Ceramic floor tiling, very beginner questions [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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09-10-2001, 10:53 AM
This looks like a great site/infor source. I am beginner, but willing to give ceramic tiling a shot, cannot find answers yet to very basic beginner questions. My boyfriend won't do it, so I am planning to put ceramic tiles on kitchen floor, do I take up old linoleum or go right over it? House is about 50 years old, floor is very sturdy, pulled up corner of linoleum, looks almost like plastic underneath. Then I would have to put subfloor over that, right? I leave space between subfloor sheets (plywood) for expansion, but do I also leave some around each all sides of the room as well? Do I have to use big sheets of plywood for the subfloor, the room is 11x15, but I cannot carry a lot of big items, so could I just put down smaller sheets of plywood? I'm not in a big hurry, but really want to be able to do it right, and small questions keep coming to mind. Cannot get a lot of help from the stores in this area, and trying to get a professional at this time of year is out of the question, I like to try to do this stuff myself and learn. Been reading books and sites, but some of the smaller questions are not answered. Probably things that are presumed already known, but are not. Thank you anyone!

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Rob Z
09-10-2001, 03:02 PM
Hi Laurie

Thanks for stopping to see us. We'll try to help you through this one.

My preference is to always pull up the old vinyl and other flooring and get down to the subfloor. In your case, with vinyl of an unknown age in a 50 year old house, we need to play it safe an caution you to determine if there is any asbestos containing flooring products in the one or more layers of flooring that you have.

One safe and economical method to deal with suspect flooring is to leave it in place and cover it with new material-plywood, mortar, tile, etc.

We can talk you through making some decisions about underlayment and other installation issues, but we can't decide for you what to do with the old flooring.

What is on the floors in the adjoining rooms? How much can we build up this floor without making big trip hazards in doorway? What is under the subfloor-joist size, span, spacing?

Can we count on your bofriend at least helping carry full sheets of plywood with you? It will make a better floor using the largest sheets that will fit rather than a patchwork of cuts.


John Bridge
09-10-2001, 04:33 PM
Hi ya Laurie,

Rob's put it delicately. I'm gonna say it. We gotta talk this boy friend guy into carrying the plywood and the backer board. Maybe the 50 lb. sack of thin set mortar. ;)

Seriously, we'll help you all we can. We'll answer the "small questions," too.

We do have to know what the subfloor is made of.

Bud Cline
09-11-2001, 10:39 AM
Being the father of two teenage girls I think maybe we should first discuss the need for the boyfriend.

John Bridge
09-11-2001, 04:35 PM

You're not suggesting we lose the boyfriend and let Laurie cut the sheets in half, are you? I guess we could do that. I've got all boys, myself.

Bud Cline
09-11-2001, 04:45 PM
Here we go another fued.

Why can't the boyfriend help? Not another Monday morning quarterback in a suit I hope? Run away Laurie, run away very fast.

Now, what was the question?

09-19-2001, 11:09 AM
Things have been pretty rough out here, finally got back to look at this site, and thanks for the info, regarding boyfriends and flooring. I am hoping this turns into a "Lucy and Ethel build a barbeque" type project, and I do believe my boyfriend will help once I get started, but being it is my house, I am more gung ho. I will try to figure out what the subfloor is made of. I don't think there is any asbestos at all. The floors in the adjoining rooms are all hardwood, was hoping this was too, but no luck. There isn't really room to build up from the level of the hardwood floor in the adjouning hardwood dining room floor to the level of the linoleum in the kitchen right now, they seem even, but if I take off the lineoleum, it would only be as thick as lineolum to build up. Is the stuff right below the linoleum the subfloor? Is subfloor the same thing as underlayment? From the bottom up, what are the layers called? The basement has some sort of cement/stucco type finish on the ceiling so I don't think I can figure out the spaces between the joists. I got a jeep now so I can carry large pieces of plywood at once. Will get back to you later, have to work. Thank you.

John Bridge
09-19-2001, 04:26 PM
Hi Laurie,

The subfloor is usually everything under the finish floor, the finish floor being the finish material, be it linoleum, tile, carpet, wood. The subfloor may include an underlayment, which could be a thin plywood, hardboard, cement backer board or some sort of cement or gypsum underlayment that is troweled onto the subfloor.

I think what we need to know is what type of wood is immediately above the floor joists, and then we can talk about what's above that.

I hope things aren't too disturbed where you are in N.J.