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Unread 07-17-2019, 01:01 PM   #1
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Terrible kitchen floor - tiling/prep questions

Hello Everyone! I've been digging through youtube, this site and a couple of other sites to try to get ready to tile a kitchen floor. This doesn't seem too bad - we even have all the cabinets out About half the floor is new subfloor, about 1/4 of the floor is old hardwood floor and the remaining 1/4 is a mixture of asbestos tile and asbestos tile with linoleum on top (I'm guessing it isn't vinyl based on lovely avocado green/white/gold design, but it could be vinyl). Did I mention it's a 1941 house? And it's been a neglected rental for most of it's life? And there's been demo/construction going on for about a year (read: Dust and Dirt!)

Also, there's a pretty big sag in the middle of the floor - around 1.5" (I'll get this more precisely before I begin).

So, quick version: 4 types of flooring, various levels, large sag in the middle of the floor, and 3 yr old left in a mud pit with baby pigs dirty.

Our plan:
1. Take up the 1/4 that is asbestos/linoleum and put down 3/4" plywood (to hopefully make it level to the hardwood and other plywood)
2. Clean the heck out of it
3. Put down a latex primer
4. Lots of self lever
5. Wait a day
6. Use thinset to attach 1/4" cement board
7. Put adhesive fiberglass tape over the joints and then put two (thin) layers of thinset over the tape
8. Actually start tiling - thinset and tile
9. Wait a day
10. Grout

This is about 6-8 hours of reading/watching... you know, almost equivalent to a few decades of experience

This is where I beg/plead/ask for your experience/input/opinions. Is there anything I'm missing? Is there anything I can skip? This will be my first time tiling, and I think I picked a project that would be "extra fun"
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Unread 07-17-2019, 01:15 PM   #2
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Yup, no need to start small, Erin, just jump right in.

IMO, I think you first need to determine why the floor is sagging - 1.5" is pretty significant. You also need to evaluate the existing joist structure to ensure it is stout enough to support a tile floor - without the tile and grout cracking. Go to the top of this page and, in the dark blue bar, click on "Deflecto". That'll get ya started.
If I recall correctly my memory is excellent, but my ability to access it is intermittent.
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Unread 07-17-2019, 01:35 PM   #3
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Thanks, Dan! I'll check out the joists once I rip up the floor... because crawl spaces are

I've already mentioned to the hubs that we may need to slap a concrete deck block or two under with some treated 4x4s. You have strengthened my "pretty dang sureness" that I'll get to learn how to do that too.
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Unread 07-17-2019, 03:08 PM   #4
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First, it is uncertain if you are planning to tile over the hardwood. If so, DON'T!

Treated lumber may be required, but keep in mind, it tends to twist and shrink as it dries out. This can be catastrophic to tile. If you can find some kiln dried after treatment, that issue goes away.

An old house like that likely has planks across the joists. They can act like a first layer, but you need to ensure they are properly anchored to the joists. If height is an issue, you might consider taking the planks off and going directly with plywood, construction glued to the joists along with proper nailing or screws. Done right, you should eliminate the chance of squeaks or movement tile doesn't like. Also, if the floor isn't flat or level, you could sister cleats to the sides of the joists and attach your subflooring to that, creating a nice, flat, level floor. FWIW, tile doesn't care about level, but it does want flat. Your cabinets and appliances, though will be easier to install if things are level.

The thinset underneath the cbu is there mainly to ensure there are no voids...it really doesn't end up being a great bond, nor does it need to be. The wood, even ply, will move at a different rate than the cbu and tile above. The fasteners are what really hold it in place. Over time, that differential movement tends to break that bond, and actually crush the cbu around the fasteners, but the thinset underneath is still filling in the voids. As a result, you don't need a very fancy thinset underneath the cbu nor do you really want one.
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
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Unread 07-22-2019, 06:50 AM   #5
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Hey Jim,
Thank you! I was going to go over the hardwood! (but won't now.) We do have the 45 degree boards running across the joists as the "sub-subfloor". So, we're taking out at least half the subfloor and will evaluate how the boards are connected. Good to know that the thinset isn't actually for adhering anything and just there as a foundation I appreciate the information and suggestions! We've already ripped up most of the hardwood and all the tiles
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