Brian's Tile and Laminate Project [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


View Full Version : Brian's Tile and Laminate Project

03-11-2004, 02:29 PM
Background Information
I just started a new project a couple weeks ago. I ordered 25 cartons of laminate flooring for my house and plan on replacing the floors in my foyer, dinning room, and kitchen. The reason why I am visiting the forum is that I plan on doing 1/2 of the kitchen in laminate and the other 1/2 in Ceramic tile. Attached is a picture of the first floor of my townhouse. I will be tiling the area of my kitchen where the appliances are. It is in the upper right-hand side of the picture. I am doing the "home-center" in laminate and the "kitchen" in ceramic tile. These 2 areas are attached.

This forum has already help me tile a small 1/2 bathroom floor, a large bathroom floor, and a tub surround. All of them came out great. I guess I can't really call myself a "newbie" anymore but by no means am I an expert. I ordered John's new book and I learn a bit about Ditra. The last few projected that I did, I used CBU. Ditra seems like a very good product.

The area that I plan on tiling is small but as you can see, I have allot going on there. I have a stove, refrigerator and dishwasher located in that area as well as a pantry. I didn't measure it but it's got to be less then 120 square feet with a ton of cuts. I was thinking about buying a porcelain tile that looks like real stone for the area.

Current Status of Project
I am just finishing up on the foyer section on the laminate floor and I wanted to check in just in case I end up having to raise the floor in my dining room and other 1/2 of my kitchen to meet the needs of the tile.

Specs for the Engineers:
19/32 OSB
2x8 16 inches on center (with "X" blocking) with a 9 foot span.

Current Floor:
Right now, there are 2 layers of luan and 2 vinyl floors. I plan or removing everything down to the sub floor.

1) I don't have much room for the dishwasher. Right now, the dishwasher it is fairly tight. I just installed it a couple of months ago. I don't think I will be able to tile under the dishwasher. I don't think that I can raise the floor too much. In addition, the tile floor will also be butting against a laminate floor which is even more reason not to raise the floor too much. I also don't really want to raise the floor in the dinning room. (Which connects to the Kitchen area)

2) The floor right now is not level over by the refrigerator. I am going to have to fix this. It is pretty bad. I am holding out hope that it might be the 2 layers of luan and vinyl that are messing it up but I doubt it.


1) I think that my floor is a candidate for DITRA but how am I going to level out the floor. You can't put SLC on OSB. And as I said, I don't want to raise the floor. Any way around this?

2) Any tricks of the trade to avoid the dishwasher issue?

Thanks for your help and I will continue to post my progress on this thread.



Sponsored Links

03-11-2004, 02:39 PM
What's a "Home Center" anyway and what's it used for? :confused:

I 'spose you're just doing floors hmm? Boy if that were me, I'd be tearing out that solid wall between kitchen and dining room....and make the kitchen larger...and move the dining...oops..we're just doing floors here!! :eek: :drool2:

03-11-2004, 02:44 PM
I don't know why they call it a "Home Center". It really is the Kitchen. We have our kitchen table there. The wall between the dinning room and living room is load-bearing so there is no chance to rip that down.

It is a town-house and I don't really want to spend that much money on it. We bought it a 1.5 years ago. Since it is a townhouse, there are many other "comp" sales in the area. There is only so much money I will get for it. There are probably 40 identical townhouse in the development. The buyer will not pay that much of a premium, so I am taking it easy on how much money I am going to spend. The price for homes in this area is really expensive and I really wanted to buy a standard single family home but I didn't have the cash at the time to buy one. At the time the cheapest single family home was about $250K and they were pretty much dumps. We are outside of New York City in Central New Jersey. After 9-11, many people moved out of the City into the suburbs driving up the cost of housing. I didn't want to rent anymore (my rent was $1150 per month), so I bought a townhouse that needed some floor work and some painting.

We don't plan on staying there more then another 3 or 4 years. We are probably going to move out of the area. I will take some pictures and post them later on.

03-11-2004, 03:00 PM
Brian, I don't think your kitchen floor is a candidate for Ditra. They want 5/8" minimum. A while back another DIYer had a similar problem and I called Schluter's tech advice line. They told me that they were firm on the 5/8" minimum.

I don't like to do this, but since you are not planning to live here forever, maybe you should consider vinyl for the kitchen.


03-11-2004, 03:04 PM

I downloaded the Schluter-Ditra Installation Handbook 2004 and for 16" o.c. joist spacing, single layer OSB or plywood is says:

"minimum subfloor thickness - 19/32" tongue-and groove with 1/8" gap bwtween sheets."

Doesn't my floor meet this? Not to mention would 1/32 make that much of a difference?

I found an old post by CX and this is what it said....
"At your big box store, or lumber yard, they will have their material sorted by "nominal" thicknesses, i.e., 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4 inch, etc. The actual material will be marked with the actual thickness, which is generally 1/32nd of an inch thinner than the advertised thickness.

3/8 is really 11/32
1/2 is really 15/32
5/8 is really 19/32
3/4 is really 23/32

There are some differences but you don't need to know about'em on accounta I doubt you'll see any other size markings in the grades you'll be buying."

I didn't measure the 19/32 it was stamped on it. But doesn't this meet the criteria of Ditra?



03-11-2004, 07:00 PM
Hummmm. I just looked at their web-site and they say 5/8" over there. They seem to have changed their tune.

Re-reading your initial post, I noticed that you have 2 layers of vinyl and luan. If those were removed (the will have to go if you want tile), will you still have a clearance problem with the dishwasher? Ditra will take about 1/8", the tile will be about 3/8", and the thinset will be about 3/32" to 1/8".

How much out-of-level is the problem at the 'fridge? you may be able to put down the Ditra over the OSB, then level with thinset or medium set.

03-11-2004, 08:36 PM
The good news is where the dishwasher is the high spot. Where the refrigerator is the low spot. I just want to make sure I get clearance from the pros to lay down the ditra.

I don't think I will have a clearance problem with the diswasher if I push it all the way underneath, tile and then pull it out..

Just though of something else "not tile" related. I am going to be laying down laminate floor in the dining rooom and kitchen. Laminate requres a fairly flat floor. How am I going to level it out if I can't us SLC on OSB??

BTW, here is the link to the ditra 2004 install guide. Here is where it says you can install it over 19/32 OSB for 16" on center. Look at page 4....

03-12-2004, 08:03 AM
Late last night, I checked out my unlevel floor with a 4 foot level. It seems that I had it wrong. High spot is the opposite to what I though. High spot is from the dishwaster to the refrigerator (from top to bottom on the diagram above) and it really isn't as bad as I though. I think I might be able to level it out while I am tiling with extra thin set here and there.

I do want to make sure the floor is rated for ditra. Should I email Schlüter about the 19/32--5/8 issue? Or is there someone out there aware of this 1/32 change?

03-12-2004, 09:04 AM

I just got off the phone with Schluter and they told me that 19/32" is the same as 5/8". 19/32 OSB does meet the specifications. Looks like my floor meets the requirements for DITRA.

John Bridge
03-12-2004, 07:45 PM

What is the thickness of the laminate floor?

I know they specify 5/8 plywood or OSB, I'd like to point out that that is the absolute minimum. I personally wouldn't install tile over 5/8 of an inch of wood utilizing ANY system. And I'm a Schluter man. :)

03-12-2004, 08:10 PM

The laminate floor with the pad will probably be a shade under 1/2 inch. I am worried about raising the floor not just because it will be much higher then the laminate but because of the dishwasher issue underneath the cabinet. I tried talking the wife into vinyl but it just isn't going to happen. I don't think I will be able to raise that floor 3/8 in order to firm it up a bit.

I see what you mean and I think you are right with the 5/8 inch floor but if Schluter backs it up, I might be willing to take the risk. After all, I probably will not be here in 2 or 3 years.

07-21-2004, 10:29 AM
After going through hell with the laminate floor, I am back to planing the tile floor. The laminate floor looks great, but it the floor isn't perfectly flat, that MUST be addressed before laying down the laminate. I learned very quickly that my floor isn't too flat so it took me a very long time to fix this.

If you look in the diagram of my floor plan above, I will be tiling the portion of the kitchen where the appliance are. It is only about 70 square feet but I have to disconnect and move the gas stove, dishwasher and refrigerator. I am looking to have minimal down time.

I order the ditra and accept warning from John Bridge that my floor meets the minimal requirements for ditra but I don't want to mess with the floor height.

And now to a few questions:

1) (I buried this in another post but I should have posted here with the job that I am doing) I am looking at tile saws right now. I am having a tough time deciding which one to buy. It really comes down to the Felker 50 ($92.97) or Felker 75 ($309.97).

The job that I am doing right now is only 80 square feet. I don't have any tiling projects left in the house that I am in right now but I don't plan on living here much longer. I feel that if I buy the Felker-50, down the road, I might be kicking myself for not getting a saw that can do more. When I move into a nicer house (I live in a townhouse right now and have been watch how much money I spend), I might want to do some porcelain tiles or possible larger tiles. Doesn't the Felker 50 limit you? Can't you cut pavers with the Felker 75 as well?

When I look at the Felker 50, the only thing you can really do with it is smaller size ceramic tile. Doesn't the Felker 75 let you cut larger ceramic, porcelain, pavers, marble thresholds, and other?

At the same time, I feel that I am nuts spending $310 on a saw that I probably will not use (after the present job) for several years. But from what I hear about Felker, as a DIY, I will probably never need another wet saw for the rest of my life.

I guess what I am really asking is the extra $220 investment worth it?

2) How much time do I have to wait before I can grout? How long do I have to wait after I grout so that I can hook my stove and move the dishwasher and refrigerator back in?

John Bridge
07-21-2004, 06:35 PM
I can't answer your saw question. Obviously the TM 75 is a much better saw. :) BTW, use the Construction Complete link in our store.

Remove the lower front panel from the dishwasher and see how much adjustment you still have available. :)

07-21-2004, 06:59 PM
Just want to agree with everyone who said: take out all that luan and vinyl and get yourself down to the subfloor. It's a small room and it will be worth it.

I have tiled five bathrooms and a kitchen now with my el cheapo Plasplugs saw I bought at HD for about $88. Still going strong. It even has some features the "good" saws don't have, like I can take the blade guard off, set the tile right on top of the blade and cut a hole smack in the middle of a tile. Buy the cheaper saw and tip yourself the extra $150 for getting your floor right ;)

James Bontrager
07-22-2004, 06:39 PM
Having in mind that it doesn't matter what you do in the way of improvements, that the value of your townhouse will be a constant factor, you said earlier that sheet vinyl wasn't an option, but have you looked at Congoleium "Ultima"? I have seen it fool people, thinking that they were looking at ceramic. Of course there is a lot to be said for getting the tile setting and such are another bonus.

07-26-2004, 01:55 PM
Looks like I am going with the Felker-50 saw. I sent out an email to Felker's customer support line letting them know what I would be using the saw for and they thought that the Felker-50 would be fine for me. I was thinking of getting the 70 or 75. I was kind of surprised on how good the response was. I am impressed with the customer support so far.

I also ordered the ditra through It was kind of weird, I woke up on Saturday morning and it was sitting on my front porch. No box or packing slip. I know it wasn't there on Friday night. I am glad I got it, I just thought it was kind of weird how they delivered it.

Now back to the reason why I posted this message. I am not ready to tile yet or to lie the ditra but I noticed a potential problem. The toe kick around the kitchen cabinets has been covered by this plastic stufff. Not sure what you call it but I will call it plastic molding. I was going to remove it as well as all of the vinyl floors. I am going right down to the subfloor. After removing this plastic "molding" in some areas, there is no wood toe kick. Is this common? Do you have any suggestions about handling this? Should I try to fix this prior to laying the ditra and tile? Any suggestions on fixing it?



James Bontrager
07-26-2004, 05:48 PM
If you are doing your own tile job. I am sure that installing toekick material would not be an problem. I get regular toekick material from a local cabinet shop, or I make my own to match the cabinets. Not familiar with Felker, but there are a few of them on ebay right now. Gotta love those projects that require new toys...I mean tools.

09-07-2004, 10:21 AM
I have been working on the weekend for quite some time now. The summer has been busy with vacations and other things that have distracting me from working on the project but I have been trying to work on it whenever I get a chance. 1/2 my kitchen will be tile and the other half will be the pergo.

I am now going to focus my attention on the floors in the kitchen. This weekend, I ripped up the exising floor or should I say floors. There were 3 layers of vinyl and 3 layers of luan. It was a real pain in the butt pulling out all of the nails and staples but I got the job done.

Here are some more pictures of my finished work (even though it isn't tile related).

09-07-2004, 10:26 AM
And here's a picture of the pergo floor in the hallway. This was laid on a slab. The dinning room was over the basement and went over OSB.

09-07-2004, 10:40 AM
I will be laying 12 x 12 tile in this area of the kitchen. Instead of renting a tile saw, I decided to purchase a Felker 50 from Construction plus. Since I took this picture, I ripped out the ugly vinyl floor and I am now down to a clean subfloor.

I screwed the subfloor to the joints every 4 inches, so I no longer have any squeaks in the floor. This isn't my first tile job but it is my first Ditra job.

Now to the questions:

1) I plan on using gray Versa bond Mortor between the OSB and Ditra. I should mix this to a fairly Fluid consistency (cake batter). I am going to use a V-notche Trowel. I am also going to make sure that I am getting a good bond between the mortor and subfloor. Is this right?

2) After I am done with the ditra, I am going to start tiling. I have read that I should use unmodified thin set for this. I am not sure what the Home Depot sells but I will buy whatever the Unmodified thin set is . Is it called MASTER BLEND? I am going to use a U-notched trowel for this and mix the mortor to consistency where it will stand up on its own. Thinker then the Versa bond used above. Peanut butter consistency?

3) Should I leave a 1/8 gap between toe kick and tile?

4) How long do I have to wait to grout? After I grout, how long do I have to wait until I can more the appliance back in and seal the grout. I still have some of the Tile Your World grout seal.

Thanks for your help,


09-08-2004, 07:13 PM
I think I found answers to most of the questions that I asked above. I have one question that is unanswered.

I am going to use V-notched trowel (One that I used for wall tile) to Versabond DITRA to my OSB. I am going to immediately tile 12" ceramic tile with a U-Shaped trowel using Master blend mixed with water.


As always, thanks for reading my post and for responding.