Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stair at This!

Remember how our rambunctious furball Jellyby kept slipping on the hardwood on the stairs?  Well, we finally found a solution!  Behold: Our new, Flor-tile-covered staircase!

Our staircase before the makeover, aside from being slippery, was also totally uninspired.  Aside from various scuffs left by our movers, it was just white and wood.  Yawn.

To brighten up the space, we picked two different patterns of Flor tiles: Ascot Stripe, a bold stripe, in "Cinnabar" (from the Martha Stewart collection) and Morning Coffee, a subtly textured pattern, in "Decaf."  I went back and forth for a long time between the Ascot Stripe pattern and a more refined one called Needlepoint, but I'm really glad I chose the Ascot Stripe at the end; it's much more fun and cheerful.

The Ascot Stripe tiles were $12.99 each, and the Morning Coffee tiles were $10.99 each.  Total before shipping = $165.86.  Less expensive than the Dash & Albert runners I was considering (which would have been even more pricey once we figured in the cost of professional installation).

Ascot Stripe in Cinnabar
Morning Coffee in Decaf
Image source: Flor

I was a bit worried about the installation process.  Alright, that's an understatement.  I was totally dreading it, and scared shitless about cutting off a thumb or poking out an eye.  After all, I've got zero house DIY skills.  Nada.  And other than the carpet cutter, which I ordered from Amazon (and took 20 minutes putting together -- again, zero house DIY skills!), I had no tools.  Usually, no skills + no tools = total disaster.

But at the end of the day, the whole process was pretty painless: start-to-finish, it took around 2 hours.

I began by cutting the tiles down to size.  I figured out that each step would need two halves of a tile.  Flor's website says that each tile is 19.7 inches, but who wants to measure out 9.85 inches?  Here's the deal: 19.7 inches is actually 50 cm.  Measuring 25 cm is way easier for someone who is numerically challenged like me.

After marking the tile with red pen on the vinyl side of the tile, I scored the line a few times with the carpet cutter, bent the tile back and forth, then cut in earnest down the line.  I did all of this over my self-healing cutting mat, and somehow managed not to make gouges all over my husband's desk.

After I halved all the tiles, I laid them out on the stairs to play with the patterns.  After experimenting with various patterns (2 Ascot Stripe steps, followed by 2 Morning Coffee steps; 6 Morning Coffee steps sandwiched by the Ascot Stripe steps; etc.), I decided on an every-other-step pattern.

While the tiles fit perfectly length-wise, they overlapped width-wise by 6.5 cm, so I had to do a little more cutting.  I then used Flor's adhesive dots to suture the halves together.

What's great about the stripe patterns is that they hide the suture line really well.  Once I adhered the two pieces to each other with the Flor dots and installed the whole shebang on each step, you really can't tell that each step is composed of two halves. And since I had two leftover tiles, I used the 6.5 cm scraps and attached them together and to an extra tile to make a little area rug . . . which Jellyby promptly decided was hers.

I wasn't sure how I was going to adhere the tiles to the hardwood steps.  The Flor rep said I'd have to purchase carpeting adhesive from Home Depot or Lowes.  But it turned out that with the vinyl backing and the near perfect fit (width-wise) of the tiles, I didn't really need to adhere the tiles to the steps; even with Jellyby scampering up and down them at Tasmanian Devil speed, they didn't move.  We might eventually put a little strip of doublestick tape between them and the steps, just to be extra safe, but I'm happy living with them the way they are for now.

All that was left to do was to scrub out the scuff marks with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (that thing really is magic!) and to handvac up extraneous little bits of rug and vinyl.

What do you think of the end product?  I'm pretty proud that I managed to install a perfectly charming and serviceable runner on the stairs without gouging myself in the eye, cutting a hole in the floor, or spending $$ on professional help.  In fact, if this whole becoming a law professor thing doesn't work out, I'm thinking I could go into rug installation!


Cathleya February 17, 2010 at 12:29 AM  

This is awesome. Our stairs look exactly like yours (and our feet dont even fit fully on them... you have to kind of walk on your toes up and down them... dangerous!) and we have to carry the dog up to bed every night. She'll do them during the day but she's scared of them at night because of the slippage combined with the darkness. I showed your finished product to Mark and the first thing he said was that Billie the dog would really love this... I laughed and told him that you did it for your dog!!! Great idea!

Mrs. Hot Cocoa February 17, 2010 at 7:00 AM  

Tell Billie and Mark that this project was fully Jellyby approved! For weeks, she's been whining at the bottom of the stairs for us to come get her (or just supervise her coming up the stairs) because she's been so freaked out about slipping. But last night, she was scampering up and down by herself, no problem at all. Woo hoo!

M and C February 17, 2010 at 4:32 PM  

I love it. If we get a dog, we'll probably have to do the same thing!

Creature Gorgeous February 17, 2010 at 11:49 PM  

Oh, that is so smart, efficient, stylish...the list goes on! I had never heard of FLOR before reading Kristin's Bien Living blog about it. You kids are ALWAYS in the know with the latest and coolest things.

Katie February 18, 2010 at 12:09 AM  

Wow! That looks awesome, and serves such a lovely purpose!

P.s. word verification = hautc....no joke! I had to giggle.

Kristin ~ Bien Living February 18, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

Looks great, Amanda! I love that you weren't afraid of color & pattern :) Everyone should embrace it, in my opinion!

P.S. next time you need anything like this, let me know! I get a great discount from FLOR & other places :)

Mrs. Hot Cocoa February 18, 2010 at 11:27 PM  

@ M and C: It's good for dogs and husbands with slippery socks. ;-P

@ Creature Gorgeous: Thanks for leading me to K's blog. I don't know why it wasn't already on my list of Bee blogs.

@ Kristin: Serious?! I'm thinking we'll probably use Flor for a hallway runner soon. I'll definitely take you up on your very generous offer.

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