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Old 05-31-2010, 11:21 PM   #1
drewgold
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Looking for feedback on bathroom reno

Hello, as part of a small bathroom reno, I'm planning to redo the floor with some sort of tile. I am looking for some input on what the best choice of tile would be and how to best prepare the subfloor trying to keep the floor height to a minimum.

Currently the floor is linoleum on top of 1/2" particle board and then a 3/4" OSB subfloor. I plan to pull up the lino and 1/2" particle board but would prefer not to pull up the OSB subfloor.

My original plan was to go with some sort of natural stone like Coraline, Shellstone or tumbled marble. However, after doing the Deflecto calculation, it seems like ceramic or porcelain may be a better option.

The deflecto results for 16" OC joists: def=0.276" or L/522

A few details for the installation:
-I plan to use a Schluter Ditra membrane for the floor regardless of type of tile.
-I plan to use electric radiant heating mats.
-An ideal total floor thickness including subfloor would be 1.25", max I would want is 1.75"

Soooo...
Original Plan: Based on minimum requirements from Ditra install guide for natural stone floors, I'd need 3/4" Subfloor + 1/2" second wood layer + 1/8" for heating mats + 1/8" for Ditra membrane + 1/2" for stone tiles = 2" total floor thickness
Is there anyway I could reduce the floor thickness or is this the bare minimum for stone? Maybe pull up OSB and go with 1/2" plywood sub with 1/2" cement board over top or is that on the risky side for stone tiles?

My second and probably easier plan would be ceramic tile, according to the Ditra installation guide, I could use the existing 3/4" OSB subfloor + 1/8" radiant heat mat and then 1/8" Ditra membrane + ~3/8" ceramic tile = 1-3/8" or slightly less total floor thickness.
-With the deflection value for my floor is it safe to go with only a 3/4" OSB subfloor and then the Ditra membrane for a ceramic or porcelain tile?


Any other thoughts, opinions or tips would be much appreciated! Thanks.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:27 PM   #2
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Welcome, Drew.

Unless you're prepared to do some work on your joist structure, you're limited to a ceramic tile installation, anyway.

The 3/4" subfloor is still pretty minimal for many of us even at that.

You'll also wanna be a little more conservative with your thickness estimates. It's unlikely you can make either a heating system or a Ditra installation come in at 1/8th". Each will be thicker than that, perhaps by a full sixteenth.

I think you aughta set your sights on a nice stone-look-alike porcelain tile.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:45 PM   #3
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Drew,

Mastertile and Dal both have porcelain that is a dead ringer for travertine.
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:10 AM   #4
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Everyone thinks they want their floors to all match up height wise, and anyone in the tile or flooring trades knows it comes up as common topic. How can we squeeze an extra 1/4 inch here? How can we keep the total assembly less than X inches thick? Whats the minimum requirements for such and such a heating system, or tile type, or whatever?

But its better to just build your floor the way it should be built, and not worry about the height. There are so many attractive ways to make a transition between flooring types that it makes no sense to settle for minimum requirements in subfloor/underlayment/backers/membranes,...just to avoid a transition.

And I would second using a porcelain that looks like the stone you want. The good ones are good enough that you wouldn't be able to tell them apart.
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:48 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback everyone, looks like porcelain tile it is!

One of my issues with floor height is that the toilet tank fits under a ledge built into the wall, and only has about 3/4" clearance at best. If I can keep the floor at a height that will allow the toilet to fit, it will save me having to tear down and re-frame a portion of the wall.

I have another question involving radiant heat. Has anyone seen, heard of or tried installing a heating mat over a ditra membrane in a single step application?

I ask because I have had great success in other areas of my home with a brand of radiant heat that is a single step installation, ie. the heating mat is glued or stapled down to the subfloor and thinset is applied directly on top of the mat just as you would if you were tiling a floor without heat. I actually came across one radiant heat manufacturer that suggests this as the preferred method of installation when installing a tiled floor with Ditra on a cement slab.

I don't really see why heat mats wouldn't work over top of the Ditra because once the thinset dries it would all end up as one cohesive layer anyway correct? I feel that this method would save a lot of work and time and would also mean not having to mess around with SLC.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:01 PM   #6
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If the Ditra is under the heat mat; you lose the uncoupling effects of the Ditra and it's ability to negate the effects of your floor heating and cooling.
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew
I actually came across one radiant heat manufacturer that suggests this as the preferred method of installation when installing a tiled floor with Ditra on a cement slab.
That radiant heat manufacturer certainly didn't coordinate that installation advice with the uncoupling membrane manufacturer, Drew.

What they suggest would certainly work, it's simply a waste of the money and effort to install the Ditra for no real benefit.

If you favor using thinset mortar to fill over your heating mat instead of SLC, by all means do that. Then install the Ditra per manufacturer's instructions, would be my advice.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:32 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info cx and scuttlebuttrp. Agreed, it's certainly not worth the use of the Ditra if the uncoupling effects will be lost.

Having never worked with Ditra I'm not sure what to expect. Do you think I could get away with doing a single step installation with the radiant heat mat and Ditra over top? (My plan would be to scratch coat the stapled down heating mat and then apply thinset with a notched trowel as per Ditra instructions.) Based on the installation videos I have seen, the Ditra looks to have some rigidity, should I expect any issues with trying to get the ditra flat as it runs over the heating wires? Or will the thin set effectively fill the nominal height differences created by the heating wires once the ditra is pressed down?

Maybe I'm making this more complicated than it should be, I tend to stick with what i know (single step heat mat installation) rather than venture into new territory (I've never worked with SLC over heat mats before). Maybe I should just go for it and do the recommended radiant heat mat/SLC/thinset/Ditra instead of trying to jump a step...
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Old 06-03-2010, 01:04 PM   #9
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Tile to ceiling or not?

Hi there, I'm in the planning stages for a bathroom reno and wondering what the consensus is on tiling a shower/tub surround to the ceiling?

Currently the surround is tiled tub to ceiling. I will be tearing out the surround and plan to go with drywall/kurdi for the new surround. Because the tile i have chosen is on the pricey side and kurdi isn't cheap, I have been debating only tiling to just above the shower head, something like this:
Name:  travtub.jpg
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It would save me the cost of about 15sqft of tile and Kurdi (approx $150-$200).
Worth it or just spend the extra money for a completely waterproof surround?

What is the proper structure for the wall above the tile? Green Board only or would I need a vapor barrier? Would it kind of defeat the purpose of Kurdi if it doesn't cover the whole wall?

Thanks for any feedback!
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:06 PM   #10
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Drew, if you'll keep all the questions for this bathroom project here it'll help folks see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered.

Tiling to the ceiling is a purely aesthetic consideration. Mrs. Drew's opinion is the only one that's important, eh?

You don't need to waterproof anything above the level of a few inches above the shower head.

Unless this is to be a steam shower, you don't need a vapor barrier anywhere in it. Waterproofing to the shower head is adequate.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 07-31-2010, 02:41 PM   #11
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Ok, well after a long hiatus of being busy with work and having family in town I'm back on my bathroom remodel project. I'm hoping to order tile this weekend but am still trying to decide on a final design.

I am going with travertine look ceramic tiles for a tub surround and am planning to do the top 3/4 of the surround in a diagonal pattern. I thought a neat look would be to "frame" each wall in 12x6 tiles and have the diagonal pattern in the middle. Here's a VERY rough sketch of what I have in mind, same pattern would be repeated for end walls. See photo:Name:  tubsketch.jpg
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The only snag to this is that where the diagonally cut tiles meet the 'frame' tiles I'll have a cut edge meeting a finished travertine look edge. Will this look too strange and is there any way to blend the edge in a little better? I was thinking of just beveling the cut edge a little even though I wouldn't have the edge graphic, at least it wouldn't be such a sharp edge. Here's a pic of the tile I will be using: Name:  img1591l.jpg
Views: 667
Size:  42.7 KB

Please let me know what you think. Cheers
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Last edited by jgleason; 08-05-2010 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:05 PM   #12
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Tore out the old shower/tub surround and drywall but wondering what to do with the side wall.

The two end walls were 1/2" green board. The side wall was 1/2" greenboard nailed and glued to 5/8" drywall. I live in a condo and the side wall is the dividing wall between the two units.

I know this is outside the realm of 'tile' but I was thinking of replacing the 5/8" drywall with 5/8" quiet rock for a little extra sound insulation, then greenboard over top and the rest of the tub surround.
Is it worth it to go with quiet rock, am I going to see any benefits?
Are there any drawbacks/problems to using quiet rock in a shower area?

Also, for the most part the green board was just glued to studs and to the other layer of drywall, any reason for this or just shoddy workmanship?

Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:28 PM   #13
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The quiet rock does reduce noise trying to go through it. I think it helps more with the vocal range of sounds, not sure what your hearing.

I could see someone thinking the greenboard was waterproof and not wanting to put nails in it allowing water to get to the studs..

You might also put insulation in the wall to reduce sound vibrations.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:36 PM   #14
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Thanks for the feedback, the wall is already insulated, mostly the noise that can be heard is the toilet lid slamming or bathroom fan.
Pic for reference:
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:58 PM   #15
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I wouldn't worry about the cut edges meeting factory edges.
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