1 girl + cracked slab + 600 sq. ft. of 18x18 travertine = [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

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GaArmyWife
04-05-2007, 02:05 PM
LOTS OF QUESTIONS!
Here is my situation in a nutshell: I have the majority of the first floor to tile. Two flooded toilets and two ruined Pergo floors later ... I will not put down another disposable floor again. I am on a very tight budget, as my 36 yr old husband has decided to join the Army. :usflag: It is me, two kids, two dogs and lots of bare concrete! I am not afraid of the work, I was a designer for many years. Point me to the right tools and I'll do just about anything. Last week I reframed a door jamb, so please don't tell me to just hire someone. :p
The slab is 9 yrs. old. This is Ga., so the temperature extremes are minimal compared to those up north. There are three areas of concern.
1> a 1/4" crack running north/south for the width of one room (in plane)
2> a hairline crack running east/west across half the length of the same room (in plane)
3> when the Pergo came up, I discovered that whatever was used to level the Pergo by the last contractor had buckled, grown mold and made a big mess. I pulled up most of this, although the thinner areas seem to still be secure to the slab.
This seems to be the most helpful, friendly place around. :wave: Please chime in here and let me know if I am on the right path. I need to commit to something and get moving on this.

1: I figure that I need to address the buckled level compound area first. I can remove any potentially loose material and level quick the rest. That will likely leave a seam or overlap where the old compound and the level quick meet. Could this be a problem down the road?
2: Next, I will need to address the cracks. Ditra looks like I need to cover the whole floor and would double my cost on the job. OUCH :sick: I found something by Custom Building Products called Crack Buster. You use their primer and stick it over the cracks. It comes in a 30" x 10' roll. Can I fill the larger crack and then install this stuff over the problems? Is there something else that is cost effective that works as well or better? Home Depot sells something called Redguard, which is a roll on waterproofing membrane. This is only good for cracks up to 1/16". I do not think that this will help me. I've heard that NobleSeal makes something but do not know much more than that. Any other suggestions?
3: Once I install some sort of membrane, I am presumming that I would compensate for th ethickness with the thinset? I am using 18 x 18 travertine (the price is right at $1.97 a sq. ft.). I expect that I need some sort of modified thin set? There are so many ... latex, stone and marble, flexbond, versabond ... any recomendations?
4: During install, I read that I should take a 4' straight board to lay across the tiles and give a tap to keep everything level with its neighbor. Is this also to help set the tile in the thin set?
5: I figure that I am looking at about a month to get from one end to the other. Should I grout as I go or do it all at the end? Do you suggest 1/16" grout spacing or larger? I am guessing unsanded grout?
6: Last question - When I do eventually meet a carpet, do I need to put a little metal edge in to keep the tile from being chipped later or will that look cheap?

Sorry to ask so many questions. I have been to so many stores and gotten so little information. I do not know if they think a woman is incapable or if they are just too lazy or incompetant to answer questions about products in their own store. I greatly greatly appreciate all the valuable information availabe on this site. I have learned about so many different, new and exciting things.
You guys and girls rock!
Blessings and Thanks.
Christine :nya:

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MarcusEngley
04-05-2007, 03:22 PM
Welcome Christine! You're in the right place -- ain't no one here going to tell you to hire a contractor, unless that's what you want to do.

Sounds like you've done a lot of good research already. I'll bump your post back to the top here and give you the usual intro spiel:

1) Keep all your posts about the project on this thread and it'll float up to the top each time you have a question. Helps folks keep track of the project.

2) First name, we got that -- you could go to User CP in the toolbar at the top and add it to your signature if you want. We're friendly.

3) Pichers are always good. We like pichers. Helps stimulate the brain for ideas.

9 year old slab with some in-plane cracks -- what kind of soil are you on? What caused that big flood? Just the backed up toilets? If you feel like the slab is done moving you might get away with strips of crack suppressant, like some of Noble's products. You're right that RedGard won't do it. Ditra would (and it's a great product) but it might be out of the budget.

18x18 travertine is going to want a flatflatflat surface to set it on. How much variation is there in your slab? If it's wavy at all you're going to want to level it out (or at least flatten) or come up with a smaller tile to use.

Best to also get as much of that old Pergo pooky off the floor, too -- get a long-handle floor scraper and a bunch of blades. Water might help soften it, if it's glue.

Other, wiser folks will be along...

John Bridge
04-05-2007, 03:33 PM
Welcome aboard, Christine. :)

Marcus is right on.

I won't tell you to hire a pro, but I'll tell you that installing large stone tiles is an "advanced" tiling project. Just getting the floor flat enough takes some doing, and as Marcus stated, the floor must be flat to begin with. If you haven't bought the material yet, I suggest you think about 12 x 12 in. percelain tile.

Don't get me wrong. We'll help you, but I think you're biting off more than you can chew. :)

MudMaker
04-05-2007, 03:42 PM
Welcome to the Forum Christine..
Just wanted to reinfore the others that you can do it yourownself and get all the help ya need here...
I think it works a little better if ya ax a couple of questions at a time.. Sometimes we older folk fall asleep before we finish readin long threads.. :gerg:

Scooter
04-05-2007, 04:21 PM
That some serious cracking. Chances are that over 9 years, its settled, but I would be somewhat concerned.

My main concern is flat the slab is, say over 8 or 10 feet?

How much elevation do you have to work with? In other words, could you live with an inch and a quarter increase in the thickness of the slab?

I think this is a bit of a major project that will involve leveling the slab, then protecting the leveling compound (SLC or Mud) from cracking again, then the tile.

The cheapest and best way to do this is to strip that slab down to as close to bare concrete as you can, then add a membrane, then mud to level it, then tile. Mud is super cheap.

I'm no Ditra guy, but I am not as confident as you are that slapping Ditra over a severely cracked floor will solve your problem.

GaArmyWife
04-05-2007, 09:04 PM
I very well may be biting off too much. The thing is that I either bite or look at a slab for another year. Doing a ceramic will cost me the same as doing the travertine and look a lot cheaper. I don't want to hurt my resale. I may see if I have any options in 12 x 12. They had some that were running $2.49 a while back. I love the look of big tile but you have to compromise someplace, right?

I am also going to pop into the Daltile showroom tomorrow and see what they can tell me about the CPE membrane product. For all I know the Crackbuster may be a fine product BUT it does not inspire too much confidence when noone seems to have heard of it. :confused:

I will try to get some pics taken this week, hmmmmmm.... how do I post pics?

Thanks for the rapid response. You folks are great. I missed a call from my DH tonight and it was pretty depressing. It felt good to come here and see so much support and encouragement!

Rob Z
04-05-2007, 09:26 PM
Christine,

I think this one is going to come down to a gamble on your part: has the slab stabilized and stopped substantial cracking or is it going to continue?

if you're willing to gamble, you can fill that crack and use a membrane and go for it and hope for the best. I don't think any of the manufacturers warrant their product over cracks that large, so you probably won't have recourse for any sort of warranty if there are problems down the road.

I used an epoxy crack filler in our garage of our previous house, then painted the floor with an epoxy paint. The cracks never reappeared, but I can't say whether it was because the epoxy held it together or because the slab had stopped moving.

Marge
04-05-2007, 09:32 PM
Christine,

Here (http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=14991) is a link to information about posting pictures. Let us know if you have any problems. :)