Tile demolition & what next? (longish) [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Ben in IL
01-23-2003, 12:03 PM
Well, after watching this board for a few weeks I can tell THIS is the place to be for tile info!! I've already picked up a lot of great information and would like to tap into the wealth of knowledge here.

We're underway on a serious remodel & addition on our 1970 house, which includes removal of some "not so lovely" tile. It had held up well, and I only found one spot where there was a slight crack in the grout which may have been due to some settling (?).

The house has 5/8" plywood subfloor is on 2x10 joists, 16" on center. The span of the joists is 13'. The old 8x8 1/4" ceramic tile was set onto a 1/2" backerboard of some type, which had been set into a thick concrete/mud of approximately 5/8". (this stuff was incredibly dry, and was came out more like a mortar mix- lots of dust!), likely to assist in leveling.

We'd like to retile the foyer, dining, and kitchen which is about 650 square feet with a larger tile- 12x12 or up to 19x19 in the series that is a leading contender. What would be your recommended approach?

CBU set into the subfloor + tile, or 1/2" extra plywood and a 1/4 backer board (Durock or similar)? This floor will transition into a 3/4" hardwood floor in two locations.

If you all have any feedback on Lea tiles or installers in the Central IL area, I'd love to hear from you!!! Thanks so much!

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01-23-2003, 01:30 PM
Hi Ben!

OK, using the really handy Deflect-o-later, I see that your joists MUST be grade 2 or better Douglas Fir or Southern Yellow Pine to be acceptable for ceramic tile. You need to check the joists for a grade stamp to verify this. There is a chance that your crack came from this.

The 5/8" subfloor is the minimum thickness, so you need to install 1/2" backerboard. If you want, you can install another layer of 3/8 to 5/8 exterior grade plywood and use 1/4" backerboard. Both are approved for tile.

If the floor is not level, you can fix that with self leveling concrete (SLC). Wait till you get everything cleaned up and the CBU installed then check it out with a 4 foot level. Any out-of-planeness less than 1/4" over a 10 feet area is OK. If the floor has a general slope to it, and you don't mind, you can leave as is.

Ben in IL
01-23-2003, 03:23 PM
Thanks bbcamp! I'll check the joists for grade stamp this evening. The one crack in the grout is pretty slight, and it runs perpendicular to the floor joists. No other problems have shown up in the 8 years we've been here.

I haven't torn out that section of the floor yet, but will see if I can get to it tonight. I've found several sections where they had used sheetrock (to frame the original base of mix maybe?). The crack is in close proximity to one of those spots where we have removed a hall closet.

By the way, has anyone here tiled over Warmboard? Between the rigidity of it and the 12" on center joists under it, I think I could park my cars on it. Too bad I couldn't retrofit it into the existing house too easily.

This IS one great board!!!

John Bridge
01-25-2003, 01:26 PM
Welcome aboard, Ben. :)

Hope we didn't lose you in the crash. :D

01-26-2003, 02:50 PM

Have you tiled before? You might consider the 12X12 tiles. Past posts indicate that the 19X19 tiles would be harder to work with if this is your first large job. See what the pros have to say.


Ben in IL
01-27-2003, 07:37 AM
I'm glad to see the board is back up. I went through withdrawal during the remaining tile demolition this weekend.

The good news is that the joists say "DOUG FIR" on them, although the stamps were tough to find!

The bad news is that the floor is quite a bit wavier than I would have liked. They had solved this with their concrete base that ranged from near 0 to about 1/2".

I had been thinking of doing this myself, but the rather large area (about 650 sf) in conjunction with the unevenness has me thinking this would be a good job for a pro. Especially since there are some places where some patterns using the 19x19 would be nice.

If you all have any refernces in the Central IL area, let me know. Or if anyone would like to travel and enjoy our currently balmy 1 degree I'll see what we can do! ;)

01-27-2003, 10:06 AM
Thats A heat Wave Ben. My saw would thaw out and i would actually have to work :D

Seems to me Jay is from Illinois. Perhaps he will pick up on this thread. Sounds like you may have a likely candidate for an SLC job.

Ben in IL
01-27-2003, 11:05 AM
Yep, I'm thinking a half inch of backerboard and the SLC will be the best way to go... although I'm still kicking around putting in another layer of plywood.

If anyone out there has any experience with Lea's Rainforest series of "slate look" tile, I'd love to hear what you think AFTER the install.


jay f
02-01-2003, 02:45 PM
I'd like to help you out, but unfortunately I'm booked solid until late March, but i can make a few calls and see if there is anyone I know down there who may be available soon. I live in Morris, about 65 mi. away.:(

Ben in IL
02-01-2003, 06:43 PM
Thanks Jay- Morris is just a short trip away, and home of Morris Granite, who have a local shop that we're checking out for some countertop work.

And it looks like we're 6-12 weeks or more out on cabinets, so it (unfortunately) looks like we're in for an extended stay in our "under construction" status.

I've taken a level around on our flooring, and it may not be quite as traumatic as I suspected. Most of the floor is within a quarter inch at worst within 4-5'. Just one spot by the garage that has a serious slant going on. About 1" rise to the threshold. The previous solution was to use a lot of mortar only in that last section, and it was seriously adhered!