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encaustic / Cuban / cement tiles (backsplash + floor)

February 1, 2011

We recently had the most marvelous tile installed in our laundry room, and I posted about it in the Decorating forum. palimpsest suggested I share the info over here so here I am!

Obviously I love color and pattern (although if you've seen my serene kitchen you wouldn't know it!) and I chose to do a vibrant patchwork pattern. But this isn't how it has to be -- these tiles come in solid colors as well, and you can make a deliberate pattern or whatever.

We got our tiles from Villa Lagoon Tile and worked with the owner, Lundy. She was a joy and so helpful. I didn't choose the patterns but instead said to her "colorful & busy!" and she complied. I am really happy.

I'm going to say it ended up costing, inc. freight (it came on a pallet), like $10 per square foot. Before installation I sealed it with Miracle 511 twice, then sealed it again after it was laid but before it was grouted. Since it was grouted I've waxed (using paste wax and a buffer) a few times. It cleans up like a dream! It is insane how easy it is to clean. I've been a painting maniac in the laundry room and every little splatter just peels right off, no staining. I credit both the sealing and waxing. However, in socks it is slippery.

I'm still painting (the gingham pattern) and not done (knobs) in here, but this gives you an idea what a beautiful space it is with these fabulous tiles!

Comments (16)

  • suzanne_sl

    I love your tiles! I've looked at Talavera tiles a number of times and just couldn't figure out where to use them - thanks for the ideas!

  • pinch_me

    Not a bad price, either!

  • remodelfla

    That is TOTALLY awesome!!

  • mtnrdredux_gw

    I'm the queen of neutral, but I love it! It's so cheery and so .... Global!

  • dee850

    I love encaustic tiles, I'm so glad to hear that they are easy to maintain once sealed. And what a fun look for your floor!

  • marthavila

    Love it! Love it! Love it! Great job! But then, I would expect nothing less from you. :-)

  • cardamon

    The tiles are beautiful. But I'm amazed that you could paint the walls that perfectly. I thought it was wallpaper. You are a really, really good painter.

  • sabjimata

    Wow! You really are a GREAT painter. I, too, thought it was wallpaper! You sure have been busy. I cannot believe your skills. Or how affordable the Cuban tile was.

    So someone gridded out the design for you? Interesting.

  • rmkitchen

    Good Morning Kind People! Thank you so much for all your nice words. I swear I only posted so there'd be a picture / info (vendor, prices, installation) about these tiles, but you all have just made my day. Thank you!!!

    My 4.5 year-old son has a rare and profound neurological disorder (Encephalopathy with Status Epilepticus during Sleep (ESES), the Penelope Syndrome). He was mostly toilet-trained, able to speak, and then fifteen months ago he lost both of those as well as the ability to understand language, concept of danger, learned memory, etc. Since we're back to diapers and we change his diapers in the laundry room, I wanted to make that space as chipper, colorful, inviting as possible. We also do A LOT of laundry (like many Special kiddos, he is a v. messy eater due to Sensory / fine motor issues -- doesn't bother me).

    Here he is "helping" with the tile install:

    He's chewing on a chewy tube -- that back of the jaw pressure feels good to him, similar to people who gnaw on pencils / chew gum.

    maggie and sabji, thank you for the compliment about my painting! It's actually fun and soothing to paint those squares. It's taking a while but since I'm enjoying it that's okay by me!

    sabjimata -- are you talking about the grid on the wall or the pattern on the floor? Both were done solely by me, and I want full credit! Full! Re the floor, I told Lundy, the owner of Villa Lagoon Tile, that I wanted no solid colors and lots of vibrant patterns. She told the warehouse, who picked and packed them up. It was a big, fun surprise as I opened all the boxes and laid them out in the garage as my "dry run." There were no black & white, no yellows, no greens, so I contacted Lundy and she sent me some more so I could get a better mix (for what I was after).

    Nate, our sweet tile helper, removed the washer and dryer and old vinyl floor, and then he and I dry laid the tile in the laundry room. I tweaked some things and then we laid them -- that "we" was more Nate than I, admittedly.

    But, I bet Lundy could and would design a pattern if that's what someone was after. She really is great.

    Thank you again everyone! They really are a fun, inexpensive, durable way to get some color / pattern (bright or subtle) in any space, and I really believe they'd be terrific in a kitchen. **Except they are slippery in socks.**

  • adel97

    I tend to be *afraid* of color in my own home but I LOVE color on a grand scale when done right, and your laundry room is awesome!

    You are an impressive painter and an even more impressive parent. Best wishes to you, your little one, and all your family.

  • boxerpups

    Beautiful tiles,
    and an adorable little boy.

  • kathylquiltz

    That floor is SO fun! Thanks for posting the pictures!

  • rmkitchen

    I am bananas grateful, touched by everyone's generous comments! Thank you so much. xo

  • ideagirl2

    Thank you for posting this! What gorgeous tiles! I spent quite a while ogling them at that website...

  • italyvespa

    Thank you for posting this, rmkitchen. What are your thoughts on using encaustic cement tiles for the kitchen? I know when I'm at convention centers (all concrete floors), my feet hurt after a while. I'd hate to put them in my kitchen and then realize it had the same result, but I don't know if this is the same kind of concrete.

    BTW, I don't think I can ask a retailer this question and get an honest reply. I think only someone outside of sales can give me a good opinion.

  • hapahaole76

    Thanks for the pic and info! I bought the color samples from Villa Lagoon last year and fell in love with all the colors and the variations within each color. I love the patterns, but am afraid of anything wild, so I was planning to use solid colors for our bathroom floors.

    Now I'm trying to figure out if I want to use them as a kitchen backsplash (though not sure they go with the white cabinet/soapstone counter look). And maybe do something like your mosaic in the garage entry/office/laundry area...though not sure my DH would go for that in his little office space. Hm.. I love what you did with them though and I'm happy to hear they have been staying clean for you. did you follow all the installation instructions they had on their website?

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