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soled 06-28-2004 08:28 PM

Starting over. And keeping it to 1 thread
I've been delayed after initally starting my disfunctional bathroom project. I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions for the experts...

Here's one question for John, to start things off-how quickly does your book arrive at my mailbox if I order it tonight?

Now, this is one of the disfunctional situations I'm experiencing and I'll follow it with a question. I'm in Arizona, so it's the typical stucco, frame, track housing. My bathroom is the Master and it's upstairs. The flooring is 23/32" OSB on 4" x 24" wood trusses. The joist length is about 21', unfortunately.

So, right off the bat, am I limited to not being able to tile this floor?

I've read through this board quite a bit but there's a lot of info out there-some conflicting and some threads going off on tangents, so naturally, a rookie like me gets distracted and confused. One thing I do know, plenty of my neighbors have had tile upstairs in this 10 year old development without problems. Worse yet, I'm really hoping I can lay 20" tile on that cheap arse floor.

Another disfunction is the order I'm doing this in. We're having to use the shower while I do the bathtub(It's a long story). It's a corner acrylic (whirlpool wanna-be) tub going in a deck. I've removed most of the old tub-a cracked cultured marble, leaking disaster-and rerouted the drain and copper piping. I'm almost ready to build the deck, except I need to prep the tub surround. I have a window in both walls next to the tub. They'll be a handspray in the tub, so I guess I'll go with Kerdi instead of Durock based on John's previous advice.

With this said, my next question is-should I finish the tub deck before I tile the floor? Or should I tile the floor and set the vertical tiles of the deck face on top of the floor tile? If it is suggested I do the tub 1st, I assume I should do the shower before I do the floor, also, correct?

Anyway, I'm especially concerned about the floor deflection issue and what I can do to solve it, as well as what my limitations may be as far as tiling it. Your deflecto thinga ma jigga says I can do tile but not stone. It doesn't say anything about the size of the tile and it doesn't mention porcelain tile, which is our hoped for choice of material. What say ye experts?


Steven Hauser 06-29-2004 02:45 AM

Hi Bryan,

It'll make your head spin for sure!:)

Lessee, first the the deflecto will not accurately rate your floor because it is a truss sytem.

You need to look on the side of the beams to find out which manufacturer it is.

From there Bob (the engineer guru here) posted the web links in the liberry to each manufacturer.

Second, 20" tiles need a really flat substrate, do you have one?

Third, Order of operations vary, generally, we start in the shower and work our way out of the room. So Shower, tub then floor.

Pichers are good. So post as many as you want.


bbcamp 06-29-2004 05:34 AM

The deflecto-thingie doesn't handle trusses, so you should locate the manufacturer and give them a call. I do have some information that suggests that if your trusses are indeed 24 inches tall, then a 21 foot span is OK for ceramic tile (including porcelain). I don't know about stone.

You didn't say anything about spacing, so I assumed 24 inches to be sure. However, if the spacing is greater than 16 inches, then you need to use a membrane on the floor instead of backerboard. If the OSB is older than, say, 5 years, I think you would want to install 3/8" plywood over the OSB, then the membrane.

Listen to Steven about the tile size. Nothing I said about floor prep will correct an un-flat floor. Bigger tiles need a dead flat floor, or you will struggle with lippage all the way.


soled 06-29-2004 11:37 AM


The trusses are 4" x 12", spaced 24" oc. The house is 10 years old. I've tried to figure out the manufacturer of the trusses, but my access is smaller now that I've patched the prior plumbing hole. All I can do is peak through the hole 6" x 12" I left for the drain. There is no access from below. I went to the attic and looked at the scissor trusses(presuming it's the same product mnfgr throughout) and I can fainlty detect a circled trademark with the letters "LMA"...I think. If it helps the design is as such: 2" x 4" fastened with a 5" x 12" metal connector plate that looks to have 10 teth per sq in to create an open-webbed 4" x 12". It's real typical construction in Phoenix-Metro track housing.

On the floor being level; it seems most of it is pretty flat, but unfortunately there are a couple of spots over trusses that rise an 1/8 or so". With that said, are you guys saying there's nothing that I can do from above that can correct that deviation? If not, what is the largest tile I can safely lay there? Would 16" be too big?

Bob, on the "membrane" you mention, excuse my ignorance, but what material choices are you including in the definition of "membrane"?

On adding 3/8" plywood, coupled with 1/2" porcelain tile, a membrane and grout, I suppose I'm looking at a floor that is going to give me a bit of a step up from the adjacent bedroom. I hope that doesn't offer unmanageable obstacles.

I'll try to get pictures at some point. My wife's got a digital camera that's kinda old and it has no zoom, so I can't get back far enough to get much in the picture. And of course I don't yet know how to transfer the image to the computer...


bbcamp 06-29-2004 12:35 PM

Brian, 12 inch deep trusses can't handle a 21 foot span, at least for tile. There's no support wall or beam somewhere in the middle?

soled 06-29-2004 02:34 PM

Underneath the bathroom in question is the kitchen and dinette area. The span from the outside wall (the same wall where the bathroom has the shower and bathtub butting parallel above) to the next wall is 21' with the trusses running between the two. It's evident below there's no supporting column or wall in between those two walls. The kitchen directly below completely opens to the family room and the parallel span in the family room(between the same outside wall to the opposite wall) is shorter-15' 6". The entire open area below creates a fat L-shape, with the long part of the L representing the kitchen and dinette below and the bathroom, water closet and clothes closet directly above. The short part of the L represents the family room below and the master bedroom above with common walls.

Hope that helps. I know pictures would help and I'll get some as soon as I can but it may be a day or two...or three. That aside, many of my neighbors have tile in their master baths with the exact same layout and in fact some had tile installed during construction of the homes. And I was present when the inspector went through the house during construction. There's not a whole lot of of building/inspection corruption in these parts so I'm sure it's all kosher.

Anyway, assuming the span is supported fine, what size tile can I safely get to considering the flooring situation?

bbcamp 06-29-2004 02:44 PM

The span is not fine. Sorry.

soled 06-29-2004 02:58 PM

Weird. I don't know what to say or even do at this point. But I am curious how they get away with this in the Phoenix area??

Scooter 06-29-2004 03:25 PM

They got away with it .......because they could.

Home was designed for wall to wall carpet, not tile.

It could be retrofitted, but would involve a large mess and structural retrofit.

soled 06-29-2004 07:53 PM

Well, I'm not doubting your expertise, folks, and I don't doubt what you say, but as I mentioned I have neighbors that have had tile in the same room, some for 10-11 years. They passed govt. inspection. We were also given the option of having tile installed by the builder. It's not a cheap track home, either (they marketed them as semi-custom). The area is pretty upscale and the value of our home is about the average, so I guess I'm surprised after all these years I've never heard this before from anyone around here.

Maybe I'm missing seeing something, somewhere. I'm not giving up that easily, so I guess the next question becomes-who do I talk to locallly to offer a first hand opinion? Someone within the Phoenix Building Inspectors office? Others??

And I never did ask, what are the main concens I should have were I to install tile? Cracking of the tile or grout through possible deflection or something more serious like failure of the floor due to too heavy a load? If it's something as simple as cracking of grout, I'm not against giving it a shot because the floor to be tiled is not that large an area and I'm getting a real good deal on this porcelain. I ask also because I never did read exactly how much beyond the acceptable limit my particular span is. Given the other info, what would have been the longest span acceptable?

Thanks for all your help.


KChurch1 06-29-2004 08:08 PM

I'll add my two cents on the deflection concerns. We are in the restoration business and see this too often. The tile and grout won't flex with the floor. This will cause the tiles to crack, delaminate (pop loose) and the grout will crack. This will happen every time you walk on the floor.... depending on how bad the deflection is. You may be replacing loose tiles and repairing cracked grout on a daily basis.... depending on the traffic the floor gets. Just want to give you a worse case scenario...

soled 06-30-2004 10:03 AM

Thanks, KChurch1. So, it's a deflection issue, not a structural one, right, folks? The biggest reason I ask is I wonder if all this info means I can't do the tile shower and tub deck butting ther outside wall? Or am I OK to go ahead with that?

And I'm still very curious with the question I asked above: how much longer is my span than it should be were my floor thicker? 1 ft, 4 ft, 6ft, etc?

If anything, the design of the opening into my bathroom gives me an opportunity to bring the bedroom carpet(we're going to recarpet anyway) into the bathroom towards the closet-leaving a small 4' 6" x 5' area that might(?) be tiled, as well as a seperate 3' 3" x 5' water closet should I add thickness to the floor?

Thanks for your patience.


soled 06-30-2004 07:11 PM

bump, respectfully

Davy 06-30-2004 07:26 PM

Hi Bryan, Bob or someone else will help on the floor issues, I can't say. The tub and shower shouldn't be a problem though.;)

soled 06-30-2004 09:39 PM

Thanks, Davy. Knowing I can still do the tub and shower in tile is good news.


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