Back Stair Flooring. Part Two.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

'Member I planted some vinyl plank tile on the back stair?  Yeah.  'Member how I mentioned they were not sticking so well?  Yeah.  Finally took it upon myself to remedy the situation.

First though, covering up the ugly tiles at the bottom.  The ones all askew and not level and unattractive and just not my jam?  Yeah.  Why I cannot find previous mentions on this, Iiiii dunno.  Hmph.

bottom of the back stairs before
Not my jam ceramic tile floor, before.  Boo.
And let me state here once so I don't keep repeating myself:  I am unequivocally, horribly, terribly, head-shakingly embarrassed by this whole dirty, filthy back stair situation.  Mmk?  I know.  It's unreal.  Ugh.
Why did I not yank the tiles out and replace them?  Mmmmm.....seemed like more of challenge than I was willing to tackle I suppose.  Needed a tile break.  I suspect they are adhered to concrete and that, that sounds a headache.  Covering them over was faster, easier, cheaper.

Wait, cover them  ...  over?, you doubtfully query.

Yes.  'Member the concrete tissue box cover?  Yeah, this is the project I bought the skim coat concrete for.

My biggest concern here was creating a durable surface that's easily cleaned as our big smelly four legged boy tends to spit up oddly often and his spit up location of choice of late is at the bottom of the stairs.  Dunno why.  On both.  He's strange.

views of messy carpentry work at bottom of stair
Omg, what a gross freakin' mess, omg.  But if you look, the flipper used door casing as baseboard.  And if you look at the bottom photo, you'll see why -- the door needs to open in over it.  And the "baseboard" is trimmed around the foot of the door frame.
So I read the package and it says it's not meant for high traffic areas.  Ah.  Well.  Darn it.

Screw it, it's going down anyway.  My plan was to use the whole bag figuring the surface would be thick enough to be fine.  I assume they meant as a thin skim, that it would not hold up.  Makes sense.

By the way, the wet paw dog mat is this one.*

After a vacuum and a clean of the tile, the entire bag contents then mixed more or less to instruction.  Using a smooth edge trowel* (no need for a fancy schmancy one, fyi), I scooped, dumped, then smoothed, smoothed, smoothed.

spreading feather skim coat concrete on top of existing tile
And here we go!
Do note this stuff starts to set up rather speedily so if you're doing an area larger than I was doing (nine-ish square feet in a convenient square), work in chunks.

All that was next was shutting the door at the top of the stair to keep Captain Destroyer Monster Feet out and wait for it to dry.  Which it did in short order so hey, that was fantastic -- Captain Destroyer Monster Feet was able to step on it on his way to the potty before an hour was up.  Nice.

sanding skim coat concrete floor after it set
You are to sand within twenty four hours of application, so say directions.  Since I hadn't gotten the concrete completely smooth, I sanded.  It's still not perfect but I like the imperfection of it.
Next I searched high and low, every-darn-where for the sealer I used on the master vanity concrete counter.  I searched Everywhere.  No luck.  I figured I dumped it as it really didn't do what it said it would do.  Eye roll.

After a bit of research, I discovered mineral oil would be fine so I squirted on two coats.  Of course Finn threw up back there the very next night, figures. The floor cleaned up a-ok with no issues.  My next shopping trip included picking up some carnauba car wax* as an additional sealer.  Why not.

Completion on hold.

sealing skim coat concrete floor with mineral oil
Make sure you wear gloves* when you use mineral oil.  It absorbs into your skin quickly and uh, considering it's a uh, laxative....Better safe than sorry.
Now it was time to attend the floppy vinyl tile on the stairs.

As an fyi, the staple pullers that I purchased* do work but note they occasionally split a staple in two across the crown.  Bad.  Or blow the crown completely off leaving two short ends sticking out.  Worse.

Heh, ok, so they work but not well, fine.  Heh.

Swung through Menards and the nice guy in flooring acquainted me with which type of vinyl adhesive* to buy as apparently it varies depending on your situation.  Bought this.

homemade wood trowel for adhesive glue
Made my own little toothed trowel the width of the riser using a wood slat and my spiffy band saw I love so much.  Beat buying one for a mere single use.
Tested out the goo on the riser and nose of the bottom step first one day.  Did not work.  Big boo.  Hm.

fixing loose vinyl plank tiles with adhesive
Test run.
But.  But, I went forth with high hopes that maybe I had erred somehow.

What ensued, rather, was a chaotic hellscape of sticky.  Stiiiiiiicky.  Everything.  Hellscape.

Peeled the floppy loose tiles carefully off, sticky back still sticky but not sticking to what it should.  But stuck to me, my knee, my shirt, my arm, my head, my shoes, my sock, the wall, each other, everything but where it should.  Ok, right quick I sensed this was going to be fun.  Not.

fixing more loose wood look vinyl plank tiles
Hellscape.  Floppy tiles pulled, adhesive down.
Spread out the mucky goo which had the consistency of sour cream so it was quite sploppy.  Stuck to me, stuck to my gloves, my sock (some goo got on the bottom of one shoe, shoe had to go), paper towels, any little dog hair, the good side of the tiles.... mysteriously the sum total of everything within a five mile radius had goo on it.

adhesive and fur covered hand
I know, I know, they make these amazing things called gloves that I mentioned earlier.   I had to ditch 'em as they were sticking to themselves and I couldn't function.
Soap and water clean up my a** too.

Tried to reorganize the peeled up tiles scattered about once the glue was applied -- dammit, you go near 'em and you're done.  Try to shake it loose, nuh uh.  One yanked off my sock so now I had one shoe on and one bare foot.

Needless to say, heh, I was snarly.  Growling at the goo, the tiles, man, it was a spectacle.  I bet Mike is sorry he misses these events in a way, to chuckle at my suffering.

Swearing like a sailor I was yet again.  Finn was looking at me with a combination of concern, sadness, and amusement.  Stoopid human, said his big brown eyes.

I don't believe my mindset was properly aligned to perform this task, in all honesty.  Super hot and steamy outside?  The third anniversary of Hailey's loss two days prior?  Mmmmm, nope.

But words cannot express to you how every. single. damn. thing. was sticky in The worst way.

Train.  Wreck.

Then the goo was taking for-freaking-ever to dry too.  For...ever.

Holy frustrating.

And then!  While awaiting dried goo, because it has to dry to clear before it becomes useful, I read reviews of the vinyl tile for some wacky reason.  Maybe looking for constructive advice.

Ya know, these darn websites, they sneakily sort their reviews seemingly regardless of how you sort:  best first.  I missed a slew of informative clunkers the first time around.  Be sure when you're looking at a product online, you sort the reviews by newest to oldest or seek out those bad ones, mmk?

I learned an awful lot about people's sucky feelings towards these tiles.  "This crap don't stick."  So when you click this link to see the tiles I procured, adjust that sort.  Lowes.......grrrrr.  Never again.

I'm so tired of unintentionally buying crappy stuff.  Jeez.  Sigh.  Why can't companies make stuff that works, does what it's supposed to?!  Why is that so hard?!?!

Turns out I did do everything correctly up to the sticky goo point; it's the vinyl tile that sucks.  Not me.  Whew.  But now I'm rankled.

So ok, did the sticky goo work?

Did not wait to find out.

Had it.  Done.  All of it.  Done.

Three hours later the goo was still gooey as all get out, still as if it were fresh out of the container.  Even with the back door open and a fan on full tilt.  F' it.  Done.

Grabbed a putty knife and scraped aaalllllllll the goo off.  Yep.  Yes I did.

removing all the adhesive
Scccrrraaaaaapppppeee.  F' you, adhesive.
Grabbed my caulk gun and some Liquid Nails* and said f' it.  Sorry 'boutcha future homeowner.

And I Liquid Nails'ed all the dumb floppy pieces right the heck on.  Yeah.  Yeah!  Take that!  And I was done in minutes instead of waiting all frickin' day.  I mean, c'mon, Finn had to tinkle.

Somehow my hands were still coated in goo despite being washed thirty times.  So, heh, it wasn't until I crawled to the Goo Gone* did I finally locate the concrete sealer stashed in the new bathroom cabinets.  Ugh.  Are you laughing yet?  Hahaha.

I figured what the hay, put some on anyway, what's the harm.

Next day the wax was purchased and applied and buffed with just a rag and bam.  Done.

Replacing the runner time.  I know -- are you still with me here?  Exhausted yet?

redone vinyl plank on back steps
Mike didn't want a replacement runner because he liked the floor as is, and I didn't really want a runner either but I was afraid of Finn slipping.  Or Mike.  Or me.  But too, because the stair treads are 2x's, the corners rounded, the vinyl tile folded over the edges and cracked.  Sooooo, runner it had to be.
For a fleeting moment I thought astroturf would be fun, and it would be, but Mike, yeah, so I ordered that Tee Time indoor/outdoor carpet.  It only comes six feet wide so I had to purchase two pieces of six foot by the finished runner width, twenty four inches.

bright green runner replacement for back stairs
Here I joined the two pieces by tacking the second way up under the stair nose over the flippy end there, an overlap, so the seam is hidden.
This time I was smart and black Sharpie'd the crowns of the staples so they were hidden upon installation.  Tack tack tack with the fancy Bostitch stapler.  Yay!

coloring the crowns of the staples black with a Sharpie
Just color the crown black and you're good to go.
More time elapses, couple two 'tree days, and I pick up some new and actual real baseboard.  Measure three times, chop chop.....That's when I discover the floor is not level at all, rather it pitches towards the door.

Finn helping out
Finn, being his ever helpful self, trying to help me with the baseboard.  Ummm.....excuse me, big butt boy.
reinstalling baseboard at the bottom of the stair
Crap.  Really??
More time elapses and I pick up yet more baseboard, ahem.....

trimming baseboard so door will open
That's some seriously messed up crap there in the top photo.  Added some quarter round and it was good to go.  So bizarre.
Slapped some paint around and then it was done.  Done.  Done done done.  Until the carpet wears out and I have to replace it again.

updated vinyl peel and stick wood floor stair and concrete tile cover up
Done. Baseboard pained.  Trim up the stair repainted.  Some semblance of cleaner in places.
concrete floor covering tile after
It did not turn out a yellowish color.  It is in fact gray for real but I can't seem to adjust the photo properly.  "Concrete back here?  Huh?  Ohh-kaaayyy," said Mike coming home from work one day.
But ok!  Done!  I get to move on!  Everything is stuck for good, project complete!  Well.  Not the whole project.  The walls..............

view of the stair going up after
Don't wear out.  Don't wear out.
completed look with concrete floor and new stair runner on vinyl peel and stick
Hahahahaaaa, ah Finny, so silly!  He looks like King of the World there, basking in a warm spotlight.  Almost presentable back stair, folks.
Mmmk.  Onto other projects!  Now I'm pondering replacing the floor tile in the hall bathroom.  I know, I am clinically insane.

*The back door dog mat, smooth edge trowel, carnauba wax, gloves, staple pullers, vinyl adhesive, Liquid Nails, and Goo Gone are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


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