010, 08:02 AM
I'd say that about covers it. :tup1: