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-   -   First-timer questions on layout, concrete slab (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=124700)

chris0192 02-09-2018 04:33 PM

First-timer questions on layout, concrete slab
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Hi, hoping some folks can provide some help and answer some basic questions for me given I've never tiled a floor before. I'm planning to tile our first floor and adjoining rooms that sit on a concrete slab and unsure about a few things:
+ The tile will lay on a concrete slab from a Chicago home built in 2001. Assuming the slab is in good condition can I lay directly on the slab and what mortar makes sense (Versabond LFT, 4 XLT) ? Any reason I should/would consider using Ditra?
+ I tried laying the tile out on paper (attached) by simply creating a grid of tiles offset by 1/3 but am I going about laying this tile out all wrong? How should I be thinking about laying tile out in the room shown and the adjacent spaces/rooms?
+ And when tiling multiple adjacent rooms, how should I think about tiling through the doorway to the adjoining room?

Davy 02-09-2018 06:04 PM

Hi Chris, welcome. What is on the slab now? I'd concentrate on getting the concrete clean. Free of texture, paint or adhesives. Once you get it clean, mop it and any slab cracks will usually show up. Then you can decide if you need an anti-fracture membrane. Ditra isn't advertised as an anti-fracture membrane although I believe it does help. I wouldn't use Ditra, myself but rather a product that does claim to help with slab cracks.

The pattern can flow right thru to the next room although you may want a soft joint across the doorways.

chris0192 02-10-2018 12:16 PM

Thanks for the advice Davy. Right now there is old laminate wood flooring, under which appears to be a plastic membrane filled with tiny styrofoam type balls (assume some kind of insulating or moisture barrier?)

I'll have to look up "soft joint" as I'm not familiar, but otherwise if I understand correctly you are saying simply continue the pattern from one room to the next (effectively, pretending as if the walls were not there). But let me know if I've misunderstood.

Kman 02-10-2018 02:38 PM

Laticrete Stratamat is a good crack prevention membrane.

A soft joint is simply leaving the grout out of a particular joint, and filling it with a color-matched caulk. If you can do it at the doorways, there's less work involved, and you've effectively "separated" each room from the others. It allows for expansion and contraction, and can prevent tenting and debonding due to stress.

Davy 02-10-2018 03:40 PM

Yes, you understood correctly about the pattern. So depending on your size of tile and pattern, you may have to start the layout in the doorway to make sure you have a grout joint between the jambs. :)

chris0192 02-12-2018 09:25 PM

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Came across an issue - my concrete slab has a hump that causes nearly a 1/4" gap using a 48" level (photo attached). This hump runs the long direction of the room in my original image. My tile is 8x24 and I plan to run the long end parallel to the hump. Does that make my life any easier?

Assuming not...how should I approach fixing this? Grind down the hump and if so, how? Or go with self-leveling cement?

Gozo 02-13-2018 06:07 PM

Grind it down. Use an angle grinder and a diamond cup wheel on your hands and knees. It goes quicker than youíd think, but man, does it kick up A LOT of dust. I made a fixture out of 2x4ís to keep the wheel flat on the floor. If itís just one hump/ridge, grinding is easier. If itís lots of large areas, then think about SLC. Either way, tiling over the hump is not going make you happy in the long run.

Davy 02-13-2018 07:27 PM

They do make a shroud that has a vacuum attachment that helps with the dust.

jadnashua 02-13-2018 08:26 PM

Caulk may not end up permanent, but using a quality, engineered expansion joint is. You might want to consider using one of those verses caulk. A few companies make them including Schluter and Custom Building Products. Cleaning out caulk that no longer looks good is a pain.

chris0192 02-22-2018 08:25 AM

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Thanks for the inputs all! Some more questions as the project moves forward:
  1. I have some cracks in the slab (see attached photo) - do I need to consider an anti-fracture membrane or could I simply apply Redguard?
  2. In addition there are some gouges/cuts in the slab (photos attached). Should these be patched using something like Quikrete's Vinyl Concrete Patcher or will a good medium-bed mortar take care of this when I tile?
  3. Regarding mortar, what do folks recommend given above? Do I need a flexible/anti-fracture mortar like CBP MegaLite or is CBP ProLite fine? I'm in Chicago and space is only ~150 sq. ft. so open to other mortar suggestions

Davy 02-22-2018 12:18 PM

Chris, Redgard is an anti-fracture membrane. It will work fine but usually takes two coats with a 3/8 nap paint roller. It needs to be credit card thickness.

I would clean the slab down to raw concrete. No paint or texture. Then vacuum and mop before putting down the Redgard. I would apply it wall to wall, myself.

The Pro-lite will work. So will Versabond. They also have LFT Versabond for large tiles.

chris0192 04-27-2018 12:24 PM

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All, circling back after moving the project forward quite a bit, and ran in to an issue with low spots. As a re-cap, steps I've completed:
  1. Ground down concrete floor to address high-spots (which ended up being the middle of the room)
  2. Applied FractureFree over the entire surface (~6 gallons over 150 sq. ft.)
  3. Snapped two perpendicular chalk lines using 3-4-5 (not shown in photo)
  4. [in progress] Complete grid lines and dry lay tile to check for any issues

As I was dry laying tiles I noticed some low spots causing lippage. I'll be using the MLS system but I assume this won't help since it is a low spot (photo below with example). Is the simple answer to wait until I am tiling, pull the tile up, and apply more thinset as I go or will this be difficult for a first-timer? Otherwise, any advice on what I should do?

rmckee84 04-27-2018 04:58 PM

Use a patching compound to fill the low areas.

chris0192 04-28-2018 08:48 AM

Thanks for the suggestion. So something like an MH Ready Patch, or do you mean a concrete patch such as Quikrete concrete patch? I had read some other threads where folks simply used medium bed mortar - is that also an option for a ~1/16 in. low spot?

chris0192 06-08-2018 07:04 AM

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Project coming along nicely, will post pictures but wanted to finalize everything first! Needed some help on transitions. Pictures attached and details below - appreciate the help!

1.) I have a transition to stairs with carpet and not sure the type of transition joint I should use for this. Also not that we will be replacing the carpet in case that impacts how I handle this

2.) Other transition is to a bathroom with white tile. The complication here is at some point I may want to re-tile the bathroom, possibly with the same tile. Is there a transition / movement joint I could use here that would work here?

Thanks in advance for the help!

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