Old "stone" floor
Linda Rosario
September 27, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Has anyone seen this sort of floor before (minus the peeling door paint...)? Know what it's called? Have any suggestions on how to remove it?

It seems to be chunks of real stone/tile/marble? inlaid ... in some hardened black tar stuff. I think we might have to jack hammer it out!

One nice thing is that it's the only part of our home's flooring that doesn't squeak!
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lefty47
HI -- Ya, it's called random 70's broken tile affect !!! Yes , remove it by whatever method you can . It's not going to be easy and you are going to name call the person who put it in ... his name is -- Mr. Poortaste Whydidthey and his wife Whatthehell !! He is the same person that did things to our house in the 70's too.
September 27, 2012 at 3:05pm     
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trebinje
lefty47, that's hilarious! My sister was Mrs. Whatthehell back in the '70s, she tried every "arts & crafts" hobby on the planet (macrame, decoupage, etc.), and this was one of them! She used shards of broken china plates in her foyer. Yikes!
September 27, 2012 at 3:16pm     
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charleee
I think there were a whole lot of Mrs. Whatthehell back in the 70's!!! I'm not sure I would even try to remove it. If that's tar, how will you get it up? Gasoline? I think I would be tempted to put an overlayment on top and start fresh. It may mean shaving an inch off the bottom of your door, but that's easier than trying to dig up this science project!
September 27, 2012 at 3:32pm     
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Aja Mazin
Ha Ha !!

I have seen this floor often in old Florida stucco and hollow tile homes.
September 27, 2012 at 4:10pm     
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Linda Rosario
Yeah, there's a lot of the "Whathehellweretheythinking" in this house... most of it I can figure out. This floor scares me (and it's really not tar... just looks like hardened black stuff).
September 28, 2012 at 7:56pm   
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Aja Mazin
NOT SO FAST!!

You have a retro broken tile floor!!

What room is it?

That floor is actually in demand and requires a custom floor design contractor.

Here is one in a dining room.
September 28, 2012 at 8:35pm     
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mpoulsom
thank you very much guys.....this is on my screened in porch floor! I don't mind it though...I have a big rug out there and I'm gonna live with it for quite some time! LOL!
Never thought of this before, but you could probably paint it with concrete or porch paint into a solid color! hhmmmmmmm
but bobbi p is right...lay something on top of it and shave the doors and tweek any shoe molding! That stuff is solid!
September 28, 2012 at 8:55pm     
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mpoulsom
It is just old school clay tile and mortar I believe
September 28, 2012 at 8:57pm   
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Aja Mazin
"Never thought of this before, but you could probably paint it with concrete or porch paint into a solid color! "

Don't you dare or I will have to report you the the Mosaic Art Police!
September 28, 2012 at 9:16pm     
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portpiro
Tile over it. It may be craftsman laid but it ain't ever gonna be attractive. (Sorry Aja). We tiled over our hideous bathroom floor with black granite and it was a breeze.
September 28, 2012 at 10:54pm     
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Just understand that if you tile over it, there is a noticable transition from this to other flooring surfaces that comes across as cheap looking. We have taken this out and the only way is with sledge hammers and/or jack hammers - it is tough stuff - which may be why it was used. The black stuff is not tar, but some type of mortar.
September 29, 2012 at 5:53am     
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Linda Rosario
Yeah, it's definitely solid; though there is a crack running through some of it where the house might have settled over the years that stuff doesn't MOVE (I can believe jackhammers would be needed).

Unfortunately It's the FIRST thing you see when you enter the house... since it's the foyer floor. And it's not even a "typical" size where I could cover it with a rug suitably (believe me, I've tried, it still finds a way to be seen).

The rest of the house has hardwood flooring (except the kitchen which we just re-tiled after ripping up a water damaged parquet floor) - tiling over it might be the only option but as mentioned, not sure how the transition would look.

For those who like it, you are welcome to come rip it up and take it to your home... :)

If it were in my laundry room (like the house my parents bought on the next street) I wouldn't mind because it definitely had that retro look.. but the foyer? I am grumpy looking at it every day.

U-G-L-Y.

(my dogs are gonna be mad at me though when we do something.... they love how cold that area of the floor stays in the summer)
September 29, 2012 at 6:14am   
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mpoulsom
so does my pup! :)
September 29, 2012 at 6:20am     
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apennameandthata
Hey, Aja's name is actually, AMazin, like her floor probs is. Too, check out her portrait.
September 29, 2012 at 6:20am     
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Linda Rosario
Aja - I wanted to also add, if our floor was that pretty multi-color tile like the one in your picture, I might not be so inclined to rip it out... but the solid orange/black is too Halloweenie for me (though it is the right time of the year... haha)
September 29, 2012 at 6:23am     
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judianna20
This thread is a hoot! Great way to start the weekend. Lefty, I do think you have started something that will make describing a particular decorating style much easier now. The "Whathehellweretheythinking" can become "WTHWTT?" OMG! LOL!
September 29, 2012 at 6:28am     
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Linda Rosario
We've named our home "The Money Pit". I wish I had just 1 nickel for every time a contractor's mouth utters the word, "Huh. Never seen anything like that before...." It's been a learning experience for us (and some contractors!).
September 29, 2012 at 6:33am     
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PRO
Capua Custom Tile & Stone
Hello Linda, To answer your question, you will need a small demolition hammer and a couple of assorted chisel-bits. A rental yard should be able to set you up. Ask for an SDX-Max hammer, not the SDX-plus. The Max bits will make certain that you've got a demo hammer strong enough to do the work. For removing those tiles, I would have a Viper Flat Chisel to get things started AND a stubby scaling chisel for getting under the tiles and removing material in larger chunks.
Make certain also that you wear eye and ear protection! A well-fitted pair of gloves which cinch at the wrists is also important, as the broken tiles will be sharp. Also, you should wear full-length jeans and a long-sleeve shirt with close-toed shoes. Lay out old sheets or painting drop-cloths over the surround area to collect MOST of the flying chips and have some empty boxes at-the-ready for all of the debris (don't use bags).
"Hardened black tar stuff" could be epoxy grout? The demo hammer should still work on that, once you can get under it.
Best of luck,
Shaughnn
September 29, 2012 at 6:34am     
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Linda Rosario
Thanks, Shaughnn - the most useful answer yet - much appreciated. :)
September 29, 2012 at 6:40am   
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Aja Mazin
Linda Rosario and apennameandthata,

Growing up in Florida, I saw many broken tile floors in in homes and buildings now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Loews Don CeSar Hotel is a Loews hotel located in St. Pete Beach, Florida, in the United States. Developed by Thomas Rowe and opened in 1928, it gained renown as the Gulf playground for America's pampered rich.. Indianapolis architect Henry Dupont designed the hotel

Rowe's "Pink Lady" hosted F. Scott Fitzgerald, Clarence Darrow, Al Capone, Lou Gehrig, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and was home to the New York Yankees team for spring training.

The James and Ada Baker Winter Home is located in Sarasota, Florida. The house was constructed in 1925 during the height of the Florida Land Boom. It remains an excellent example of the Mediterranean Revival/Spanish Eclectic Style of architecture in Sarasota from the 1920s.

The 1920s as the "Spanish boom" included stylistic features of Spanish, Colonial, Byzantine, Moorish, Mission, and Italianate styles-and is most commonly called Mediterranean Revival or Mediterranean Eclectic.

However, I admit I am not fond of the broken tile floor.

My new home has Travertine tile throughout it!!!

هههههههههههههههههههههههههههههه
September 29, 2012 at 7:58am     
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PRO
ct design studio
It needs something else, can't put my finger on it, macrame plant hangers? No, macrame owls? Yes, that's it!
Seriously though, to speak to Aja's point, if your home is historic, consider keeping the floors. If it is a 70s craft project gone awry, have at it. I can see from your doorway, if you tile over the existing floor you will not have nice transitions and you will have to trim all your woodwork. I would take it out completely and start fresh. Or hit it with porch paint in a light gray and maybe dry brush over it a bit with a darker gray and let some hang up in areas just to break it up. I know it sounds artsy craftsy but I've seen it done. Basically just glazing, wipe on, wipe off and let the excess hang in the crevices.
September 29, 2012 at 8:14am     
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Aja Mazin
And good luck with removing your floor!

Those floors were one of the few thing remaining after Donna, a cat 3 hurricane,
hit Pass A Grille Beach in 1960, I have been told.......
September 29, 2012 at 8:16am   
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charleee
ct, I think you're right, it looks like someone took a tiling workshop. I saw that in a bathtub on tv once! Maybe just add some love beads?
September 29, 2012 at 8:17am     
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Linda Rosario
ct design - I think you're right. I can probably find a macrame owl on etsy to complete the look... why fight immovable floors... (haha)

I'm actually liking the painting idea.... at least that way someone in the 2100s can strip the paint and REALLY dig on the vintage floors. Ha!

(I think we want to rip all the woodwork out - it's so pitted, dented and coated in about 50+ years of paint...)
September 29, 2012 at 8:21am     
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mpoulsom
Call me crazy....but it could look like this painted. IF you don't want to spend the money right now to redo it....It could be any color you want of course. Not sure how big the area is, but it may work for a temporary fix until you decide on a final plan. If you painted it and replacd the base molding with new, it would probably look brand new in the foyer area.
September 29, 2012 at 8:42am     
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Aja Mazin
Linda Rosario,

If you insist of removing that museum show place floor, purchase the following from
Acme Company, light it, and then duck and cover.
September 29, 2012 at 8:48am     
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mpoulsom
stop it aja! lol! she doesnt like the color mama! we are trying to come up with alternative ideas for the lady!
September 29, 2012 at 8:57am   
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judianna20
I think you could do a floating floor. One brand (possibly Mannington) is thicker than the others and will cover imperfections better (not that your floor is imperfect,lol). One grain is pretty attractive...Asian Plum.
September 29, 2012 at 9:39am   
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Linda Rosario
I definitely do not like the color it is currently (Aja is at least making me laugh about it).

It's definitely imperfect... and I like that grey better than the orange!
September 29, 2012 at 9:54am     
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mpoulsom
Linda I'm sure you already know this, but when repainting doors, trim, make sure you prep it. By the looks of the peelings.....someone put latex on top of oil paint. The whole house probably was painted in oil originally. Either use oil again, or TSP and prime everything before you put latex paint over it. Nothing to do with the floor I know. Post pics later so we can see what you decided to do! Good Luck!
September 29, 2012 at 10:09am   
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PRO
Corbel Construction, LLC
It is bnroken quarry tile. Probably will have to you at least a heavy duty chipping hammer.
September 29, 2012 at 10:14am   
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Aja Mazin
For a quick, inexpensive fix, change the 'grout' color.

Try cream.
September 29, 2012 at 11:09am   
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Linda Rosario
Aja - there is no "grout" that you could change. The tiles are sunk into the black mortar. To remove the mortar to change the color... you'd be doing just what I want - removing the entire thing. :)
September 29, 2012 at 11:13am   
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Aja Mazin
Is the mortar flush or recessed?
September 29, 2012 at 11:22am   
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Linda Rosario
Completely flush - it's a level/flat surface. You couldn't even try to pry the tile up without chipping away at the mortar.
September 29, 2012 at 11:24am   
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Lois Fortune
There's probably no"quick fix" for this. If the area isn't too large, I think I'd try chipping it out by starting close to the wall and with a hammer and pry bar, break out one piece at a time. If the area is really large put floor leveler on the entire area, let it dry and then re-tile, even if you have to change the door thresh hold height. Good luck!
September 29, 2012 at 11:40am   
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charleee
mpouson, I don't think you're crazy, I think it looks pretty good painted! What an easy fix!

Paint and Jack Daniels will eventually cure what ails ya.
September 29, 2012 at 12:27pm     
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Aja Mazin
Linda Rosario

I think ct design studio has an excellent solution re: glaze.

The mortar and the tile will have different degrees of porousity so it should made for a 'softer' effect
than the standard paint method.
September 29, 2012 at 12:53pm     
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TanCalGal
I think this type of tile can be stained. Google. I like it & would work with it.
September 30, 2012 at 8:28am     
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PRO
Capua Custom Tile & Stone
Aja, I had thought that you were joking but your persistence is giving me doubt. This is an absolutely horrendous example of broken tile mosaic and Linda is right in wanting it torn out. Even for a crafty homeowner project, it's bad. Any effort spent to glaze, stain or paint this is wasted effort because the bare bones of the installation are flawed. There is no uniformity of joint width, tesserae shape or flow. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a tile snob with 26 years of installation experience.
September 30, 2012 at 9:09am     
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Ivy Ann
I think Aja has a good idea with trying to change the color as a first step. If it is still disliked, rip it out and replace it with whatever you choose!
September 30, 2012 at 9:29am     
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Linda Rosario
Capua - if you're ever in Memphis, please come to my house? haha :)
September 30, 2012 at 11:35am   
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bprince300
The dark grout/mortar is what keeps grabbing my eye. Is it a hard porous, concrete-like or gooey ?
If the former I would try painting the mortar a pale warm gray first. If its gooey there is no choice but to chop it out.
If that less contrast grout doesnt make a huge difference there is some variety in what looks like terra cotta tile. If that is unglazed, or even if glazed, I think it could be etched with an acid cleaner, then painted as some have suggested or even stained, which would give you more variety in the same color tones. Paired with a central rug it would be exposed at the edges. It might make it likeable until you have made the ultimate decision .....
September 30, 2012 at 12:01pm     
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Ceci Hutchings
I'm with Aja but Capua made good points too. I know it doesn't make you happy but for now would you be able to try a Spanish/Mediterranian style door or go darker, black, or add wrought iron or black hardware and accessories? Bold artwork? Use a saturated wall color without the white trim? A dark stained wood trim? Paint the trim same as the wall? Try the glaze (give it shine)? The white door, white trim and wall color seem to make it worse.
September 30, 2012 at 12:25pm     
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PRO
Capua Custom Tile & Stone
Linda, I don't expect that I'll be commuting from Seattle any time soon, but I appreciate the offer. Instead, I can recommend that you give Tom Hambrock a call to see if he can't steer you toward a qualified installer in your area. Tom's located all the way over in Tullohoma, TN, so I don't know that he'd take a project in Memphis. But Tom's good people as well as being well-informed about the state of the trade and innovations in our industry. If he can suggest someone to help you out, I'd trust his instinct.
Tom Hambrock; Kitchen & Bath Makeovers
(931) 632-345
Best of luck!,
Shaughnn Lee-Capua
Owner and Primary Trowel-Monkey
Capua Custom Tile & Stone
Seattle, WA
September 30, 2012 at 12:57pm   
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TanCalGal
Might be more attractive painted black, to blend with "grout".
September 30, 2012 at 1:08pm     
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Aja Mazin
Little know fact:

Broken tile is placed in the floor of an entranrce or foyer to keep away evil spirits.
September 30, 2012 at 1:56pm   
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PRO
Capua Custom Tile & Stone
More widely known fact:
Mediocrity often searches out precedent to justify itself. :^)
September 30, 2012 at 2:09pm     
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Linda Rosario
Well, so far the evil spirits aren't being kept away anyhow - haven't even been here two years and the kitchen has had to be gutted due to broken water pipe... a 12 ft tree limb through the roof... the garage's back wall has to be replaced due to rotten wood... the pool has cracked and the pump died... we have a 60ft red oak that needs to come down due to wood beetle infestation... a flooded basement... the mortar around the front entrance has crumbled away... the entire HVAC had to be replaced (along with the water heater).... I could go on. I suppose in retrospect I should be dealing with those things instead of worrying about an ugly tile floor...
September 30, 2012 at 2:35pm   
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silverscreenstar
Would a sledge and a pry bar work to break up the floor so it could be removed? Don't know, but would like an answer from someone who knows more than I. Thanks!
September 30, 2012 at 2:36pm     
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Linda Rosario
Ceci - while I appreciate all those suggestions, I think I'll forgo spending more money to make my decor match a floor I don't like. :) I think (for now) I'll just try to ignore it, decorate to my taste... and save up for a jackhammer rental. haha
September 30, 2012 at 2:37pm     
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Ceci Hutchings
Sorry to hear of the all the urgent fixes demanding your attention. That's no fun. I guess try painting the foyer and the door, give it a shiny glaze, add a rug to blend in and artwork? I'm from Miami it doesn't bother me as much but I understand and empathize. Just make that orange and black look good!
September 30, 2012 at 2:45pm   
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PRO
Capua Custom Tile & Stone
Silverscreenstar,
Yes, a hammer and chisel can be used to remove an installation like this. It's hard work and you should expect to hit your own hand a couple of times as fatigue sets in. But do not use a long-handled sledge. Too long of a handle in tight quarters like that and you'll be looking at drywall repair also. I would use a 3# hand-sledge and a variety of Dasco cold-chisels. But once you've bought the right tools, you'll have spent about the same as you would to rent a demo hammer for the day. Seriously, it's not expensive. I think Home Depot rents what this project would require for less than $40 per day.
Shaughnn
September 30, 2012 at 2:55pm   
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PRO
BeautifulRemodel.com
Hi Linda

As a GC who's demo'd many tile floors, Capua's advice is spot-on. A good sized demo hammer is your best bet in removing this quickly. (If its a very small tile area, then a 5lb sledge, a 3" brick chisel and a large pry bar will work)

You mentioned your other floors squeak though so I'm presuming this is wood-framed floor? if so, and IF they used a backer board, this could be easier to remove, as long as you can pry from under the backer board. If the tile is set on plywood then it will tear it apart when you demo it (the same if they set the backer in thinset too) So you may have to patch the subfloor when the demo is complete.

Steve
September 30, 2012 at 3:22pm   
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Karen
Hi. if you dont like it, you dont like it. I would tile over it. BUT use some of the new tiles from Europe that are thinner than normal US tiles. They are specifically designed to go over old floors without ripping the previous floor out. This keeps transitions looking more natural and will usually avoid having to trim doors etc. Even with shipping, they are not as much as you'd think and come in some large sizes. I mean really large. I have 40" x52" in my kitchen/ living room. Lea has some that are 3' x 10'

I have Slimmker from Inalco. Another good one is Lea Slimtech. There are more, Im just drawing a blank now. Oh, and dont think they are weak because they are thin- these bad boys are cutting edge and much stronger than traditional 3/8" tiles!

Best of luck!
September 30, 2012 at 3:56pm   
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Aja Mazin
WOW!

Your immediate problem is your 60ft red oak with wood beetle infestation.

1.] If the treee i beyond saving, remove the 60ft red oak immediately
before you have more than a 12 ft tree limb through the roof.

Have ALL debris removed.

OR

2.] Treat with the appropriate pesticide, prune, and keep your red oak tree healthy.

Killing adults and any exposed larvae will disrupt the reproductive cycle of the beetles and discourage future generations of wood-boring worms.

Clean up any fallen limbs and dead wood lying around the red oak tree,
as those could also harbor worms and beetles.

IMPORTANT: Check your house for any signs of infestation.
September 30, 2012 at 4:06pm   
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PRO
JRI Design/Build
I'm in Memphis and can help with this or any project. www.JRIDesignBuild.com
December 13, 2012 at 6:21am   
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Bruce
we have the same retro broken tile floors in SC, well similar, on our enclosed patio and have been considering the BEHR Deck Over at Home Depot. Either this or covering it with some sort of thin concrete to add some slope so the water is pushed away and can be easily cleaned. Not sure if it will work but experimentation seems like fun...unless anyone else has advice.
August 13, 2013 at 5:43pm   
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Aja Mazin
How about a Chia floor?

Dump a bushel basket of Chia seed onto the damp floor.......
August 13, 2013 at 6:15pm     
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Bruce
I love that idea!!! Keep me posted!
August 13, 2013 at 6:23pm     
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PRO
LM.DESIGNS
These floors are very common in Germantown for that age of house. It definitely is a huge eyesore the moment you walk in to the house because it doesn't reflect your style or taste. Unfortunately, you either need to have it tiled over or broken out. If you want to remove it, this is better left to a contractor. These floors usually have an extremely thick mortar bed and you don't want to damage surrounding areas. If you tile over it, you will mostly have a higher floor than the adjacent areas, but tearing it out can be pricey. I would get an estimate for both ways and see which more important to you.
August 24, 2013 at 6:59am      Thanked by Linda Rosario
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Patti Bradford
Lisa, It's broken tile. Has to be broken and removed with a sledge hammer.
August 26, 2013 at 11:33am   
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angelfishmom
Linda, I live in Memphis and have the same floor in my sunroom. I stage and decorate for a living. You didn't mention what your decorating style is, however there are ways to make it less noticeable with color. A great light fixture ( an iron one would be pretty) that matches your personal style and the style of the house. Add a rustic distressed beige table, pretty wood mirror, and a large contemporary arrangement with a pop of color. I would stay away from the bright metals in this area and keep most of it neutral. Try a ph neural floor cleaner and seal it. White is your enemy, stay with the creams and beiges. If all your trim is white then leave it and change the color of the door. You may not believe me, but you can work with it for now. Good luck! This post is very late so you probably done something with it by now, but just in case I thought I would try to help in case you didn't have it removed.
July 23, 2014 at 8:03pm        Thanked by Linda Rosario
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Linda Rosario
You know what... I haven't done a darned thing yet! We had to sink a ton of money into having the joists of the actual floor reinforced (as we were sinking) and treated and now I have a $$$$ 40 ft $$$$$ retaining wall that has to be entirely replaced in the back of our yard. This poor old floor has had no love yet.
July 24, 2014 at 6:44am   
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