Need Advice on Building Up / Transition in Basement [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-18-2015, 11:32 PM
Hey everyone, I'm new around here and of course trying to work through an issue. We're about to start the process of finishing our basement in a 1 year old home. The basement is ~1500 sq ft, on a concrete slab and is a walk out in Michigan. We haven't had any water issues, no major cracks and no water doing the tin foil / plastic sheet test. So that is all looking good.

Of the space, we're looking to do about 1000 sq ft of carpet and 500 sq ft of tile. The tile area will be mixed between a bathroom and downstairs kitchen area. Being Michigan, our slab gets really cold. At our last house we used the Dricore panels to decouple the floor from the carpet we had. (No tile in that basement)

In our new basement we're looking at doing the Delta FL product with 5/8" OSB with thick carpet and padding on top of it. The Delta FL + OSB is 15/16" high. The carpet and padding will go on top of that. Padding could be up to 7/16" and some plush Frieze (sp?) style carpet.

On the tile we were hoping to heat it with the Schluter Ditra Heat product. From my reading that will take up 1/8" + 1/4" + 1/8" with the thinset, ditra and thinset. The tile we are looking at is a 7/16" thick porcelain tile.

With that my tile will be sitting level with my OSB. I really do not want to use a transition of any sort. Is this OK? Do I need to plan to build up the are where the tile is? If so, what is my best choice considering all the factors at play here.

Thanks in advance, looking forward to contributing back to the forum.

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Tool Guy - Kg
01-19-2015, 08:07 AM
Welcome to the forum, Matt. :wave:

Is there any insulation present under your slab?


01-19-2015, 08:11 AM
I don't believe so, I asked for it in the garage and they wouldn't do it. In looking at the pictures of our build it doesn't look like it.

02-04-2015, 10:46 AM
Just bumping this up to see if anyone else has some thoughts. We're starting to jack hammer the slab so we can move the plumbing next week. I can verify the insulation when we do it. Just worried about this significant difference in height. If it wasn't a basement the fix would be easy, but materials on a slab to build the area up have a ton of different opinions and I've never worked with the Ditra products before.

02-04-2015, 11:01 AM
Welcome, Matt. :)

'Bout the only way to avoid the need for transitions between different flooring levels is to plan it all at once so they fit together. In you case, where you've already installed on floor covering, or at least prepared for it, you pretty much gotta get as close as you can with what's available.

Seems you could change your heating system choice and use a minimum 3/4" thick bonded mud bed in the tile area. Or you could install a thin foam product, such as Wedi on the concrete under the Ditra Heat system. Or you could use the mud bed without regard to the height of your other floor, install the Ditra Heat and tile, and ramp the carpet up to match the height. Or add another layer of plywood subflooring in the carpet area. Or.............other?

My opinion; worth price charged.

02-04-2015, 11:55 AM
Okay, from what I'm gathering, the carpet section will be around 1 3/8".

Your tile section will be around 15/16". So you want to add 7/16" of something to your tile section to meet the carpet section's height.

Do I have that right?

02-04-2015, 12:04 PM
That's correct and I don't know what's best to use under the Ditra product to make that happen.

02-04-2015, 12:14 PM
Well, a mud bed could be done and while labor intensive, it is likely the cheapest way to go material-wise. It might take some skill and mulitple folks to make it happen.

SLU (self-leveling underlayment) is another option but for that kind of area, it would also take some skill and a few folks. SLU is expensive, too.

Perhaps the priciest but easiest way to go, DIY, would be double layers of the Ditra products. DitraXL as your first layer and Ditra-Heat as your second layer. Both of them are 1/4" thick. These plus thinset should get you close. (Ditra is 1/8" thick.)

Is the slab nice and flat...rising at the corners maybe?

Let's see what the pros think. :)

02-04-2015, 12:17 PM
The bonded mud bed cannot be done effectively per tile industry standards unless the minimum 3/4" thickness can be applied over the highest points on the slab.

My opinion; worth price charged.

02-04-2015, 12:24 PM
Ah, that is right...3/4" minimum for the mud bed. I'ma learnin'!!! :crazy:

02-04-2015, 12:30 PM
If the area concerned is flat enough, 3/4" would only be 5/16" high, possibly a little less depending on thinset thickness under and above the ditra.

Or.... would one even need the Ditra over the mud bed, in which case perhaps that's the answer. I don't think you need exact precision for the interface from carpet to tile, even without a transition piece. Thinking out loud, thicker pad under the carpet?