This custom floor was just finished in a home basement using a basic 8 inch x 8 inch square quarry tile (cut into 3 ½ inch squares) and 7 ½ inch x 3 ½ inch rectangular quarry tile in earth tones of terra cotta and brown.
Many homeowners and designers do not like to use quarry tile because of its commercial appearance. In looking at the tile you might think it would be very drab, or too plain to create an attractive designer floor. It took some time, and thought and many cuts but the final design demonstrates that you can create a fabulous designer floor with a little attention, a creative mind and very basic commercial quality tile.
The custom tile floor was installed in a basement area at the bottom of a stairway leading to a small laundry area. There was not a large floor area to work with so the design pattern had to be small enough to fit along a narrow hallway. The basement also leads to the garage and is the main entrance to the house so the floor had to be durable. The beauty of using the quarry tile in this area is it is very durable and has a PEI rating of 5, the highest rating given by the Porcelain Enamel Institute for an abrasion rating.
The square quarry tile in the lighter shade acted as a focal point for the pattern that was put on a 45 degree angle to give interest to what started out as plain basic tile. If you look at the same pattern straight on, without the diagonal you get a totally different look, far from the custom look the 45 creates. The square tile was actually cut from an 8 x 8, which was too large to use in its full size as a small pattern was needed for this area. On the outside of the square the long rectangle tiles in a darker brown shade were used to construct the diagonal. The pattern was repeated and squared off at the stairway and doorway and along the cabinet wall.
The quarry tile itself appeared to be rather dark for a basement area so we needed to be very careful in choosing the grout color. Grey or dark brown grout would make the tile and the area appear too dark, and orange grout would be too much of a contrast, so a light taupe was selected, which is a nice compliment to the terra cotta color tile. The color brought out the peach tones of both the terra cotta and brown tiles. And since this area will receive a lot of traffic, the taupe color grout will not show dirt and stains as easily.
However before grouting the floor was presealed to aid in the grouting and eliminate any grout haze as the quarry tile is very porous. Once the floor was grouted a penetrating sealer was used to make the tile and grout both stain resistant.
This is just one of the many ways to use very simple materials to create a custom floor design. A designer pattern will take more time than a straight design due to the many cuts and the figuring to make all ends match, but in the end you will have a truly unique floor that is exclusive to your home.