Adam's bathroom remodel [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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12-14-2016, 10:47 AM
First off this place is great. I've learned an incredible amount in a few weeks lurking here. We had some work done in our full bath by a "contractor" that I have since had to rip back out. I'll put a full thread together about that sometime which I'm sure you will enjoy. It makes some of the ones from the bad tile jobs thread look like masterpieces! Wish I'd found this place beforehand. Live and Learn I guess and this experience has taught me plenty.

First thing to rectify is the floor. I will eventually be re-doing the tub/shower walls as well but taking things one step at a time. It's our only full bath so I need to keep it as functional as possible while I work. We plan to use a 6”x24” porcelain tile. Deflecto ends up in the 370 range as I’m unsure of the lumber type for the joist. I plan to use Ditra here for ease of fitting around the tub and inside closet as well as height. Overall it's a small narrow space around 50 sq ft.

Main questions at the moment center on the subfloor. In the main floor area the subfloor is 3/4" tongue and groove plank over 1"x6" diagonal plank. There was laminate hardwood over all of this originally. There is one section that had some slight water damage the contractor cut out and replaced with what appears to be some random scrap . . . I think it came out of my firewood pile. Also looks like the saw was set too deep and cut into the plank underneath. The tongue in groove appears to be a subfloor, not finished hardwoods but I don't know why it would be there to begin with.

The closet is thinner width finished hardwood that matches the rest of the house and is level with the tongue and groove. There is an air duct mounted over this.

I’m thinking I should plan to pull out the tongue and groove as well as the finished hardwood in the closet to get down to the diagonal 1x6 and start there with my ply sheathing in prep for the Ditra. Does that sounds like the best plan?

Should I plan to replace the partially sawn plank? I think I should be able to easily span joists as it's near the middle of the room and sure it up with blocking if need be or would it be stronger to leave the full plank knowing it will all be sheathed with ½ or 5/8 ply?

The planks beneath the cut out section are a little spongy on top. The damage is from water over the corner of the tub, not a plumbing leak, so the rest of the work I’m doing should take care of the root cause. I also plan to silicone caulk and possibly Kerdi Band the Ditra to the tub which should help in the future. At this point I don't plan to seal all the Ditra joints as I don't have a central drain or curb. I just want to fend off drips. Is there any decent way to replace these planks without pulling the tub? Joists are in good shape.

Working around the air register would I be OK with cutting out the hardwood at the edge of the ducting down to the subfloor and tiling around? I’m not worried about finishing the transition. It’s in a closet and I don’t want to re-work the ducting if I don’t need to. I can come up with something to finish the edge once it’s all said and done; just don’t want to compromise the tile. The photo below is beforehand to show where the ducting falls in the closet.

Sorry about the dark photos. I have the lights down right now to prep the walls for paint. Thanks in advance for any advice!

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argile tile
12-15-2016, 12:03 AM
here's my un-professional advice about going gung-ho on showers

before you start a masterpiece remember you are not working under a master - thus you should keep is simple: it could take *allot* of time. (have a level in your hand at all times, everything level and true, never count on finishing (wood) work after assembly - it should be finished before installing). i trained under a master under a different field. it makes a difference.

another factor is bucks. a masterpiece cool shower in your own home you may not need - a subscription to a 24/7 La Fitness spa and wieghts (which has a tiled spa, glass showers, steam rooms, and people to talk to) is a way to share the joy of significant works :)

-- your right, avoid a moisture/mold problem that happened before

(ie, a tile floor upstairs should have at least holes somewhere in the subfloor where water can escape to lower floor - is code for bathrooms in some areas)

-- be sure to remediate the black mold or replace the boards

mold eats anything that is celluose (from cells, ie wood), it gets deep in, and eventually eats all houses despite any cleaning). it could be "bad mold" there are kinds of. you can't simply clean the surface of wood that has a mold issue. keeping "infected board" would just help it spread to neighboring boards faster.

if the board is black-ish, and like you say is just in that area (it's mold), consider redoing the area like you thought

12-15-2016, 10:23 AM
Welcome, Adam. :)

1. I dunno. Can't tell where on the floor the partially sawn subflooring is located, nor can I really tell how deep the saw cut might be. It could be better to leave it in place or it might need replacing. If it's part of the "spongy" area, I'd vote to replace it.

2. Again, can't see the layout, but I'd generally recommend removing the tub to repair the subflooring (at a 1x6" dimension those are boards, by the way, and not planks).

3. Cutting around your air duct would likely be OK, but it'd likely be easier to remove the ductwork and replace it after tiling if you plan to tile in the closet area.

It looks like you've done your homework and should end up with a useful floor tile installation.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Argile, I've never heard of a building code that required making holes in any part of a second story floor to provide water drainage. If you have actually seen such a code, please provide a link to it. Thanks.

12-15-2016, 03:11 PM
another factor is bucks. a masterpiece cool shower in your own home you may not need - a subscription to a 24/7 La Fitness spa and wieghts (which has a tiled spa, glass showers, steam rooms, and people to talk to) is a way to share the joy of significant works

Thanks Argile,
Not shooting for a masterpiece by any means. Really just hoping to fix the issues that where there in a manner that will last longer than a year or two and repair the damage the contractor caused in their attempt. Very small square footage so the $/SqF jump to Ditra is well worth not dealing with CBU at this point. I know I will need to for the walls. We will be keeping the existing tub and going with plain subway tile for the walls. So fairly simple. I hope at least. I always appreciate advice from those with experience. I know enough to know I don't know enough :yeah:

Thanks CX,

here's an overall before photo to give some idea of layout. The corner of the tub closest is where the water damage occured and sawed board is about 18" towards the center of the room from that point.

1. It's actually a separate board (got it right that time :tup1:) than the water damaged one. It falls about center in the floor. I'll have a better idea of what the damage is when I get the rest of tongue and groove out. Sounds like if it's not too deep and doesn't seem to weaken the board then probably ok, otherwise replace.

2. The tub is set back in three walls. I will be demoing the tile above(not shown in that photo) but was hoping to wait until I'm ready to re-tile in order to keep it functional in the interim. Guess I need to crawl under the house and see how bad it is. I would love to avoid moving the tub but if that's what I have to do then I guess now is the time.

3. I think I will pull the duct and see what I'm working with underneath. My main concern was screwing the flange back down as it is now since I can't do that to tile. I imagine there are other ways to seal the duct there though after tile.

Looks like I will have room for 1/2" or 5/8" sheathing over the boards. Am I correct to assume 5/8" would be the better choice if I can fit it? Other than thickness and no side graded lower than C is there anything to look for when selecting ply?

12-15-2016, 03:20 PM
3. No reason you can't fasten the duct work through a new tile surface if you need to do that, Adam. A diamond drill bit will allow you to poke some holes in your new tile and screw into the subfloor.

Nominal 1/2" plywood is the minimum you can use over sawn board subflooring, but that presumes the boards are oriented perpendicular to the joists and are T&G style. You have neither of those and I'd recommend the nominal 5/8ths" exterior glue plywood in your application.

My opinion; worth price charged.

12-16-2016, 04:00 PM
Thanks CX. Hope to dig into this more Saturday. If I'll goes well I'll get the subfloor sorted this weekend.

argile tile
12-16-2016, 04:45 PM
i'm sorry CX i cannot find it and it is not code as far as this post is concerned. perhaps it was advice i found for residential bathrooms and not code (it's code to have a drain in floor for buildings, so that standing water has an exit)

I had a leaky refrigerator pool water. due to lack of any drain drain allot of floor ply-wood had to be replaced. I put a makeshift drain under it just in case it leaked again, and also in bathroom (ie, if a slow leaky faucet install goes undetected for some hours). some handyman site has suggested it always be done had reminded me i wanted one.

the poster had/has? problems of subfloor getting wet, so decided to comment

01-14-2017, 11:01 AM
Sorry for no updates but finally got through the holidays and am making some progress.

I got it stripped down to the subfloor, repaired what needed it. I added additional screws and knocked nails back flush. Then sheathed everything in 5/8ths BC ply screwed every 6 inches avoiding the joists. Subfloor is solid and flat! I picked up the 10" Harbor Freight tile saw yesterday and they let me stack a coupon with a sale so I got out the door for around $160. I normally stay away from their tools but this got decent reviews and it's something I'll only need for this project. The only other saws that could reasonably handle the larger tile were considerably more expensive so I'll take a chance here and hope it doesn't bite me.

Next up is Ditra and Tile. I'll lay out my plan and a few questions below. Any critique would be appreciated.

Install Ditra with Modified Thin Set
- Can I butt the edges of Ditra sheets or do I need a gap?
- 1/4" gap at walls
- How long do I need to wait before installing Kerdi Band?
- How long before I can walk on the Ditra?
- How long before starting to tile?
Install Tile with Un-Modified Thin Set for large format tile (6x24)
- How long until I can walk on the tile?
- How long until I can grout?
- How long does the grout need to cure

Any recommendations on thin set brands? I have the major big box stores and a few local specialty places as well.

01-14-2017, 11:46 AM
1. Seams can be tight or small gap if using band in seams
2. At least 1/4" at perimeter
3. No wait time, but be careful not to work air pockets into the mat. It may be easier to do it the next day.
4. It can be walked on as you go but it's a good idea to lay out some plywood or similar, AFTER you imbed the ditra, to disperse your weight when walking on it.
5. You can install over ditra same day but, if you need to lift a tile you will end up possibly pulling up the ditra with it.
6. 12-24hrs, depends on site conditions and particular thinset used
7. 12-24 hours refer to the bag of thinset
8. Define cure,
Water exposure like a shower typically 5+ days
Walking on it usually 2-4 hours if you're careful
9. You'll get the full spectrum of answers, it comes down to budget,personal preference, and availability.
I like Ardex and laticrete.
If I was installing here's my picks

Installing ditra: laticrete 254 platinum, Ardex x5, Ardex af207 adhesive
Over ditra: laticrete tri-lite, Ardex x5, laticrete 4xlt or LHT
* I use modified thinset over ditra, while it's not exactly by the book it's how I prefer to install porcelain. If using unmodified just make sure it's a quality one like ditra set or similar.

01-18-2017, 03:51 PM
Thanks Ryan.

I was able to dry fit the Ditra and stopped in one of the local tile places who stocked Laticrete. I've got the saw up and running and practicing some cuts on scrap pieces. Came out of the box pretty square and only needs some minor tweaking to the water delivery to get more water on the cut instead of in front of it. So I should be set to actually start laying stuff down this weekend.

This is our only full bath which means I'm trying to get the bulk of the work that takes it out of commission done in as short a time frame as possible to minimize downtime of the shower, hence the questions on dry times. With that I guess I need "cure" to mean take a shower in the room noting that this is the floor so will not see direct water but possibly drips and certainly humidity.

Ply screwed over subfloor and gaps filled with Caulk
Ditra dry fit, there are gaps at the wall just hidden by the angle of the photo and curve of the wall.

01-20-2017, 09:32 AM
Planning to put the Ditra down tonight after work.

Local place talked me into Laticrete LHT for under the Ditra (using Bostik Ditra-set on top for my tile). The more I'm reading though it sounds like the LHT may not be the best choice. It is a modified and ANSI A118.4 but do I need (or really want) a medium bed under the Ditra? Would something like Laticrete 253 Gold or 254 Platinum Ryan mentioned be a better option if I can find it locally?

01-20-2017, 09:47 AM
Adam, you neither need nor want an LHT mortar for installing your Ditra. And in your application an A118.4 mortar won't be sufficient. Your bonding mortar for use over your wood framed subfloor must meet ANSI A118.11 standards.

My opinion; worth price charged.

01-20-2017, 10:02 AM
Thanks CX. Hopefully I can find some 253 or 254 on the way home today. I'm wondering if we just grabbed the wrong bag loading the jeep, I remember discussing it with the guy . . . oh well. Just glad I noticed before tonight.

Hope to have a half way decent finished product to show after the weekend. Wish me luck and thanks for all the help so far!

01-20-2017, 10:59 AM
Looks like my Local options are Merkrete 820 Merlite and CBP Versabond. Both meet A118.11. Any preferences from those who have used either?

01-31-2017, 10:47 AM
Hey guys, Sorry for a lack of updates but made a lot of progress over the last week. Managed to find Laticrete 253 Gold locally and used that for the Ditra to sub floor. Then got the tile down and grouted over the next few days.

On with the pictures:
playing around with layout and trying to make sure I don't have a grout line right in front of the vanity, where the level is. Ended up shifting it all back an inch and ripping all the tiles along the wall.
Ditra down
Working out the layout again, this time paying attention to the offset of each row and where the lines end up on the tub and toilet flange
First tiles down! and guide board removed
Done for the night. Set the last few and closet after those had set up.
Setting the last two
All set!
And finally grouted with Fusion Pro.

A few thoughts.
The harbor freight saw worked great. Really clean cuts that got better as the blade worked in. Rips along the 24" length came out square and was even able to trim around 1/4" on the long axis in a few spots with no issues.

Setting took way longer than I thought it would, especially with back buttering and filling in the Ditra. Also seems like I spent a lot of time cleaning thinset from the gaps after placing a tile. Any tips for that in the future? I ended up with some minor lippage but I can live with it given the tile size. Wife can't tell what I'm talking about so maybe it's just me :cool:

The Fusion Pro was well worth the money in my opinion, and given the small Square footage really wasn't much more for our project. Install and clean up went very smoothly.

Hope to get the toilet set and vanity in this week. Then on to the shower! Thanks for all the help so far.

01-31-2017, 12:33 PM
I keep a bucket of water, a couple sponges, and some small brushes next to me while I'm installing. A grout cleaning brush, denture brush, or a paint brush with the brushes cut short.

02-14-2017, 03:25 PM
Planning to take Friday off and tackle the tub surround over the long weekend. Basic plan is to strip down to the studs, add 4 to 6 mil plastic as a moisture barrier then go back over with backer board and 3x6 fully lugged subway tile. Using the lugs should give me about 1/16th grout line. Using plastic primarily for speed as there is no dry time; being a tub surround the walls won’t see direct spray often. I plan to tile from tub to ceiling and use bullnose on my edges. One of these is an outside corner. I will probably use Fusion Pro again as it was very easy to work with on the floors. I've got a much better feel for whats needed after doing the floor but I still have a few questions.

• Will any plastic sheeting work as long as it’s over 4mils or is there something specific?
• Do I need to seal the staples when I hang the sheeting or the screw holes when I install the backer over?
• Should I seal the plastic around my pipes for the shower?
• Any recommendations on backer board brands/types? Should have all the major ones available locally. Will be using ½” and will tape/thinset seams and use recommended screws.
• Should I tape the backer board corner joints or use caulk?
• Planning to install a corner shelf and soapdish, any tips here or is really as simple as cutting the tile to fit around and placing it with thinset as I tile?
• How do I handle the Backerboard to sheetrock transition here? Thinset, joint compound or caulk? I plan to just overlap the joint with the bullnose so it’s covered. This is outside the tube area so it should never actually see any water.
192821 192822
• On the opposite side my edge is an outside corner and the contractor who started this cut out half the existing metal corner bead and the sheetrock isn’t in the best shape in places because of it. Any recommendations here? I think I may be able to put in a new corner bead and lay this over my CBU? Then I just have to hope the wall is square enough to make a decent line here.

Any general tips and tricks on getting straight installs with lugged subway tile would be welcome as well! Hoping for a substantially better outcome than what you can see of the original install here.

Thanks as always, you guys have a been a great help both in this thread and the wealth of archived information I’ve read through.

02-15-2017, 06:08 PM

02-15-2017, 06:28 PM
1. Pretty much. I prefer the 6mil material.

2. No.

3. Can if you want. I usually don't.

4. All of'em work if installed per manufacturer's instructions.

5. See #4.

6. Usually. Can't see what you've got from here.

7. Dry area: Paper tape and drywall mud. Wet area: Alkali resistant mesh tape and thinset mortar.

8. See #7. If you really want to tile to the corner, I'd not install any corner bead, but would use the paper tape with metal bands in it to make the corner.

My opinion; worth price charged.

02-16-2017, 08:57 AM
Thanks CX.

1. I picked up some 6mil last night. If nothing else I think the thicker material will be a little easier to work with.

4/5. Went with Wonderboard as I've had good luck with the other Custom products I've used so far. Their instructions say tape and mud so that's what I'll do.

7. This is a dry area. If I feather drywall mud onto the backer do I need to prep it in any way or will thinset adhere just fine? Shouldn't be much overlap.

8. I'm not sold on tiling all the way to the corner but I don't want to put sheetrock back on that small section of wall. I guess if I can get a good corner with CBU I have the option of stopping my tile just short if I feather mud over the corner. That may be easier than trying to get my layout to match the corner, assuming I can tile over the mud.