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Old 12-09-2010, 11:51 PM   #1
Taco-Fighter-3011
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Laundry Room Porcelain Tile Install

Hello All,

I am in the process of tiling a laundry room and am confused about the process and have a lot of questions before I go any further. This will be the first thing that I have ever tiled. I'd like to get it right and not have to do it again for a long long time.

To start off, I was referencing a book, Restoration 3, which advised the following method of laying tile on Hardiebacker, from the floor up: Joists, Plywood, Waterproof Membrane (60 minute stucco paper), Hardiebacker screwed down, thinset feathered into 1/8" seam, thinset over Hardie, and then tile.

After purchasing the materials for the above installation and making the cuts for the room, keeping the Hardiebacker 1/8 from one another and a 1/4 from the wall, I then came across the Hardiebacker website and this forum which both seem to recommend laying thinset down on the plywood and then screwing the Hardiebacker down into the thinset.

A family member, my Uncle, who I trust as a conscientious builder, recommended Ditra, but when I mentioned that I had already purchased the materials he recommended the following procedure for laying the hardiebacker from the floor up: joists, plywood, thinset, hardiebacker, thinset into seams, mastic over the Hardiebacker (I'd be using Roberts 2001 Felt-Back Vinyl Adhesive), stucco paper glued to the top of the Hardie, thinset, then tile.

I called around to a few flooring supply places: one said that the previous method would work, many said that had never heard of anyone doing it that way, and one said it would work in theory but that I shouldn't use a modified thinset because it won't stick to the black paper.

The reasoning for the black paper over the hardiebacker was twofold. One, it would act as a vapor barrier. Two, as a barrier between the hardie and tile in case the CBU cracked it wouldn't transfer to the grout or tile because of the barrier.

Here are my initial questions:

1) Can I tile the way that was recommended by my Uncle? If so, can I use Versabond thinset, even if it's polymer modified? Or will this not adhere properly?

2) Can I use Roberts 2001 to glue the black paper to the Hardie?

3) In-between the Hardie panel seams and 1/4" at the walls, do I use a silicone caulking to fill the space or a putty of sorts?

4) In regard to screws, what size screws should I use through 5/8" plywood into the diagonally laid joist (house was built in 1924)? What size CBU screws should I use into the 1/4" Hardie?

5) The tiled floor will be higher than the wood floor it's transitioning from. The wood floor measure 3/4" above the diagonal planks. With 5/8 plywood +1/16 thinset+1/4 Hardie+1/16 Black Paper + 1/8 thinset +1/4 Tile=1-5/16 " minus 3/4" = a difference of 9/16. If the math is correct, how do I account for this difference when laying tile? Is there a standard sized gap that should be left from the hardwood flooring to the tile?

Thanks in advance for the help.

-Victor
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Old 12-10-2010, 12:26 AM   #2
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Hello Victor..........

and welcome to Tile Your World forums..... I'll try and get you started.

First things first:

Determine positively that your laundry room floor substructure will properly support a ceramic covering. To help you do so..... use our whirl' famus' DEFLECTO tool in the blue bar at the top of this page.

Second thing....... do not install Hardibacker in any of the ways you mention..... follow the manufacturer's instructions found HERE.

Third thing...... do not use glue or mastic products anywhere in this ceramic installation mix..... use real thinset.... the powdered kind you mix yourself.

Fourth thing..... consider not using the "house wrap" (60 minute) in your floor mix period...... it will not help that I can see...... in fact..... I view it's use as a rather bad idea,

Lastly...... Ditra can be used with effectiveness in your floor mix..... but not with a backerboard. Read a bit about Ditra HERE.

I hope this information starts to help.

EDIT: BTW Victor,

I use Backer-On screws to fasten all my Hardiboard.
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:51 AM   #3
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I would say the entire tile installation would add up as follows: 1/8" thinset under Hardi, 1/4" for Hardi, 1/8" thinset under tile, 1/4" for tile, for a total of 3/4", which is the height you'll want. This is provided you install everything correctly to manufacturer's standards, using a 1/4" square-notch trowel for thinset under the Hardi, and I assumed a 1/4x3/8x1/4" notch trowel for thinset under the tile.

That assumption could change depending on what size tile you have, but that's the most common size used. If you can tell us the size of tile you have, that recommendation might change.

The standard for a movement joint around 3/4" solid hardwood would be about 3/4". You could use a matching T-moulding to cover the gap. You might get by with a smaller joint and use a caulk that matches the grout, but I would leave as much room as aesthetically possible. Solid hardwood needs much room for expansion.

Lastly, I would recommend that you examine your subfloor for any movement (creaking or popping) as well as any screws that might have backed out or pulled through the subfloor. Correct any problem you see. Too many screws is rarely a bad thing. If by chance your subfloor is nailed down, I would recommend adding minimum 2" screws throughout the subfloor to secure it to the joists.

I agree that there's no need for the paper you mentioned. I think it would only cause you problems. Hardi is a tile backer that properly installed will "insulate" your tile installation from the framing and reduce the chance of the tile cracking. The paper may or may not do that, but it's certainly not needed.

I also agree with Dave that mastic has no place in your project. Stick with the powder thinset from a bag that is mixed with water.

You can nail down the Hardibacker if you wish using hot-dipped galvanized roofing nails, but screws will hold much better. Just make sure you use deck screws or the backer screws that Dave recommended, but definitely not drywall screws.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:33 PM   #4
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Kevin and Dave,

Thanks for the replies.

To answer a few questions:

1) The deflecto calculator gave me a L146, which is no good for tile, but underneath my joists there is a 4x4 running perpendicular to the joists. While using the deflecto, I couldn't see a place to add this 4x4, which I believe would add some stability to the floor? I've uploaded photos of my floor for reference.

2) The porcelain tile is 4x4 and a 1/4" thick.

Per your advice, I'll be doing the following:

1) Re-secure the diagonal slats with 2" to 2-1/2 exterior wood screws to the joists.

2) Lose the paper and the mastic.

3) Set the hardieboard to the side for a different bathroom project.

4) I'm interested in using the Ditra for this project and will probably pursue that route.

For the underlayment is the below correct?

First, resecure the diagonal slats using 2"-2-1/2" screws.
Second, lay 5/8 or 22/32 (AC or BC) plywood. These need to be staggered 4" over joist and have a 1/8" gap between them? Also, these need to be secured to the diagonal slats using 1-3/4" wood screws.

Again, thanks in advance for any advice.

-Victor
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:42 PM   #5
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Victor, I read this quickly......... Did I miss plywwod installed over your subfloor before the DITRA?

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Old 12-12-2010, 09:55 PM   #6
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Hammy,

Yes, I'd plan on putting the plywood over the planks before Ditra.

-Victor
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:23 AM   #7
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Take a look at those joists again. They look a little wider than standard 2x8's. If you entered standard 2x8's in the Deflecto, it would give you a lower deflection rating. If they are 2x8's (1.5" x 7.25"), then ignore all that.

However, that 4x4 if properly supported makes a big difference in the deflection rating. The deflecto is designed to figure on the longest unsupported span of your joists. So the distance would be from that 4x4 to the next 4x4 or whatever else might support the joists.

Everything on your plan looks good, except you need only 1 1/4" screws to secure the underlayment. The reason is that you don't want the screws to penetrate the joists. And you can use 1/2" ply if you need to keep the height of the floor down, but 5/8" ply will give you a stronger floor.
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:44 AM   #8
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What Kevin said.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:48 PM   #9
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The joists are 1-3/4" x 5-1/2" with a 4x4 running perpendicular underneath the joists. The 4x4's are spaced about 4'6" away from one another. Kevin, thanks for the clarification on the unsupported joist span. The new deflecto reading is L/ 1189.

Also, per your advice, I'll pick up some 1-1/4" screws.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:25 AM   #10
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Victor, you also need to know what's supporting the 4x4s to determine if they are suitable supports for your joists.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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