Ceramic Tiling...

Hi there,

As some of you know we are rennovating an old building and getting ready for an August opening. Next week we are ready to do the kitchen floor. I have researched the internet a bit on how to install ceramic tile but if anyone has any suggestions (or warnings) I would love to hear it. We really want to do this ourselves to save on costs. Has anyone on this site done their own?

Thanks for any advice.

Be careful with ceramic in the kitchen-VERY SLICK!

We use regular tile, cheap and easy to replace.

We have ceramic in our entry way and if it gets wet it is like a skating rink. Make sure to put a sealer over it too.

Wow getting down to the wire…good for you!

I would go with a good vinyl tile. I have had some bad near misses in kitchens with ceramic. If you do go ceramic there is an anti-slip sealer you should look into.

Hi Kris, thanks for replying. Yes we are close and I am getting nervous like crazy!! I don’t even have a final menu yet!

Regular tile? Do you mean linoleum? Sorry, I know I am probably asking dumb questions here but… I know that I need “seamless” flooring. What are my options?

a trip to Home Depot, Lowes or someone who specializes in flooring is in order…don’t believe you want ceramic…too slick…

I did a small patch of tile in the front & vinyl stick-ons in the kitchen…

Most important I believe is to ensure the floor is smooth & clean, or install another plywood subfloor over badly cracked/uneven concrete…

you can try to put a “fresh” finish on old concrete w/a grinding tool (rented) but it is messy…we used that to smooth out floor for the stick-on squares.

look @ this link


its quite interesting/quite expensive

Vinly like daddio said. Just your generic floor tile you see in school cafeterias. Won’t be as slick. We have replaced ours 1 time in 13 years. Easy to do and you can get it home depot cheap. We were able to change in 48 hours. Started at close Saturday and done by Monday morning. Managed to sleep some too. Gotta love being a do it yourselfer!

I remember when we opened I had the final menu literally done opening week. Printed them off on my computer. Ran across one a few weeks ago, funny how things progress.

All will be fine and keep us posted on how it is going.

We have plywood on the floor right now. (We really gutted the building and started from scratch)

maybe for walls not floors, either quarry or other commercially rated tile (i think our was porcelain) we used 18" for less grout lines and used an epoxy grout that is better for cleaning…make sure to pick a darker color than lite

o.k., so you think one big roll of vinyl flooring would be the way to go? That would qualify for seamless right? I don’t really know why I was thinking it had to be ceramic.

(On a side note - Kris - I am going to do my menu just on my computer for now too. Any tips there? I am strictly only Pizza and garlic fingers for now - take out only)

Hmmm now you got me stumped… I meant square vinly tiles. Probably should let one of the guys answer that. With the plywood I see why it needs to be seamless. We have ours on concrete.

As for the menu…Easy just did ours in Microsoft word. Made mini to go ones which matched just smaller. If your going to have dine in I suggest getting menu covers you can put the menus in. Looks nice when they are all done. I get mine at king menus. www.kng.com. They have some paper which is cool too.

We have a pretty big menu now. In the begining I used a legal sheet and folded it in thirds. If you need any help let me know. I’m sure now you have a million things going on. I would also suggesst using descriptions of your menu items. You will avoid hundreds of questions.

How exciting…those were the days. :lol:

Don’t install ceramic…

First of all its too brittle. Even if its installed with ZERO air voides under it, it will crack with little effort…i.e. dropped something heavier than a notepad on it. Secondly its expensive…Third its slicker than PAM on stainless steel (don’t ask, its an ugly experience:-).

I was a contractor for a bunch of years and was also a flooring expert at Lowes for awhile too. Here’s the skinny on flooring.

You can do it one of 3 ways:
First is probably the right way, will last for 10 years and is easily maintained… Use VCT tile (Vinyl Composite Tile). Its 1/4" thick or so, comes in a huge variety of colors and blends and is as simple as troweling VCT adhesive on pretty much any floor type (concrete, wood, etc) and slapping the tile down on the goop. You apply a wax coat to it every so often and its just ducky!

Second is sheet vinyl. It comes 12 feet wide and as long as you can manage. Not as easy to install but still pretty simple…UNLESS your room is wider than 12 feet and you have to seam it. I can explain how to do it but its not a real easy thing to get done if you have never laid sheet vinyl. This however is a no wax situation but the surface is a little more touchy to abrasion…i.e. you move the 500# table or appliance without a dolly…it digs into the vinyl and tears a huge hole in it.

Third is the least desirable but least expensive method and that is to use “peel and stick” vinyl squares. You can get it for $ .65 a square or up to $2.50 a square in a zillion different patterns. Its directional so you have to make sure that you have every one oriented with the arrow on the backing the same way. They come self glued so rip off the paper and stick it to the floor. WORDS OF CAUTION…AND MY PERSONAL OPINION… This is great for a place with little temp change, little traffic, little abrasion and VERY little water. They will NOT stick to a surface that has every had grease, oil or any other kind of icky substance on it. They shrink with temp changes leaving little cracks for food and crap to accumulate in and if you get water under them they will curl causing a trip hazzard and they WILL look ugly after a year GUARANTEED if they are used in a commercial environment.

My 2 cents (or 5 cents if you convert it to Canadian or Australian, sory had to drop that in there guys)… Use VCT. Installation is like peel and stick but you have to apply the glue yourself…AND IT WON’T SHRINK, CURL, WEAR OR DISCOLOR… like peel and stick. VCT is used in dang near every commercial application in the world. It is readily available at Lowes, Home Depot and other flooring stores in limited colors. If you install it, it will save you money and you will thank me after the sore back therapy from a day or two on your knees, KNOWING THAT YOU WON’T HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN FOR A VERY LONG TIME!!!


Good Luck… and you can send the check for .02 cents to the charity of choice.

Colley Reed
The Sweet Spot

Thanks for all the info. I just called Home Depot to see about the VCT tile and they say restaurants use ceramic. If I remember correctly this is what the Health Inspector said a couple of months ago which is why I was thinking about ceramic to begin with. Gosh, there has been so much to think about and to do that I can’t remember who says what!!!

I guess I am back to ceramic. When we tore the place apart to begin with there was broken ceramic tile in the kitchen so I hear ya about the down fall to using it.

My actual kitchen is very small. I believe it is 20x11 &1/2 (There is a small kind of walk in storage hallway and washroom off this area) I cringe to think of putting down a solid sheet of vinyl only to have it torn up by moving equipment or something.

I also need 4-6 inches of (the ceramic) going up the walls from the flooring. I don’t know if that is standard for all restaurant kitchens or maybe just here??

I have ceramic tile in my shop and it is the worst. If you don’t have non-slip shoes on, you could be at risk for injury.

Need to make sure that all water or fluid spills are taken care of asap. A good idea would be to get some rubber matting to put around the sinks and places where there could be a risk.

hey, anyone have any luck with concrete stain (for the dining area?)

I’ll let you know next week :smiley: I have stripped my dining & server alley area of nearly 800 sq feet of the mastic goo from the 60’s. Long and tedious, but the product I found to use made it a lot simpler than it could have been.

I will be laying down a 3-part system on the concrete. Primer - stain - topcoat sealer. They are all sprayable water-based products from Behr. The cans all say to use a pump sprayer, like for gardening. I got some high end ones, and am preparing to start the coating process this weekend. A little drying time in between each application, and off I go. Behr had a $6 off promotion for the 4th week, so I got $290 worth of paint for $145 after rebates . . . cha ching for the do-it-yourselfer on speed.

We aregoing this route for ease of application, cost and ease of decorative flourish that we can do ourselves without having to explain to a contractor. Plus, we have 5 different textures and generations of concrete to deal with, so the inherent visual interst of the concrete will be fun to use. We may regret it, but for a couple days’ work and $160 in materials . . . I’ll let you know how it goes.

My husband and I built ours from scratch. One thing about tile is - make sure you do not get off your “step” or the entire floor pattern will look slanted. I have pictures of construction, including the tile and finished product at http://s187.photobucket.com/albums/x172/PizzaDiva/

If for some reason that link does not take you there, photobucket.com and search PizzaDiva. It will bring you to an option to view my album.

The picture of the grill line includes four burner gas, char, grill, two fryers, freezer for prepped portions and walk-in. The right side not shown is the sub station, prep table.


Hello Debbie,I did my own and the best tile to use in a rest.is definitly a quarry tile in which most big chains use like Mc D’s,BK and etc…these tile are very strong will never crack and easy clean up.If possible try to put a drain on your floor for easy clean up.you can hose down and squeegy every night.Do not use vinyl!! This crap will peel up all the time and it will just be headache for you in the very near future.


I used to be a Tile Contractor (until I got smart and got a Job where my Knees and Back did not hurt).

From a Sanitary standpoint Tile is the way to go. Ceramic is too slick. Most restaurants use a “quarry” tile with Diamond Pattern in the Kitchen area with an Epoxy Grout (Non Staining). You want a flooring that is going to be easy to clean and does not hold dirt, grease or crumbs.

The quarry tile that I have used in the past is from a Dal Tile.

Now, some restaurants are going to Stained Concrete with a Glazed sealer. This is a less expensive way and can be very attractive as well.

I’d love to give you hints on how to install tile but being a professional installer i may confuse but here are a couple anyway:

Find the longest wall in the kitchen and, using a Chalk Line snapper, snap a parrallel line to that wall the width of one tile.
Then snap a perpindicular (90 degrees) line the previous line.
The intersecting point will be your starting point for your first tile.

HINT : The 90 degree line should be placed in order to Try and put the “cuts” under cabinets and/ or in inconspicuous places.

If you have floor drains make sure that the floor slopes toward the drains or they are useless.

The easiest way to check the level of a floor is to pour a 5 Gallon bucket of water on the floor and see where it puddles. If there are puddles, circle them with a crayon and buy a floor leveler (Level Quick is a good brand) to eliminate the puddles. (follow directions on the bag)

The key to a good tile job is picturing in your head what it will look like before you begin. Making adjustments to layout if the walls are not square and keeping the grout joints a consistent size.

PS A good grout job will hide any inconsistencies in the tile, conversely, a BAD grout job will magnify the issues.

Good Luck and buy a GOOD pair of kneepads!

Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts and ideas!

I found out I absolutely can not use vinyl tile (of any sort) and it’s was either one big long seemless sheet (or creating the seemless sheet by “welding” two pieces together - I can’t even explain that let alone DO IT!!) or it had to be the comercial grade tile.

We went with Porcelain. Apparently it will not be very slippery and if installed correctly (yikes!) it will hold up very well.

It cost $330.00 for the tile and another $600.00 to buy all the products that had to be purchased in order to install it!!! CRAZY! It better work.

PD - Your restaurant is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing the pics, you have also given me an idea for my front counter!

I’ll let you all know how the flooring goes. We will be starting next week. Thanks again for all the input, it is GREATLY appreciated.