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Old 11-20-2018, 03:02 AM   #1
pghsebring
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Process for thin porcelain tile-over

Ive never tile-overed anything in my life, but it looks like this kitchen will be a first

Right now it has large format porcelain tiles on a very sound slab, everything is well installed, its just ugly as hell and needs changed. About 175 sqft.

So Im going to tile over it with thin porcelain (either 12” x 2’ or 8” x 3’) and I have a few questions about the process

First, what product would you use to make the floor flat - I dont want to use SLC, I would prefer something I could screed out, I will finesse everything flat. The last product I used to flatten a floor was terrible, think it was made by custom. SLC could cause too much of a build up if one side is too low. What bonds to porcelain?

What brand/type thinset do you like for a job like this?

Ummm....i think thats it? What else am i missing? I know about doors and the results of chaning the foor height, how imperative it is to get full coverage with thin porcelain, etc. Any other tips?
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Old 11-20-2018, 03:32 AM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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What sticks? Laticrete 254...or Tec’s Superflex. Both of their bond strengths are pretty impressive. But I’m sure I’d still run my diamond cup grinder over the whole thing to knock off high spots, make it absolutely clean, and to rough it up a little to help get the best bond.

I like using Mapei’s Planipatch. One of the former mods turned me onto it better than a decade ago. I’ve almost always mixed it only with water, but that’s with a porous substrate. If you upgrade to using their latex additive “Planipatch Plus”, they approve using it over ceramic. Just don’t mix more than you can use during its pot life.

When using those large format tiles, the specs are to get the floor flat to within 1/8” in 10’....in every direction. For me, I’d map out that floor and spend the time to get the floor as flat as possible to really help my coverage and avoid lippage. Make sure to burn a coat of mortar to the backs of the tiles as you’re setting them. How far is the floor’s flatness out of whack?

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Old 11-20-2018, 04:44 AM   #3
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Could use Mapei Eco Prim Grip over existing porcelain, then something like Laticrete NXT Patch to flatten.
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:17 AM   #4
pghsebring
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Tool Guy, Ill knock down whatever I have to. Im not sure how out the floor is, it might be pretty flat for all I know, but theres all the wide grout lines (3/8”) and some very low inset patterns, all this stuff needs filled in to get a flat surface to work with. Plus it seems with thin porcelain it seems being very flat is extremely important. I imagine the prep is going to take longer than the tiling.

I just saw that Planipatch has a 10 min pot life...yikes.

Any chemical in particular youd clean it with?
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:01 AM   #5
Tool Guy - Kg
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That fact that your tile is large format is the part that desires flat.

The fact that your tile is thin is the part that desires really good coverage.

I’d clean it with my diamonds...spinning at 10,000rpm! If you can’t just do a light grind over the whole floor, I’d use a good degreaser and rinse. You want the floor clean-clean.

In the relative low percentage of jobs where I’ve tiled-over-tile, I’ve always direct-bonded using the high dollar mortars mentioned. I’m familiar with Lou’s idea of using something like Mapei’s Eco Prim grip, but I’ve never gone that route. I know that stuff sticks like crazy to the old tile as a prep for tile. Feel free to explore Lou’s avenue if it interests you.

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Old 11-20-2018, 11:36 AM   #6
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Going back a step, I would suggest that removing the old tile would possibly give you a better starting point. A rented rotary hammer might peel it right off to a smooth slab. At least it cleaned up my disaster of a shower.

If you have cabinets on top of the current tile, you might have an issue, but there are ways to cut off the tile, and you could use a bit of molding to hide the border.
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Old 11-20-2018, 10:09 PM   #7
pghsebring
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Jeff, the problem is this is a last minute addition and i know how these things start spinning out of control - you guessed right, the cabinets and counters cant be moved, so now we are trying to get all the old thinset off and get it to the same level, or get all the tile off to just under the cabinets, or we are cutting all this trim to go all the way around, etc. Its just going to be easier to run tile to exactly where i want it right over the top. Never done a tile over but its something new so here we go.

Tool Guy, i will run a diamond cup over it but it wont hit the low spots like the grout lines etc, those will have to be cleaned with a chemical etc. Its not like just one size tile with small grout lines, it has sunken inlays, 3/8 - 1/2” grout lines, etc.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:51 AM   #8
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Because you've gotten kind of a hodge-podge of products, I'll tie them together for you. ECO Prim Grip is a great bond enhancing primer for tile over tile. If you need to flatten, you can then use the Planipatch with Planipatch Plus. Ultralite S2 Gauged Tile Mortar is the best one on the market for these large sized panels, it's fluid when it needs to be but locks in quickly. Ultracolor Plus FA grout should finish things off nicely. I'm attaching a graphic that shows this system for quick reference.
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