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Tony Bagadonutz
05-14-2006, 07:33 PM
Hi all.

I am "ready to tile" - but I am sure you people will straighten me out :)

What I have:
A renovated bathroom.
Floor joists were all sistered up, 2 layers of 3/4 plywood laid, 1/2 bucket of spackle spilled ~ not in one spot, just lots of drips and spatters from spackling the walls and ceilings.

What I want:
A nice level tiled floor.

"The Plan":
Use Ditra (thanks for recommendation).
12x12 tiles.

Simple enough?
I'll add posts to this thread as I complete/fail each step (maybe it will help the next person?)

1 - The floor is not exactly level.
After scraping up all the spackle and vacuuming the floor, I planned on using either:
50 Lb. Novoplan®2 Polymer-Modified Cement-Based Self-Leveling Underlayment (http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=204357-1295-17850000-EA)


Flexible Floor Patch and Leveler (http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=132892-000000068-59190&lpage=none)
(both links to Lowe's)


Plain old thinset ~ premixed or bagged

Q: Which leveling compund would work best in this situation?

2 - I had read in another post (Severe Uneven Floor (http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=36255&page=2&pp=15)) , that "No matter what the surface is it MUST be primed before pouring a SLC".

Q: What is invovled in "priming" a floor?
Q: Is this something I need to do?

3 - Ditra
I could wait until I get the shipment, but like to plan ahead...

Q: What type of thinset is best for Ditra - premixed or bagged?
Q: Any tips/caveats on using the thinset (mixing, spreading etc)
Q: Any tips/caveats on laying the Ditra?

4 - Tile type
Q: Ceramic or porcelian?

FYI: While this house is NOT a fix-and-flipper, we do not plan on living here more than another 2 - 3 years. We would like a quality tile that will stand the abuse from a family of four (including 2 toddlers)


I am still in the "planning and ordering" phase....any tips or caveats - now is the time to speak your piece :D

I will post some pictures as this job starts to progress.

Thanks in advance to all who respond.

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05-14-2006, 07:47 PM
Priming for an slc pour is simple...spread the specified primer out with a brush or roller. If it is plywood, you may need a second coat. Follow with pouring the slc within the specified timeframe (depends on the brand - anywhere from several hours to a day or so).

Porcelain is ceramic, just typically harder. A throughbody unglazed porcelain is a little more forgiving - if you did chip it, (hard to do, but possible) it wouldn't look too bad since it would be the same color. Two important specs on any tile - the pei rating (how well it will stand up to wear) and the coefficient of friction both wet and dry - how slippery it will be. For floor tile, make sure it is rated for floor use and not a wall tile. You can use a floor tile on the wall, but not the other way around.

If you haven't read it, go to www.schluter.com and read the installation instructions for Ditra. It will tell you all you want and more on how to install it correctly.

Tony Bagadonutz
05-14-2006, 08:00 PM
Priming for an slc pour is simple...spread the specified primer ...

By "specified"...you would mean specified by the SLC?

....read the installation instructions for Ditra.

Been there, done that...I figured there would be some extra tidbits from you guys :)

05-14-2006, 08:00 PM
What Jim said and please stay away from any of the so premixed "thinsets", they are really just glue in a bucket. You need to use a bagged thinset and mix appropriately with water. Versabond to set Ditra on plywood and Masterblend to set tile on Ditra are what I used in the past. Now, if I could get it I'd probably go for the new DitraSet thinset. Plenty of pros around to give you better advice than me. Keep posting to this thread as you have questions, it'll help as you proceed with your project.


Tool Guy - Kg
05-14-2006, 08:05 PM
Hi Tony,
How far out of "flat" is the floor? What I'm asking is: if you laid a long straightedge (ideally 10') on the floor, how much of an air gap do you have? That will affect the answers you get. SLC is neat, but if your floor is only out a little, you prolly don't wanna spend the bucks on it.

Whatever you do, stay away from the pre-mixed crap. All the pre-mixed stuff is of no use to you. :)

Edit: I see Joe beat me to the skinny on pre-mixed. :clap2:

Dog paws
05-14-2006, 08:16 PM
Yo Tony, what part of Joisey you from. I spent some time in Metuchen outside of New Brunswick and did my teen years in Trenton. I got a buddy from Asbury Park that refers to everyone as (insert first name) bagadonutz :)

As the others have mentioned on the premixed deal - fugetaboutit.

Tony Bagadonutz
05-14-2006, 09:05 PM
To All:
Pre-mix = NFG...got it. Thanks

I'll get a straight edge on it tom'row and give you the scoop.

I'm a bit north of Metuchen...Hudson County (near Jersey City)

Tony Bagadonutz
05-16-2006, 07:30 PM
I took some quick measurements on the floor's "uneveness"

The floor pitches to the center of the room....1/2 - 5/8 on one side; 1/4 on the other.
The bathroom layout resembles a "T" on it's side. The top of the T is fine, the "foot" is where it's out of wack.

Here is a drawing from when I did the plumbing layout:

To the RIGHT, is what I am calling the top of the "T". This is a "passthrough area" - kind of like a "Brady Bunch" style - doors to either bedroom.

The foot is between the tub and toilet/sink. Where you see that TY laying in there, that's basically the lowest point.
The previous bathroom had the sink and toilet reversed - I didn't like it, so I changed it. When I opened the floor to rearrange the plumbing - a decision was made to sister ALL the joists (they were butchered real bad).
In spite of my efforts to get the joists perfect, they are a bit out of line.

Q: Now that we know the depth of the valley, any suggestions on what to use to fill the void in and get back to level?

05-16-2006, 08:45 PM
Pitches up towards the middle, or down? If up towards the middle, can you accept the extra height at the doorways to make it level? What about the tub, is it set? Is it level? If so, then are there gaps at one end? Is one part of the floor level now at all?

If you could afford the height, you could put a mudbed on the whole thing (least expensive), or use slc (more expensive).

05-16-2006, 08:53 PM
That bathroom between two bedrooms is usually called a Jack and Jill bathroom.

Quick question. Starting at the door side of the room, does the floor fall 5/8"and then rise 1/4" by the toilet, or is it the other way around? If it's the way I described, then the doors are at the highest point (3/8" above the toilet end), and you should be able to level the room with SLC without transition problems.

Tony Bagadonutz
05-16-2006, 09:26 PM
Sorry...I should have been a bit clearer.

The floor has a depression at the TY...1/2 -5/8 heads towards the toilet; 1/4 depression heading to the pass through area....like a widespread V.

The tub is set level, but at the drain end it is NOT resting on the floor. The tub is a jacuzzi with "leveling feet" that I shimmed with cedar. The "leveling feet" is really just some sort of expanding foam that is cut into blocks and glued/formed on the tub's bottom. I added some MORE expanding (with the tub full of water to minimize and re-shaping of the tub's floor) foam under the tub - in addition to the cedar shims.
At the drain end, you can get a measurement of how far off the floor it is. I can get that dimension, if need be.

An area in the pass through IS level.
I didn't spend much time getting the measurement I gave. I put a 4' level from the toilet/tub wall to center - leveled and measured ~ 1/2 -5/8 depression.
In the pass through, from wall to center ~ 1/4".
I attribute this depression to the butchering the joists took from the previous rough plumbing/DWV lines.

Yes...Jack and Jill ! LOL Thanks.
Starting at the door side of the room, does the floor fall 5/8"and then rise 1/4" by the toilet, or is it the other way around?
The other way around....the passthrough area[0"] begins to drop 1/4" to center (by TY in floor)...from center (TY)[1/2" -5/8"] to toilet area[0"]
The doors ARE the highest point.


Speaking of doors....I am concerned/clueless with the thresholds.
Does the subfloor get tiled right to the jamb/buck and under the door gets the piece of marble to transition to the carpet?
The floors are at different heights (bedroom to bath to bedroom).Each bdrm is 3/4" (+/- 1/8") LOWER than the bath floor. Such I be concerned about the transition or not? (Basically, is this a common size?)

05-16-2006, 09:54 PM
Tony --

Threshold treatment varies by geography. Some places, like the NYC area, marble thresholds are the norm. Being from that area myself, I like the look of the thresholds.

In other areas, it is common to butt the different flooring materials together. Usually the goal is to put the seam centered under the door, so that the flooring from the other side of the door is not visible when the door is closed.

You may want to ramp the floor under the carpet a bit to ease the transition to the tile.

Tony Bagadonutz
05-16-2006, 10:11 PM
any suggestions on a SLC product to level this floor a bit?

05-16-2006, 10:22 PM
I've never used SLC myself, but most of the guys here recommend Custom's LevelQuik RS as good and reasonably priced. You can find it at Home Despot. Over plywood, I believe that you have to paint on two coats of a special primer and nail down lath. Note that speed is of the essence when pouring SLC. You'll need a helper and to have all of your ducks in a row before you start.

Hopefully others with SLC experience will chime in. You could also try to search the forum for SLC.

Here's the LevelQuik RS data sheet (http://www.custombuildingproducts.com/docs/data_sheets/DS032.pdf?user=pro&lang=en).

Tony Bagadonutz
05-17-2006, 02:56 PM
Over plywood, I believe that you have to paint on two coats of a special primer and nail down lath

hmmm....how is that lath going to affect the Ditra?

05-17-2006, 03:00 PM
This should happen before the Ditra.

05-17-2006, 05:22 PM
You need to pour enough slc to cover the lath when it is used. You end up with a nice smooth surface.

Tony Bagadonutz
05-18-2006, 03:15 PM
How thick is the lath?

Should I lay the lath over the entire floor, or just the "problem" areas?

Any preference - metal or plastic lath?

I appreciate everyone's time in responding to my questions - Thanks!