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Old 04-07-2004, 09:10 PM   #1
ajk
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tiling sanity check

I'm planning to install slate in my condo's kitchen next week and I'm mostly looking for a sanity check on my plan and a bit of advice.

My condo's in a highrise so the floor is post-tensioned concrete; the original builders layed hardword directly on the concrete so I'm assuming it's pretty darn flat but I won't be able to know for sure until I get all the way down to the concrete in the kitchen. The two layers of linoleum came up pretty easily, but the backing for it is pretty tough. I've been having some success with Jasco Sealer & Adhesive Remover, but usually only if I lay it on VERY think and let it sit for longer than their instructions indicate. (After it sits for about an hour the backing peels right up.) Does anyone have any recommendations for a better way to get that stuff up? Also, under that is a black goo that's very very thin but doesn't seem to notice the Jasco at all. Is it necessary to get that up, and if so what should I use to do so? Assuming the floor is flat and even, is there any other prep I'm likely to need to do?

The plan is to use Lacicrete multipurpose thinset and Lacicrete sanded grout to set and grout. Should I use grout or caulk between the slate and the walls? I'm planning on sealing with Stone Armor Impregnating Sealer 24-36 hours after I finish caulking. Is there anything I'm missing in terms of materials or the plan?

The kitchen has two thresholds; the lazy in me is tempted to use a wide wooden transition strip to avoid having to cut slate to go around the corners (there are no doors in the thresholds) but I have a feeling that I'll need to cut tile for all for walls anyway and making the slate meet the hardwood half-way through the threshold is the right thing to do. Any thoughts about that?

Are there any tips (besides not using slate) to help insure weight from the refridgerator isn't a problem?

Thanks much.
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:40 PM   #2
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The only comments I have are whatever thinset you use do a little test patch, mix up a little and see how well it sticks to the black mastic.

When you get close to the thresholds you can use a pc. of cardboard (the real thin stuff that can easily be cut with a pair of scissors) to make a template.

I save all the cuts that require a wetsaw for last. I bought a small wetsaw at HD for around $200.00 (basically its a grinder motor attached to an arm with a moving table and water pump. Works great) you can also rent one and do all your cuts at one time.

Although it is not big I was able to make all the cuts neccessary on 16" tile (3500 sq. ft.) for the second and third floors of my home.

I have a similiar job coming up that has the black mastic on the concrete, I will do a test patch and see how well it sticks, I look forward to what the pro's say about it.

Best of luck,

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Old 04-08-2004, 06:13 AM   #3
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Alec, the weight of the fridge won't be a problem. However, you can minimize any surface damage you might do while moving the fridge (or anything else that's real heavy and has sharp corners) is to put sheets of masonite down in the path. Once you get things close, remove the sheets.

Use leave a 1/4" gap along the walls and caulk it unless you plan to use baseboard or shoe mold, either of which can go on top of the gap to cover it.
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Old 04-08-2004, 07:29 AM   #4
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Welcome, Alec.

The black goo is called "cutback adhesive" (hey! I didn't make up the name, OK?) and is nigh onto impossible to remove completely. Just take up all you can with a mechanical scraper, then drop some water on a section and see if it is absorbed into the floor. If it soaks in and doesn't just bead up, you can tile over it with a good modified thinset. I know Laticrete makes suitable thinset for the purpose, but I don't know if their "multipurpose" is the one. Real tile guys will stop by and tell you that. Bruce's suggestion of doing a test section is always a good one, do it over one of the worst areas.

Oh, and they'll also tell you about how you'll come to regret putting slate on your floor, so git ready.

The floor will want to cure for at least a week after grout before you apply TYW sealer. PITA, but the maker (our own kemguru) says that's what you hafta do, so you hafta do it. That's a seven-day week.

You will hafta cut some tiles, so get yourself a wet saw. At cased openings (dorway with no door) you may not necessarily want to split the floors part way into the jamb as you would under a door with no reducer. In fact, with tile-to-wood floor junctions, I would nearly always want a wood reducer between the jambs. Sometimes it works best to tile the whole jamb area, sometimes you may want to split the jamb with no reducer. Just depends upon the situation. In any case, you're almost certain to want some nice cuts that you won't get with anything but a wet saw. You can buy the littlest Felker for under a hundred bucks and it will cut notches out of big tiles for around a door jamb just fine with a little finesse.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 04-08-2004, 08:38 AM   #5
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Everything sounds good so far. I've got a wetsaw I borrowed from someone else's tiling project and I've replaced the blade already with a suitable diamond one.

Yeah, I was expected the first post to be a "you-are-crazy-don't-use-slate" thing. So far, I'm pleasantly surprised. I'm not an active cook, don't have replicants running around, and hardly ever abuse alcohol by spilling it on the floor, so I'm pretty sure I'll be happy with slate; most other flooring is either (a) ugly or (b) even more expensive; some is both.

A week huh... if you find a part of remodeling that isn't a PITA, let me know. If it's gotta be, it's gotta be.

I'm putting a baseboard in, should I bother caulking the baseboard to the slate or the slate to the drywall, or should I save myself some trouble and just use the caulk in the transition spots and call it good enough?

Thanks so far for the tips.
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Old 04-08-2004, 05:09 PM   #6
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Hi Alec, Welcome.

Are there any requirements for sound reduction in your condo covenant? Tile cemented directly to a span-crete floor is going to transmit mucho noise to the unit below.
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Old 04-08-2004, 05:48 PM   #7
ajk
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I had meant to ask about sound transfer, but it had slipped my mind. I don't recall any specific rules, and the hardwood goes direct to concrete (although I bet slate transfers a lot more vibration than wood), but I suppose while I have everything torn up I should consider something to keep the noise level down. (I have already annoyed the neighbor below me...)

I was hoping to keep the new floor roughly level with the hardwood, but the hardwood isn't in the greatest condition (and I hate parquet anyway) so it's on my long-term project list. Perhaps my life would be easier in the long run if I put something in the kitchen between the slate and concrete and lived with the floor being unlevel and then to something similar to bring the hardwood up. Any advice?
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Old 04-08-2004, 06:43 PM   #8
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Right, after a bit of thought, echo and so on is/has been/likely will be a problem in general in my building. When "they" replaced the carpet in the common areas, they didn't use as much pad under it (something about wearing better without a pad) and it does echo. With that in mind, I'd like to try to do the right thing and reduce noise transmission as much as reasonably possible. Since the rest of the floors are likely to be replaced in the next two to five years, I'm willing to live with a steep transition for a while. The primary limiting factor is the main door leading to the common area, which is over 7/8" above the surface of the parquet, which is right around a quarter inch thick. With that much clearance, I'd imagine I have a lot of options... suggestions?
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