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Old 12-01-2017, 03:30 PM   #1
Obo2
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First Timer Installing Polished Porcelain

Hi,

Our Linoleum was gross and cracking we ripped it out. Going to do all the bathrooms and eventually the kitchen with tile.
I want to do it myself. I have never laid tile but have seen it done in person and plenty of times in videos. Certainly doesn't seem like rocket surgery
I have a few questions.

Let's start with prep, this is what it looks like after pulling the floor and a little scraping. What's left of the flooring spackle/leveling compound and glue seems to be leveling the floor and is well adhered. There aren't large gaps if i put a straight edge across it.

Can I just give the whole deal a ruff sanding and lay down some 1/4" hardie board and then tile on that?

What sort of thinset/mortar should i use? Two baths and laundry upstairs are this plywood subfloor. I also plan to do the kitchen which is concrete slab, I did the rest of the downstairs with engineered hardwood and the slab was nice and smooth and level.

We like the look of some polished porcelain 12x24". From what I am seeing a rubi tile cutter and nippers would work for most of it, might need a big hole saw or angle grinder and diamond blade for the toilets or something. I don't need a wet saw right?

Recommendations for grout? I want small sealed grout lines.

Recommendations for trowels/ mixing buckets and any other stuff i would need/ general advice? looks like 1/4" square nothced is prefered for backer board and 1/2" U for the tile?
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Old 12-01-2017, 03:45 PM   #2
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What thickness is your subfloor?
Have you used the deflecto calculator above to evaluate your joist structure?

1. With a larger tile you need a fairly flat substrate. No more than an 1/8" deviation in 10'. I would scrape and or grind as much of that stuff as possible and then go through and made sure the subfloor is properly fastened.

2. Just about anything will do for under the CBU. For the tile you will need a large format variety of thinset to accommodate the tile you're considering.

3. Possible without a saw it really depends on your skill level with a grinder.

4. Epoxy is the tops for grout but has a learning curve. You may need to do tests to make sure the grout you choose doesnt scratch your polished porcelain.

5. Those trowel would be my go to in that situation. 1/4"x1/2" u notch is one of my favorites.
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Old 12-01-2017, 03:56 PM   #3
Obo2
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the subfloor is 3/4"
i will look at the deflecto calculator but from the screw spacing joists look to be 24" screws every 4-6 inches
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Old 12-01-2017, 04:22 PM   #4
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without pulling the subfloor or drill a hole i am not entirely certain of the joist depth, considering there are some 14' spans with 24" center 2007 construction and akwardly measuring the distance from the downstairs ceiling to the upstairs subfloor they would need to be 2x12. The spans where i am planning on flooring are only 9' so it would seem my floor is adequate for tile.
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:13 PM   #5
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The span is the total unsupported span, not just the area you'll be tiling.
Is the subfloor tounge and groove?
I would be inclined to add a layer of 1/2" bc or better plywood, but that's up to you. If it was 16" oc I'd say you'd be fine but 24" is too much in my opinion.
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:53 PM   #6
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the area i am tiling happens to line up with the supporting walls below. The 14' spans are on the opposite side of the house.

yes the subfloor is tongue and groove.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:30 AM   #7
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Hi Nick,

If we can't talk you into adding plywood, who about using a tiling membrane over the subfloor and then the tile? Although it's very unscientific, give the floor the jump test. My version takes two people. You get on your knees and lay you hand flat on the floor between two joists and have the other person jump up and down. Don't get your hand too close to the other person's feet.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:47 PM   #8
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that was one of the other questions i had, ditra vs the hardieboard?

I'm not sure how the jump test would really help me without having years of comparators. But i set a bottle about an inch and a half in diameter down and 3 small door hinge screws set up on their heads. I weigh 200 lbs. three hard jumps next to my test subjects resulted in one knocked over screw which didn't really move at all with subsequent jumps.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:53 PM   #9
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also then if i put down ditra you are supposed to use unmodified thinset on top but it seems recommended to use a modified large format thinset for the size tile i want
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:46 PM   #10
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Well that's up for debate. You have a couple options, use schluters brand of modified thinset or say to hell with the warranty and use any of the quality modified LFT thinsets that have self drying properties. Ardex x5 is my favorite all around thinset. Schluter brand will likely run you between $30-40 a bag and honestly I haven't heard many positive reviews. Laticrete has an uncoupling membrane called stratamat, and ardex has flexbone. Both of those allow for the use of modified thinset.
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Old 12-02-2017, 05:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
and akwardly measuring the distance from the downstairs ceiling to the upstairs subfloor they would need to be 2x12.
Rather than guessing, just drill a 1/8”+ hole in your sub floor and put a straight coat hanger down and measure that distance. You’ll know your joist + subfloor height. I also put a 90° bend at bottom of the coathanger then clip off the end so it’s only about an eighth of an inch sideways. What you then do is pull that up to the bottom of your subfloor, pinch your fingers or mark that point then pull out the coathanger and measure the distance from your marked measurement to the bend in the coathanger and now you have your sub floor thickness too. Life hacks
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:10 PM   #12
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The key to a modified on top of Ditra is to use one that the modifiers do not need to dry to attain their strength. In Europe, their mortar spec includes that indication, but the ANSI spec used in the USA does not list that attribute. As a result, Schluter, knowing that an unmodified will always work, specifies it. To quell some of the disconnect, they also now brand their own modified that they also know will work. But, if you use one that the manufacturers indicate does not need to dry to attain strength, it will work too. The hassle is, in the big picture scheme of things, many people do not read the instructions, and if they just said any modified, there could be failures. Schluter is a very conservative company, and really does want your installation to work. So, while being verbose here, yes, SOME modified mortars will work just fine on both Kerdi and Ditra, but not ALL of them do unless you're willing to wait a long time for things to both cure and dry. Most people both neither wait long enough nor read the instructions.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:21 PM   #13
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got most of the tools bought yesterday bought tile and ditra and thinsets today.

got the mapei ultraflex with polymer to lay the ditra, mapei kerabond t medium bed and thinset to lay the tile in. These should be good to go right? The ultraflex had the ansi number ditra recomended for sticking to wood and the kerabond t is unmodified as recommended but medium bed so will help with the large format tiles?

Ended up not going with the polished as we just don't clean enough and all the finger/footprints and stuff show. went with a slate look. still 12x24.

As to the subfloor thickness and joist depth I'd rather not drill a hole but the subfloor hits the top of the stairs and i was able to measure it there and verify tongue and groove at another seam. Beyond just about every joist spacing spec i see calling for at least 2x12 for the spans and spacing on the wider side of the house I was able to pull a level around a small wall to get the distance from the downstairs ceiling to the upstairs subfloor which came it at 14"+. I didn't feel like drilling a hole.

I'm certainly not crazy about throwing down plywood and having a big lip between carpet and tile. The floor feels pretty sturdy.

Please feel free to tell me i'm stupid and need to stop for whatever reason. I am still just getting the floor cleaned up a little better and can always take stuff back.
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:07 AM   #14
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I like the Kerabond T. That will work under the tiles and has good working time.

For those big tiles you want a leveling system unless you have a lot of experience tiling. I used the Rubi leveling system for the same size tile (it sounds like you are going to a Floor and Decor? That's what they sell).

I've been doing a large shower with 12x24 and it took me quite a bit to feel like I had the technique down for dealing with large tiles. I use a 1/2" square notch and backbutter the tiles. The thinset is slightly more fluid than I would use for smaller tiles and I slide the tiles back and forth at least an inch to collapse the notches and get good coverage. Then clean up the joints, get it into the right position (have a mallet handy), and tighten the levelers.

I wouldn't do it without a wet saw. The $150 lowes 7" table saw is a small investment.

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Old 12-03-2017, 10:05 AM   #15
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Quote:
I didn't feel like drilling a hole.
Your floor, your choice, your risk. Last time I measured a for sure floor bay turned out to be a 9” space due to raised ceiling in room below. Never would have caught it otherwise.

A1/8” hole does zero to affect your floor strength. There is no risk and 100% reward. And it takes less than a minute. Drill just through the 3/4” ply no deeper. Then insert the coat hanger Voila you’ve confirmed your guess or foun new info. Plan accordingly.

If you’ve got 16” centers then screw or ring shank nail the entire floor again as you’ll never be able to later. If 24” centers - then (I would) nail/screw down and consider something other than Tile.

Just my .02 from someone who worries about these things 50 weeks a year.
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