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Unread 10-17-2019, 06:08 PM   #1
go_hercules
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Wood Look Tile Planks

I have never installed tile planks so am looking for some pointers. I am thinking of 36 inch tiles, preferably with a beveled edge to minimize lippage. What is a practical minimum grout line on such tiles? I would like to go small, but am thinking something like an eighth might hide more lippage and be more practical. This is going on concrete as well as over some plywood bathroom floors. On the plywood floors, which are upstairs, I was thinking of either screwing down cement board first, or using ditra uncoupling mat, which I have never used. Trying to get all my ducks in a row before diving in. Thanks.
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Unread 10-17-2019, 07:16 PM   #2
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Welcome, Randy.

Best ways to reduce lippage, aside from simply getting more proficient at setting the tiles, is to purchase very flat tile and create a very flat substrate upon which to set the tiles.

If you purchase tiles that meet the standards of ANSI A137.1 you stand a better chance of getting flat tiles, but there are still allowable tolerances. But if the tiles meet that standard, you at least know how much variance is allowed. If they don't meet that standard, all you know is what you fine in the box when you open it.

For tiles that size (one side greater than 15 inches), the industry standard for substrate flatness is no deviation from intended plane of more than 1/8th" in ten feet nor 1/16th" in two feet. That is a very, very flat subfloor and not always easy to achieve, but you'll be glad to have it when you start setting those tiles.

The allowable lippage above the allowable warpage of your tiles for a grout joint width less than 1/4-inch is 1/32nd of an inch. Having tiles with a beveled or pillowed edge does not change the allowable lippage standards, nor does it reduce the lippage you'll have. It may somewhat reduce the effect or appearance of the lippage to some degree, but you still need to keep the actual lippage below the allowable limits to have a successful installation. I would certainly not recommend you try anything smaller than your 1/8th-inch grout joint on your first try, even with very good quality tiles.

You may also find it helpful to use one of the mechanical lippage control systems currently on the market. For an inexperienced installer they won't slow you down much, if at all, and they can help a great deal in keeping your installation flat and will probably be worth whatever you pay for them.

Buy good tiles, make a very flat substrate, use a mechanical lippage control system, take your time, and you'll likely get a decent job even on your first try.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-17-2019, 07:31 PM   #3
go_hercules
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CX, thank you very much for the detailed info, it is very helpful and I will follow it. Regarding the install over plywood, did you have a suggestion whether to go cement board, or ditra uncoupling membrane? thanks.
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Unread 10-17-2019, 09:06 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, Randy.

Dealer’s choice. But if you are trying to save on the build up of material so that the tile isn’t any higher than the adjacent floors, then use Ditra.

Some of the best advice on working with big tiles is to make your floor flat before laying tiles. It’s not easy prep work. But resist the temptation thinking that you can flatten the floor “on the fly” by adding or subtracting mortar as you lay the tiles.

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Unread 10-17-2019, 09:55 PM   #5
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If you do use cement board on the bathroom floors, don't forget the thinset under the CBU. Don't just screw them down.
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Unread 10-17-2019, 10:37 PM   #6
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I am replacing carpet that this tile will sit next to so I will probably have to adjust the subfloor level to match. I will keep in mind that the Ditra is thinner. I would think 1/2 inch cement board would be ideal if thickness allows, but is 1/4 acceptable, or would it really not do any good even if thinsetted down? Just trying to understand my options in dealing with thickness issues. thanks.
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Unread 10-18-2019, 05:03 AM   #7
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1/4 inch board is usually used on floors but 1/2 inch is okay if you need the height. You want thinset under the CBU to fill any small voids between the screws/nails. This is an important step you don't want to miss.

Ditra works well when meeting up against carpet. Just be sure and remove any pressed wood.
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Unread 10-20-2019, 08:02 PM   #8
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Thanks Davy, good info. Any preference on the cement board: Hardie, Wonder, Durok, etc. ??

And one other question. When you lay the cement board in the troweled thinset, how do you ensure flatness with a 1/4 inch board. Seems like it would be flimsy enough to get wavy. Do you just push it in while sliding back and forth a little or what? And when screwing it down does that make waves if the screws aren't tightened the same amount? Thanks.
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Unread 10-22-2019, 09:52 AM   #9
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I think most of the pros here prefer a cement based board, Randy, but I used Hardie.

All the boards are going to conform to the contour of the floor due to the nailing/screwing schedule, bridging only small hollows and variations. Set all the screws level with or just below the face of the board.
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Unread 10-22-2019, 09:47 PM   #10
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I'll give ya some limited diy with those, we did the whole house but i only did some areas after we moved some stuff and removed some walls.

1/8th, don't do 50% (depending on tile quality they bow), 24" will be forgiving (teeter tottering) and at the same time cheaper. Didn't find those any more difficult than a normal tile seemed easier even, longer i'd want lippage system and not sure of my ability to make them look right.

My wife originally brought home some 4 or 5 foot rectified monsters.

But we didn't want to gut the entire house to determine condition and needed it done asap (with the 24's it was in and out.), In hindsight and i think they look awesome for what we got in them, leveling and less than 1/8 would be ideal and longer planks, but the cost and time go up considerably (especially if not diy), but if the house value justifies it...

One advantage to the 1/8 though, real fast to repair areas as we do everything half !@!@ backwards, i've moved walls and cabinets and patched since, imperceptible.
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Unread 10-22-2019, 11:33 PM   #11
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Thanks for that info. Why is 1/8 easier for repairs, easier to chisel out than 1/16 ???
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Unread 10-22-2019, 11:50 PM   #12
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It's pretty much impossible to get a tile out with 1/16" grout joints without just breaking up the tile into pieces. And the grout in the wider joints is easier to grind out than the smaller ones.
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Unread 11-10-2019, 12:40 PM   #13
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A couple of questions regarding the lippage control clips. I understand that they will keep adjacent tiles in the same plane. But two things raised a question in my mind. First, what if the clip "pulled" a tile up to meet a higher one, wouldn't this leave a void under the tile that got raised slightly? And second, if a bowed tile was pulled down to a lower tile, wouldn't the pulled down one be in constant tension just waiting to pop loose later? Thanks for all the pointers.
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Unread 11-10-2019, 01:12 PM   #14
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Yes, and yes, Randy.

For the first yes, you're only talking about a very small amount IF you are consistent with your mortar application thickness so you'd not raise a tile enough to create an actual void. Second yes, there was some conversation here about tile being in constant tension and the conclusion, I think, was there no evidence - meaning mass failures, so it appears to be a non issue.

I used the Spin Doctor anti lippage system on the floor and walls of my recently finished master bathroom. The floor has been down since Feb, and though not exactly a long term test, none of them have popped or exploded.
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Unread 11-11-2019, 01:06 PM   #15
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Mortar Squeeze Out

Looking for ideas to manage thinset squeeze out when laying floor tiles. I always end up with lots of squeeze out in the joints which I have to scrape and dig out a day or two later. At least I know I am getting good coverage, but it is ridiculous sometimes. I have read that you can clean the joints as you go with a toothbrush or tool, but if you let it set up for awhile, you may have tiled so much more that you can't reach the first ones. And I don't want to be crawling over freshly set tiles obviously. I have to assume that anyone NOT getting squeeze out is also NOT getting ideal coverage. Any pointers on this? Thanks.
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