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Unread 08-01-2020, 09:17 AM   #1
Beaver
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How to raise bathroom floor

First Id like to say this is a great site with lots of good info.
I am building a small apartment into a garage (slab on grade)and the flooring thru out will be an engineered hardwood over two layers of 1/2"plywood over a layer of 1/2" foam for a total subfloor height of 1 1/2" before the engineered wood. The floor will be floating.

There are no moisture issues as the garage slab has a 10 mil vapour barrier and 2" of xps under the slab on grade. I'm in the process now of plumbing the bathroom and I need to figure out how ill proceed with raising the bathroom floor(65sf) to the same height as the rest of the apartment. I'm certain you can't tile over a floating floor like I want in the rest of the apartment so I need some suggestions on how to raise the bathroom floor 1.5" before the tile goes over it. Id prefer not putting concrete down to raise the height. The ideas I'm considering are

1) two layers of 3/4" plywood tapconed to the concrete
2)1x4's 12"oc with layer of 3/4" plywood on top tapconed to concrete
3)1.5" of wedi board or Kerdi board thin set mortared to the concrete

none of these might be viable options but are just somethings I thought might work. I know very little about tile and am not a big fan of it , nor a fan of concrete as just standing on concrete hurts my feet , but you can't have a wood bathroom floor.
The bathroom floor will have a freestanding claw tub setting on it and a small separate stand up shower. What would you tile experts recommend to raise the bathroom floor 1.5" and make it suitable for the tile. Thanks for any advice
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Unread 08-01-2020, 10:06 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Tony.

I was on board with the sleepers and single layer plywood until you mentioned the claw foot tub. I wouldn't set a tub like that over a single layer plywood floor with tile over it.

I know you said you don't want to bother with it, but I'd have to recommend a cementitious product over the floor that will be solid enough for that amount of concentrated weight.

Maybe someone else will have an idea that will work better for you.
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Unread 08-01-2020, 10:26 AM   #3
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Welcome, Tony.

How are you dealing with the slope in that garage SOG in the rest of the floor?

And the reasoning for the two layers of nominal half-inch plywood in those areas?

I agree with Kevin. If you want ceramic tile in the bathroom, raising, leveling, and flattening the floor in that area just screams for deck mud. Simple, inexpensive, and the best substrate you can get for the tile.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-01-2020, 11:08 AM   #4
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Another vote for a mud bed.
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Unread 08-01-2020, 11:44 AM   #5
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The floor in the whole bathroom apartment area is flat there is no Slope. This area is not converting a garage vehicle stall into an apartment but is separate from the garage stalls but at the same level just no Slope to drains.

The two layers of plywood over the rest of the apartment is to enable the wood floor to be nailed down. Also I hate concrete under my feet it just plain hurts walking and standing on.

The bathroom area is comprised of the shower area (3x6) 18sf . The tub area is a three sided niche (3x6)18sf and the rest of the bathroom is 30sf. I had planed on using a custom foam tray over the concrete in the shower stall with Kerdi membrane on the sheetrock walls and floor tray. The tub niche id like to tile 4ft up the walls on top of Kerdi membrane around the freestanding tub along with the bathroom floor.

So if I did a level 1.5" mud bed over everything but the shower that would be 48sf. Is that possible for one person to do having never done it before. I suppose it has to be done all at one time. What type of concrete products are used for something like that, would it be the same as you'd use to do a shower mud tray?
Maybe I could find someone who could do it but its very hard where I'm at to find anyone who knows what there doing. Thats why I hoped I could find a solution other than concrete. I had not thought of the point load of that tub though.

How about just leaving the tub niche at the slab on grade height with tile directly over ditra on the concrete. This would support the tub and tile properly under that area and I could do the bathroom area(minus shower area which would get the foam tray) with the sleepers and plywood. The tub area would be lower which would make getting in and out of the tub easier actuaully. Any problems with that idea.
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Last edited by Beaver; 08-01-2020 at 01:22 PM.
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Unread 08-01-2020, 01:25 PM   #6
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I would caution against using the 1/2" plywood as a first layer of subflooring, Tony. It won't have T&G edges and it won't hold fasteners as well as a thicker material. If you plan two layers, I'd make the first a minimum of nominal 5/8th" T&G and for the second layer the nominal 1/2" would be fine. A very good subfloor and more than you actually need for your floating engineered wood flooring. Flatness of the subfloor is also a very serious consideration for that type of flooring.

And given that most of those engineered wood floorings are installed over a very thin foam backing material, I really wonder if you could tell the difference between your proposed subfloor and a concrete subfloor in a blind test.

I'm quite accustomed to working alone and I could probably do a 6x8-foot deck mud bed myself, but I wouldn't try it unless forced to do so. I'd want at least one helper to mix and carry the mud if nothing else. It's possible to do the whole thing alone, but not at my age and current condition.

If you're doing any deck mud at all, I would also do the shower floor with the same material. The shower area could be done as a separate placement after the floor was completed. Would make a better shower floor and much, much less expensive.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-01-2020, 01:37 PM   #7
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Wediboard is specified for use on a floor and would probably work for you and is available in various thicknesses. You might want to call them about the clawfoot tub, though. If the tile size was large enough, the psi point load wouldn't be too great. You wouldn't want to use a small tile with that load over it.

Deckmud still is probably your least expensive choice. If you covered it with something like DitraDuo, or DitraHeat, that would decouple it from the deck mud and with the heat, would make the floor more comfortable. DitraDuo has a thicker fleece layer on the bottom, mostly for heat decoupling from the floor, but it should act slightly like a cushion, too.
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Unread 08-01-2020, 02:18 PM   #8
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Thanks cx for your advise ill certainly consider the mud bed for the shower and bathroom floor. Ill look maybe I can find someone to do that part of the project. I'd hate to try it and then have to tear it out if I don't get it right.

I'm sure you've heard the expression "to a hammer everything looks like a nail". I know wood and wood building having worked alot in my life with it so to me a wool solution always sounds better(or should I say easier).

I tried to provide a link to my plan for the wood subfloor for the rest of the apartment but I don't have enough posts. If your interested you can type "A wood floor that can survive anything" into google it will come right up. The guy is a professional wood flooring expert having written books on custom wood floors.

Thanks again.
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Unread 08-01-2020, 03:15 PM   #9
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Now that you have three posts, you can include links if you wish.
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Unread 09-09-2020, 11:08 AM   #10
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Should I cut the sheetrock to go around the plastergaurd on this mixing valve. The walls will have kerdi membrane over the sheetrock. Or do you remove the plastergaurd and just cut around the valve and stops? Seems the hole wouldn't be much different in size either way.

The instructions say the plastergaurd should be flush or 1/4" in from the finished wall. I don't have the tile yet. Is there an average tile thickness used to set the mixing valve depth or do I have to wait for the tile to get it right?

Can the title of this thread be changed to "general questions building a bathroom/shower" thanks
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Unread 09-09-2020, 11:17 AM   #11
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You don't need the plaster guard at all in this situation.

As to the depth, it really helps if you have your tile in hand to make an estimate where you want the depth of the valve. The manufacturer's recommendations are that if you have it within their min/max, the trim will fit. You may not like it at one end or the other aesthetically, but it will work. So, since lots of people tend to not like the valve sticking out from the wall at max, you really owe it to yourself to mock it up to verify the placement before it becomes a major pain to move it. If the valve is too far in, some brands offer an extension kit, but that will likely bring it out far more than you want. There is no easy fix if it is already out too far, as the trim won't tighten down against the wall.

So, mock it up, see where you prefer it, then finish things up.
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Unread 09-09-2020, 12:15 PM   #12
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Yes, the plastic guard is only there for depth considerations and adjustments. You can certainly remove it after that and simply cut slightly larger than the screws that you will see there. It's only really important that the screws are accessible ...............
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Unread 09-09-2020, 02:31 PM   #13
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Ok thanks for that.

I've found a couple of flooring places here that sell tile besides the two big box stores which are menards and Lowes. I'm guessing you guys aren't fans of big box store tile.

My question is what should I be looking for in a tile. Does thickness matter? Whats a average price for a quality tile that will last? Is there some formula for determining wall and floor tile size appropriate for room size? What would be a good size for a 3 x 6 shower for floor and wall. Kerdi membrane over sheetrock walls and foam shower pan.
Also I'm going to try and lay them myself after I practice on a tile project in the garage to see how it goes. If I find I can't do it well, ill hire the tile part out.

I guess I'm asking how would I know a quality tile from a cheap one
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Unread 09-09-2020, 04:48 PM   #14
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Hi Tony. I would try to stick to porcelain tiles but even most ceramic tiles will work for what you're wanting. I would figure out what you want to use for covering the edges of the tiles like on a jamb or top of a wainscot, etc. That might control what choices you have. You can use bullnose tiles if they are available with the tiles you choose or you can use edging like Schluter makes.
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Unread 09-11-2020, 06:41 AM   #15
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What I think you'll find, Tony, is that most floor and wall tile will be either 1/4" or 3/8" thick. not including some accent tiles that will often be thinner. To that you'll want to add approximately 1/8" to 1/4" for mortar thickness - but that depends on the size if the tile (small tile requiring less. Large, more).

BBS (big box store) tile can be hit or miss quality wise. And by that I mostly mean size consistency (length and width) and how flat they are. Both of those matter when it comes time to install tile. Durability wise I wouldn't be concerned, especially given that bathrooms aren't high traffic areas.
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