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Old 12-23-2017, 05:30 PM   #1
psteinmetz1
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1100 square foot room tile job. Advice needed.

I have a 30 x 40 room with vaulted ceiling to lay tile in. No interior walls, all open. Tile are porcelain 6 x 36 wood grain and will run in the 40 foot direction. I need advice on two things.

#1 concrete substrate is 21 months old. No control joints were cut into slab and I can only find one small crack. Should I cut 10' control joints into slab? Also, should I put thin uncoupling membrane over those joints? If so, what material and extending how far from the joint?

#2. I have seen expansion joints used in large rooms over wood substrate, but not concrete. Do i need expansion joints in place of grout? How does that work? On the south and north walls (30 foot side) there are two Windows measuring 5 fit tall and 7 foot wide. There is also a 6 foot patio door in between the Windows. I have concern about thermal expansion and tenting. I'm not sure how to make expansion joint due to staggered grout joints.

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Old 12-23-2017, 10:42 PM   #2
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Welcome, Paul.

1. Control joints must be cut or troweled into a concrete SOG within 24 hours of pouring if they are to be of any value at all, and the 24 hours is actually too long in my opinion. It will do you no good at all to cut them now.

An uncoupling or crack isolation membrane might be good insurance under your tile installation, but it would need to be 100 percent coverage.

2. You most definitely need movement accommodation joints in your tile surface. The ceramic tile industry standards (EJ171) call for a joint every 20 to 25 feet in each direction plus perimeter joints for interior installations without significant exposure to direct sunlight or moisture. If you consider your sunlight exposure significant, you'd use the exterior spacing of a joint every 8 to 10 feet. They won't be particularly attractive in an installation such as yours, but cracked or tented tiles won't either.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 12-24-2017, 08:27 AM   #3
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I assume that there will have to be a 'hard break' in the tile pattern since they are a staggered mortar joint? Does anyone have a picture of how this would look so I could see how to do it?

I do consider the south side at least to be in a high sun area. I just wasn't sure how to do the expansion or soft joint with the wood look tile. I haven't seen much on the web with anyone having a room this large and having that tile type with expansion joints. From my attached picture you are seeing a south facing view (9:00 am picture taken on 12/24). The north facing view is a mirror image.
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Old 12-24-2017, 12:35 PM   #4
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Expansion joints for staggered tile is challenging at best. A sawtoothed design is possible by industry standards, but difficult to achieve, and many professionals question the parallel silicone joints having enough give considering their length.

To get around this problem, we place a tile from jamb to jamb perpendicular to the main floor tiles.

Expansion joints in the parallel direction are easy
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Old 12-24-2017, 07:25 PM   #5
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That's a good idea. Thank you for your suggestion. I was asking my wife if even an accent tile would be acceptable to her for that purpose, but got shot down there. So far on her favorite list is a schluter expansion joint she saw with a grey rubber insert.

Does anyone else have an opinion on the ditra mat? I'm not opposed to doing it but have to justify the $1400 or so dollars for the product. Does everyone use this over concrete? I was going to use a versabond medium bed LFT thinset or Mapei product that is similar.

I am open up to suggestions on that too (thinset). I understand modified below and unmodified above, but does unmodified work with porcelan LFT? Keep in mind that we only have big box stores around where I live. On Tuesday when stores open back up I can contact a store that specializes in tile product that's about 60 miles away.

Thanks for all the ideas so far, it's very helpful!
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Old 12-24-2017, 09:34 PM   #6
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Paul,

If you add your location to your User CP we can help recommend materials and methods

Versabond will work just fine. Its barely modified.

Millions of Sf have been installed with non modified.

Ditra / another uncoupling membrane or crack isolation membrane is good insurance. Especially on a younger slab. If you were going over a 20 year old stable slab I would easily suggest direct bond. If this were my house I'd spend the money on Ditra or similar from other manufacturers.
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Old 12-24-2017, 10:45 PM   #7
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You got it.

I'm looking into the Strata Mat. Over 1100 square feet anything starts to add up!

The wife seems to be happy with two expansion joints 10' in from the north and south walls (running east and west). 90% of sun energy will hit the floor in these areas. This will leave a 20' block between them. We'll also put two running north to south which will divide the slab into 10' sections in that direction. The largest divided area will be 10 x 20. Maybe a little overkill, but I think the deliberate pattern will look better. If I only have one expansion joint running north to south, it'll end up splitting my patio door in half and I don't think that'll look good.

I have read people raving about Laticrete 4xlt, flexbond and others. What's best for the 6x36 porcelain over a strata mat?
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Old 12-25-2017, 06:55 AM   #8
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Go with the Laticrete from bottom to top and you can get one of their warranties I believe.
https://laticrete.com/support-and-do...ort/warranties
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Old 12-25-2017, 08:17 AM   #9
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4XLT is a personal favorite, but there are many thinsets that will work.

Do consider the Laticrete warranty as that may affect which thinset you purchase.

Watch this video
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Old 12-26-2017, 07:39 AM   #10
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Another question has arisen when doing research on flattening the floor. Using a 12' boxed straight edge I do have some areas that need to be touched up. I had seen a lot of the SLC product being used, but in a past basement project I used a screed board and some mortar (much like I was screeding concrete). If that's a bad practice I wouldn't have known any better at the time and i still don't now. I still can find articles about 'flashing the floor' using kerabond and keralastic.

Other discussions on this board show people saying things like they've all done it, it's not recommended anymore (especially by some of the industry guys), I'd do it in a pinch, I have no regrets, etc.

Is there a 'better' in this case? I'm not wanting to cover the entire slab with SLC, but I do want to get out some of the valley areas I can find.
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Old 12-26-2017, 12:43 PM   #11
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Paul, SLC is usually used to float the whole floor but I have mixed small batches and filled low areas. I first would take a straight edge and crawl over the whole floor checking for low spots and marking the floor with a crayon or marker as I go. I then would make sure the areas are clean and then mopped. I then prime with the recommended primer. You might need to prime all the areas before mixing any SLC so it has time to dry. I mix up a 1/4 bucket and start filling them in. I like to force the SLC into the slab with a flat trowel as I go, then build up thicker as I pull the straight edge over the SLC raking and pulling the excess towards me. Force in a little more SLC and continue pulling the excess. Once you do the marked low area, go to the next one.

Usually, by the time I get to the last area to be filled, the first areas are hard and ready to be rubbed with a rub stone. Knock down any high spots and ridges with the stone and sweep, vacuum and mop again. Check the floor again with the straight edge. Sometimes we check the floor with the straight edge going the other direction.

Depending on how bad the slab is, this could take some time. But, getting the slab as flat as you can will make the tiling easier with less grief.
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Old 12-26-2017, 12:49 PM   #12
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For this application, does SLC have any advantage over a feather-edge concrete patching compound that does not purport to self-level? E.g. Mapei Planipatch or equivalent?

Cheers, Wayne
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Old 12-26-2017, 01:15 PM   #13
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I can't say if it has any advantages. I would think the patching compound could be used the same way. Others that use these products a lot are welcome to chime in.

Here is the rub stone I'm talking about.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Marshall...0-HD/100318060
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Old 12-26-2017, 04:17 PM   #14
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I think I like the idea of the patching compound that I could take to a feather edge b/c I plan to basically spread it and screed it in. Doesn't the SLC generally need to be 1/8" thick? Like I said I want to only address the low spots and not the entire floor. I think I could fix a number of them and come back the next day and get some more of them.

Unlike a GC I'm not guided by the dollar, just my wife! LOL!

Once again, wonderful discussion! I'm feeling very confident and excited about getting started. My goal is to have this buttoned up by early February. A gang of us that have been buddies since high school have gotten together every year for New Year's and for the Super Bowl. I host the super bowl and for 2 years now, the gang has seen it in progress. It'd be awesome to have the party in there!

Attached are some of the pics of my 12' box straight edges and the gaps that I'm dealing with.
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Old 12-26-2017, 06:53 PM   #15
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If you pour SLC out and wait for it to self level, it'll be hard to get it to run thinner than 1/8 but when using a straight edge, you should be able to feather it down to practically nothing.

Use the patching compound if you feel more comfortable with it.
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