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Unread 10-19-2020, 09:22 AM   #1
booyasauce
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thick concrete tile in bathroom

Hello,
I have been using these forums for a while for little projects but only just registered as I am now remodeling my bathroom and I have a question about the floors.
My construction is 1/2" plywood over 2x10s spaced 16" on center with about a 10' span between supports.

My wife chose some concrete floor tile from concrete collaborative. I can't put links in my post but if you want to look it up its the Venice Terrazzo Concrete Tile. It is 3/4" thick.

Deflectolator says my construction should be OK for the tile but I am unsure the proper way to lay it.

Since the tile is so thick, I am a bit worried about the finished floor height (something around 1" over the decking). I have been considering cutting out the decking and recessing 3/4" ply into the joist bays. On top of that I am not really sure what to do, but I was thinking some kind of uncoupling membrane and then the tile. The tile manufacturer recommends Laticrete 254 thinset or equivalent so I was thinking of using the Laticrete strata-mat as uncoupling for warranty purposes.

However, if the 1/2" ply is sufficient, maybe I can just lay it all on top of that. I have a feeling 1/2" ply is not sufficient though.

Lastly, does anyone have a tile leveling system recommendation for 3/4" thick tile? I saw the Peygran leveling system on Amazon, and so I am considering that one.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
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Last edited by cx; 10-19-2020 at 10:00 AM. Reason: Add Link
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Unread 10-19-2020, 11:07 AM   #2
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Welcome, Ted.

Let us know if the added link is not the tile you're looking at.

Your existing subfloor, as described, is not suitable for any kind of flooring as far as I'm concerned, not even carpet.

Your tiles are not ceramic and the manufacturer's recommendation that you comply with the TCNA Handbook doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The TCNA Handbook is for Ceramic and Stone Tiles and contains only a single paragraph about tiles such as yours, which describes them as a Specialty Tile and refers you to the manufacturer's installation instructions. Makes it a bit difficult to determine just what you should do, eh?

I view that type of concrete tile more as stone than as ceramic and generally recommend you gear your installation with that in mind. Entirely up to you if you don't wanna do that, of course.

For your subfloor, the best thing you can do is remove it and start over in my opinion. The half-inch material is essentially useless as a first layer of subflooring and doesn't comply with any building code of which I'm aware.

Since you're concerned with finished floor height, I'd recommend you do start by recessing a first layer of nominal 3/4" plywood between the joists as you have suggested. Must be oriented with the strength axis perpendicular to the joists and you must make it flush with the joist tops. If the joist tops are currently not very accurately in plane, you'll want to make them so before continuing. Then you'll need to add a second layer of at least nominal 1/2" plywood over that before installing your tile substrate of choice and tile.

That doesn't quite comply with the Stone industry's recommendation, but it's close enough that they'll accept it. See my warranty information below.

What size tiles were you planning to use from that line?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-19-2020, 11:22 AM   #3
booyasauce
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Thanks CX. I got the 12x12" tile. I also see this more as a stone product than ceramic tile.

Regarding substrate, would I need to do a cement board product on top of the 1/2" ply or should I just go straight to a (thinner) uncoupling membrane on top of the ply? I'm confused as to when the uncoupling membrane is required - though the guy at a local tile shop recommended it for these large/thick tiles.
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Unread 10-19-2020, 02:41 PM   #4
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An uncoupling membrane is never required, but you can use one in lieu of the CBU if you prefer. There is no tile industry standard for uncoupling membranes, so you use whatever one your prefer and depend upon the manufacturer's marketing department to tell you what it will do for you.

Website linked says the 12X12 version of that tile is only 5/8ths" thick.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-20-2020, 10:01 AM   #5
booyasauce
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Thanks CX.
Wife got the "large chip" tile so its 3/4" min per the notes on that site.
I think I buy the hype on the uncoupling membrane, but will research a bit more. I like that its thinner than cement backer (by an 8th).
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Unread 10-20-2020, 10:45 AM   #6
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I didn't explore any "large chip" option on that site. Thought I was saving you an eighth of an inch.

Gotta admit I actually think the uncoupling membrane concept may actually work, but I think it prudent to point out that nobody, including the manufacturers of such products, has yet to come up with any testing at all to verify the efficacy of the products. And that discussion/argument has been going on officially in the ranks of the ceramic tile industry technical committees for more than ten years to my personal knowledge.

Crack isolation products, on the other hand, went through a similar period of limbo, but finally testing procedures were agreed upon and requirements established for the products. Best I can tell they (crack isolation membranes) do everything an uncoupling membrane can do, but they also isolate the tile installation from horizontal cracks that open in the backing material and they are also thinner than the profiled uncoupling products. I make that claim without any data to back it up, but that's also what the uncoupling membrane folks are doing at this point. All that is, of course:

My opinion; worth price charged.
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