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


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02-23-2008, 10:09 PM
Ok, so I'm prepping my subfloor for tile, prob a stone but not sure yet.

The deflecto is giving me messing with my head. The problem is I don't know what type of wood my joists are made of.

They are 2"x10"(TRUE) and 108 years old or so. In some areas the span is only 10' but in others it is 13'. There are wooden "x" braces down the center of the span, and some bracing between joists here and there. Other than typical 1/2" holes for electrical wires the joists are butcher/notch free.

The numbers don't work out with 13' on a "unknown wood"

I have removed the 1" T&G original subfloor that was laid diagonally.
FWIW the floor seems super sturdy. I did some jump tests in the center span of the floor and it "feels good"

I'm deciding on subfloors. In the past I usually just play it safe and do 3/4" BC plywood and then 1/2" BC plywood.

There are 3 reasons why I'm thinking maybe just one layer of 3/4"

1.) It will keep tile and hardwood at same height, no transition
2.) Cost, this is a big kitchen
3.) Labor, would really like to not have to install 2 layers.

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02-23-2008, 11:20 PM
Hi there, gotta first name we can use? Most likely if the house is that old, the joists could be oak. If you are only going with a single layer of 3/4" ply you can't use the stone for that you need two layers of ply one being the 3/4" and another layer of 1/2". If you use Ditra for your underlayment you can use 3/8" for the second layer if you opt for the stone.

02-24-2008, 09:16 AM
OK, so i guess getting away with one layer isn't happening.
So if the joists are oak as you say does that mean they're stonger? I would think so but don't want to make assumptions. This is old growth lumber which I know blows away todays stuff, right?

Yes, the plan was to use ditra.

Any tips on getting the floor "super level" so I can lay the tiles easier and not have to rely on SLC.


02-24-2008, 09:27 AM
Oak joists would not be a plus. They would be plenty strong, but not as rigid as SYP or Doug Fir and similar.

Your tiles don't care if the floor is level, they care only that your floor is flat. In your case, if there is a problem with flat, you can easily sister some smaller joists (maybe 2x6) near the top of the existing to provide a flat plane for your subflooring. You could level the floor using that method, too, if you want.

My opinion; worth price charged.

02-24-2008, 09:38 AM
CX You're right I mis-spoke I meant flat, not level.

I'm pretty sure they aren't oak. If I were to guess it would be pine, but I'm not sure. It's def the same wood as the 2x4 studs that the house is built with. How can I be sure? Would pics help?

If it makes any difference there was tile down before(ceramic) installed in about 78' when the last kicthen remodel was done. It was installed over 3/8" plywood, which was screwed down to the t&g subfloor. It held up for 30 years.

02-24-2008, 11:07 AM
You wanna install your tile same way the last guy did, Rem, go for it. We can only tell you the correct methods according to contemporary industry standards. We don't guarantee it will fail if you don't use those methods, we just guarantee you'll have a better chance for a lasting installation that way.

Your house, your dinero. Customer ain't likely to sue if it fails, eh? :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

02-24-2008, 11:14 AM
:) I didn't mean to come off as not willing to listen, just figured it was worth mentioning what was there before as a sort of guage.

Like I said b4, I usually do 3/4" followed by 1/2" but was trying to see if anything less would be ok.

It's sounding like the pros say I know which route I will be taking.

Thanks for the advice.

Before I get started....
Just for my own recap, first layer 3/4" screwed to joists. Second layer screwed to first layer avoiding joists.

Glue is optional and a touchy subject around here? So I don't ask.

That all right :)

02-24-2008, 11:23 AM
Wasn't suggesting you weren't willing to listen, Rem. I was serious as a brain tumor about it being your house and your dinero. Sometimes folks are willing to toss the dice with their own house and that's quite all right. :)

3/4" and 3/8" plwyood is the minimum, with the 3/4" being T&G plywood. I just don't like the 3/8ths stuff for subfloors.

Here is a good article ( on a good way to deal with that second layer.

Gluing the subfloor layers is always better in my judgement if it's done correctly.

You still must install at tiling substrate over that plywood, of course.

My opinion; worth price charged.

02-24-2008, 11:46 AM
Great article, very informative.

And the fact that it is my house and MY money is more reason why I don't want to just throw it away. With a kitchen remodel budget quickly approaching six figures, there ain't now way i'm skimping on the plywood.

My last question....going back to the flat floor. What I was asking is how is the best way to check for flat floor. I have 2,4,and 8 foot levels. But this is a large area and I don't know where/how to begin. Do I check as I install the first layer plywood?

CX any chance you have a .pdf in your back pocket for this one?

02-24-2008, 01:59 PM
Get longer straight-edges if possible. Just lay'em on top of and across the joist spans until you find the highest point, then flatten from there. Level from there, too, if you intend to level.

No, don't do this while laying subflooring. Should be completely finished before any plywood goes down.

Sorry, no gottee pdf. :shrug:

02-24-2008, 08:55 PM
My best thoughts come while taking a shower (at home not a holiday inn :-) )

I was revisualizing my dilemma of the unknown wood. This seems to be a problem only in my area that is a 13' span. That areas is only 7-8' wide.

Could I sister those beams prob about 5 or so and be better in the deflection department? Right now I have access from above and below. Can I use 2x8s? What sucks is there was no wiring running through them till today :-( I can pull the wiring out to sister if it will help.

Also I can't get T&G plywood @BC grade. So if I do 3/4" and 1/2" non T&G BC do I have to block between joists(Me thinks so) just want confirmation.

---just saw CXs reply bout flattening. How long straight edge? I've seen 10-12' metal ones at the tile store but those are big buck$ Is there such a thing as a poorman's makeshift straight edge?

Once I have my longer...straight edges I check each joist to confirm it's not bowed up/down, then I check by laying across multiple joists and look for high low spots? that right?

02-28-2008, 08:47 PM
ok, so I have 13 sheets of 3/4" BC plywood bought and awaiting installation.

Planning on tackling this tomorrow. Just coming back for quick pointers on getting my floor FL_____AT.

Can someone help with my last posts questions, I think my reply got lost amongst the other posts.


02-28-2008, 09:27 PM
If you don't use T&G plywood you must block the edges between joists.

In a perfect world, your straight edge would span the entire distance to be flattened. In my world they are usually only ten feet long, sometimes twelve. You can use a straight board if you can find one.

My opinion; worth price charged.

02-29-2008, 10:00 PM
Ok so I check my "flatness"

It appears that all of my beams are perfectley straight, less than 1/16" out of flat on each individual.

I did that first and was amazed! Then I went across the joists.

I have 1 that is 3/4" too low and 5 that need to come up 1/4"

So the plan is to sister them w/ 2x4s to get up my flatness height, that ok?

Also planning on running glue down between the 1st layer and the joists, recommendations on adhesive?

02-29-2008, 10:59 PM
Too easy! :D

Good plan that. Gotta use glue on those sisters, too. Very important with only the footprint of the 2x4. I like 2x6s for that sorta work, but the 2x4s are adequate if properly installed.

My favorite construction adhesive these days is PL Premium. Most excellent pookie for addin' them sisters. For the plywood to the joist tops, I believe PL-400 is the correct choice in the PL line, but It doesn't scare me a bit to use the PL Premium there, too.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-01-2008, 09:16 PM
ok, so got 3 sisters installed and 2 sheets of ply down. Things are looking good so far.

I'm using the PL Premium and PL400 as CX suggested. I have a quick ques, how much should I be able to cover with each tube? I'm getting like 1 per sheet per tube of caulk.

03-01-2008, 09:59 PM
You're talking about one sheet onto the joists per tube of PL-400?

For that sort of application, the manufacturers usually recommend a big ol' fat bead down the middle of the joist. With 16" joist spacing I wouldn't expect to get more than one sheet per small tube, I don't think. The tube may have something on it about coverage per bead size. You look there?

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-02-2008, 07:44 PM
Progress update:

I got 6 more sheets of plywood down today. In addition to a million other things. About 1/2 way done now, whew.

I was using a very flat 12' 4x4 to check for flatness, in addition to my 8ft level. Unfortunatley, yesterday the 12' 4x4 was cut down and installed to brace up a steel i-beam in the kitchen. So now I only have my 8ft level.

I must say I am amazed! Everywhere I put the level I'm flat! I hope I'm not getting ahead of my self, but this is almost too good to be true.

Note to other DIY'ers:
The PL400 and PL premium are awesome (thanks CX)
Make sure you cut a huge tip off the tube of glue, the stuff is thick. Your hands will thank you.

So this is only the first layer of ply, next is the 1/2". Prob going to tackle that this week sometime, when I make it out to pick up materials.

So BC grade again right? How bout glue here? If so what?

03-02-2008, 10:46 PM
I was using a very flat 12' 4x4 to check for flatnessWell, big-time tile guys like to use a full-sized straight-edge, Rem, but I suppose that wimpy little 4x4 is OK for a DIYer. :D

I personally like to glue subfloor layers, 'specially when it's nice new, clean wood. But it's not required so long as you follow the appropriate fastener schedule. I recommend you follow the procedure in that link I posted earlier.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-02-2008, 11:11 PM
Ok, if I were to glue betwen subfloor layers, what do I use? More PL400?

03-02-2008, 11:37 PM
No, no, no, don't wanna do anything with that particular pookie except lay sheets on joists and similar.

For laminating plywood you want a full spread of wood glue. My personal choice is Titebond II. Gotta buy a whole lotta that, too. Haven't done full sheets for a while but I don't think you get more than about three per gallon. Maybe not quite that much, even. Spread with a sheetrock knife or one of them little notch trowels like you use for carpet glue.

Using all new material and installing it all correctly, you can certainly get by without the gluing. I just like mine glued when I have the option.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-03-2008, 10:55 AM
Well, big-time tile guys like to use a full-sized straight-edge, Rem, but I suppose that wimpy little 4x4 is OK for a DIYer.
... cx

cx, ever catch 'em using your edge to screed a slab????????? :jack: :cry:

03-06-2008, 10:50 PM
Ok, got most of the 1/2" second layer down, just some cuts around the edges that i need to fill in.

Is there such a thing as too many screws? I'm able to get about 9 sheets down with a 5lb box!! Does that sound right?

03-07-2008, 08:00 AM
Dunno. What fastener schedule are you usung? How many screws in your five pound box? How many pancakes does it take to cover a doghouse? :shrug:

03-07-2008, 09:12 AM
rmelo, which county in ct are you in?
plymouth here...

03-07-2008, 09:40 PM
Hey poolman, I'm in ffld county.

The schedule I'm following is the behind schedule....

All joking aside, I've been nailing at about 6-8" spacing...I've never screwed so much in my life. I filled in most of the edges today.

About 95% done, woohoo!

03-07-2008, 10:23 PM
Yeah, for that half-inch, six onna edges and eight inna field is about right.

We may have promised you something along the way, but didn't nobody promise you easy. :)

03-09-2008, 09:44 AM
Ok, all my final edge cuts are made,but i ran out of screws :-(

My breakfast area is built on concrete slabish. It is about 8'x8'. Now with my plywood down I am about 3/4"-1" higher than the concrete.

I want my tile to run w/o a transition. How should I get up the height? Previously they had plywood nailed/screwed down to the concrete.

Not that I'm getting cheap but by my calcs i'm near $1000 just in subfloor prep materials. That isn't counting the Ditra I'm going to have to buy! Then the tile and setting material.

Is this typical? What do you guys figure the avg cost of materials per sf is for everything pre-tile. (Plywood 3/4" & 1/2", PL400, wood for sistering and bracing,screws, thinset, ditra)?

I'm thinking it's going to be add up to more per sf than the tile!

03-10-2008, 09:38 PM
Any help on what to do with my abutting concrete slab breakfast area is greatly appreciated!

03-10-2008, 10:28 PM
If you can assure a minimum of 3/4", you could use deck mud to raise that floor.

You still must honor the joint between the two floors all the way through the tile installation, though. That means you must have a movement joint or "soft joint" in the tile. With a careful layout you may be able to make it look like just another grout joint, so long as your grout joists are wide enough.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-11-2008, 06:57 AM
Ughh, I'm sorry I asked...I didn't want to hear bout the joint line.

Maybe in my case it's different, and you guys can tell me if that's the case.

This area isn't really slab (per se). There is full basement under it, just like the rest of the house. However instead of having a wood subfloor, they poured about 6-8" of concrete slab.

The room below was used way back when for some sort of food storage. It is concrete on all sides,top and bottom. Someone told me once they call it a canning room.

Does that change anything for me? Since it isn't slab sitting on earth will I still have movement different from the rest of the floor?


03-11-2008, 07:24 AM
Does that change anything for me? Yeah, but it probably makes it only a little worse. :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

08-01-2008, 10:24 PM
Still haven't tiled my kitchen but the time has come. Initially I was going to do 18x18 travertine. Then I saw a versailles pattern and knew that's what I wanted.

Now I'm leaning towards porcelein for maintence ease...and found a nice tile I can do the floor with but it's a budget breaker.

I found another very similar tile but can only get it in 12x12,18x18 and I need help finding a nice layout pattern using those sizes. This tile is a fraction of the price.

I found these two patterns online. Can anyone post more ideas and or pictures of any tiles actually laid out using one of those patterns to help me visually.


08-01-2008, 10:28 PM
Rem, please don't start new threads on the same project. We lose all the history and what's been previously asked and answered and much duplication of effort results. Just bookmark this one and use it for all the project questions,eh? :)

08-02-2008, 06:51 AM
Thanks for combining them CX...I sometimes want to blackout how long I've been actually working on this project. Now everyone knows my dirty secret.

So to recap all the previouse threads, all subfloor prep has been done per "John Bridge Forum" standards.... :-)

12-01-2008, 10:01 PM
Ok, my kitchen is still without floor. I'm a fan of this forum and have as a result have

flattened, sistered, 2 layers of BC plywood, proper screw patterns, and PL glue as recommended.

This so far has cost me (aside from lots of my time) about $1200. Now I am deciding on what tile substrate to use and Ditra is looking like a front runner b/c of height. That is another $1.50 p/sq ft. Roughly 450 +/-.

Then comes the tile, thinset, and grout.

Something just isn't right that i'm spending more on everything below the tile than actually on the tile!! Is that normally the case? I almost feel like I should be spending $10+ per sq ft on tile so I can justify all the costs/time on everything that went into prep.

Am I the only one here??


12-01-2008, 10:09 PM
floor prep is everything :D

12-01-2008, 10:18 PM
Hey Rem,

Brian's right. If you don't do the prep on the substrate it doesn't matter if you use $2.00/ft tile or $20/ft granite, it's gonna fail at the same rate. :D

Any tile job is only as good as what is beneath it.

12-02-2008, 12:07 AM
Check post #34, Rem. :)

12-02-2008, 10:19 PM
apologies for my duplicate posting...keep forgetting my forum manners.

I think my sub conscious(sp?) is trying to block out how long I've been working on this house and kitchen.

Would be nice to have tile down someday. It's gotten so bad that I just glanced back at my previous posts and it's dejavu....I've been down this road before.

I think I'll stop thinking about money, no good ever comes out of it. Must follow dim light at end of tunnel.

03-16-2009, 08:50 PM
OK, Ditra is down!! Laid about 300sq ft of it in the main kitchen area. The hall and breakfast area will come next, but I wanna get some tile down.

Now the fun can begin. I have 600sq ft of chiseled edge travertine in a versailles pattern sitting out on 2 pallets by the back door.

about 3 years later and there maybe some tile finally down in the kitchen. Although the wife was very pleased with the new ORANGE look, huge improvement over the plywood!

I used custom's versabond from the depot under the ditra which you guys seem to give a thumbs up. But the only unmodified they have is the customblend, that doesn't get much praise round here. Have to figure out what to get, I'll try to find a tile shop near work, or worse case make the trip to lowes where I know they have the mapei line.

03-17-2009, 04:17 AM
Make the trip, Rem, before Mrs. Rem gets tired of orange...:D

03-18-2009, 10:42 AM
Ok, picked up some Laticrete 317 ($18 per bag) they also had kerabond but that was $22 per bag. Most tile places I called don't carry unmodified anymore!

Spent 1.5hrs "dry" laying out the tiles. Man this versailles pattern is mind was playing tricks on me. Good thing I had a cheat sheet!

I was only able to thinset about 80 or so sq feet last night after doing the layout. I must say that all of the subfloor prep work, was WELL worth it. This is by FAR the flattest surface I've ever laid tiles down on. My biggest fear all along was lippage on these tiles and sagging due to their size.

Since the floor is perfectly flat I just fill the ditra squares, spread the thinset and put the tile down. A few whacks with the rubber mallet and the tiles are all in line with each other height wise.

Also with this pattern, spacers go right out the window. I'm eyeballing everthing, no way spacers would work for this layout.

03-19-2009, 08:04 AM
OK, got some more tile down yesterday, about another 120sq ft or so. I'll try and get some pics so you guys can see I'm not lying :-)

I'm glad I went with the Natural Travertine, the look is amazing.

I'm not going to use epoxy grout, not that I fear it, but I can't afford it!
Is the stuff depot sells ok?I think it's custom.

Also how does sanded work in filling the tiny void in the stone surface?

04-06-2009, 08:18 PM
In searching other threads it seams that the laticrete 317(tile store) and laticrete megabon(lowes) are one in the same. My lowes carries the megabond white for about $12.xx per bag. I started the tile project with 317 and issues warranty/compatibility wise if I finish with megabond?

Dave Taylor
04-06-2009, 08:29 PM
Rem..... I keep hearin' that Mega Bond and the Mega Bond additive are one and the same as 317 Floor n wall and it's 333 Admix.

I'd try a taste test but I think I'll pass.

My guess is the Maga Bond will work well for you and that you will be well pleased.

Hope this helps

07-23-2009, 09:00 PM
OK so I can finally say the kitchen tile is all down and just finished grouting.

I used Laticrete for the thinset and their PermaColor for the grout.

I purchased StoneTech HeavyDuty Sealer from TileExperts and did all of the tile before grouting.

I have laid many tile floors, but this was my first travertine, first chiseled edge, unfilled, and versailles pattern!

The grouting was MUCH more difficult than I anticipated. I don't know if it was the PermaColor or the tile. I think it was easier to lay all of the floor than it was to grout it.

I mixed the grout 1/3 of bag at a time. (I read about the soupiness of this grout in advance, man were they right!) Then I had to clean 2X before moving on to the next section and grouting. I think this was because I smeared grout all over the face of the tile since I was filling the little nooks and crannies in the travertine. Normally I am able to keep the grout limited to around the grout lines and not all over the tile. I purchased a grout float that was dense rubber that was designed for use with epoxy grout. It helped to squeegie the tile face. I still had to do 2 more cleanings to make me happy, one about 45mins-1hr and then another about 2.5-3hrs after starting. I hope there's no haze tomorrow.

I would like to do another coat of sealer on the tiles and grout with the same StoneTech Heavy Duty Sealer. How long do I wait now? I applied my first coat with a microfiber towel and just wiped on. Is that right, any technique I should now.