Tile worth your while

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

HR-080215-Joanne-2On my most recent visit to my hometown of Cleveland, I met six new babies in the span of just one week. I have to say, I am enjoying this stage of life. It is surreal to see how my childhood friends have evolved into parents and how their parents brighten up when talking about their new grandchildren.

While I was visiting Aly, my friend of 25 years, my eye was drawn outside. I couldn’t help but notice her exquisite outdoor seating area. I was even more impressed when she told me that she and her husband did the flooring themselves — with a little more than paint. Before the makeover, they had a plain cement slab. Now, it looks as though they have a beautifully tiled, terra cotta floor. If you’re interested in achieving the look of terra cotta for a fraction of the price, follow these steps:

First, measure the space to determine how much paint you’ll need.

Then, when purchasing your paint, make sure to get enough to do two coats in two shades, one darker than the other. Aly suggested taking a quick trip to the tile aisle and finding a piece of terra cotta that you like, then holding that against the paint swatches to find your shades. While you’re at the store, you also can gather the other necessary tools: a tape measure, chalk snap, yardstick, T-square, painter’s tape (in the width you want your “grout” lines), a sponge or rag, paint trays, rollers and clear sealant.
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Next, clean the surface. Use soap and water and allow it to dry overnight. Then, tape off the perimeter and your “grout” lines. You’ll have to decide how big the tiles should be to create your fake tiles. Keep in mind that smaller tiles (such as 12 inch by 12 inch or smaller) evoke a formal, more intimate feel, and larger ones (such as 16 inch by 16 inch) lend a casual tone. Outline the path with the chalk snap and follow it up with the painter’s tape. Use the yard-stick and T-square to ensure that the lines are straight.

After that, start the base coat. Use the lighter shade of paint and go over the entire area. Let it dry according to the instructions. Then, go back over the individual squares with the darker shade and use your sponge or rag to add variation. Allow it to thoroughly dry before repeating the process.

Once the second coat is dry, apply sealant according to manufacturer instructions. Let dry and add a second coat. Once dry, remove the painter’s tape to expose your “grout.”

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.