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Old 02-04-2018, 11:23 AM   #1
gyouska
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choosing underlayment?

Hi all I am new here. So I have a kitchen that is 500 sqft. I am trying to decide what type of underlayment to put down. I have done a handfull of bathroom floors and I have always used some kind of cement board. usually durock. I am wondering what would be the best option. I had one tile installer tell me for something of that size they would usually use lath and float the floor. I have also seen people use ditra on a lot of newer job sites. I am just wondering what the pros and cons are and what method a professional would use and why? also another product I was recomended from a tile supply store was a fiber uncoupling mat. does this work good? the price seemed affordable.
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Old 02-04-2018, 11:49 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome. A pro is likely to use all the methods you mentioned. I assume you have a wood sub floor and are not on a concrete slab. You might confirm that for sure. With mud, you need at least 1 1/4 of thickness, plus the tile. Can you spare that much room under your toe kicks and transitions in your doorways?

The first thing I would do is click on the "Deflecto" in the dark blue bar above and see if your framing is strong enough for tile.
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:22 PM   #3
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I have tile now that needs to be torn up. I am sure the floor can handle the tile. although it says good for ceramic tile and good for natural stone. what about porcelain? is that considered natural stone?
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:26 PM   #4
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Sounds like you are fine. Stone of any kind needs a floor that's twice as strong as ceramic or porcelain.

Do you have any idea what's under your tiles now?
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:50 PM   #5
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I am thinking it is cement board. not for sure tho. all the bathrooms have been so I only assume. the only reason I wonder about using cement board because one tile installer told me they typically would use lathe for an area of that size. I didnt know why tho.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:00 PM   #6
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The two ways I see using lath and “float” for a floor: 1) lath plus deck mud floated out (min. thickness as mentioned by Davy 2) caulked edges and seams and primed subfloor plus lath stapled/nailed down per spec (4-6” o.c) and a self leveler

Reason for lath and self leveling ( if that is what the installer is referring to) would be for labors sake. CBU is a lot on the knees, lath you can use a pneumatic stapler and pour standing, only on the knees to set tile
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:05 PM   #7
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what are your thoughts on the ditra? or have you heard of or used the fiber underlayment?
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Old 02-04-2018, 03:59 PM   #8
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Ditra has had an excellent reputation for decades.

But if you're kicking around several ideas, it's intelligent to understand what you're starting with. You need to understand whay you've got as a first layer on top of the joists so that you can install any additional plywood, if necessary. And depending on what you have, the thickness of plywood varies. The amount of height you have available help you choose one system over another, as they vay in thickness. Can you get under the kitchen floor via crawl space or basement to have a look at the underside of your floor? Or perhaps you've got an HVAC duct penetration through the floor that can be used to examine a profile of what the floor consists of.

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Old 02-04-2018, 10:38 PM   #9
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what is getting under the floor going to tell me? I just want to know if there are any pros or cons to any of these methods. what is the right method to use for such a large floor. if it matters at all.
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:41 PM   #10
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I am sure the floor is framed with 2x12 joist or more modern I joists with 3/4 tongue and groove plywood. I am sure floor is structurally sound to handle the tile floor. Is this ever a real concern? it has tile currently I am sure its strong enough.
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:53 PM   #11
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this is what the floor looks like currently. all tile carpet and cabinets are going to torn out. like I said before I assume there is 1/4 cement board underneath.
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:55 PM   #12
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Old 02-05-2018, 12:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gyouska
what is getting under the floor going to tell me? I just want to know if there are any pros or cons to any of these methods. what is the right method to use for such a large floor. if it matters at all.
Yeah, it matters. Certain substrates preclude or include certain methods and materials for your tile job. And pros and cons are based on what you're starting with. Thanks for telling us that you think you've got 3/4" OSB for a subfloor. But since you've asked us why it matters at all, we're happy to tell you. For instance:
If you told us that the subfloor was 1x board (like millions of houses have), we'd let you know of the need for plywood and how what minimum thickness it should be.

If you said you've got particleboard or flakeboard, no tiling substrate would be appropriate over it and we'd recommend either replacing it or installing plywood or OSB over the top of it.

If you said you've got a plywood subfloor with light-weight poured gypsum underlayment (popular with floors that are heated), we'd recommend ways to specifically avoid a nasty problem of ettringite between the gypsum and the cement from the mortar.

If you said you had a traditional mud-set floor in perfect shape, we'd let you know that this is one of the very few times that you can tile directly over the old tile with special mortar.
So, until you said you think you've got tongue & groove OSB, the other possibilities could preclude some methods of installation. Luckily for you with your 3/4" tongue & groove OSB, just about every uncoupling membrane, sheet anti-fracture membrane, roll-on anti fracture membrane, peel & stick anti-fracture membrane, cement board, fiber cement board, glass-mat underlayment, or mud-set method has a successful track history. There is no "right" method. The most important thing that can be done is super simple, but is failed to be done on most installations....is to follow all the instructions for each industry method or each manufacturer's instructions.

All three products and the one industry method you've mentioned so far (Durock, Ditra, lath & float, and fiber uncoupling mat(?)) have pros and cons based on your structure:
1) Durock is one of the least expensive materials. And it has a surface that is fantastically easy to get a strong bond to. But Durock, like most sheet goods or membranes will follow the contour of the structure below and in most cases is relatively wavy. If you're planning to install a large format tile (15" or larger on any one side), then you really need to think about some serious floor prep so that your substrate ends up being within 1/8" of flat over 10' in any direction. And some consider it hard to cut and messy to install.
2) The 'lath & float' method you mentioned may refer to: A) a traditional mud job that many installers consider to be the "Cadillac" of installations as it's strong and is easy to obtain an unusually flat surface to install the tile. A con is that it's heavy and some structures can't handle the weight; or B) a self leveling cement underlayment that may be highly appropriate or inappropriate based on your substrate; or C) a very undesireable "Jersey Mud Job" that consists of lath stapled to the floor and tile adhered with a relatively thin layer of bonding mortar.
3) Ditra is the third thing you mentioned. It is lightweight, easy to cut, easy to install, and affords some differential movement between the tile and the floor structure (a good thing). But it will follow the contour of the floor and has the same requirement of floor prep that the Durock does if you don't want installing large tile to be a nightmare.
4) The final thing you mentioned was a 'fiber uncoupling mat'...any idea which material they were referring to? Maybe Laticrete's Strata Mat?
Large floors or small, it's all the same for the advice being given. No special considerations need to be taken for a larger floor (except for soft joints, as needed). Although with a larger kitchen floor, there's a greater chance for an island with granite countertop to be installed. If you've got granite countertops going in after the floor tile, please let us know so we can warn you to install the countertops first.



EDIT: THANKS FOR THE PICTURES. I STARTED COMPOSING THIS POST BEFORE THEY WERE POSTED.
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:37 AM   #14
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ok thank you for the feed back. I probably wont know for sure what is under the tile till I actually start tearing it out. I can only assume based on the age of the home and previous tile tear outs I have done. Can you elaborate a bit more on prepping the floor before the underalyment. The tiles I am planning on installing are 6x36 wood plank tiles. I am going to invest the money into using a self leveling system. I have done some research but have never used the leveling system. of course you still want the floor to be as flat and even as possible but how crucial is it if I am using a leveling system? Also I do granite countertops and cabinets as my daily job. why do you say the countertops should be installed first?
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:43 AM   #15
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also the fiber mat I refer to was recomended to me by a tile supply store. the brand name is called keedeRoll 100 uncoupling mat. I dont know much about it. they gave me a informational paper with the specs and use and it says its good to be used in most situations just like all the others. I just never heard of it and wanted to know if anyone had any opinions or experience with it. Thanks for all the great info!
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