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Old 06-05-2009, 03:09 PM   #1
Wally3433
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Earth Gauged Slate at Outdoor Patio has failed

I installed earth gauged slate a couple years ago on a bunch of different surfaces in a sunken concrete patio. I live in Chicago - with it's well known high number of freeze thaw cycles per year. The walls and patio floor were concrete - very solid, no cracks or signs of settlement prior to installation. I built a bench, grilling station and cocktail table out of treated lumber, then covered all the treated wood with Durock and edged everything with some Schluter nosings. There is a drain in the middle of the patio. On the top of the concrete wall, I Tapconed (2) treated 2x4's to the side of the foundation wall (right at the top) to make a cantilevered edge. When I was finished - everything looked awesome.

....now I have a couple problems:

1. the faces of the cantilevered edges peeled off like the back of a band-aid after the first winter.

2. This past winter (the third) about three or four of the tiles near the drain on the concrete patio heaved nearly a full inch. They are now completely cracked to the point that they are rubble (after I stepped on them a bunch of times when using the grill).

3. the tiles started bleeding in earth tones, and some of them almost seem like they are rusting. I actually like this look very much and am not concerned, but I was wondering if this could be prevented?

4. Some of the slate surfaces peel off from time to time - again - I don't mind this at all but am curious if there is a way to prevent this.

I am going to repair my little patio area this summer. The one thing I know I have to do is to wrap the cantilevered edge with Durock or Hardiboard, and then proceed with tiling.

Seeking suggestions on some of the repair areas and/or ideas on how to prevent any further degradation of my project.
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:10 PM   #2
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Never Ever use PT wood when building a structure for tile, doesn't matter that you used cementboard over it.
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:58 PM   #3
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Some slate is quite hard. Some of the stuff from China and other places is little more than compressed mud. A good hard slate would likely handle your local weather. The other stuff is likely to just continue to break apart. The fact it is 'bleeding' means that it is not true slate, but probably shale, and much softer. Shale will absorb water with the resulting freeze damage. Slate is much more robust.

Shale is a sedimentary rock. Slate is shale that has been chemically changed by heat and pressure and is classified as a metamorphic rock. Just like ceramic tile, there are soft ones and hard ones depending on how they are produced, with porcelain at the high end of hard and dense. Since shale is essentially made from clays compressed, at it's worst, it's like unfired clay.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:32 AM   #4
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I am finally going to repair this patio. I want to construct some benches and a grilling table, that will be tiled later.

What kind of wood or construction material should I use to construct these from?

Should I then cover all the surfaces with cement board and/or Ditra?
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:52 AM   #5
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Also - is it ok to use Ditraset over concrete or wood to install ditra and/or to set the tiles? I've got some leftover, so I would like to use it up.

If not, gotta brand name or type I can pick up from either the green, blue or orange box?
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:00 PM   #6
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Hi Wally.

My two cents on the construction material would be to build everything out of blocks and bricks followed by a liquid waterproofing membrane and then your surface material.

Since you are probably not looking for a warranty of any sort, I would use versabond or BETTER to attach the ditra to the cement or plywood. I'd use it to set your tile also just give it a few more days to dry before walking on it or grouting.

If your opened bag of Ditraset has sat for more than a few weeks, toss it out. (I'd start with fresh thin-set,,,,,,,,, why take the risk?)
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:33 AM   #7
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I need to be able to construct cantilevered edges, benches and a table with niche for a drop in grill. The existing build out was done with treated lumber - I've recovered from my scolding from doing this - as you can see it's falling apart.

I want to tear out all the treated lumber, and re-do everything, nearly the same as I have right now, with the exception of the grill table - I'll be making niches for grilling units. What is the proper construction material for an application like this? material do you think is best to use? I was thinking, construction lumber/plywood, then ditra. I'm sticking with the soft slate - I actually like the way it bleeds and shales over time.

I am using tapcons to secure everything to the concrete foundation wall - is there a better choice? Deflection has not been a problem.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:46 AM   #8
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Wally, you can't install any direct bonded waterproofing membrane, including Ditra, over any sort of wood for an exterior application. If you wanna try building with plywood out there, you still hafta cover it with mud or CBU before applying the membrane.

I don't see Ditra being of any real advantage for anything except the floor, though. There are other membranes, including some liquid applied membranes, that would likely do you a better job on those odd shaped sections you need to waterproof.

If you're sticking with wood, I'd look into KDAT lumber. Still the benefits of pressure treated material, but without the downsides.

Still think you'd be miles ahead to form it up and pour concrete tables and benches and such, though. Might be a little challenging on the little cantilevers with no end support at all, but I'm thinkin' you can find a way. Looks like you've had to use some angle bracing for your wood structures and you could pour similar into your concrete benches, too. No more wood problems and that would be a good thing.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:34 AM   #9
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We have been having good luck using metal studs, covered with CBU and the coated with waterproofing membrane prior to tiling. For flat surfaces (benches and table tops) we use a piece of 3/4" ply, with cbu and water proof membrane over that.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:49 AM   #10
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If I was gonna build something like that, I wouldn't cantilever the whole bench but have supports of concrete blocks here and there. Angle iron could be used to bridge across the supports and then pour concrete slabs. I wouldn't have any wood in it at all.
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:08 AM   #11
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Concrete gonna be too hard, I think. I like the idea of metal studs as a framing material, then cbu, etc. - do you forsee an issue with freezing temperatures?

Also like the idea of using concrete block as a buildup, supporting material for the benches.

For the cantilevered edge, how about just using tapcons to attach some brick, or block, then mud, then waterproofing membrane?

What is a good waterproof membrane that I can use - hopefully one that can be picked up at a big box?
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:42 PM   #12
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Well, our winters are mild in Ky compared to Chicago, but the first outdoor kitchen I did was at my Dad's house. It's all porcelain and is used year round. Well the grill and cook top are used year round. So far, no tiles popping loose. The water proof membrane helps reduce the amount of water getting into the underside. It does keep the storage bins under the grill dry.

Could you use the metal studs in place of the wood on the cantilevered edges. Maybe make a 4x4 post from the metal studs (cover with tile) and place every so often for bracing?

First choice would be to find a local tile dealer and get Laticrete Hydroban. If unable to locate this, you should be able to get AquaDefense al Lowes and as a last place alternative, you can get Red Gaurd from Home Depot.
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:11 PM   #13
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Still do not really have an answer here. I am not confident with the metal stud idea. Metal studs rely on a two sided application (two side of a wall), and most of my work here is cantilevered. I just don't see this as a good building material for an exterior application.

I understand using concrete - but I can't believe that anytime someone constructs something to be tiled in a northern climate, they build everything out of concrete first?

What are custom tiled exterior kitchens made of?

Or - maybe I am trying to do something that's just not done - that is, tiling a seating platorm, a grilling table and a cantilevered edge.

C'mon cold climate exterior tilers - need some guidance.

Thanks!
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:20 PM   #14
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Snow.

I remember that stuff.

When the water in my wet saw froze I moved the saw 1700 miles south to thaw it out.
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