Staten Island Jeff's Concrete slab project [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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08-25-2017, 03:20 PM
We own a home that's been rented out for a while. Latest tenant skipped out last month, so its a good time to refresh.

We're going to rip out the carpet on the first floor and tile. Since its a rental / income-generating situation the missus wants to go with a GC she's worked with before. My back says "fine" - but I want to be sure we mange the installation so there are no failures, since he's not a full-time tile guy.
No plans to live there , but I deplore shoddy, flip-artist work. Just can't afford the time to make it an OCD epic story like my home Brooklyn Bathroom (almost done! :)

So far i sliced up part of the carpet and the 30 year old concrete looks in good shape. will have to go back and finish the rip out to take a good close look.

Started reviewing relevant threads on this forum and make a list of what to look out for :

Flatness 1/16" tolerances etc

Moisture (hoping this is OK Slab seems pretty high and no signs in carpet)

Coatings that might prevent adhesion of thinset ( test by seeing if water absorbs)


What else?

At what point do I need to consider membranes, etc ?

Any particular resources master threads you can recommend?

Also, there will be a transition to existing tile by the entranceway, so I want to be sure that is handled professionally. Just thinking ahead to the need for some special profiles like this

Planning to go back next week and its not super convenient, so i want to get as much done in one shot.


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08-25-2017, 03:36 PM
You've got a pretty good handle on it.
No more than 1/8" deviation over 10' when using a tile with a side longer than 15".
Uncoupling membranes aren't mandatory but they are a nice assurance when installed correctly over slab. Past that the biggest things to watch for are proper installation practices by the installer.

John Bridge
08-25-2017, 04:02 PM
Hi Jeff,

I think a membrane is always a good idea over any concrete slab. Concrete does strange things, even after 30 years. :)

09-04-2017, 06:07 AM
Ok carpets gone and here's what i found
Fortunately no major disaster, but i guess the usual inconsistencies that keep things interesting.

A very few, hairline cracks.
Only issues are a couple of problematic ridges and a nice dip that exceed 1/8".

What kind of membrane would be called for - Ditra or Redgard/Hydrobarrier?

Grinding the ridges?

Would SLC be called for ?

Also decided to rip up the existing 12x12's by the entrance way (slippery when wet)

Probably going with 36x6 plank wood-look throughout


09-05-2017, 08:32 AM

Final meeting / down payment is in a couple of days, so trying to nail down the checklist.

GC said the floor would be leveled , but when SLC was mentioned he said No, it would add too much height. didn't get a specific answer on his technique, only that he's been doing it for many years so I assume he knows the basics (they all say that, don't they?) . what else could you do - screed it by hand?

Don't have a picture - but any cracks were very very minor hairline . Personally I'd be easy to convince that you could ignore it. At what point does a membrane become mandatory?

Any particular type of thinset ? tiles will be ~6 x 24 or 6 x 36


09-05-2017, 12:15 PM
Ask for specifics on how the dip in the floor will be addressed. Adding SLC doesn't mean it has to cover the entire floor, just the low area. Any high areas need to be ground down or chipped away.

To membrane or not membrane, that is up to you. See what the cost is to add it and compare that to the cost of replacing tile down the road. There's no way to know whether or not the tile will crack, so it's just a gamble. I can tell you that a couple of trips to replace a few tile can equal the cost of adding a membrane in some jobs. And that's assuming that you still have access to more tile for repairs in the future. If you can't get them, the only options are to live with cracked tile, or tear all of it up and replace it.