Appropriate flooring for a mudroom/laundry room

My wife and I are considering installing a new floor in our laundry room. Currently it is a vinyl asbestos tile floor - we would like to avoid removal if at all possible. My preference would be to install hardibacker over a layer of mud and lay a ceramic tile floor, but my mother-in-law has convinced my wife that the tile will crack fairly easily (ie: dropping a can of soup). Will this be a concern? Are there some tiles more resilient that would better resist chipping/cracking than others? Currently we're also using the room as tool storage - would there be a better option? The in-laws are advocating a sheet vinyl floor, but I can't stand the thought of spending MORE money for what I see as a lower quality product. I can install ceramic tile myself, but sheet vinyl would require hiring a pro.
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On Oct 19, 12:13 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

>snip<
Why do you think it is asbestos-vinyl? Asbestos has been off the market for years. In any event, such tile is easily removed and disposed of using plain common sense. Keep it damp (no dust), wear a ordinary respirator for your peace of mind, use mild heat to speed removal, double bag it and put it in the trash legally. This bit of advice I have from a friend who works for a HazMat removal company, so that should attest to the facts in the case. Replace the old tile with new vinyl tile and avoid a lot of the struggle with old adhesive removal. You'll have a better, cheaper, flooring than ceramic tile and that should make everyone happy. Good luck.
Joe
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The house was built in 1947- or so. I can't get an absolute year from the city. Originally we just suspected that it was asbestos-vinyl, but last week I found a few boxes of the original tile left over from construction. Right on the box it says asbestos-vinyl, so I'm pretty confident =) I tried removing some of the tiles using a 9" putty knife and hammer, which seems to be the norm. Most tiles would come up halfway, then break in two like glass. The tiles are very brittle after 60 years - after failing to keep the pieces from breaking, I decided it would be best to try to cover up the floor. The easier removal option would probably be to cut up the subfloor around the perimeter and replace it with plywood and/or hardie backer. The room is approximately 12'x7'6" - 90 sq ft. Raising the floor by 1/4" isn't really a concern - we have a bamboo floor installed in the hallway, and the previous owner (poorly) installed some linoleum tiles in the adjoining kitchen after adding 1/4" plywood. In fact, raising the floor would be preferable, as it would bring it up to the same height as all adjoining rooms. In pricing the tile, I came out to about $3.50 per square foot for ceramic tile installed (me doing the work myself - including grout, thinset, hardiebacker, and allowing up to $1.50/sq ft for tiles). I haven't priced the materials only for vinyl sheet or vinyl tiles, but I would REALLY like to avoid vinyl tiles. Every installation I've seen looks cheap - that may be more of a reflection on the installation or materials used, but there's no accounting for taste. Vinyl sheets installed were being priced at around $6 per square foot when paying somebody to do the work. Out of curiosity, why do you say a vinyl floor would be better than ceramic? I haven't been able to find many real comparisons of them. Would it be better for this application - where muddy feet are a common reality, or would the dirt get ground into the tiles? As I mentioned before, my experience with vinyl floors are from installations done 10-15 years ago, so many things may have changed. I'm researching now so I'm happy with how things turn out later.
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On Oct 19, 1:13 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Or just go with more sheet vinyl. It is quite an easy DIY job, I've done several floors. It's much easier than ceramic tile to put down.
My concern with putting down hardibacker and tile is that you'll be raising the floor level an inch or so, maybe more. This will create threshold problems. Breakage isn't a problem. There is commercial grade floor tile that can handle a bulldozer driving over it with the proper subfloor. Ask at any tile shop, they can tell you what is the best grade.
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On 19 Oct, 13:13, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If it is really a mud room, then I would be concerned about the slippery-factor associated with ceramic tile unless you pick a style with a rough surface. Wet mud and snow could make the floor pretty slippery. I'd also be concerned about the grout getting very dirty, even if well sealed, in a mud room.
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I agree. I would go with vinyl sheet. It's cheap, durable, waterproof and more. Self installation is really very straighforward and doesn't require any special tools -- a tape measure, sharp utility knife and a reasonably long straight-edge will help however. Just take it slowly, measure several times, cut once, and don't rush. There's no rocket science involved!
As a high school student I had a summer job installing vinyl and other flooring. So it really is simple enough for a kid to do ;-)
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On Oct 19, 1:26 pm, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

I wasn't too terribly clear in my original description - it's not truly a "mud room" in that it's not an entryway - it was a mudroom in the original blueprints of the house, but a previous owner removed the door & window, covered the old openings with drywall, and installed plumbing to convert it into a laundry room. The plumbing that was installed was run directly along one of the walls - completely visible. I plan to 'box this in' with some 2x6s on 24" centers, since it's really just a surface to attach drywall to (2x6 because the drain/ vent pipe sits a few inches from the wall), properly rough in the plumbing for the washer & sink, and put in a new floor. I'll check into vinyl pricing - it sounds like that might be the way to go. If we decide on ceramic tile, is there any technical reason why we couldn't mud over the existing tiles & put in a hardie backer subfloor to support them? I've seen various comments regarding the difficulty/ feasability of putting ceramic tiles over vinyl, but it's not at all clear to me whether that only applies when trying to install tile DIRECTLY over the existing floor, or if that also applies when adding a subfloor over the existing.
Thanks for all the advice! If we go with vinyl I plan to do the work myself - I had thought it required specialized tools (100lb rollers, that sort of thing).
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On 19 Oct, 16:06, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If you do vinyl, may I pass along a tip I saw on Ask This Old House for making a pattern?
When I made the pattern for the sheet vinyl I laid in a basement bathroom, the hardest part was cutting the pattern to fit right up against the walls, shower stall, vanity, etc. I essentially made an "exact fit" pattern.
On Ask This Old House, Tom Silva rough cut his pattern material so it was about an inch shy of all the walls. He then cut out a few triangles in the field and taped it to the existing floor. Next, he placed the outside edge of his framing square against the walls and drew a line on the pattern material using the inside edge.
After he had transferred the outline of the room onto the pattern, he taped the pattern to the sheet vinyl and placed the inside edge of his framing square on the line. Finally, using the outside edge of the framing square, he transferred the outline of the room onto the vinyl.
It looked so much easier than my method since all he had to do was cut a "close enough" pattern, tape it down and then use his framing square to transfer the exact shape of the room to the pattern material and then to the vinyl.
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On Oct 19, 12:13 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Sheet vinyl is kind of like asphalt shingles -- won't get your home into Architectural Digest, and is not exactly a solution for the ages, but it's so darn practical and reasonable that almost everyone uses it. Comes in a million patterns. No joints or seams to worry about in a room that size. It'll last long enough, and when its done you just roll it up and throw it away. -- H
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Some other factors that come to mind:
What flooring material does this transition to and how visible is the mud room from whatever adjoins it? Is the mud room also an entrance to outside, so more traffic will go through it and people will see what flooring is there? What type of flooring is in the rest of the house? The places I've seen ceramic tile used the most in mud rooms usually have that tile extending into other adjacent areas, like the kitchen as well.
I would not be concerned with things dropping and breaking the tile. Yes, it can happen, but it's not common. The more typical is the reverse. If you drop a glass or bottle on a vinyl floor, it's much less likely to break than if you drop it on ceramic. But that would not be a major concern for me in a mud room.
One thing I don't follow is your 1/4" height calculation. I don't see how you're going to get the hardiboard, thinset, tile, etc in and only raise the floor 1/4"
If you can do the tile work yourself and get the tile done or about the same as vinyl, I'd go with the tile.
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I meant that the floor would be a max of 1/4" higher than the surrounding floors. Currently in the hallway adjoining the room, we have 5/8" wood flooring installed. Adding 1/4" hardiboard, thinset, and tile would probably raise it to approximately level with the adjoining rooms.
I think I have reconciled myself to the vinyl sheet floor - it's not as expensive as I had previously supposed ($1.50 / sq ft is the highest I found for the flooring itself), so it's a little easier to consider. I just plan to use the type of flooring that can be attached around the perimeter using fiberglass tape - roughing the surface for better adhesion isn't an option, which I have heard is required if you want to use the other type of floor.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

(Think the stuff you see in building lobby airlocks). Some sort of rubbery material with raised dots. Available in large squares or rolls, and in multiple colors.
aem sends...
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That's a pretty need idea. Costco sell MotoFloor Modular Garage Flooring which is the same kind of thing in a 12 by 12 tile format. I considered it for my garage but it gets really expensive to cover a three bay garage. That might not be too much of an issue with a smallish laundry room.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Faced the same decision myself over the laundry room floor. Having had both tile and vinyl, I agree the vinyl these days is not even close to the quality of the old linoleums, however it's much easier to maintain than tile. Tile joints and grout are a major PIA to keep clean - regardless of sealers.
I would hire the pro. He should use an embossing leveler over the old flooring and install good sheet vinyl of your choice. Good luck w/ your project.
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...

Tell your mother-in-law to screw off (unless she pays the mortgage). Ceramic is a great tile for kitchens, baths, laundry. No, it is not easily cracked unless your fat MIL walks across it. If she wants vinyl, have her pay to have it done.
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I have tile in both my mudroom/laundry room and my kitchen. I suggest colored grout for the "cleaning the grout" issue. In my laundry room, it's beige; in my kitchen, black (black and white kitchen with black and white tile) and it looks fine with just regular floor washing. Have never had problems with slipping (and my laundry room has two entrances from the outside) or cracking the tile, and I've dropped some relatively heavy stuff on it (heavier than a can of soup).
Jo Ann
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