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Old 02-09-2018, 04:33 PM   #1
chris0192
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First-timer questions on layout, concrete slab

Hi, hoping some folks can provide some help and answer some basic questions for me given I've never tiled a floor before. I'm planning to tile our first floor and adjoining rooms that sit on a concrete slab and unsure about a few things:
+ The tile will lay on a concrete slab from a Chicago home built in 2001. Assuming the slab is in good condition can I lay directly on the slab and what mortar makes sense (Versabond LFT, 4 XLT) ? Any reason I should/would consider using Ditra?
+ I tried laying the tile out on paper (attached) by simply creating a grid of tiles offset by 1/3 but am I going about laying this tile out all wrong? How should I be thinking about laying tile out in the room shown and the adjacent spaces/rooms?
+ And when tiling multiple adjacent rooms, how should I think about tiling through the doorway to the adjoining room?
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Old 02-09-2018, 06:04 PM   #2
Davy
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Hi Chris, welcome. What is on the slab now? I'd concentrate on getting the concrete clean. Free of texture, paint or adhesives. Once you get it clean, mop it and any slab cracks will usually show up. Then you can decide if you need an anti-fracture membrane. Ditra isn't advertised as an anti-fracture membrane although I believe it does help. I wouldn't use Ditra, myself but rather a product that does claim to help with slab cracks.

The pattern can flow right thru to the next room although you may want a soft joint across the doorways.
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:16 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice Davy. Right now there is old laminate wood flooring, under which appears to be a plastic membrane filled with tiny styrofoam type balls (assume some kind of insulating or moisture barrier?)

I'll have to look up "soft joint" as I'm not familiar, but otherwise if I understand correctly you are saying simply continue the pattern from one room to the next (effectively, pretending as if the walls were not there). But let me know if I've misunderstood.
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Old 02-10-2018, 02:38 PM   #4
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Laticrete Stratamat is a good crack prevention membrane.

A soft joint is simply leaving the grout out of a particular joint, and filling it with a color-matched caulk. If you can do it at the doorways, there's less work involved, and you've effectively "separated" each room from the others. It allows for expansion and contraction, and can prevent tenting and debonding due to stress.
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:40 PM   #5
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Yes, you understood correctly about the pattern. So depending on your size of tile and pattern, you may have to start the layout in the doorway to make sure you have a grout joint between the jambs.
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Old 02-12-2018, 09:25 PM   #6
chris0192
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Came across an issue - my concrete slab has a hump that causes nearly a 1/4" gap using a 48" level (photo attached). This hump runs the long direction of the room in my original image. My tile is 8x24 and I plan to run the long end parallel to the hump. Does that make my life any easier?

Assuming not...how should I approach fixing this? Grind down the hump and if so, how? Or go with self-leveling cement?
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:07 PM   #7
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Grind it down. Use an angle grinder and a diamond cup wheel on your hands and knees. It goes quicker than youíd think, but man, does it kick up A LOT of dust. I made a fixture out of 2x4ís to keep the wheel flat on the floor. If itís just one hump/ridge, grinding is easier. If itís lots of large areas, then think about SLC. Either way, tiling over the hump is not going make you happy in the long run.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:27 PM   #8
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They do make a shroud that has a vacuum attachment that helps with the dust.
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:26 PM   #9
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Caulk may not end up permanent, but using a quality, engineered expansion joint is. You might want to consider using one of those verses caulk. A few companies make them including Schluter and Custom Building Products. Cleaning out caulk that no longer looks good is a pain.
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