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Old 05-31-2012, 07:44 PM   #1
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Tile height problem

Hey guys, I'm a newbie here with a problem. I want to lay some porcelain tile in my entryway by the front door. My home is a handicap acc. home(I have a daughter in a wheel chair). There is no step up or down at the door, its pretty flat for a chair to get over. From the top of my 3/4" OSB subfloor to the bottom of my door is about 9/16". I put down some 1/4" hardi board and just layed a tile on top of it and the rubber weatherstrip on the bottom of the door scrapes across it so obviously it will be too high with the thinset under it. I have a few ideas but I'm not sure I like any of them.
1- Raise the door. I would rather not do this because it would create a bigger step up on the outside and seems like a big job.
2-Lay the tile right on the subfloor. I need your advice on this one.
3-Tear out the subfloor in that area and replace with 5/8" plywood and then 1/4" backer board.
Any help and advice you can give will be appreciated. Thanks, John
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:50 PM   #2
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Hi John, welcome to the forum.

You definitely do not want to install tile directly on a single layer of OSB. And replacing the subfloor with a thinner layer that barely meets the minimum requirements for tile substrates is something I'd avoid.

You could use Ditra uncoupling membrane to take the place of the cement board. Have you heard of it? The resulting height of an average floor tile with Ditra is about 9/16" thick overall.

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Old 06-01-2012, 12:10 AM   #3
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Welcome, John.

What Goldstein said.

There are also tiling substrates even thinner than the Ditra that could be used. Nobleseal CIS is the first that springs to mind. I believe their proprietary adhesives permit use directly over OSB, but do check with them to verify that.

There are also some very good vinyl floor coverings today that look a great deal like tile while being substantially thinner.

You could also consider removing the current subfloor, dropping a new 3/4" plywood subfloor flush with the joist tops on cleats attached to the sides of your joists, then covering it all with half-inch plywood subflooring. That would give you a good subfloor while lowering the existing enough for your substrate and tile.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Old 06-01-2012, 03:11 AM   #4
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Hi John,

Ok, here goes! Obviously, your door opens with nothing on your OSB subfloor right? When you added 1/4" hardibacker and your unthinsetted porcelain tile your door didn't open. It sure won't fit if we figure in the thinset

Your goals here I assume are to allow easy opening of your door and long lasting adhesion of your new tiled entryway.

Test #1- place something of uniform thickness 1/8" thick(like 27 sheets of standard printing paper) directly on the OSB floor(to represent the thinset thickness) and place the porcelain tile on top. If your door now opens easily in all areas of the door sweep we know now that you can add NOTHING but thinset to your OSB (which is a BIG NO-NO-way too much flexing)
Solution: cut out your OSB, replace with 3/4" exterior grade plywood with perpendicular cross bracing(2x4 or 2x6) between your floor joists every 12" using screws. Sure wouldn't hurt to apply some liquid nail adhesive down before screwing in plywood. Seal top of plywood with Red Guard waterproofing, then adhere tile with Flex Bond thinset(minimum 1/4"x3/8" notched trowel)

Simpler solution might be to just liquid nail and screw the hardibacker down over the OSB, apply red guard waterproofing and adhere tile with Flex Bond thinset and CUT BOTTOM OF DOOR OFF (if it's made of wood) in 1/8" cuts until it opens easily. Ditra and nobleseal are excellent products and will work fine too.

Hope this helps.
Dan www.nortextile.com
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:03 AM   #5
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Thanks guys, the door is steel so cutting it is not a good option. I think the ditra would still be too thick. The nobleseal is only 1/32" thick so that would probably work. For a 6x7 piece it is $82 + shipping. So I guess it is either that or raise the door. If there are any other thoughts please Let me know. Thanks, John
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:10 AM   #6
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Theres often room to raise residential doors a little without structural changes. Can you remove the top trim/casing and see how much room you've got between the top door jamb & header?

"the road to hell is paved with osb, mastic, pre-mixed latex 'grout' or 'thinset', "
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