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Unread 10-07-2009, 10:27 AM   #1
ryan_harford
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Chattanooga, TN
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Tiling a Kitchen - Looking for advice...

Hello all! First off, thanks for maintaining such a friendly, knowledge packed forum.

My wife and I (DIYers) are planning to set tile in our kitchen (200 SF total) which is currently totally empty (no cabinets, etc). First question: Would you set the tile wall to wall if given the option? (even under the cabinets)

Maybe I can tell you what we are planning and you all can let me know if you see any issues that I am missing?

The current floor system is 2x10 SYP joists with 3/4" Weyerhauser Structurewood Gold T&G OSB subfloor. The max span of the joists is right at 10' I believe. (I can verify this if its cutting it close)

We are planning on using an 18" porcelain tile on top of Ditra. Under the Ditra we would like to use an electric heat mat, but I am concerned about the difference in thickness of the heated areas vs the non heated areas and how to handle the height difference. We haven't yet picked a certain brand of heat mat (very open to suggestions) so I am left wondering how to deal with the height difference. What would be the best way for a relative novice to deal with this? I was wondering if I could install 1/4" CBU around the heat mats to help bridge the height difference? Is there a better way? Is it okay to place Ditra on top of the areas that get CBU?

Are there obvious problems in my basic plan? Any advice as far as how to do something better or how to handle the height difference between the heat mat areas and the non heated areas would be very much appreciated. Also, any input about the highest quality thinsets to use (modified under Ditra, unmodified on top of Ditra, right?) or input about specific heat mats to use or stay away from would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Ryan
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Unread 10-07-2009, 10:48 AM   #2
bbcamp
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Hi, Ryan!

For such a small area, tiling with the cabinets in place would be harder and take longer than tiling the empty room.

Your joists are OK up to about 14 feet span.

Some folks are using backerboard in the un-heated areas, others are screeding thinset. I like the backerboard idea, so long as your floor is flat.

Ditra can be installed over backerboard.

Verify your thinset of choice will stick to OSB. Some will not. After you get the heat mat and backerboard down, use un-modified thinset to set the Ditra and tiles on Ditra.
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Unread 10-07-2009, 10:59 AM   #3
GasGuzz
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Assuming you already know where your cabs/appliances are going… Regardless of cost, there is no point in tiling to the wall (given your stubouts are already in place), I would however definitely tile at least a row beyond the cab edges/toekicks. This would give you a (somewhat) impermeable/waterproof surface at this point/edge. Just scab the subfloor to raise the cabinets, now is a good time to look at future electrical inside the cabinets.

At the dishwasher… Leave the last row or 2 out, no need to make round cuts for drain/supply/etc. Keep in mind that at some point you will be replacing this appliance.
Definitely tile to the wall for fridge/range, accommodate for water/gas as required.
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Unread 10-07-2009, 11:00 AM   #4
ryan_harford
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Thanks for the reply. Another big question is: Do I really need Ditra in this case? The room is 20' x 10', and the floor is really solid. Is Ditra still going to be beneficial to me if I have to use 1/4" CBU in the areas not covered with heat mat?

Originally I was planning to use Ditra for 2 reasons: 1. so that I wouldn't have to use CBU, and 2. to help prevent cracks due to seasonal movement differentials between the wood subfloor system and the tile.
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Unread 10-08-2009, 04:31 AM   #5
bbcamp
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We firmly believe in using a membrane of some sort over heat mats. An antifracture membrane would also be beneficial over the joint between dissimilar substrates, such as CBU and wire/thinset.
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Unread 10-08-2009, 03:26 PM   #6
ryan_harford
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Another question...

Thanks for the replies, and now for another Ditra question.

I weigh 275 lbs, so is there a need to protect the Ditra in any way as we are tiling over it?

I was planning on laying the Ditra one day and then setting tile the next day. So we will be walking in and out of the room a bit as we set tile I'm sure. Is there a need to lay down plywood to distribute our weight over the Ditra?

Thanks again,
Ryan
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Unread 10-08-2009, 03:41 PM   #7
Jason_Butler
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Ryan,

Stay off the Ditra while the underlying thinset is still wet. Once the thinset is dry, there shouldn't be any issue with you walking on it.

I would suggest filling the waffles in the Ditra as you install it. The next day you can snap chalk lines and the tiling should go faster

Jason
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