Mesa Stone - Fieldstone
So far we're loving this floor!
As we were researching our flooring for the breakfast room, kitchen, hallway and entry, the top of my wish list was to put in porcelain tile because I'm a big fan of permanent flooring and I wanted something that is easy to get clean, is waterproof, and won't need to be replaced. However, my husband doesn't like how hard and cold the porcelain and ceramic tiles are.
My list of what I absolutely want from my flooring in these rooms includes: looks nice; sturdy and durable over time and real-life normal living; waterproof; reasonably easy to keep clean and occasionally disinfected; and stands up to normal activities of pets, young adults, and little kids (so that when they walk across it and roll toys across it and spill on it I won't need to panic about every little mistake).
I hunted everywhere, read all kinds of stuff about flooring, asked all kinds of questions from everyone. In the end, we decided to go with Armstrong Alterna Mesa Stone Fieldstone because almost all of the information I could find about it was positive and seemed to meet my list of requirements. (*A note of thanks here to the admin of the Armstrong facebook page, who was very helpful in returning answers to some of my specific questions in a timely manner.)
There was so little follow-up feedback on the Armstrong Alterna Luxury Vinyl Tiles out there - other than a few glowing reports we were getting - that I decided to begin an ongoing review for future flooring hunters out there who are scouring the internet for whatever they can learn about it. Therefore, this is the first part of my review of our new LVT and I expect to add more as time goes by and the flooring ages.
We got the Armstrong online coupon to purchase the floor, but it was from a store that was a bit far away, so we talked to a closer store. Michael's Carpet and Flooring in St. Peters, MO honored the coupon so we purchased the flooring through them. They've been very helpful with tips and explanations of instructions when we had questions, so we're really glad we went with someone more local.
We began installing the Alterna in the breakfast room ourselves about a month ago (mid-April, 2013). We decided to go groutless since we laid some out and we liked the look of it without grout - and I figured if I'm not going to go with the porcelain tile, I saw no reason to complicate vinyl tile with unnecessary grout issues. However, we purchased a tub of the "Smoke" grout Armstrong recommends for this tile and we have used it to fill in unavoidable gaps such as against doorways, along the bottom of a step between the breakfast room and the kitchen, and along the edge of a raised rounded brick hearth in the breakfast room. We have done the same in the kitchen and then in the hallway.
We carefully read and followed the instructions that came with the tiles because we feel an ounce of prevention is worth avoiding the problems later. Before installation we let the tiles sit in the room for a minimum of 48 hours at 65-70 degrees per instructions, and we waited a minimum of 5 days before allowing anyone or anything to use the floors and we kept the house temperature constant to give them plenty of time to cure properly.
The result is absolutely beautiful!
I still have the sample of the porcelain tile I had picked out before we decided to go with the Alterna, and the Alterna Fieldstone tiles are so much prettier and more realistically patterned! Husband took tile samples to work to show people who are interested in looking into this impressive new style of vinyl flooring for their own homes.
We love the pattern and color of the tiles we picked out and we love the way they feel on our feet. Since we've always had a "no shoes" rule in the house, that's a nice perk! The dogs are walking a bit more carefully than usual on it since for some reason they look like they slip some on it, but the people here don't have problems with slipping.
The floor wasn't really hard to install when the instructions are followed, but I gave "Ease of Installation" a value of "4" because the tiles are thick and the top layer is hard so cutting it was trickier than the older-style vinyl. But that's a good thing if it means the tiles prove to be durable over time!
We were careful to always try to keep several boxes mixed together so no slight color variations would be noticeable and we randomized the arrows on the backs of the tiles so the tiles would look natural.
We did have several tiles that never quite stuck properly in spots for whatever reason, but they were the exceptions out of many, so we just did them again.
I have not rated the flooring for "Quality" or "Durability" yet because although the tiles look and feel amazing and the thickness, weight and solid-feeling top layer give us confidence, we can't really know much about the quality or durability until they prove to be as durable over time and normal real-world use as promised.
To care for the tile, all furniture has felt sliders permanently attached, even if the furniture isn't normally moved.
Because the floor looks so pretty, I'm actually enjoying cleaning it! (I know....Weird, right?) For daily care, I either use a broom when I have more time for careful sweeping, or I use a large (18 inch wide) dust mop I purchased that covers a large area for faster work. The mop picks up dust and hair and I can use it to push the particles into a pile to be swept up into a dustpan.
I purchased Armstrong Once 'n' Done Floor Cleaner for the weekly mopping, and I've purchased a second large (18 inch wide) new wet mop with no exposed hard parts to keep from accidentally scratching the floors when I'm cleaning. Finding a bucket for that mop wasn't easy, but I found a long, narrow squeegee bucket at the hardware store that fits the mop perfectly.
My next step is to purchase a couple of mats that meet the standards for "non-staining vinyl-backed mat or a woven rug that is colorfast" per the Armstrong care guide at http://www.armstrong.com/assets/commflooringna/literature/downloads/F8663.pdf. For now we are temporarily using cloth rugs indoors and other mats outside the doors to catch dirt coming in.
Watch for future posts! If you don't see any after this from me, you can assume we're probably still happy with it. I'll try to check back in from time to time to verify that for anyone searching for flooring though because nothing can compare to a review from someone who has owned and used the product for awhile and can tell you how it holds up over time.
May 17, 2013
Looks good in bathroom
This tile really looks great in our bathroom. The colors blend with the vanity and tub.
March 31, 2013