Feb 20, 2013

A review of SnapStone floating tile floor

Hey, hey everyone! Hope you all are doing well. The hubs and I spent the weekend in Quebec City for winter carnival. It was so fun...and so cold! We went to Quebec City for our first anniversary and we loved it. It was so fun to see it in the wintertime.

Anyways, I'm here today as promised to share my thoughts on the SnapStone tile product that we used in our entryway. As I mentioned in my entryway update, we decided to use this porcelain tile floating floor system because it was supposed to be quick and easy to install. We found it at Lowe's. They had about four colors available in the store, but others available to order on their website. We picked the color Camel (which appears unavailable.)

On the bottom of the tile is an interlocking tray with a rubber base. The tiles click together without the use of thinset or mortar, so you can install it over an existing floor.

For the most part, it was easy to install. We've never installed other tile, so we don't have a frame of reference if it's easier than traditional tile. But it seemed relatively easy to install once we got the hang of it. We followed the written instructions and watched the instructional videos on the SnapStone website.

To click the tiles together, you are supposed to line them up and then tap the edges with a rubber mallet to lock the tiles into place. After they're locked together, you finish the job with a flexible grout.

Some things I've gotta mention about this tile:
  • The guy in the installation videos made it look super easy to click the tiles together with one whap of the rubber mallet. I did not find it that easy. I had to hit those tiles a good few times to get them to click together, especially once I finished the first row and I had to attach the tiles on two sides.
  • Once the tiles were clicked together, they held pretty well -- but they were still able to slide. So adding a new tile to a row would ultimately end up shifting all the previous tiles a little bit. So I had to keep rechecking to make sure they were all aligned. We actually got through about three rows before we realized the top row had shifted, and we had to take them apart and start over.
  • This was made more difficult by the fact that, because it's a floating floor, you have to leave a 1/4" expansion gap around the edges. Hammering on one tile would ultimately shift the row all the way against the wall, so we had to put some luan scraps in between the end tile and the wall to keep them from shifting over too far.
  • For the tiles that went around the walls, you had to break off the tabs on that side. They were pretty easy to twist off with some pliers.

  • Cutting the tile was the same as any porcelain tile. We used both a tile cutter and a tile saw. Using the tile cutter, you had to then take a razor blade to cut through the rubber grid on the bottom. Not too hard to do, but we did burn through a few razor blades.
It took us about a day to lay the tile. It would have taken less time if we realized from the beginning that the tiles were shifting, and we put the luan in the expansion gap, so we didn't have to start over. It probably took longer too because the tile has a pretty variable pattern, and I spent some time picking just the right tiles to make sure they matched up.

It's been in about a couple months and we've had no troubles with it. It's kind of interesting -- you have to keep rubber-backed mats or rugs off the floor for a whole month, which was kind of obnoxious. So that meant we had wet and dirty shoes on the floor, and I was worried it'd cause problems with the grout -- but nothing that I noticed.

I was worried the floating floor would have a weird sound when you walked on it -- like a hollow sound, or maybe a gritty sound of dirt between the floor and the underlayment. But we haven't noticed anything like that (we made sure to vacuum well before we laid the tile to ensure there was no dirt or grit underneath the tile).

All in all, I'd definitely use these SnapStone tiles again! Would you give it a try?

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