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Old 03-11-2018, 07:09 PM   #1
Fw1987
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Prodeso heat membrane over slatted subfloor

Hi Everyone, first post here. I'm looking for a bit of advice from you all.

We recently completed an extensive renovation through a reputable contractor, who had sub'd out our flooring installation.

We had Prodeso heat membrane installed in our bathroom, with a 12x24 porcelain tile atop of that. The contractor installed this directly over our original 1x6, non tongue and groove subfloor. The slats were in excellent shape and were screwed down 2 screws per board, per joist. I had expressed my concern early on that they did not want to put down 1/2" plywood. I was told it was not nessecary as the Prodeso membrane uncouples the tiled floor.

From what I was told, the membrane was glued to the floor, and a non-modified thinset to set the tiles.

Our house was built in 1962, the floor is constructed of 2x8 joists, spaced 16" OC. The span of the joists are about 10'.

Fast forward to now, about 4 weeks later. Our grout is cracking, and coming loose from the tile. You can also feel some vertical movement between each tile edge when stepped on. I was told that this movement is normal, and is caused by the uncoupling feature of the membrane.

I notified the contractor, and I was told that they did not use the correct "flex" grout, and that would need to re-grout the floor.

I was wondering what everyone's opinion is on this? I believe the floor should be replaced, starting with a new sub floor on top of what was there.

The issue with this, would now be the transition between that floor and our hallway.

Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:36 PM   #2
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The tile installation does not meet the industry standards. Pretty much nothing they do to it except tear it out and start over will fix that. Tile will not survive if there's movement like you indicated plus, even if it was up to par, you must use a highly modified thinset mortar to bond directly to wood. The joist structure does meet standards, but you CANNOT tile directly to dimensional wood...period. The fact that they are also not T&G makes it even messier.

Are the slats perpendicular to the joists, or on the diagonal and how thick are they?

https://www.radiantsource.com/docs/P...OK_USA-MED.pdf

The documentation specifically calls out plywood or osb on the subflooring. See page 6.
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Last edited by jadnashua; 03-11-2018 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:47 PM   #3
Fw1987
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Thanks for the reply!

The slats are on an angle, and I believe they are 1x6 (3/4" x 5.5")
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:06 PM   #4
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Welcome, Alex.

We are a site that takes time to answer questions in detail (like Jim just did). We generally avoid the “it’s doomed and you need to tear it out”. But the installation you describe will only get worse. There is no stopping the deterioration. Unfortunately, the mistake is too fundamentally big to recover from. It’s doomed and needs to be torn out.

At this point, I would invite the person you had a contract with (company you paid) to show you what approved industry standard was followed that allowed installation directly on solid dimensional lumber. When they say: .... That’s when you ask them to correct their mistake.

Sorry to confirm what Jim said.
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Old 03-12-2018, 05:17 AM   #5
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Thanks Tool Guy, as much as I didn't want to hear either of those answers, it's pretty much what I was expecting.

The most frustrating part is that we did all the flooring on the second level, and could have adjusted the subfloor in our hallway to account for the transition. Now we will always have a lip into the bathroom once this is fixed.

The installer is adamant that with Prodeso or Ditra heat, that you will always feel some "squish" or movement to the tile. Is there any truth to this statement?
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann
The installer is adamant that with Prodeso or Ditra heat, that you will always feel some "squish" or movement to the tile. Is there any truth to this statement?
No.

The membrane is firmly embedded in the thinset that holds it to the subflooring (when done right, the bonding fleece is fully encased in mortar - it must be fluid enough to flow into the fleece when installed - this takes a bit of pressure and properly mixed thinset to make it work). On the top of the membrane, there are pockets that go to the bottom of the membrane. When properly filled with thinset, those pockets will act like incompressible pillars of mortar holding the tile up from any vertical movement (and horizontal as well). If he's getting movement on all of his installs, he's not doing it right!

No rigid tile installation will survive any motion that you could feel, and will fail from motion that you can't, either. If you were to tap on the tile with something hard on this type of install verses one done without that membrane, you might notice it sounds differently. But, you should never feel any motion when walking on it.
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:56 PM   #7
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Hi Alex.

To alleviate your height concerns, you can remove the original boards and replace them with plywood.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:15 AM   #8
Fw1987
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That's for the reply John. Our issue is that we now have our tub installed and surround tiled, and it's all installed on the dimensional sub floor.

I have spoken to the contractor, and he has agreed to take it up and start over. My question now is, what thickness plywood is required over the dimensional lumber before they install the Prodeso membrane? Would 1/4" be enough? 3/8?

Also, is there any way to deal with the transition now that's somewhat tidy?

Thanks again to all.
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Old 03-13-2018, 12:05 PM   #9
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You'll want at least nominal 1/2" ply over the planks. You need to use deck screws to anchor it in place. The fastener spacing is important, too. There's an article in the 'Liberry' on that.

I don't' remember if you said what is in the hallway, carpeted, or wood. The solution to the transition would be different depending on the material. IF wood, it's fairly easy to make a tapered transition piece. If carpeted, they make ramps you can install underneath the carpeting to match up the levels, or, there are some tile profiles that can be used at the tile edge to compensate, depending on the height difference and materials involved (check www.schluter.com for profiles).
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Old 03-13-2018, 12:12 PM   #10
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Thanks a lot for the help! It's wood floor in the hallway, so I'll look into different transition profiles.
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