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Unread 06-17-2010, 02:39 AM   #1
Jensownzoo
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Quick Subfloor Question

Have a little 7x8' bathroom that I gutted due to rot. Am planning on putting mesh-backed little ceramic tiles (various sizes) on the whole floor and 1/2-way up the walls just around the bathtub area (clawfoot tub, acrylic). Need to put at least an initial subfloor down to prevent things (and me) from falling into the basement. Deflecto-calculator indicates that I can basically lay brick with these joists and be okay. Was planning on putting 23/32" BC plywood (exterior) down first.

Question is this: will I eventually need an additional layer of plywood down before applying thinset/Hardibacker/thinset/tile? If so, how thick?

Thanks.
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Unread 06-17-2010, 05:09 AM   #2
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Jenny, a single layer 23/32" subfloor will be fine if you intend to install porcelain tile. More plywood is better, but any subsequent layer needs to be at least 3/8" thick.
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Unread 06-17-2010, 07:48 AM   #3
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Thank you!
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Unread 11-08-2010, 09:36 PM   #4
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Jen's Small but Complete Bathroom Remodel

Hi everyone!

I'm coming back to my bathroom remodel after a few months hiatus and I've lost my notes on what I was planning on doing next. The bathroom is approximately 6'x8' and is in an old house, so (a) nothing is plumb and (b) the person who remodeled it before me was an idiot. I had to completely gut it, then fix the damage the previous remodel did to the exterior walls and roof.

First question is regarding the subfloor/underlayment. Had to take it down to the joists. Have laid 3/4" marine plywood perpendicular to the joists and screwed down. The joists are variable widths apart, ranging from 18" to 25", and are mostly 1 3/4" by 6" but span the whole breadth of the house (bathroom and laundry room/mudroom). They are additionally supported underneath by a steel I-beam. I seem to remember that when I used the deflecto calculator that I could basically tile with brick and be okay.

The question is that I can't remember exactly what I had decided upon to smear over the plywood. The floor is not level in any stretch of the imagination. I will be tiling it with flat ceramic pebble tiles held together in a mesh. I seem to remember that I was going to do plywood -- something gushy -- something firm like Hardibacker but not hardibacker -- modified thinset -- tile. Given that I need to level the floor, anyone have any ideas for the "something gushy"? I went to Home Depot and stared at the products a bit trying to jog my memory, but no deal. I only want to have to do this bathroom once, so I am looking for best options (overkill better than underkill)...BUT, if I can use one of those self-leveling products it would be very, very cool. I am willing to do the more difficult (for me) method using a laser level if it flat out needs it, though.

Second question is that I remember reading on here about a product that was greatly preferred over the Hardibacker but sort of similar, but I can't remember what it was. Anyone got a clue?

Thanks
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Unread 11-08-2010, 10:45 PM   #5
Brian in San Diego
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Jenny,

Welcome back.

I think the "gushy" stuff to which you refer is probably SLC (self leveling cement). I am guessing that's what it is by your reference to a floor that is not level (or flat, I assume). But I could be wrong. SLC is a specialty mortar that is mixed to a very thin consistency and poured on the floor. Because of it's consistency it spreads out and when it hardens you should end up with a smooth, flat and level surface. Please note my careful choice of the word "should". SLC is not for sissies and best applied when one has plenty of buckets and plenty of friends. There are several key steps to pouring LC and they need to be followed to the letter for a successful pour.

The other product you may mean to be used in lieu of hardiebacker is Ditra. Ditra is an uncoupling membrane which is far easier to install than hardiebacker. But if you elect to pour SLC you really don't need the Ditra. It might be nice to have but you will have a tile ready surface once the SLC cures.

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Unread 11-08-2010, 10:52 PM   #6
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Ditra is an orange colored plastic with a waffle surface Its linked over there -->
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Unread 11-09-2010, 06:54 AM   #7
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Okay. So if you had to do it--given the information I have given you--which method would you choose?
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Unread 11-09-2010, 07:38 AM   #8
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Depends how unflat the floor is. You could have taken any large dips out prior to installing your plywood underlayment.
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Unread 11-09-2010, 09:27 AM   #9
Brian in San Diego
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Jenny,

One thing I missed in my original response was the type of tile you are installing. It won't work with Ditra so count that out. Schluter specifies that no tile can be smaller than 2"x2" for installation over Ditra.

Like Lenny says it depends on the flatness of your floor. Henry makes a floor patch that can be used to feather out low spots. But it takes some effort and familiarity with the product to get it right.

An SLC pour would probably be your best bet but it's a tough project to tackle by oneself. There are different ways to go about it and like I said earlier it has to be done paying close attention to the details. SLC is not inexpensive either. If I recall it's about $30-35 per bag. But in all honesty it may be the best method for you to get a flat level surface to install the pebble like tiles you have in mind.

Brian
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Unread 11-09-2010, 03:09 PM   #10
Jensownzoo
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Thanks guys. I'll look into recruiting help for an SLC pour.
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Unread 11-09-2010, 07:46 PM   #11
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Jenny do come back and get all the right information from the pro's before doing your slc pour, theres more to it than just mixing and dumping but if you can recruit a helper of two you can do it.
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