Basement floor carpet to slate conversion [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-17-2012, 10:13 PM
We are considering a remodel for our finished, walk out basement. We currently have carpet and two dogs - not an ideal mix! Our original thought was to rip out the carpet and convert to slate flooring but I have a few logistics questions that I would like to hammer our first:

#1: Porcelain vs. slate? As I understand it the drawbacks from the slate are the additional weight (added stress to the flooring?) and that it has to be sealed regularly. Thoughts on this? We live in CO, so it is relatively dry, even in the basement, if that affects anything.

#2: backer board: again as I understand it we should be using cement backer board to cover the plywood subflooring, but are there additional options besides the typical hardibacker that we see at the hardware store that we should consider?

#3: waterproofing: the flooring will not be used in the bathroom, just over the general open floorspace throughout the basement. Should we plan to waterproof as a "just in case" precaution, or is this unnecessary? If we were to have the slate installed, would the professional plan to include waterproofing? I should mention, (though I don't know if it matters) that we have a fully waterproofed crawlspace beneath the subfloor that has been inspected for mold/water issues within the last year, and has none.

Thanks in advance for all the help! I'm looking forward to hearing back!

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07-18-2012, 09:33 AM
Hi Bob, and thanks for the response! Our basement is a typical (if there is such a thing) plywood subfloor, not a concrete slab. If I understand you correctly, this type of setup is far from ideal for converting to a natural stone floor because significant reinforcement would be necessary to withstand the additional weight?

With respect to using porcelain tile instead of slate: I have done some reading on both ditra and backer board, do you have a preference or think one is superior to the other? Do we have to think about weight if we are using cement backer board (I know it's heavy stuff).

Lastly, there are a LOT of types of thin-set, is there one that is the *best* in your experience?


07-18-2012, 09:45 AM
Welcome, Nichole. :)

I, for one, cannot envision a "basement" with a wood framed subfloor. Perhaps a better description of what you've got there would be helpful. Is it actually below grade?

And if you'll add a geographic location to your User Profile that information will be permanently available to assist our folks in answering some of your questions.

If, in fact, you do have a wood framed floor, you're gonna need to evaluate that structure to see if it qualifies for either ceramic tile or natural stone. You can put your information into our Deflectometer in the dark blue bar near the top of the page for an initial go/no-go calculation.

If you provide an adequate subfloor, you can use either a CBU or a suitable membrane for your tiling substrate.

There are hundreds of thinset mortars out there. Availability is generally the determining factor on the brand you chose and application will determine which mortar from that brand.

My opinion; worth price charged.