Kitchen Floor Help [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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09-14-2007, 01:54 PM
New reader here requesting some advice. I just moved back to Los angeles, and am in process of remodeling kitchen of home built in 1928. After getting my 200 sq foot kitchen down to original hardwood floors, contractor wants to remove the hardwood and float the floor with concrete prior to installing terra cotta tile (it's a spanish-style house). He quoted $1200 just to float the floor.

my question is whether this is the best route, as opposed to using hardibacker, which has GOT to be cheaper. He says hardibacker will be more prone to having the tile crack as the house shifts.

I want this done right, but don't have unlimited funds. FYI, the floor and subfloor appear to be solid and fine.

any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Scottish Tile and Stone
09-14-2007, 02:23 PM
Solid floated floors are way better than any CBU. Spend the extra $$ and do the float job.

09-14-2007, 05:35 PM
The hardwood isn't stable enough to apply tile to, so it does need to come out. It's not a strength thing, it is stability.

09-14-2007, 07:58 PM
thanks so far - i'm definitely planning on removing the hardwood - that's not the question. it's really which option makes most sense:
1. float
2. hardibacker
3. ditra (just found out about that today)

09-14-2007, 08:09 PM
Welcome, Ryan. :)

First you gotta tell us more about the subfloor structure:

Joist material, size, spacing, and unsupported span.

Subflooring material. If original, it's gotta be sawn boards of some type, but in California we see some unusual construction types, such as 2x6 over four-foot spacing and such. Give us more hints.

But for any board subfloor you'll at least require a layer of plywood at least a half-inch thick before you install either CBU or a membrane. The mud would be the only exception to that.and float the floor with concrete prior to installing terra cotta tile And let's please clarify that statement. You'd want him to float the floor with what's called "deck mud" in the trade. Don't want real concrete.

My opinion; worth price charged.

09-18-2007, 11:22 AM
sorry - i've been out of town. Here is some more info:

the joists are full-dimensional 2x6, approx 16 inch spacing. The full span of the kitchen is approximately 15 feet, but there are pilings with 2x6 cross pieces about every 5 feet. the floor is solid as a rock. you jump up and down and there is absolutely no give to the floor whatsoever, and no squeaking. it feels like you are jumping up and down on a concrete slab.

there is no plywood subfloor in the traditional sense. there are 4 inch hardwood tongue in groove boards 3/4 inch thick laid directly on top of the joists. It does not look to me as though the hardwood was ever used as a finish floor - it is completely unfinished, and was covered w/ some type of thin tile (then 2 layers of old linoleum). As i mentioned, this house was build in 1928, and this looks like the original way it was constructed, and it's this way throughout the house.

Although i'm not a pro, i've managed remodels of several houses in California, Utah, and Arizona. i've seen/felt floors with a lot of give to them, and put 16" slate tiles down over floors that are a lot less solid than this. this is probably the most solid floor i've ever seen, short of a slab foundation.

Does this change any opinions about what to do? i'm going to be putting 12" terra cotta pavers down as the flooring. My inclination is to just do Hardibacker and lay the tiles over that. if a tile breaks, i'll replace it. i've got the additional issue of total height of the floor - a 3/4" float plus 3/4 tile will raise my kitchen floor 1 1/2 " over the height of the rooms on either side. i could work around this, but it's a factor.