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gfnrf
08-04-2001, 10:43 AM
Due to extreme time constraints (moving to Boston from sunny California), we do not have time to ponder all the different postings and answers across the boards (100's), therefore we are looking for several 'your way' of doing it and will go with the majority.

We have laid several successful ceramic tile jobs (shower walls, bathroom floors, kitchen countertops, etc. - all using the MK wet tile saws. We have never laid 18x18 travertine and don't want to screw up.

1. The California house is built 1931 with a wood subfloor over a dry 2' crawlspace.

2. Rooms being done are breakfast room, kitchen, entry foyer - about 250 Sq.Ft. in a long rectangle.

3. The rest of the house is oak flooring. No carpet, no concrete.

4. Currently there is 40+ yr old linoleum in the areas to be tiled. Yes, it is asbestos, yes it is firmly down. We are removing the shoe molding right now (there is 4" mahogany molding everywhere) and will have it stripped and put back.

Question 1:
Should we remove the linoleum on the wood subfloor?

Question 2:
Since the transition is to oak flooring - I was going to take some of the travertine and see if some tile contractor can sand and then polish the travertine edges down - 2" from the edge to give a no-step slope to the oak flooring. Is this possible?

Question 3:
Since we don't want the transition to high - because it is going down to the oak flooring -

What product should we use - Durock? Hardibacker? - also what thickness? Thick may always be better, but what is the most reasonable thickness to get here - when there are concerns with transitioning to the flooring, but also wanting a decent foundation for the travertine.

What is the thinnest backerboard to use and which product?

Question 4:
For 18x18" Honed and Filled travertine - should we seal it before we grout?

We read on a product that to prevent grout stains on the stone - it should be sealed first, then grouted, then sealed again. How does honed and filled travertine take this? Do others do this? I would not hesitate to do this with very porous materials like Saltillo, but what about travertine?

Question 5:
Is 1/4"x1/4" square notch trowel the proper tool?

Question 6:
We were planning on using 1/8" grout spacing - would anybody ever do 1/16" - or is that too narrow to work with.

Question 7:
How long after grouting should travertine be sealed. Is it okay to do it within 24 hours?

We very much appreciate your professional and experienced input. Step by step for this install of 18x18 travertine on wood subfloor and a linoleum issue, and a transition issue to oakflooring.

We kind of know what to do, but as a husband and wife team - we are starting to spend too much time reading and double questioning ourselves - that we are running out of time and need to just do it - properly. : )

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Bud Cline
08-04-2001, 11:13 AM
gfnrf,

Thanks for coming I think you will be better served here than where I kidnapped you from. Here's my two cents but lets see what these other guys have to offer also.



Question 1:
Should we remove the linoleum on the wood subfloor?

You are into health hazard and legal issues when you start removing flooring products that contain asbestos. I see no problem in encapsulating this product with your new work.

Question 2:
Since the transition is to oak flooring - I was going to take some of the travertine and see if some tile contractor can sand and then polish the travertine edges down - 2" from the edge to give a no-step slope to the oak flooring. Is this possible?

Yes.

Question 3:
Since we don't want the transition to high - because it is going down to the oak flooring -

What product should we use - Durock? Hardibacker? - also what thickness? Thick may always be better, but what is the most reasonable thickness to get here - when there are concerns with transitioning to the flooring, but also wanting a decent foundation for the travertine.

What is the thinnest backerboard to use and which product?

If you abide by the proven standards then your tranistion height variance has to be secondary to your existing structural minimum requirements. You may be dealing with an overall deflection problem.

With travertine, deflection of your floor can not exceed 1/720 of your span I believe.

Your minimum subfloor thickness before tile is 1-1/8", I'd go for 1-1/4" minimum.

You must consider your structural members such as; what size are your floor joists and what is their spacing? How thick is your existing subfloor?

Question 4:
For 18x18" Honed and Filled travertine - should we seal it before we grout?
We read on a product that to prevent grout stains on the stone - it should be sealed first, then grouted, then sealed again. How does honed and filled travertine take this? Do others do this? I would not hesitate to do this with very porous materials like Saltillo, but what about travertine?

This I would think would depend on the chosen grout color.

Question 5:
Is 1/4"x1/4" square notch trowel the proper tool?

This information is offered by the thinset manufacturer and can be found on the thinset bag.

Question 6:
We were planning on using 1/8" grout spacing - would anybody ever do 1/16" - or is that too narrow to work with.

1/16" is fine but you have to watch out for your thinset purging between the tiles. This purge if not removed for each tile may prohibit a 1/16" spacing, in other words 1/16" may be a lot more work than 1/8".

Question 7:
How long after grouting should travertine be sealed. Is it okay to do it within 24 hours?

No.
Again the manufacturer of the sealer will have specific instructions as to when you can apply their sealer.

chip
08-04-2001, 11:23 AM
Lets not put the cart before the horse.

What type of support do you have for the installation of tile? Meaning, floor joist size and spacing. This information is critical to the capabilities of having a sound installation.

I'll answer a few of the questions and others will be by shortly.

Linoleum- You can either put 1/4" cement backer board over it with thinset and nail and screw, following the manufacturers directions or using a top quality multi-purpose medium bed mortar you can set tile directly to a clean ie: no wax, paint, solvent etc. linoleum. We would suggest that you do a test of say a piece of the tile in a area, to make sure the bond is strong.

Trowel size- At least 1/2x1/2" for the medium bed mortar. You want to use a larger notched trowel to give a good bed for the tiles to set into.

I'll leave the rest to the Journeymen.

Good luck,

Art

gfnrf
08-04-2001, 11:55 AM
In regards to the subfloor:

First room - breakfast room
8' W x 11' L - has 1" subfloor with oak flooring on top and then the linoleum.

This room has a doorway opening that leads to the kitchen with the flooring space (without cabinets) to be
5 1/2' W x 13' L. This is a long rectangle kitchen (blt 1931). This area just has the 1" subfloor with the linoleum on top.

Then there is a load bearing wall between this room and the flow to the next room - through the door opening to the foyer. This area is
8' W x 8' L. This area has 1" subfloor with the linoleum on top.

So imagine all three rooms connecting in one long rectangle. There is a 30" wide opening between each room. The linoleum is one continuous span from room to room.

Don't ask me how the breakfast room has oak flooring on top (either 1/2" or 3/4"). But when they installed the FAU and we had the vents put into the floor of each of these rooms - we saw a nice cross section of the flooring. When originally built - they must have dropped the subfloor in the kitchen to be able to put wood in it which is the same as the rest of the house. No - I don't know why some cracker jack covered the oak flooring in the breakfast room with linoleum so early on - many years ago.

Hope this helps.

1. With the above information is 1/4" hardiback board out of the question. I agree that the foundation comes first - forgetabout the transition - that will work out.

Hardiback or durock? I know hardiback is easier to cut, but I saw some questionable remarks.

2. With the above information - would anybody NOT use backerboard (with screws, etc) - and just use thinset and set the travertine down.

When jumped on the floor appears quite solid. There are no squeaks, shakes, rattles, or rolls. : )

chip
08-04-2001, 12:07 PM
The hardwood under the lino', is it tounge & groove?

Does the existing lino' have any creases in it, along the lines of the hardwood under it.

Tounge & groove allows very little room for expansion and contraction. They will tent up, and could cause problems with the finished tile job.

Check it out.

Go down in the crawl space and tell what size joists you have and the spacing.

Art

gfnrf
08-04-2001, 01:05 PM
The 1" wood subfloor are 6" wide planks butted against each other. They run diagonally to the floor joists.

The joists are 2"x6" spaced 18"


The oak flooring is tongue and groove - from 1931 - but the linoleum is over it and it is as flat as can be. The oak flooring is over the 1" wood subfloor as well. This is only in the breakfast room. The rest of the areas are the 1" wood subfloor with the linoleum over it.

There are no vents and no lines in the linoleum.

There is one seam one foot from one wall that just slightly puckers - I think that is from chairs pushing against it - but it is easily sealed down. It looks more obvious than it is because the linoelum is yellow and the seam is black - so it is more glaring, but really is not raised.

Hope this helps.

It would be great if we don't have to put down backerboard : ) But if we do, we do.

John Bridge
08-04-2001, 01:20 PM
The 2x6 joists are undersized, but that's how they did things back then. Hopefully there are stringers (built-up beams) running under and perpendicular to the joists -- fairly close together.

The thing is, the subfloor can have absolutely no "bounce," or you'll have mega-problems down the road. If there is any spring -- if the floors are not completely solid when you jump up and down on them, you'll have to do some structural work underneath in the crawl space.

One minor point. On shaving the travertine down at the transition, you can shave it too thin. I'll break up on you. It's not the most stable stone in the world to begin with.

There is no way I would thinset any type of flooring directly to the linoleum.

gfnrf
08-04-2001, 01:38 PM
Yes, there are beams going perpendicular to the floor joists.

Okay, so no thinset directly to the linoleum.

Can we do the 1/4" backerboard (which one?) screwed and taped to the linoleum, thinset on top and then the travertine?

Can you just screw the backerboard to the linoleum?

That is what we have done in the past and then taped the seams and sealed those, but now we are reading that people thinset the backboard to the subfloor, then screw it, then tape and seal it. Then they thinset the tile...

I understand about the threshold pieces. We were going to keep the pattern straight and even with the walls and for the doorway, use smaller pieces that we would have somebody polish down, but only so slightly so there is more of a smoothed slope to the edge, as opposed to the sharp drop off.

I'm curious about one thing. If travertine is so fragile and not the best stone - why would the Getty museum in California be done in all travertine. The inside floors, the outside floors, the stairs, everything and we are talking about an acre of travertine - inside and outside.

Rob Z
08-04-2001, 01:59 PM
gfnrf

The only backerboard that I know of that says it can be installed directly over resilant flooring is Utilicrete. Email Art "flattile" for product info. He is a rep for that product.

Travertine in the big public buildings is installed in big, thick slabs. Plus, there is the money available for the continued upkeep of the stone. That's all I can think of.

gfnrf
08-04-2001, 03:15 PM
In popping the shoe molding off - we started pulling nails etc and then decided to pull the linoleum off to see what is underneath in the kitchen.

On top of the 1" subfloor, we have 1/2" by 4" planks of wood on which the linoleum was on top of.

So the subfloor is 1 1/2" thick at minimum.

We are pulling off all of the linoleum because I wanted a totally clean surface to begin with, including removing any and all nails that were at the thresholds.

Absolutely NO linoleum.
- yes we are wearing masks, not HEPA filters though, and are misting it. We are trying to not break it.

Now - which product - hardiboard, wonderboard, durock?

This will be in the kitchen area as well - so we want something that will not fall apart under the travertine.

Bud Cline
08-04-2001, 03:17 PM
Marble and Travertine are the softest of the soft stones used in flooring and architechtually (some sandstones excepted) and Rob is correct, these stones used commercially in public buildings are done with slabs and blocks not 3/8" tiles. If I understand what you want to do, I think some transitions could be fashioned from this product, but they will be very fragile to handle for sure.

Bud Cline
08-04-2001, 03:20 PM
Stay with time proven cement board, there are too many question marks about Hardibacker.

John Bridge
08-04-2001, 03:22 PM
Get which ever backer is handy. Hardi is clean and easy to work. Go for it. Yeah, 1/4 in.

Bud beat me to the draw. Okay, go with Wonderboard or Durock, which ever they have.

gfnrf
08-04-2001, 04:05 PM
Now that the linoleum is coming up and we are ridding ourselves of that height, plus ensuring that the flooring underneath is in good condition - which it is - just as expected - we will go for the 1/2" durock - cement board

Back to the other question -

Do you put thinset underneath the cement board on top of the wood floor - in addition to screws, or can you just use screws. We screw it down (not nailing it) - but want to make sure of this step.

Also, should a vapor/water barrier be laid on the floor underneath the cement board?

Thinking about the vapor/water barrier (paper) - if that is used under the cement board, then you really can't use the thinset - or could you?

Can somebody straighten us out here?

Thanks - yes, I understand about the slabs - makes lots of sense to us.

Grace

Bud Cline
08-04-2001, 04:19 PM
Do you put thinset underneath the cement board on top of the wood floor - in addition to screws, or can you just use screws. We screw it down (not nailing it) - but want to make sure of this step.

YES Thinset, go for it. Screws won't take out any spongy ups and downs that may occur, the thinset will provide a good tight bed.

John Bridge
08-04-2001, 06:16 PM
I am removing the posts by JC and Kalford. JC, Quit causing confusion.