That Tiny Laundry Room Makeover Project I Did for Online TV – Part 1

Late in 2013, I was offered the opportunity to fulfill a fantasy of mine and experience what it might be like to be one of those incredible DIY designers on TV. The chaos, the budget constraints, the extremely tight time limit… all of it seemed both completely nuts and like something no one would ever be dumb enough to allow me of all people to do. So when SheKnowsTV came calling and offered me a chance to be a designer on an online season of Homestretch, I eagerly said yes… assuming that at any minute, they’d figure out their mistake and send me on the first plane back home.

During the experience, I also met a really great couple with a simple need for finding extra space in their teeny, tiny laundry room. It took a lot of hard work, but it became what is still one of my proudest projects to date, and I was very anxious to share all of their laundry room makeover pictures once I got back home.

The thing is, I had to wait to share pictures of all of the final makeover photos until the episodes were cut, so the recap post about it got pushed to the back burner. And once I started moving on to other projects at home again (plus holidays), it just never seemed to fit into my schedule to talk about it anymore… even after doing a second season on a different room with another couple!

Recently, there’s been a new opportunity to look back at this project (and the second season project) and do a proper recap since I don’t want to bore you with my kitchen makeover details until the walls are finished and painted. So for today, I thought I’d start with some highlights and behind-the-scenes details about what it was like to be behind the camera. This post will get WAY too long to cover it all in a single overview once I go over the nitty gritty of all the design decisions, so I’m breaking this apart so that you can first know the details leading up to the design, and I’ll cover some tips about how to cram a lot of organization into a tiny room in another post coming later this week. Enjoy!

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Filming

As it turns out, I was totally right about the nuts part of what it is like to be in front of a camera for two straight days, with nonstop filming, with lots of interruptions thrown in because of things like re-shots, on-camera interviews, and having to stop working with loud power tools because microphones and saws are apparently mortal enemies (#themoreyouknow). It was easily one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done, and I felt like I was on the verge of tears at least half the time (I may not have made this obvious, but I have a LOT of anxiety about being in front of a camera, which is why I’ve been Periscoping recently to get more comfortable with it). So before I get into the makeover, I just wanted to add that the SheKnowsTV crew was amazing… and despite the growing lump in my throat over embarrassing myself in front of an entire crew of my complete ineptitude, they gave me exactly the kind of help I needed to get through it and keep saying yes to everything they threw at me.

Two days? Sure! Even though I’ve never once completed a project in two days, let alone understanding the start-stop-start chaos of filming the process. And let’s do all of that learning in front of a camera.

Just $2,000? Sure! Even though I have never really ever budgeted for a total room makeover from top to bottom, let’s see what happens.

Point is, as a DIYer, I usually kind of wing it. I do tons of research to feel prepared-ish for whatever it is I’m about to take on, but most of the projects I do on this blog are things I have never tackled before. That’s part of where the fun comes in, but it’s also what takes more time and makes me 100%, without a doubt, completely not an expert. And if you’re going to be in front of a camera and expected to teach other people your DIY skills, the fact that you know you’re not going to fill these “expert” shoes is… well… wholly terrifying. Especially when they are pitting you against another DIYer who, despite being an amazing blogging friend I’ve known for years (which did help to make me feel more comfortable agreeing to it), is a freaking badass builder to boot. And someone I’m sure you’ll recognize.

sandra sawdust girl
Sandra of Sawdust Girl

So, that’s the situation I found myself in. And less than a week later of signing the contract, I was sent off to Scottsdale, Arizona for filming. I was greeted at the airport by a private driver (which I’ve never done before that point, so I thought was pretty neat).

I was sent to an amazing resort hotel (that I got about an hour each night in to enjoy before passing out because of the long filming days).

I sat in a makeup chair like a person who gets their hair and makeup done (what?!).

I wore a mic pack in my shorts and wires had to be snaked up through my bra (and before you go thinking that the mic guy has a cool job getting to stick his hand down women’s shirts, remember that he’s also the guy having to insert, position, and remove the boiling hot battery pack in your shorts/underwear just so in the Arizona heat). I had to do some really bad acting and pretend like everything I said was for the first time because the camera crew needed multiple takes. And, hardest of all… I had to look sane.

Do I seem like the type who can pull that off? Nope.

The Design Process: Setup

It was a long learning process in terms of filming, but they prepared me for the design part as best they could. While it often seems in these shows like the designer doesn’t get a chance to see the space before they jump into the design, that’s only partially true (at least in this case… other shows probably do it differently). Before my flight, I got to do a Skype call with one of the homeowners, Heidi, and get a feel for what her challenges were with the space and what her style is like so that I could start getting some ideas. What I didn’t fully get though was the true size and dimensions of the room… just pictures, really:

laundry-room-3[1]

shelves[1]

Basically, this “room” wasn’t a room at all. It was more like a passthrough closet that served to house the washer and dryer in between the garage and their enormous kitchen (I later found out that they gave Sandra first pick of which room she wanted to take on, and this one became mine after she chose the other house). Which meant that a majority of the things that a laundry room is usually reserved for spilled over into other spaces.

drying-rack
Nowhere to hang, store, or organize.
folding-laundry
Nowhere to fold!

All in all… not an ideal design plan.

As much as moving walls to give them more ample folding and hanging room would have been nice, it would not have been finished in two days, so anything I did was going to have to be contained in a space where I could literally touch my fingertips from one wall to another (and in the show clips, I actually used my body as a measuring tape to demonstrate how small of a space we’d be working in!).

Before flying out, I did a sketch of what I thought the room could ideally look like—you know, without actually seeing the house and knowing my space limitations and being completely unfamiliar with what I could do in the span of two days with filming interruptions (so, not super realistic). I still have the sketch, and I might even frame it as a fun little keepsake:

The Schedule

Timing was tight. On the day I would fly in town, I was expected to swing by the homeowners and check out the space for a few minutes before shopping for every supply I’d need for the entire project. The next day (Day 1) would begin filming at 7AM with hair and makeup, and the following day (Day 2) would end with final room shots before the crew packed up at 7PM.

Let me repeat the most important part of that: for this project, I was expected to buy every piece of wood, every can of paint, every screw, every tube of caulk, every piece of tile, and every finishing item of decor in a single day. As a DIYer, I’ve never done such a thing, nor could I actually imagine such a concept in my mind without getting a migraine. I was promised that one of the PAs on set would likely be in charge of making repeated trips to the nearby home improvement store if I needed an extra item of this or that, so I didn’t feel nearly as much like vomiting as when I first read those words, but still.

Prior to flying out, they arranged to have the tools I thought I’d need rented and delivered to the home (the homeowners had a handful of smaller supplies as well, but most of it needed to be rented or purchased). It worked out great, but there were hiccups with learning how each one of them worked compared to the brand I was used to using back at home. There were a lot of “D’oh!” moments caught on camera as I tried to unpack everything and figure out where all of the buttons and pulls were (I’m actually still curious as to why the bumbling DIYer film reel didn’t make it to the final cut… I’m sure it was entertaining).

I was also told by the producers that I would have a few interns on hand to delegate smaller projects to (I guess they assumed I had some crafty ideas in the works, which I didn’t), and that the homeowners would jump in for painting and prep (no reveal stuff of course). There really wouldn’t be any people on set with a lot of DIY or building experience (there were a few people in the crew who had done a couple of projects on their own homes, but not to the level that I did, and their job was to actually film stuff), and the rest would be up to me. Gulp.

The Crew

Upon arriving into town, I dropped off my bags at the hotel and then met with the SheKnowsTV folks. After a short meet and greet, they gave me the keys to a shopping van and a production assistant, Vanessa, who would basically serve as my second-in-command throughout the shopping and filming. The theory was that if I wasn’t around to make a decision (which happened a lot more than you would think between camera interviews and working on 6 projects at once), there would be a second person who knew exactly how the whole room was supposed to come together and give guidance (in addition to helping the crew do filmy things).

There would be more interns and PAs joining later on the next two film days, but she would be there for the entire process. When I first met Vanessa (above, left), I’ll admit that I hugely underestimated her resourcefulness mostly due to how young she was and her lack of any DIY background. And I really, really kicked myself for having done it after experiencing that same exact attitude so many times in the DIY world. But folks, she became indispensable—super creative, always on top of things, and could not say more good things about her ability to roll with whatever came our way.

And even though the producers promised that I wouldn’t have a lot of help, the rest of the filming crew turned out to be incredible, too. They were constantly joking around and laughing at inappropriate things, which put me at ease quickly. I mean, if someone starts throwing around potty humor right from the start, you are pretty much guaranteed that they are the laid back sort. As the clock counted down to the finish, nearly every person—including hands-noticeably-down-my-shirt Sound Guy—pitched in to give these homeowners a finished room.

And speaking of finished, part of the intimidation I felt was in knowing that no matter what, this was someone else’s home I was working in. A home they paid for and were proud of and needed to be functional—not something that could be tossed aside as soon as the cameras stopped rolling. So I felt a lot of pressure to make sure that the room was more than just “TV ready”—it needed to be actually done. Paint drips needed to be cleaned up; hinges needed to work. There were things that I wound up running out of time to do, such as sealing the stone backsplash, but I was overall pleased that I didn’t feel I left these homeowners (who were even nice enough to make me beer cupcakes, for shit’s sake) with something that would fall apart the second I stepped back on a plane. The crew seemed to understand this right away, and never once made me feel like I needed to compromise how I wanted to finish the project just to suit their schedule. Even though I was largely supposed to do the project solo (which would not have gotten done with all of the filming delays), they readily jumped in with a wet paper towel or pointed out a splotch. And it really, really helped.

Shopping!

Okay, so enough about the filming, right? This is a DIY site, if memory serves. So let’s get down to the beginnings of the actual makeover details.

My flight landed in Phoenix the morning before Day 1 of filming, so my first task of the first day was to grab the shopping van with Vanessa and visit the homeowners to take measurements. I was hoping to get a real feel for the room before shopping for supplies and decor.

laundry-room-2

Um, yeah. After taking as many measurements as I could think of, I found out from the homeowner that their laundry setup had the dryer hookup on one side of the passthrough and the washer hookup on the opposite side. The big problem here was that it meant they were forced to take up both sides of the tiniest space in their house with appliances—which left very little room for storage. So, I asked SheKnows if they could arrange for me to have a handyman during the first filming day to move the washer hookup to the dryer side, letting us stack the two together and open an entire half of the nook for storage, folding, and hanging space. They priced it out so that about $400 came out of my total $2,000 budget, and I set that amount aside to be left untouched while I went shopping for everything else. Another item I had to track down: a stacking kit for the washer to sit on top of the dryer (which will come up again in an interesting twist).

One of the first stops for ideas was Ikea. I was hoping to have at least one cabinet with a door to conceal ugly laundry detergent containers and other miscellaneous items that inevitably get shoved into laundry rooms. The other side of the tiny 3-foot-wide space would be for a couple of attached open shelves (see my sketch). But the hard part was finding a ready-to-assemble cabinet that would be deep enough to optimize the space I had (I could have done a standard shallow upper cabinet, but when every square inch is precious, you try to push the boundaries to get something that works better for the space). So, I did the thing that came naturally: I got on the floor in Ikea and started brainstorming for how I could hang a deeper base cabinet on the wall.

I was confident enough in my building abilities that I could have theoretically built a custom cabinet to the size and depth that I needed, but I also knew that the last thing I wanted was to teach myself how to build a cabinet (for the first time) with cameras in my face (and without a Kreg Jig). I had enough room in my budget to simply purchase a cabinet, so my thinking was that I could hand this project over to interns to build the next day and assemble while I did demo and other things. It turned out to be the right move; even though I had a decent plan in my head, I knew all too well how a DIY project can take more time than expected, and I wanted to give myself as much wiggle room as I could by delegating as many projects as possible (and since these even came with instructions, I wouldn’t have to supervise or teach).

As for the other side of the passthrough, the washer and dryer would be stacked (which needed a stacking kit and was thankfully in stock at a Lowe’s nearby), but there was a small 9- or 10-inch gap that would be created on the side if we pushed the dryer to the leftmost wall. I considered building this custom too, but Vanessa spotted some narrow cubbies across from the cabinet section, and I started seal-clapping over the thought that I could again turn this into a handoff project for assembly on Day 1.

The rest of the shopping day was packed with rushing from store to store until they all closed, and Sandra and I met up for a post-shopping-day powwow at one of the few restaurants that was still open to say hello (we ran into each other at Ikea earlier in the day, but we were both in a hurried rush to get our supplies and let the early panic sink in).

I never thought I could actually be exhausted from shopping. I was clearly wrong.

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Stay tuned for Part 2!

The post That Tiny Laundry Room Makeover Project I Did for Online TV – Part 1 appeared first on The Ugly Duckling House.

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Wolverine Introduces CarbonMAX – A Safety-Toe for Everyone

wolverine-carbonmax-overman

Wolverine has safety toe that will make you rethink what foot protection is all about. Introducing the Wolverine CarbonMAX.

The safety-toe is no longer limited in use to construction workers and contractors. Enthusiastic DIYers and homeowners are attempting more and more projects around the house that require proper safety gear. The Wolverine CarbonMAX boots have an athletic design that is built for lasting comfort for everyone from industrial construction crews and mechanics to household handymen and DIYers. This new take on protective footwear will have you forgetting that you’re wearing a safety toe.

After spending a week wearing the new Overman work boot that features the CarbonMAX safety toe, my feet have never felt better. Unlike my old work boots that have a heavy steel toe, the CarbonMAX safety toe is non-existent to a user until they need it, which is the way a safety toe should be. The styling is also great as I can comfortably wear them while doing projects, as well as casually during the week.

The Wolverine CarbonMAX improves on standard boot design by making them:

•  Lighter – to reduce strain on legs and feet
•  Better fit – thinner toe cap provides more room for toes and added comfort
•  Strong construction – meets ASTM standards to protect from falling/rolling objects

wolverine-carbonmax-overman-boot

It simultaneously creates more comfort thanks to thinner walls for more toe room and minimal weight to fight leg and foot fatigue. Impact-absorbing Wolverine MultiShox® compression pads and flexible Contour Welt™ work together for an athletic feel and all-day comfort.

The Wolverine Overman is one the first boots to incorporate this new safety-toe and it features:

• Full-grain leather upper with reinforced, abrasion-resistant heel and toe
• Wolverine CarbonMax® uses nanotechnology to produce a strong, lighter, more comfortable safety toe
• Individualized, energy-returning Wolverine MultiShox® heel and toe compression pads absorb impacts for all-day comfort
• Removable, full-foot Wolverine Mutishox® footbed cushioning
• Enhanced flexibility from Wolverine Contour Welt™

Buy the Wolverine Overman Work Boot on Amazon.

Timothy Dahl

Damp Garage Solution

DEAR TIM:

My garage is at the bottom of a hill and is tucked into the soil on three sides. I do get some water leakage through the concrete block walls in the spring and during heavy rains. The asphalt floor is always damp despite running a dehumidifier all summer. Do you have any solution short of digging out the floor and starting over properly with a waterproof membrane? What could have been done when the garage was built to prevent all the water problems? Howard L., Toronto – Ontario, Canada

DEAR HOWARD: Your garage is like millions of other structures around the world that are built into sloping ground. Builders have been dealing with water issues in these structures for hundreds of years. I was lucky and majored in geology when I was in college. One of my classes was hydro-geology, the study of ground water. The knowledge I gained in those classes allowed me to build houses and garages that were always bone dry.

Let’s first talk about what’s going on in the soil. Without studying a soil map for your area, I’m going to assume your soil has a high clay content because the land your garage is on has experienced four periods of continental glaciation up there in eastern Canada in the past 2 million years. All that ice was created and melted long before man was around. Isn’t that fascinating?

This garage tucked into a hillside is suffering from dampness and water infiltration. The solution is easy but will take work. Photo Credit: Howard Lee

This garage tucked into a hillside is suffering from dampness and water infiltration. The solution is easy but will take work. Photo Credit: Howard Lee

The deeper you dig into the ground, the more compact the clay is. Water has a very difficult time passing through it so rain and snowmelt that enters the soil tends to pass through the soil downslope along the top of the clay. Most of the water moves through the air spaces in the top soil.

Before your garage was built, the water higher up on the hill just continued down the hill until it connected to a small spring or brook. Your garage is acting like a dam and water prefers to take the path of least resistance. Cracks in the concrete block walls or between the block walls and the floor are easy entry points for the water.

Here’s what your builder should have done to create a dry garage. This same advice can be used for any structure built into a hill. The portion of the concrete block walls below the soil line should have been waterproofed. There are many different products and methods to waterproof a foundation wall. I used a rubberized asphalt spray and stiff insulation boards on the last house I built and it is still keeping the basement dry.

A perforated drain pipe should have been placed alongside or on top of the footing that supports your concrete block walls. This pipe should have extended around the back and along the two sides of your garage. The pipe should have then extended past the front of the garage with the trench having a minimal slope.

Because the hillside is fairly steep, within about ten or fifteen feet, the ends of this pipe on both sides of the ground would surface out of the ground. Any water entering the pipe underground would readily flow out of the ends of the pipe exposed to daylight and then go back into the top soil to continue its journey to Lake Ontario and then to the St. Lawrence River.

This pipe should have then been covered with washed rounded gravel the size of golf balls or walnuts. The gravel should have extended up to within 4 inches of the top of where the final grade would be where you have grass growing. Water passing through the soil discovers this gravel, immediately drops down through it to the perforated drain pipe and then exits to daylight never having a chance to enter the garage.

To stop water vapor from coming up through the garage floor, the builder should have put down a plastic vapor retarder or barrier under the concrete or asphalt floor. This plastic sheeting is a common product available at any building supply store.

If you want to permanently solve your water issues you need to dig along the sides of your garage and do all I outlined above. It’s not necessary to put the perforated pipe all the way down to the top of the foundation footing at this point. I’d probably only extend it to 1 foot below the top of the soil at the two front corners of the garage.

You’ll have to use a pressure washer to clean all clay and soil from the concrete block walls once you expose them. Allow them to dry and apply the best waterproofing compound that’s available to you. If you choose to hire a company understand that hot asphalt that’s sprayed on the walls is just damp proofing. Standard hot liquid asphalt is not a waterproofing material. It will do a great job of keeping dampness from the soil from entering the concrete block, but it will not bridge cracks to stop liquid water.

To stop water vapor from coming up through the garage floor I feel the best way is to install a thin concrete overlay over your existing floor. You need to put down the 6-mil vapor barrier first and then pour 1 inch of concrete over your existing floor.

This concrete needs to contain very small pea gravel no larger than 3/8-inch diameter. The mix is like any other concrete, but if you’re doing it yourself I’d probably do a ratio of 3 parts gravel, 2 parts medium sand and 1.5 parts Portland cement. The extra amount of cement will give you a very strong mix that will resist the freezing weather you have up there where you live.

Column 1106

http://www.askthebuilder.com/damp-garage-solution/

August 23, 2015 AsktheBuilder Newsletter

Welcome if you’re a new subscriber! See the AsktheBuilder.com word just above your name?

Each week that’s a secret link to a past column or video that can help make your wildest home improvement dreams come true. Go click it now. ( <== The link is right here for the online Newsletter.)

The subject line of your email was pretty dire, wasn’t it?

I’m talking about how the end of summer is near. You know that’s the case when pre-season NFL football games are being played.

This means you and I need to get cracking and finish outdoor projects.

I can hear you now, “Tim, I live in sunny south Florida, Phoenix, or Indonesia where it’s always summer.”

Well, that’s good for you but some of us will be dealing with snowblowers in just three months or less!

As for me, the push is on this coming week to make great progress on the last part of the huge re-roofing job at my own home.

It’s turning into a career instead of a summer job. I’m installing a drop-dead gorgeous single-width synthetic slate made by DaVinci Roofscapes.

CLICK HERE to see the amazing products they have. It’s a roofing material that will last generations.

New Garage Door Opener

Yesterday, I spent the better part of four hours installing a new Chamberlain garage door opener that’s WiFi enabled and has a whisper-quiet belt drive.

It’s a very nice opener and it took a while to install because it’s ten inches shorter than the existing Chamberlain opener I had.

I wasn’t expecting that curve ball and it caused me to have to cut new longer angle irons that support the opener from my garage ceiling.

I also then had to break out my ham-radio soldering iron and solder. Because the opener was shorter, I had to add on 1-foot pieces of low voltage wire to the existing wires that connect to the wall control and the sensors at the bottom of the track.

I prefer to solder wires in this situation rather than twist the wires and use wire nuts.

I also discovered the 2 x 10 that the previous owner or garage-door installer put up on the wall above the door needed to be screwed to the wall.

The IDIOT that installed this block of wood just used two NAILS. This block of wood is very important and must be solid. The long metal arm of the opener connects to this block and you don’t want it to move.

I can use my Nexus 4 smart phone to monitor the opener from anywhere on the planet. This means if I need to close or open the door and I’m 2,589 miles away and my phone can connect to the Interweb, I can operate the door.

As Kip sang in his wedding song in the classic movie Napoleon Dynamite, “I love technology!”

CLICK HERE to discover more about this great opener.

Video Product Reviews

In a previous newsletter, I put in the headline something about my Disclosure Policy at my website with respect to product reviews, but I didn’t talk about it.

CLICK HERE now to read my Disclosure Policy.

Once you get back, I’ll fill you in.

Okay, what did you think of that? My guess is you’ve never seen one like it.

Here’s what you need to know, especially if you’re a public relations manager, marketing manager or have anything to do with selling a product or service.

In the past nine months, there’s been a major tectonic shift in the marketplace. It’s huge.

I’ve been approached by several major manufacturers about doing PAID video reviews.

Why would they do this?

Just do a BING.com search and you’ll discover all sorts of reports about the huge growing trend of mobile video consumption. CLICK HERE to read a few.

Here’s the bottom line that you need to know with respect to AsktheBuilder.com and video reviews.

I’m in the process now of negotiating with several companies about doing quite a few paid video reviews.

It’s the future.

Companies are looking for *Influencers* – that’s the fancy name they’re attaching to media folk like me – who have decades of hands-on field experience and understand how to connect using video with their audience.

CLICK HERE to watch one of these videos. This is one about a product I LOVE and use.

Here’s my PROMISE to you:

I’m only going to do paid video reviews for outstanding products. PERIOD.

As I said in my Disclosure Policy, at the end of the day I only have one thing:

My integrity.

I don’t want to sully it in any way and I don’t want to lose your trust.

What do you think of this emerging trend about paid video reviews?

How do you feel about my Disclosure Policy?

New Q & As for You

Here are a few new tips for you.

STOP Brick Wall Leaks With Great Products

Patio Slopes Towards House

Tile over BAD Concrete? You Bet You Can with Magic!

Patio Gravel Base and COMPACTION SECRETS

That’s enough for today.

This is a big week for me on the roof.

Tim Carter
Founder – http://www.AsktheBuilder.com

Do It Right, Not Over!

http://www.askthebuilder.com/august-23-2015-askthebuilder-newsletter/

Mobile Video Consumption Trends

It’s August of 2015.

Each day more and more people are watching and consumping video on their mobile phones and tablets.

I’m one.

Over the past six months I’ve watched countless videos on my Nexus 4 smart phone.

Here’s a short list of articles about this growing trend.

If you’re a marketing manager, you better be hyper-focused on this data.

Media Platform Latest Stats on Mobile Video

Market Wired Ooyala Study

Reelse Mobile Video Study

 

http://www.askthebuilder.com/mobile-video-consumption-trends/

Tile Over Bad Concrete

Eric M. Sokolowski and his wife, I think, have trouble in Tukwila, Washington.

They have to tile over bad concrete and are stuck on what to do.

Here’s Eric’s full report:

“Hi Tim,

We want to replace the kitchen/foyer tile in our 1993 condo. We already knew the subfloor was some type of soft concrete that we are unfamiliar with we did a test removal of a tile under the oven.

What we discovered was disturbing.  The subfloor appears to be breaking apart and comes off along with the thinset and tile.

You can see the top layer of the concrete stuck to the bottom of the tile. This just adds another step to the process. Photo credit: Eric Sokolowski

You can see the top layer of the concrete stuck to the bottom of the tile. This just adds another step to the process. Photo credit: Eric Sokolowski

We are wondering what the prospects are for being able to remove and replace the outdated ceramic tile or what workarounds may we consider in completing this project.”

You knew I’d have an answer, right? I always do. :-)

Eric, you’ll be able to install new tile.

The first thing to do is to check the integrity of the concrete after you remove the tile. Just take a hammer and a cold chisel and see if the rest of the concrete that’s in place is sound.

I don’t want you to beat on the slab, you just want to see if you can remove more concrete with minimal effort. If so, you need to remove any and all rotten concrete.

Once you have this done, you’ve got two options.

Install a thin layer of self-leveling floor material like this one from Proflex.

proflex

Install a thin sand/cement overlay. CLICK HERE to read several of my past columns about concrete overlays and how to do them.

I can tell you I’d opt for the self-leveling underlayment because they work and they’re so much easier to do than a thin overlay. Since you’re working with tile as the finished floor, it’s imperative you get the floor in the same plane and that’s hard for a rookie to do with a thin concrete or sand/cement overlay.

When you get the sacks of the pourable self-leveling material, TEST it first in a small area. You need to understand how to work with the material to get it to flow. Be sure the bad concrete is dust-free and it may be a good idea – assuming the underlayment instructions permit it – to dampen the old concrete. The damp concrete may help increase the bond.

The water could also create problems! So READ the instructions carefully.

 

http://www.askthebuilder.com/tile-over-bad-concrete/

Patio Gravel Base

Tan has  been busy tamping in Toronto, Canada.

He’s building a brick patio.

Let him fill you in:

“Hi Tim!

I’m going guild a brick patio in my backyard. I just covered the ground with garden fabric, dumped gravel on top and I compacted it.

Should I put stone dust, compact  and lay bricks over it right away or I need to wait for a few months?”

Here’s my answer:

Tan, you’re good to go and can finish the job now.

I say this assuming a few things.

First, if you had to do any regrading of the soil, I assume you compacted it before going to the next step.

You didn’t need to use garden fabric as I feel that was a waste of money. If your intention was to have it stop weeds, the weeds will grow in the tiny spaces between the brick after you’re all finished.

When you added the gravel, I also assume you put it in about 4 inches thick and compacted it with a vibrating plate compactor machine.

If you hand tamped it, then you probably should have only worked 2 inches at a time.

Adding water during the compaction process really helps if there are sand-sized particles in the gravel.

The same applies for the stone dust. Adding water during that installation process really allows the particles to interlock.

http://www.askthebuilder.com/patio-gravel-base/