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Old 05-04-2012, 11:49 PM   #1
slowandsteady
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install tile level with wood floor

I have an old shore home rehab project that was gutted and substantailly completed except for the floors. I am a beginner DIY who has taken on multiple projects when my contractor brother-in-law left me hanging (and took me broke). For this project I am trying to do my first tile install at a 6 x 6 uneven entry way with new 5/8 bamboo floor on 2 sides. The area is a first floor concrete slab but i need to raise the floor slighty so the tile will be even with the bamboo floor. I plan on installing 12x12x1/4 porcelain tile. Also this area dips in some spots about 1/2 inch. I also plan on using self leveling compound to raise and even the slab floor. My crucial question is how how high should I raise the slab to meet the bamboo allowing appropriate space for mortar? To get the 1/4 tile to 5/8 I would need a 3/8 combo of mortar and SLC but I am scared that I may pour too much SLC and not leave enough space for proper mortar. Also I'm not sure how to precisely raise my edges to be within 1/8 to 3/16 that may be required. I'm not worried about the dips - the SLC should easily take care of them. Please help.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:21 AM   #2
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Keith, trying to get the SLC to the perfect height may be a bit hard. If anything go a hair lower because you can always use a bigger trowel to get the tiles to the height you need.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:46 AM   #3
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Before you get started, you need to understand that slc WILL try to make the floor level and that may not be in your best interests! You want the new tiled floor to be flat, but if trying to match up with other rooms you may not be able to level it first. This could make the situation worse. What you do want to do is make it flat, then, level would be nice.

What you need is a long level, then check the existing finished floors to see what would happen if you tried to level the area to be tiled between them. If you're lucky, the already finished floors are in the same plane, but they may not be.

IOW, use a straightedge or an 8' level to check between the existing floors over the area to be tiled. If those aren't level, leveling the area to be tiled may make things worse...depends on how far off things are.

Now, if things aren't off too much, you could probably make a transition that would cover the differences.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:46 AM   #4
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Thanks Ray. Would a 1/2" trowel be ok? If I go with 1/2 depth should I use a stronger mortar then thin set?
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:34 PM   #5
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Ok, I am going to try and use SLC to raise the floor 1/8 to 3/16 on the one side. The area to be tiled dips about 1/4 in the middle (1/2 near the doorway) but is dead level on the opposite end. How do I set up a form to ensure only 1/8 height next to the bamboo floor?
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:55 PM   #6
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While it's a little harder, some medium bed mortars can be installed as much as about 1" thick, more than enough to do this in one step. A good level, some strings or a laser level would be your friend.

A medium bed mortar (often called granite and marble mortar) has more sand in it so it doesn't let the tile sink as easily as with thinset, which isn't designed to be very thick.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:56 PM   #7
slowandsteady
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Thanks to all for the advice. Of course being a beginner I still have questions. Jim, that sounds ideal to use the medium mortar to build up the floor where needed but does the medium mortar have a minimum height allowance? What I'm trying to ask is whether I can use the same mortar throughout, even on the one side where it would only require about 1/8" of mortar. Or do I need to use thinset mortar for the thin areas? Also, does anyone have any advice on using the medium mortar versus thinset (i.e. mixing, trowel size, set time)? Again thanks for the great advice and a wonderful forum.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:45 PM   #8
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Welcome, Keith.

Medium-bed mortar does not technically exist in the tile industry, but they're working on standards for its use.

When those standards are finalized I suspect the minimum thickness will be the same as the current minimum for thinset mortars, which is at least 3/32nds of an inch after the tile is fully set.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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