The Basement Tile

Monday, January 20, 2014

I  may have mentioned one or a thousand times that we spent last summer/fall replacing our basement carpet with tile.  I'm FINALLY sharing the long-overdue reveal with you guys - yay!

Here was our basement before in all its carpeted glory.

It's not that the carpet was all that offensive, but it was very cheap, builder-grade stuff that gave all of our guests with allergies runny noses.  Plus it was carpet... in the basement.  It just always felt kind of damp and yucky.

But the main reason we decided to replace it now was because of our puppy, Sadie.  You may remember her?

Well, it wasn't exactly her fault, but she likes to chase/torment the cats, so much so that our little kitty Abbie is scared to go use the litter box when Sadie is in her kennel (they're in the same room).  Therefore, Abbie started peeing in the corner of the basement.  We didn't notice for a few weeks, probably, and by that time, there was really no salvaging the carpet.  Honestly, I wasn't really that upset about it.  We fixed the problem (we instituted a third litter box, far away from Sadie's prying eyes), but the damage was done.

We originally thought about going back with a nicer carpet, but that would have meant re-carpeting the entire basement (all 1,100+ square feet of it), and I just wasn't that gung-ho about spending that much money on something I knew wasn't the best fit for this space anyway.

So that's when we priced out the tile.  For tile + installation, the cost would have been astronomical, so we decided to go the DIY route.  Biggest mistake ever.

Why, you ask?  Well, because we've never even tiled a closet before, much less 600+ square feet of living area (we left the cheapo carpet in the two bedrooms down there).  I was suffering from terrible morning sickness pretty much all summer, so Steven did about 99% of the work himself, learning as he went.  I felt bad for deserting him but being on my hands and knees tiling, plus feeling sick already, just wasn't happening.   

So anyway, first came the prep.  The concrete floors were terribly uneven, so we bit the bullet and paid a handyman to come level it out for us.  It just wasn't something we felt comfortable attempting ourselves.  Oh, but Steven did put a coat of the concrete primer down.  Apparently you have to do that before you pour self-leveling concrete?  We also wanted to make sure it was primed to lock in any residual cat pee smell.

Our basement looked pretty much like these photos for, oh, 3 months.  For some reason, I don't have any in-progress photos of the tile being laid, but I do have this one shot of the tile:

It's the Marazzi Montagna 6 x 24 tile in Gunstock and I love it.  We got the look of hardwood flooring without having to deal with possible moisture issues if we had installed actual hardwoods!  Best of both worlds, I tell ya.

And finally, here it is all finished!

We went with a seemingly random pattern to make the tile look as much like hardwoods as possible, but there really is a pattern if you study it long enough.

The whole family room area feels so much bigger and cleaner now!  I will say that I have to sweep much more often than I vacuumed before, because this dark tile shows dust and dirt more easily, but I don't mind at all.  It's much easier to sweep and spot clean with the Swiffer WetJet than it was to vacuum this entire space, that's for sure!

I was worried that mixing the new tile with the existing bathroom tile would look a tad disjointed, but I think it looks just fine.

It helps that the new tile is laid on an angle, which makes the two different tiling choices look intentional.

Speaking of laying the tile on an angle, we chose to do that because the walls are noticeably uneven.  If we had laid the tile parallel to the walls, that would have only drawn more attention to the problem.  So even though laying the tile on an angle was more work (for Steven), it really helps to camouflage the wonky walls.  I think it helps open up the space as well.

So that's it - our new tile!  I think it's a huge improvement over the before, don't you?




  1. LOVE the look!!!!! Was it expensive?

  2. That looks awesome! Actually, I think that it looks better than the carpet and usually I like carpet.

  3. Suzanne - yes, it was expensive, but ended up being about the same price as recarpeting the entire basement, and I much prefer the tile, so it was a good choice! I don't have an exact figure because we did it over several months, but I would say it was close to $3,000-$3,500, when you factor in labor (for the guy who did the concrete leveling and grouting), and then all the materials.