JohninPA's Ditra Bathroom Floor Project [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-09-2007, 06:47 PM
Hello again from the new guy.

My background: weekend warrior DIY'er w/ zero experience tiling; Home Depot aisle lurker :drevil:

Ok, this is my official thread for my bathroom floor tile project. I've posted a couple pics. This is the current state of my bathroom floor.

I have a question concerning the adhesion of the Ditra to the plywood subfloor. I noticed that there are some coloration differences looking top down. I'm using gray thinset. Where I see lighter/white patches, i've checked by "plucking" the ditra. Where I get the hollow sounding feedback, it's obvious to me I didn't get very good adhesion to the floor. These spots are small and probably comprise about 3% of the overall floor area. You can actually see a white spot in the second "ditra picture" below.

A.) Should I be 100% judicious and cut out these patches? I have enough Ditra left over to do it.

Also, I notice that some of the white patches don't give the hollow feedback sound, like it's adhered fine, but I can't explain the color.

B.) so if the general consensus is "Yes" to the first question, should I be cutting out every section that appears to not have adhered, or sections that both appear lighter in color AND have the obvious tell-tale sound of no-stick?

C.) What order should I lay tile? Knee wall, tub ledge, floor? That was what I was thinking.

I'm using 8x8 tiles for the floor, 4x4 tiles of the same variety on the tub knee-wall, and 4" bullnose for the ledge next to the tub. It's a gorgeous light blue italian ceramic. When put together it looks like the sky or water.


Current State of the Bathroom :twitch:

Project so far:

Using a single "roll" of Ditra, I measured and carefully cut out using titanium bladed scissors the 5 pieces that would cover my floor. Basically it was 2 small pieces, 2 medium, and the one mega piece for the middle of the floor. I used Versabond thin-set between the Ditra and the floor. I used the recommended 3/16" x 3/16" triangular trowel. I would recommend anyone to use the 5/16" x 5/16" triangular, as I'm noticing coverage/adhesion issues (stated/questioned above.) But it worked. What little I may have to fix isn't a big deal to me.

I'm using hardibacker board screwed and glued directly to the wall studs for the tub knee wall. The tile surrounding the tub was there and will remain for the foreseeable future. It's in good condition. I didn't plan on replumbing anything or replacing the tub. It's a roman-style jacuzzi tub w/ two (not matching shower heads, to be addressed at a future time.) The original floor was a linoleum sheet glued to that thin, disposable wood sheets (whose official name escapes me.)

That's the long story. I will be updating this thread as more questions arise. I want to thank you all for the advice already given and the advice that will surely be incoming as this project runs it's course. I have every intention of tiling more surfaces in my house if this project goes well. Comments based on the pictures are welcomed, but be nice ;) I'm only a beginner at this, but I want it to be a sound installation when it's all set and done. Thanks!

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03-09-2007, 07:59 PM

03-09-2007, 08:05 PM
Hi John, if you can't pull up the Ditra you will be fine. I would do the floor first then cover it the do the rest.

03-09-2007, 09:05 PM
Thanks Mike - so just to clarify, are you saying "if you can't easily lift up the whole sheet of Ditra that has these white spots, you're fine" or are you saying "if you can't pull up on the Ditra in these little spots, you're fine"?

to better explain myself, these little 2 inch spots that are whiter to the eye, I can grab onto the Ditra with my index finger and thumb, grabbing onto a raised part of the Ditra squares, and I can give it a little tug. There's a little play, if you know what I mean. But I don't think I could rip the Ditra off the floor without tools now. All the corners are secured. I don't have any lumps or raised air pockets.

Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse. I just want it to be right. Thanks!

03-10-2007, 12:40 AM
John - mike knows his stuff, but I know how doubt in one's own work can nag at a newbie. if you have same extra Ditra you can cut out the spots you think are loose, scrape off the thinset, and set a patch in place. I will tell you that my Ditra looked a little blotchy, too, but I tiled over it and it seems to be quite solid. :)

03-12-2007, 12:56 PM
OK - the tile is down! On to some grouting questions. I've read that I should possibly use a sanded caulk as an expansion joint along the entire perimeter of the field. I hate to say but I think there are some places where the tile is in contact with a hard surface. An example would that there is a place where the drywall was so close to the floor, and the measurement of the tile was close enough that the tile is contacting the wall in one or two places.

Is it an absolute rule to caulk the entire perimeter for expansion purposes? I'd always thought it a good idea just for some added water proofing but the idea of expansion joints is new to me. Any advice on this topic would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

03-12-2007, 01:14 PM
John, it is my understanding that you don't have to caulk the perimeter, especially if you are using some sort of molding on the wall/floor joint (shoe molding, base molding, etc.

Just let the space remain unfilled, if so.

03-12-2007, 01:17 PM
Agreed, no need to caulk the perimeter if it will be covered with a base board. Cut out a small section of wallboard in those places where the tile is touching it. Only need a 1/4" clearance. Again, this will be covered up so no one will ever notice it.


03-12-2007, 01:24 PM
John - what Todd said. Install your base molding with a gap between the bottom of the molding and the tile surface. That gap is where you want the caulk.

03-12-2007, 01:28 PM
great thanks fellas. Would you caulk or grout the line where the tub knee-wall meets the floor?

Oh and one other thing - what type of caulk to use on the molding? I'm using gray grout, so I'm thinking I'll want to color match the caulk to that. Will any ole gray caulk do? Is there something better for aesthetic purposes, like the caulk that looks like grout?

You guys rock - thanks again.

03-12-2007, 01:40 PM
Personally, I would use a caulk that matches my new trim, white.

Edit: i think with your tub a caulk colored to match the grout would be most aesthetically pleasing.

03-12-2007, 01:44 PM
So I could use gray grout throughout, gray caulk for the tub wall, and white caulk along the moulding. superb. That sounds like it would look nice for me.

If it weren't a bathroom, I'd consider white grout, but there's no way I could do that with this floor, as nice as it would look.

09-28-2010, 07:44 AM
Dear John:

I am looking for more of the light blue matte tile that is very similar to the tile you used in your bathroom floor. I am expanding the tiled area in my kitchen rebuild and need more of this tile. Does anyone know where this tile can be purchased?



09-28-2010, 07:49 AM
Welcome, Al. :)

This thread is very old and the OP hasn't visited us for a couple years. Not likely you'll get a lotta help here, eh?