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Unread 08-29-2004, 04:53 AM   #1
johnv
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Installation of 3/4 inch thick marble floor medallion

I was wondering what is the best way to install a 3/4 inch thick marble floor medallion (3 ft. diameter) with 18x18 inch porcelain tiles that are 3/8 inch thick. The subfloor is concrete. What is the best way to make level the medallion and the rest of the tiles? Can you just use thicker thinset for the tiles and thinner thinset for the medallion to make it level? What is the recommended min and max thickness of thinset? Thanks!
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Unread 08-29-2004, 06:42 AM   #2
Jason_Butler
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3/4" thick? That's pretty thick. Don't know that I've dealt with one like that before. Most are pretty close to the tile thicjness. Anway, you can build up the thinset if needed. A medium med mortar would also work. Home Depot carriesone for marble / granite...

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Unread 08-29-2004, 04:18 PM   #3
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Thanks for your help. Is there any difference/difficulty in installing medium mortar versus thinset?
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Unread 08-29-2004, 05:12 PM   #4
John Bridge
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Hi John, Welcome aboard.

I'm going to ask you to check the thickness of the insert again. Most are not 3/4 in. thick. But if that is indeed the case, I would consider installing the medallion and then bringing the surrounding floor up to grade with self leveling cement or with cement backer board. Wedi, for one, is spec'd to go over concrete. I would not want to have to build up that much with thin set.
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Unread 08-29-2004, 11:59 PM   #5
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I used the granite/stone medium mortar they're talking about to screed my walls, and it works ok up to 3/4" for setting a medium mortar bed, but I have to warn you though...it's a VERY coarse finish and dries rapidly. It shrinks a tad, and you'll know right away when it's not workable any more, because it will start to tear, and you'll have to wait and patch it later. Bummer. The only advantage is the thickness. Not cool for filling a floor surface by hand - especially if something else has been set in the way like a 3/4" x R36" piece! Ugh...

I like John's suggestion. As an ameture I'd be willing to try that before using the med. granite/stone stuff for something like that. Try filling the space with something a little more manageable.
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Unread 08-30-2004, 02:10 PM   #6
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Thanks again for the help. I checked again and unfortunately it is 3/4 inch thick. Another suggestion I got is to dig into the concrete about a 1/4 inch to lower the medallion and make the rest of the floor level with normal thinset. This seems like the easiest way but does anyone know if this will damage the concrete?
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Unread 08-30-2004, 03:46 PM   #7
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???

I wouldn't consider that a good option. If you're setting this over concrete slab then I can't think of a better way to wreck your surface depending on how thick the pour is.

Use 1/4" wonderboard or durrock around your medallion by mudding them into place. Since your surrounding pieces are 3/8" that leaves you with 1/8" to make up with thinset. That's a heck of a lot better than trying to make up 3/8" assuming your adhesive layer is the same thickness all around.
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Unread 08-30-2004, 06:52 PM   #8
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I wouldn't worry about taking a quarter inch off the surface of the slab for that medallion if that's what you want to do, John. Don't know how big the rest of the floor to be tiled is, but lowering a three foot circle might actually be easier. Keep in mind, "easy" is a relative term when used in conjunction with concrete removal of any kind.

Use caution if you decide to do the build-up with any kind of underlayment board. Not all are suitable for installation over concrete slabs, as John B suggests. I don't know that Wonderboard or Durrock carry that installation recommendation from the manufacturer. Don't know that they don't, either, but be sure to check before you use something like that. And Wedi's real light. Ain't really concrete board like some others.

I like the chipping idea. Buncha passes with your saw set for the depth, little chiseling, little grinding, voila! Dusty as hell, though.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-30-2004, 07:13 PM   #9
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I'm with cx on this one. I would actually saw a little deeper than needed, then chisel, and grind.

However, one other part of the formula you didn't share with us John. How many square feet is the floor you need the medallion to match up to?

So, I guess I'm saying "That's not my final answer!"
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Unread 08-30-2004, 08:20 PM   #10
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The medallion is going into the center of an area which consists of the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The total area is roughly 600 sq ft. If digging into the concrete is do-able without causing future problems, I prefer that because backerboard can get expensive for that amount of area. Isn't it about $10 per piece? How big are the pieces? And like you guys said not all are suitable over concrete.

But I do want to do it the right way, so if it has to be backerboard then that's fine. If anyone else has any advice with using backerboard on concrete or digging into concrete, please let me know.

John B also mentioned self-leveling cement. Is there any advantage/disadvantage using that versus backerboard in cost, labor, etc?
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Unread 08-31-2004, 12:09 AM   #11
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Hi John

Given that square footage, I would definitely remove the concrete!

Because of the dust factor, I would make a plastic tent, and involve a shop vac with a good filter (that could be cleaned or replaced during this operation). Use a variable speed grinder (like a Metabo), with a dry turbo blade (like a Pearl), and score the perimeter circle first. You could attach a wood block to the grinder to accomplish a depth of about 1/2". Safety goggles and a respirator are a must!

Next score the field with parallel lines, and the spacing about 1".

Now is when the Bosch demo hammer comes into play. Chisel out the field as even as you can. Score additional lines as necessary.

You may need a little grinding for touch up, but the scoring and demo hammer should be able to do 99.9% of the work.

I just did a similiar project outside (no tent or vac needed for the dust), and got it completed much quicker than expected using this method.
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Unread 08-31-2004, 05:50 AM   #12
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Hey, I just had a brainstorm. Why not remove a little concrete in the area of the medallion?

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Unread 08-31-2004, 07:41 AM   #13
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See, we can always count on ol' John Bridge. Guess that's how come he has such a great web site, eh?
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Unread 08-31-2004, 01:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by doitright
Hi John

Given that square footage, I would definitely remove the concrete!

Because of the dust factor, I would make a plastic tent, and involve a shop vac with a good filter (that could be cleaned or replaced during this operation). Use a variable speed grinder (like a Metabo), with a dry turbo blade (like a Pearl), and score the perimeter circle first. You could attach a wood block to the grinder to accomplish a depth of about 1/2". Safety goggles and a respirator are a must!

Next score the field with parallel lines, and the spacing about 1".

Now is when the Bosch demo hammer comes into play. Chisel out the field as even as you can. Score additional lines as necessary.

You may need a little grinding for touch up, but the scoring and demo hammer should be able to do 99.9% of the work.

I just did a similiar project outside (no tent or vac needed for the dust), and got it completed much quicker than expected using this method.
That is definitely the way to do it. The floor is 600 ft and the medalian is only about 8 sq ft. Cut out the 8 feet, and forget trying to build up the 600 ft, period. If you have a saw with a diamond blade and a demo gun you are set. Trace the perimiter of the medalian. Then set the saw blade at 1/2 " min and cut the concrete about every 1" or less. After you cut the concrete chip it out with the demo gun. You will then have to use a little mud or slc to prep the area but once that is dry you are ready to go.
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Unread 08-31-2004, 02:23 PM   #15
Steven Hauser
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Hey I have an idea, why not chip the concrete out?

jest kiddin' while I do a design fer a shower.

Sorry for the interruption.
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