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Create a Laminate Tile Floor

Tile has always been one of my favorite decorating elements because there are so many creative possibilities.  The tile’s color, shape and design can dramatically change the feel of a room.  Having built my own real house and actually installing & grouting tile, I wanted to experiment in miniature scale.  Also, I haven’t found much selection in pre-made tile floors.

This floor is made from plastic laminate edge-banding which comes on a 1-1/2″ wide roll.  It is available in several solid colors as well as a few marble designs.  There is an adhesive backing film that peels off for easy application.  The laminate is so-o-o easy to work with; it practically “snaps” apart on the score lines.

Break off manageable-sized pieces (about 12″-18″ long).  Score laminate “lengthwise” down the middle (two passes with light to moderate pressure) and then “crosswise” at 3/4″ increments yielding a 3/4″ x 3/4″ square tile.

Lightly bend back once and then forward on the score lines to s[Gallery not found]eparate into individual tiles.  Trim away excess adhesive.

If you have never worked with this type of laminate, a couple of tips:

The laminate tends to shift while being scored, so do two passes.  Use very light pressure the first time and slightly more on the second pass.  Lighter pressure will ensure more control and avoid a trip to the emergency room!

The key to a good fit is accurate cutting.   Use a steel straight-edge (preferably cork-backed to prevent slipping) and a sharp utility knife.  Don’t forget to change the blade often as a dull blade will give a ragged result.  Work with manageable sized pieces … the whole roll is awkward.  Clamping down the square and strip being cut will also help tremendously.

Although the laminate will break cleanly on the score lines, there may be some excess adhesive.  Keep a small, sharp scissors nearby to trim it away.  Occasionally wipe the scissor blades with De-Solv-It or Goo-Gone to remove the gummy residue.

I decided on a finished tile size of 3/4″ x 3/4″ so that I could split the width evenly in half.  Based on that size, my  10 x 12 room required about a half roll of each color.  If you choose

a larger tile size, then you will get one row instead of two.  One other note:  plastic laminate is also sold in a flat sheet by the foot but it is not self-adhesive and the tiles will have to be glued down.  If you choose this route, I recommend using contact cement.  A white glue just won’t bond plastic well and the tiles will lift.

I chose a combination of solid black and a black/white marble design.  I arranged the squares on the diagonal although a straight pattern will work just as well.  I began at the center of the room and worked out towards the edges.  The final pieces had to be custom cut to fit close to the walls or doorways.   A scissor did the trick just fine!  I nudged each tile close to the next and applied some pressure to fix in place.  A wallpaper roller or flat tool (covered with a cloth to prevent scratching the tiles) was also a big help.  For any “bare spots” that remained between tiles, I used a very small amount of acrylic paint in a matching color and wiped away the excess.  Note:  you can also color the edges of each tile with a marking pen before they are pressed into place.

You could also take this floor one step further and place the tiles about 1/16″ apart and use a tinted “filler” (such as joint compound mixed with a little acrylic paint) to simulate the grout!