Where to start [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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09-27-2010, 09:06 AM
So my husband and i are planning on tiling our whole downstairs. We picked up the tile over the weekend, we still have to get the rest of the supplies, hardibacker, ect...
Question is.....where do we start? I know in the center of the room, but what room? The biggest room? I want to make sure that everything flows nice and doesnt look like we tiled each room individually. Im sure someone out there knows what im trying to say.

Another question, upon lifing the carpet up in our entryway, instead of subflooring, there is narrow planks of wood. My theory was to lift them up and put the subfloor down, my husband said that would be more work for us.
Are we suppose to put the subfloor over the wood planks then the hardibacker? If this is the case, it will raise the floor up considerably, as well as cause problems with the door opening. thanks for your help in advance

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09-27-2010, 09:14 AM
Hi Sue,

You kinda have a HUGE project there, it sounds! Let's start at the beginning. What's the construction here? All wood joists? Have you run the info on those joists (size, spacing, free span) thru the Deflecto-Lator above? Just wanna make sure you have sufficient structure there.

Then those "narrow planks". Gonna need a lot more info there. Is there another layer of wider boards under them? Is there a layer of plywood in there? Is that nailed hardwood? You're gonna have to know what you got. You can almost certainly NOT simply set the Hardibacker over them - they'll need something (like a layer of 1/2" ply) before that. And of course, Hardie goes down w/ thinset troweled onto the plywood, then screws holding the Hardie down.

But you gotta know the details before you go further :)

Make a stable tiled surface first. Worry about floor height, transitions, and doors later. Those all have solutions that are a LOT simpler than pulling out a failing tiled floor w/ a big crack running down the middle of it.

09-27-2010, 10:00 AM
wood joists, and there isnt anything under the wood planks

09-27-2010, 10:11 AM
OK well... I'll sit tight til you can answer some of the other things there.

That's not be being rude - that's me not wanting to see you pump one second of labor or a single dime into a tile job that doesn't have some reasonable chance of survival.

Assuming you're right that there's just a single layer of planks there, and assuming those planks are about 3/4" thick, and assuming they're spanning 16" OC joists, you'd probably be ok w/ first screwing those planks down very securely, then properly installing 1/2" plywood underlayment, followed then by a properly installed suitable tiling substrate, such as 1/4" Hardie or Ditra.

09-27-2010, 12:37 PM
I wish i could answer all your questions, im actually at work now, but when i get home ill have to take a look at everything and get back to you.

What about when we are ready to lay the tile, where do we start?

09-27-2010, 12:49 PM
I always go by sight lines (centering tile or grout line on most prominent doorway) plus minimizing "skinnies". Without knowing anything at all about the tile you've selected or your floorplan, it's really tough to offer much advice there :(

09-27-2010, 12:59 PM
im sorry, im so new at all this, and yes im blonde!
Its 12x12 ceramic tile, no fancy pattern or anything, basic beige that you pretty much see everywhere.
What is minimizing "skinnies". mean?

09-27-2010, 01:05 PM
You want - if possible - to avoid having any tile at the edges under 1/2 tile width. But that's rarely possible in a continuous, running layout thru a house. This is why a border-and-field pattern works nicely to break up such room to room layouts...

09-27-2010, 01:08 PM
You are goonna need to install plywood over those planks (probably 5/8) Then I would use ditra if you are going to need less height. You lay out off the most visible area, say a long hallway going through rooms. You want a centered layout on the hallway, then you chalk lines throughout and measure to make sure that you aren't going to have a little 1 inch sliver along one whole wall. That is what skinnies are.

DO NOT use hardi if you go with cbu. Use 1/4 inch permabase or wonderboard. You don't have to wet it as you go.

09-27-2010, 01:29 PM
well i had already suggested that to the husband, and of course he doesnt want to do that, hopefully we can make everything flow nicely

09-27-2010, 02:12 PM
So i have looked at the deflecto calc, and now im a bit nervous. I of course dont know any of the info right now, ex height , width spacing ect, im going to look at all that tonight, but the house is old, and im worried that what if the joists arent strong enough to support the tile?

Houston Remodeler
09-27-2010, 02:17 PM

There are some things you can do to make the floor stiffer if it needs to be. Just get through the deflecto meter and we'll see what happens from there

09-27-2010, 02:22 PM
You are right, no need worring if i dont have to right?

09-28-2010, 06:21 AM
For joists that are Unknown wood, but in good condition, 8 inches tall, 2 inches wide, 16 inches on center, and 4.5 feet long between supports, the deflection calculated is 0.017 inches.

This translates to a deflection of L / 3135.

Since the maximum deflection for tile is L / 360, and for natural stone is L / 720, your floor is rated for Ceramic tile or Natural stone, Congratulations!

09-28-2010, 06:32 AM
You um... have true 2x8 joists, supported every 4-1/2 feet? Thru the entire house?

Please take no offense, but that sounds awfully suspicious.

Do you have 16" OC joists resting atop 6" wide, 5-ft OC beams? If so, what's supporting the 6" wide beams?

09-28-2010, 06:58 AM
Sue, understand that the span the Deflecto is asking for is the distance between the structure supporting the joists. These may be foundation walls, central beams, etc. It is not the room dimensions.

Also, what Ed was saying about the joists. 2x8 is a nominal dimension, but the real measured dimensions are 1 1/2" by 7 1/4". It is possible with older (really older) houses that you could have true dimension lumber (actual measurements are 2" x 8"), and if so, that's what you enter into the Deflecto. The calculator uses these dimensions to determine the stiffness of the joist, and the span to calculate the deflection. All of this is important, so you can't guess.

We're assuming that your house is in Pennsylvania. Do you have any idea when this house was built?

09-28-2010, 07:08 AM
ok now i must have done something wrong, i know that they are 2x8's.
we must of measured something wrong, god im getting a headache!

09-28-2010, 07:14 AM
well im not sure of the year, previous owners lived there for 52 years and they told us that the coal miners built the house and lived in it back in the day. We had to of measured something wrong

09-28-2010, 07:20 AM
Pictures of the underside of your floor, and of the exposed subfloor from the top, would be helpful.

Tell us a little bit about your and your husband's DIY experiences. What kinds of projects have you done, etc. That will make it easier for us to help you.

09-28-2010, 07:32 AM
Well im at work now, but when i get home i will take some pics. This is our first home. The only thing we have done so far is install a new toilet. Other than that, nothing yet. We just closed on the house on 9/10.
Now we have rebuilt engines, changed struts and brakes and anything automotive, but homewise, we are very new at all this. Good thing is, we feel as though we can do it, and would rather do it ourselves.

09-28-2010, 07:33 AM
As i mentioned previously, no subfloor, just wood planks, like hardwood i guess.

09-28-2010, 07:42 AM
I've got a Chevy 396 with an oil leak I haven't been able to track down. Wanna take a crack at it? :D

You've picked a pretty aggressive project for your first home improvement. Replacing all the floors with tile will involve some basic carpentry and trim carpentry skills along with the tile skils. And tools! Lots of tools. Don't think of tool purchases as part of the costs of this project, though. Once you have aquired them, you'll find plenty of uses for them, especially in an older house.

Anyway, you have the first pre-requisite: a can-do attitude.

09-28-2010, 08:05 AM
Tools are never a problem, got lots of them, and what we dont have we will buy or rent them if we have to.
Yes a huge project, that we are just starting to realize will take us forever probably. Im sure that we will be walking on subfloor for awhile.
The house needs alot of updating, the entire house has wood panelling, we peeled back some of it, to find out that its nailed to the studs and no insulation, so we need to resolve that issue, as well as drywall the whole house.
No kichen cabinets, and a broken kitchen sink. Since there really isnt much in the kitchen, we decided that we will tackle that room first, but top part of that room looks to be plaster and the bottom is waynes coating. Im not sure how im suppose to do a backsplash over the plaster, if i even can. Lots of questions and lots of things to do!

09-28-2010, 08:08 AM
Oh and Bob, you can bring your Chevy to PA and we can take a look at it!