For 50s style flooring, my favorite choice is Azrock Cortina #423

Azrock Cortina Autumn Haze retro flooring

Forced to make final decisions about my kitchen reno, I have settled on this Azrock Cortina tile – #423 Autumn Haze. I haven’t installed it yet, but the sample looks FABULOUS. Very streaky — rather than “blotchy” like so many of the other VCT tiles today. I am going to install the tile at a 90-degree angle to each other.

In my research – looking through many old 50s kitchen catalogs – I think this particular tile is a great replica. My biggest regret is that I must buy it in 12″ squares. All tiles today seem to be in this size, at minimum, it seems. In the ’50s, from what I can tell, 9″ tiles proliferated. In my home, all the tiles (under carpet in the basement, the original kitchen flooring) were 9″ square — as is the parquet in the dining room and the cork tiles in the foyer and bedrooms. In my back hall, the beige/white/black/coral streaked linoleum (fabulous) is 6″ square. Fabulous! Oh well.

I also think that Flex-Tile is worth a look:

– Flex-thru tiles, Architectural series —

Here is the url for Azrock Cortina.

Note: The Azrock people were great about getting me samples. Give them your business!


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


  1. Femme1 says

    Hi Pam,

    I was wondering how you take care of your kitchen tile floor. Do you wax it? (visions of yellow waxy buildup in my head) Or did you put some sort of coating on it that lasts?

    I was pretty much settled on installing cork tiles in my kitchen, but now I’m thinking again about speckled vinyl tiles (or rubber flooring) after seeing your renovation.

  2. 50sPam says

    Hi Femme 1. I have to admit: I don’t put anything on my Azrock Cortina floor — because I don’t want to have to worry about the yellowing of polish. However, I am at heart a floor freak, and will likely do it soon. Plus it’s looking a little scratchy, which honestly doesn’t bother me. There is so much visual stimulation going on in my kitchen, you don’t notice it at all.

    I had a VCT floor in a previous house, and I used Armstrong commercial floor polish, which I buy at Home Depot. I get my floor really really clean. Then I apply the stuff with clean rags, on my hands and knees. A couple of times. IMy previous floor did yellow and had to be stripped now and then, also a pain. See my post called “The Hard Way” this past Sunday. This goes under that category.

    If I do this again, I will also try it with a buffer to see how high shine it can really get.

    Finally – another reader, Kay, has a wonderful shiny VCT floor she sent me a photo of. I asked her what she used on it, but I don’t think I’ve heard from her. I will keep running this down, and plan a fullscale post on this.

    I think you’ve got to be careful about water on cork, even if they say it has lots of poly on it. It’s soft. I know this will sound strange: but you may want to consider certain vinyl flooring also. They are the best for ease of care. And, there are some patterns that existed in the 50s, pretty close! I have some literature on this. Will also do a post soon.

  3. Femme1 says

    You may laugh, but you’ll probably understand when I say that I’ve been looking for JUST the right flooring for my kitchen for over two years now. Do I have trouble making decisions? About something of this magnitude?? Yes!

    I’ve checked out: cork, marmoleum, vinyl, hardwood, varnished plywood (I’ve seen it in old ranches and it can look really cool), ceramic tiles, and small mosaic tiles.

    • FloridaFab says

      Even though these are old comments, I had to add this thought…I’m on the verge of buying a totally cool, almost intact MCM. It has stained PLYWOOD floors! I have never encountered this before, nor read about it anywhere, until I saw Femme1’s post above about varnished plywood. Has anyone else ever encountered this? Did you like it?

  4. 50sPam says

    I totally and utterly understand. I am the same way. I tend not to think of it as “having trouble making decisions,” but rather, waiting til the perfect solution finds you. I believe in decorating gods. I’m watching out for your floor, too, femme 1. A couple of months, there were a gazillion 9″ 1950s VCT tiles on ebay. They went cheap, as I recall, and even with the shipping, which surely was horrendous, as they weigh a ton…that would have been cool. Sit tight.

  5. Woodcrest says

    We used the Cortina Red (V951) for our basement entry (pine panneled) and it looks great! My brother said it reminds him of our Grandfather’s basement bar room. Be aware though that there appears to be a lot of vatiation in the dye between lots, so make sure you have left over tiles for repairs. Our installer did not leave us extra tiles, so we just ordered new ones to replace some that are breaking due to spalling, and the color is close but you can tell they do not match (also pattern is slightly different in the new lot).

  6. 50sPam says

    Thanks for the info, Woodcrest. Would you like to send a photo of the entryway for everyone to see? If so, feel free. Meanwhile, thanks for the tips on buying extras! I’ll look of V951 and aim to feature it soon as a winner!

  7. Lise Karler says

    In my 1957 rancher, I have the original 9 inch linoleum tiles (that look exactly like the Azrock Cortina – Autumn Haze) throughout my kitchen and family room. Although the tiles are in pretty good shape, the floors look dull and there is probably years wax build up from the previous owners.
    Do you have any suggestions as to how I could make these floors look better?

    • pam kueber says

      Lise, these old tiles were made of different materials, including Asbestos – in this regard, be sure to get yourself informed and consult with a Professional so that you can decide how to handle.

  8. Barbara Brewer says

    I grew up in a 1930’s home with solid tile squares, which I THINK might have been asbestos. The flooring was battleship grey with white streaks, and I always thought it depressing. In the 1980’s I gave Mother a Christmas present of a new seamless vinyl floor, and the tile was screeded with a leveling compound and the vinyl sheet installed. Now that I look back, I consider that a mistake. I wish I had kept that home when my parents died, but I wasn’t looking ahead far enough to realize that when I got older, I would want it.

    I have just purchased a 1930’s home in Columbia, TN, and first thing I wanted to do, in making rennovation decisions, was find solid vinyl tile for the kitchen. I am gong to totally and accurately restore it to it’s 1930’s/40’s style before moving in, looking forward to moving in by mid-summer. I am even keeping the working radiator system, which I LOVE!!!

    • Barbara Brewer says

      oops! I failed to say in my post that I have selected Azrock tiles for my restoratioin home. Color/s not yet decided.

  9. BrendaCole58 says

    I finally decided on a VCT tile for my retro kitchen remodel and chose Azrock’s “Sunny” only to find that it won’t be available until Nov. of this year. Azrock stopped production to move to a new facility and most everything will have to be back ordered. Just wanted to let anyone know who is considering this brand that you may have a long wait. I’ll probably do just that because I’m in love this tile and can’t find anything close enough to make me happy. Love retro renovation!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *