Kitchen floor - anything dumb yet? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-09-2006, 11:47 AM
Great forum! Now that I've lurked a while, I hope I can run this by you BEFORE I do anything dumb. (Never done any of this before!)

And by the way. Photos of some of this stuff are at

What I've got

House: Built about 1940
Joists: 1 7/8" by 5 1/2", 7.5 ft span, spaced 16", I am guessing Doug fir. (Shown in photos)
Subfloor: 3/4" by 3 1/4" tongue and groove on the diagonal
Stuff to remove: 1/2" of chipboard (or something like that) then old linoleum and linoleum tiles. The chipboard runs up to the cabinets, not under them.

Deflecto says I am fine for ceramic tile (which is the plan) unless I pessimistically assume everything worst case. (Like the joists being 1 1/2" of unknown but good wood.)

What I plan on doing

Leave subfloor. Put down 1/2" of "good" plywood. (Anybody got a grade suggestion?). Then Ditra and tile.

The tile will be a mix of 4", 8" and 12" (Jasba) porcelain. The 12" tiles are 8mm thick. The others 6.5mm


The existing linoleum stuff is adequately flush with the adjoining hardwood floors. The tile might put me close to 1/2" above them. This seems livable. I will also probably have to put a slightly higher threshold in the outside door and trim the bottom of the internal door between the kitchen and laundry room.

The only appliance under the cabinets (which I am not removing) is a dishwasher that is setting on the tongue and groove. It was installed by the previous owners (20+ years ago) and has rarely been used. But I am planning on renting the place after I get enough of the deferred maintenance done. I am a bit nervous about "tiling in" the dishwasher and having to dig it out if it ever fails.

The tiles are of slightly different thicknesses. I get the impression that a 1.5mm difference is small enough to be coped with when laying the tile.


Is the subfloor plan reasonable?

Should I worry about the dishwasher being below the tile surface? Would a repair be THAT big a deal. Could I reasonalby take up the tile, Ditra and thinset if I had to. Anything I can do now to make that easier when the time comes? (I will, of course, buy spare tile for this.)

Is the 1.5mm / 16th of an inch tile thickness a bigger deal than I think it is?

And, does anybody want to weigh in on the various tiling plans I am considering? (On the website.)

Thanks for any thoughts you have.

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03-09-2006, 11:54 AM
why dont u want to tile under dw? if installed properly no tile ditra should be hard to remove. if not tiling under dw remove it remove the feet and set it as hogh as you can on scrap wood then tile up to it and kick plate on tile.

03-09-2006, 11:59 AM
If you don't have room to screw up the feet of the dishwasher and you will be tiling it in I would suggest that you cut extra tile at the time your are installing and then when it is time to pull it you can remove row of tile in front of the DW pull it out and do what needs to be done and then after replacement you already have the tiles from the same dye lot cut to fit.
At transitions that will be higher you can get prefineshed wood reducers at the box store that will dress those up.
Make sure to put some ring shanks or screws in the sub-floor planks prior to putting on the plywood. Lots of times these have had a lot of movements cycles and the nails are pulled out just a little and can be a movement problem latter.
The tile thickness may drive you crazy. the smaller tile will all need to have a thicker bed to bring them up to the 12x12. You might want to have a trowel that is one step bigger to use to back butter these tile prior to setting. Use a straight edge from 12" tile to 12" tile check for the elevation of the smaller tile. Make sure to clean out the mortar build up that will be in the grout lines as you go.
Good luck

03-09-2006, 12:36 PM
Wow! Quick replies!

I mainly didn't think about tiling under the dishwasher. But I don't think I can do that. (There is "mechanical dishwasher motor stuff", to use overly precise technical jargon, that is lower than the "tile surface to be.") But removing the screw feet and leaving it setting on a wood rail of scrap wood just might make it easier to get out. I will also look at running the plywood under the dishwasher. I don't think I can run the tile under there, but it looks like there might be room for the plywood.

I will certainly have spare tile from the original dye lot to replace any I tear up. And I really like the idea of having the edge pieces precut to do the repair.

Will do on screwing the subfloor to the joists. I plan on following what I think I have read here regarding an 1/8" gap between plywood sheets with 1/4" at the edges. Screwed to planks, not joists. 4" spacing at edges, 6" in the field.

Fortunately I am already crazy. I figured I was going to have to back butter. (Although being a newbie I barely know what that means, let alone appreciate how tedious it will get.)

Thanks again!

05-02-2006, 12:45 PM
You can't say I am rushing this project.

But I have the subfloor installed, the Ditra cut to size and am about to "modified thinset" it to the floor. But I had an idea about how to add an extra tedious step to the process.

The demo went pretty easy. The stuff I ripped out was three layers of various old flooring with 3/8" of particle board thrown in. But what I just put in is 1/2" AC exterior plywood deck screwed to dimensional tongue and groove. When the floor I am putting in has served its purpose (hopefully when I am no longer around) will taking out the plywood destroy the dimensional subfloor?

My idea is to tape over the deck screw heads (just a small square of cellophane tape for each) so there is a chance of disassembling the floor by backing out the screws. Does this make any sense? Would I even be able to get to the screw heads with the Ditra thinsetted over them?

Just an idea.

BTW Regarding the different thickness tiles I was planning on using, it is no longer an issue. I decided I didn't like the patterns with 12 inch tiles in them and am using just 4 and 8 inchers. So they are all now the same thickness.


05-02-2006, 03:19 PM
I don't think it makes any sense worry about your subfloor. I'd worry more abouot getting a good tile installation so that the next guy won't want to tear your work out.

05-04-2006, 12:13 PM
When I bought my Ditra from a local small shop I also bought Dyna-Bond thinset made by Dyna-Crete. I can't find much about them on the web or on the forum although one guy (on the forum) said their mud was the one he preferred. Anybody have experience or at least an opinion on them?

07-14-2009, 04:20 PM
I used this unmodified thinset (in white) between kerdi and tile and ditra and tile. It works great. Only downer if you put to much on, ti's hard to scrape off when it hardens. We ran out so we finished the last portion of the wall tile with custom blend thinset..i know it's crap but it's what we had in the garage and that thinset came off so easily after it dried..i could scrap off the excess with my finger nails so i loved the dyna-bond..worked great!

07-14-2009, 04:45 PM
Hi eskimo,

this post is over 3 years old and we dont use Custom Blend with Ditra or Kerdi.:stick:

07-15-2009, 04:37 AM
Another point is that left-over thinset is likely to go bad if it is stored for more a couple of months.