ORC Week 2: Slow Progress, Demo, Problems

As I said last week, we are participating in the One Room Challenge and it’s week 2. We’re renovating our tiny mudroom and slightly bigger laundry room, combining them into one, and decided, while we’re at it, why not renovate the pantry on the adjacent all in the kitchen. Let’s talk about where we’re at right now and what comes next.

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Demo, Continued…

Like I explained last week, when we first moved into our home, we knew that the floor tiling throughout the house was not properly installed. The grout in every bathroom, the mudroom, and the laundry room was broken, chipped, and/or missing. So, we’ve known there was a lot of tiling in our future.

This week we took up that tile and confirmed our suspicions as to why the grout was cracking in this space.

First…we knew there was vinyl tile below the ceramic. When we first moved into our home, the dishwasher backed up and flooded the kitchen. It was then that we realized they added the current flooring right on top of at least 1 layer of vinyl tile. That’s why there is a difference between the height of the flooring.

Well, they decided to put the ceramic tile right over top of that. Therein lies the problem.

What We Found While Demoing the Tile

When they installed the vinyl tile, they put it right on top of what looks like hardy backer. That makes sense.

The tile came up in larger sections than we expected!

However, that hardy backer was NOT secured to the subfloor. They didn’t need to, really, because there was give in the vinyl tile so it was ok if the underlayment shifted a tiny bit here or there.

BUT, when they put the ceramic tile directly on top of the vinyl tile, they did not secure the underlayment. Rigid tile on top of underlayment that can move, even if a tiny bit, will mean that the grout will have pressure exerted on it. It’s thin, not super strong, and it snaps easily under that pressure. Thus, you get cracked grout and, possibly even cracked tile, all over.

The Blessing in Disguise

Since they installed the tile over vinyl tile, that, from what we can see, was not well secured to the hardy backer very well, the vinyl tile can up in sheets.

It always looks worse before it looks better in DIY.

We were able to get our tools under it, wedged underneath, and then lift a full tile or more at once. We figured out that taking the ceramic and vinyl tile up first, then removing underlayment was a lot easier because the tools would slide easily under the vinyl/on top of the underlayment. When we went under the underlayment, we hit about 1,000 staples. It was still doable, and we got it up, but it was actually easier and, I think, faster, to remove it in two layers.

The Problems that Stopped Our Work

Problem Number 1

We had planned to lay the tile last weekend after demo. However, we found a problem that meant we had to delay that.

Mold growing from a leaky washing machine hose.

When our new washer and dryer were installed (by the professional installers), they did not use the new hose we got and instead put the old one back on. Well, that older hose did not properly fit and there was a slow leak that made its way to the subfloor. Once we got the tile and underlayment up, we found mold and damp subfloor. So, we had to stop to allow it to dry and then abate the mold issue.

Problem Number 2

Somehow, the previous owners thought it wise to put different kinds of flooring over one, continuous area of vinyl tile. So, the vinyl continued underneath the kitchen floor, which we are not (yet) removing. We decided to grab a multitool and cut the vinyl along the threshold. Hopefully, when we’re ready to get rid of the kitchen flooring, it will come up as easily as it has in our laundry room.

broken tile and subfloor

Problem Number 3

One other thing happened that slowed us down last weekend.

My poor baby came down with some sort of nasty bug and a sinus infection on top. He just wanted to be held, fought us on taking his medicine for long periods of time. We pretty much got the tile out and stopped.

The Rest of Our Week

I left Tuesday for the Achieve Conference in Waco, Texas, and did not get back until late Saturday. My hubby had a huge quarterly business review with his client in town. Of course they scheduled for the same week I was out of town. Again. So, our win for this week is 1) the subfloor is dry and 2) we survived/the kids are alive/the house is standing.

Picture of my cute babies just because. 🙂

Coming Up this Week

While I was at the conference, I was contacted by one of my favorite companies for a DREAM collaboration. The catch is that they want a super tight turnaround–as in 2 weeks…super quick. SO, that’s going to be my focus at first. I need to have the contract signed, products ordered and shipped, plans approved the first day or two this week. Then, while I’m waiting on that to come, I’m going to focus on the little bit of work I have left to do in the office. Yes, I said the office, not the laundry room…stay with me.

Then, starting this weekend, we are back on the ORC laundry/mud room track. We will be focusing on laying the tile and then installing the cabinetry over the next week to 10 days. To say that I have a lot on my plate over the next two weeks is an understatement. But all forward movement is progress and I’m going to celebrate every little win!

Be sure to see what we’re up to each day on social media (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest)! If you’re participating in ORC this Fall, I’d love to hear what you’re working on in the comments below!

XOXO Alicia

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