Slope vs. height: which is the lesser of two evils? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


View Full Version : Slope vs. height: which is the lesser of two evils?

02-21-2007, 11:05 AM
I have been reading for about a month and have learned a great deal from this forum already. Thanks to John and all the pros who are incredibly patient with us DIYers.

I have small bathroom in a late 1940's brick on block two story colonial. The bathroom is 5ft x 7.5ft and was completely gutted. (Try that with only one bathroom and a wife and kid. I've gotten very quick at putting down the toilet every night--we shower at the Y.)

All of the cement is gone and I have sistered all joists. I have one layer of 5/8 exterior grade plywood down and plan to lay a second layer today. The floor is pretty close to perfectly flat--thinset can handle the imperfections.

HERE IS THE PROBLEM: It slopes down, towards the doorway, dropping about 3/4 inch over its length. The finished hallway is just about perfectly level with the far wall of the bathroom floor. And this is before the second 5/8 layer of plywood.

If I lay down second plywood layer and then SLC, Ditra, and then tile, the bathroom floor will be about 1 inch above the hallway, but level. If I skip the leveling, it will still be flat and about a quarter inch above the hallway.

What do you think is the lesser evil?

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02-21-2007, 11:29 AM
Hello Optimist,
By far, the important thing here is "flat". If your floor is flat and sound, and you can live with the pitch, then you are good to set tile. If the pitch is just too extreme to be comfortable, you can pour the SLC and use a wide marble/stone threshold at the door to transition down to the hall.
Best of luck,
PS: Make certain to block up the closet flange for the toilet so that it is buried below the surface of the tile when you are finished. You can either buy a nylon "gasket" to lift the flange or make one from plywood by cutting an octagon which is 7 1/2" across the sides with a 5" circular hole in the center. Cut this in half and use the halves to form a collar around the waste pipe and under the flange. Anchor well.

02-21-2007, 11:32 AM
Hi 20901. I'm hoping you stick around and to that end, a first name would be nice. You can even edit your Profile (via the User CP tool above) and add the same to your Signature Line. That way it gets automagically added to the end of every post. :)

Lesser of two evils, eh? Here's my vote: Tile cares a lot about being flat but in general doesn't give a hoot about being level. Skip the SLC step.

By the way, I'd consider using 1/2" ply for your second layer. I think a 1-1/8" total is a good plan and it helps to reduce that transition even more. Nothing wrong with another 5/8" layer mind you and it certainly would yield a strong floor. But height is a consideration, eh? Another lessor of two evils situation maybe. ;)

02-21-2007, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the two responses thus far.

I just took a couple of pieces of scrap 5/8 and put a piece of the tile on top and set it down on the bathroom side of the transition. Even not counting the 1/8 the Ditra and thinset will take, I just about need a step ladder to get down to the hallway. Along with some feedback, I think I'll have to live with the sloping floor. Maybe no one else will notice. (OK kids, I said no marbles in the house. No I don't have to explain why. I just said no marbles!)

On the 1/2 versus 5/8, I came to the same conclusion as Mike--Half inch will probably suffice. If I have the energy after all of this, I'll type up and include photos of this nightmare of a bathroom project. (Did code used to allow for waste pipes to run uphill for awhile?) Among other sordid details, the original builders cut 4 inch holes in a couple of the 2x8 joists. Even with the sister joists, I'm not totally confident in the stability of the floor.

02-21-2007, 12:36 PM
Wood Butchers!! :bang:


02-21-2007, 04:22 PM
A properly installed toilet flange is installed on TOP of the finished floor and anchored firmly to the subflooring. If you have the chance, do it right. It is not uncommon to have the flange flush or below the finished floor surface, it works, but it is not right. Having the flange sit proud of the finished floor will often prevent you from fitting the toilet down properly without leaks, so, if you can't get it on the floor properly, a little low is much better than too high.

Having it too low means thicker wax (or, better, flange extenders), which by itself isn't bad, but can be blown out from agressive plunging if it ever gets clogged. When it is low, if it leaks, it might leak into the floor rather than on the floor, so you might not realize a problem until the floor is rotten from long term minor leak.

02-21-2007, 05:00 PM

On the flange issue, I did glue in the closet bend a couple days ago, but I hate commitments, so I am using one of those cast iron flanges, with a rubber ring, that pushes into cast iron or PVC. (Actually I hate the idea of ripping out part of my floor if I break a cemented PVC flange a couple of years down the road.) It still will be close, but I could shave an 1/8in off the PVC if forced.

02-21-2007, 05:40 PM
Hey Patrick, I see that. Glad to have you on-board. :)

02-21-2007, 05:54 PM
So, tile up to the pipe, slot the tile so you can use screws into the subflooring without having to drill the them (can be a big pain sometimes!), then install the flange on top where it is supposed to be and you should be golden. Any decent flange, when installed properly, sould provide a good perch for the toilet.