Travertine installation over concrete slab [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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08-07-2005, 02:24 PM
We are currently in the process of building our home and we are down to the flooring decisions. We are partial to honed and filled travertine. Our concrete slab was poured in November of 2004. It is concrete reinforced with fiberglass and it is in pretty good shape - there is only one barely noticeable hairline crack running about 30 feet across our family room into our master. We would like to have the travertine installed in the family room, kitchen nook and foyer. We have interviewed several installers and they have us pretty confused. Our questions are:

1) What is a mud set? It sounds the same as the regular way they lay tile just thicker underneath. Is that all it is?

2) Some installers say underlayment is necessary, others say it is not. Which is it? If it is necessary, would it be okay to use 30 lb. roofing felt glued down to our concrete slab?

3) Would Mapei Ultra Flex I thinset be okay to use or is II better? Would it be better to use Perlite (?) in the mix?

4) Should they be butted against one another or spaced with a small spacer?

We really love the look of the real travertine we just don't know which installation methods to go with. If anyone has any wisdom to share please enlighten us. Any help would be appreciated.

Many thanks,

Vicky and Jay

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08-07-2005, 03:03 PM
Hi Vicky and Jay, welcome. :)

A mud job would be needed if the slab is recessed lower in the tile areas or if the slab wasn't poured very flat. You shouldn't have gaps of more than 1/4 inch when laying a 10 ft straight edge anywhere on the floor. There are times when a mud job can't be done due to height problems even with gaps of more than 1/4 inch. Leveling would need to be done.

Recessing the slab in the tile areas is done sometimes when the tile hasn't been selected by the time the slab is being poured and the tile thickness is unknown. The tileman can always bring the floor height up with mud and is normally flatter than a concrete man can get the slab. On most slabs I use a medium bed thinset.

A membrane under the tile or stone is cheap insurance, that's all. I do very few floors these days without a membrane. Replacing cracked tiles later is time consuming and expensive. A membrane is normally worth it although we all have installed tile right to the slab. It's a gamble, do you feel lucky? Roofing felt should not be used. Use a product made for this application.

I know the Mapei products are good, I don't use them much, others here do and can chime in on their uses better than I can.

Leave a small joint, normally 1/16-1/32. :)