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Unread 09-10-2008, 01:23 PM   #1
tilelayer
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tile to span concrete and wood subfloor

OK guys i know we're supposed to be pros here but my boss took me to look at a job hes got coming up he brings me with him on bids now to evaluate and get my opinion. The job is an addition its on a slab and then the kitchen part which is existing which is not on the slab.

The kitchen area is 1x6's t&g with 3/4 " osb t&g on top of that and its flush with the slab now sorta but its so badly out of level the wooden area. Its flush with the slab but within an 8 foot span it runs an inch downhill. I dont know what the joist were but im sure they are beefy this builder does top notch work and doesnt skip on anything.

Basically they want to know how we can tile this. My boss wants to float the area that is wood and put down wire and tar papre below it and taper it off to nothing so the mud would be mixed with an acrlic additive. I then suggested Ditra on top of the whole area its like 200-300 sq ft, since we have 2 different planes meeting and the Ditra will allow movement. I also told him about noble products and they make something we could use also.

Are we on the right track here? I'll try to draw a picture with windows paint to add here so someone gets the idea.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 01:50 PM   #2
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About three years ago I encounter a similar situation (minus the leveling issues) and used Ditra; no problems to date.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 01:56 PM   #3
tilelayer
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Nathan,

is it acceptable to mud the area underneath 1st and then bond the ditra to that? Not only does the customer want a crack free floor we gotta level is so it looks good and for the kitchen cabinets as well.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 02:22 PM   #4
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You gotta leave and expansion joint where the wood and concrete meet. Ditra won't help you there.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 02:28 PM   #5
tilelayer
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so are you saying 86 the ditra? expansion joint can we just take a grout joint and caulk it then or cut one out with a grinder and caulk that
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Unread 09-10-2008, 03:00 PM   #6
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Derrick, the only way to properly level the floor is to remove the subflooring and level the joist tops.

The only other method I'd even consider would be mudding the whole thing, slab and all. Even that ain't legal, but it'd likely work.

You'd still hafta honor the joint between slab and wood frame.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 03:58 PM   #7
tilelayer
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i think thats the method my boss wanted to go with in the 1st place but for some reason i dont think it will fly do to some exterior door heights.

CX, why cant the method i talked about, work?
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Unread 09-10-2008, 04:16 PM   #8
ceramictec
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possible vertical deflection between the two substrates.

the Ditra is good for "in plane" movement.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 04:16 PM   #9
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You need to honor the joint and the method you are describing will work about as well as it can. Still could have vertical movement or excessive horizontal movement at that joint that even caulking might not be able to handle.

I'd still recommend the ditra as well.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 04:18 PM   #10
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Of course, anytime you break from "correct" you take a chance. But there are risks and risk assessment. If you want a guarantee, than I concur, you need to honer the joint. But I also offer up that after looking at the one I did (for a neighbor) I felt it was an acceptable risk (I also ensured the framing was over adequate and that vertical movement was as unlikely as humanly possible), explained the risk to the customer and have to date, had no issues with the install.

I would agree with CX that removing the subfloor and leveling the joists is the way to go. Adding SLC would certainly not help the situation.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 04:21 PM   #11
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Might be a good situation for SnapStone.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 08:09 PM   #12
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I like the mud idea. I like the ditra idea. Schluter also has expansion joints in various grout colors. The joints come in different thickness to account for different tile. We used them in an exterior installation(patio). Mud, ditra, expansion joints at 8' intervals. They were really easy to use. We also used Star Quartz grout because it claims that it doesn't crack. The Star Quartz color matched the expansion joint color very well.

I helped a guy on a job within the last six months. We installed 18x18 travertine. At one point, concrete met wood underlayment. Set the tile right over where they met. 2 weeks later a crack formed right where they met.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 08:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derrick
CX, why cant the method i talked about, work?
At some point in your leveling method you end up at the level of a Jersey Mud Job and shortly after that you have mud even thinner than that over a wood subfloor. Even with Ditra on top I wouldn't expect you'd get by over something like that for very long.

I can't guarantee it won't work, of course, but I'd certainly not do it in a customer's house, 'specially not a customer who specifically wanted a "crack free floor."

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 08:40 PM   #14
tilelayer
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yeah i know, i said that to the boss, i said dont you think were cutting it a bit thin with the mud here where it tapers off and i said lets take some sheathing up because i know mud should be a minimum 3/4s and he was saying no, so i said well we gotta add acrylic to the mix like doing a prepitch cause i know the muds thin where it meets the drain but anyways...

The problem today is it seems like no one wants to pay to do the job right i mean this builders top notch and when we 1st starting doing their work it was always mud floors no matter if it was 30 sq ft or 700 sq ft we always mudded it. Then one job we had to use hardibacker because of a height issue and now hes always asking for hardibacker.

I like your original idea cx about just mudding the whole thing.

Besides i cant lose sleep over this i am doing my boss a favor by posting this, technically its not my job im just his employee from a buisness standpoint and i hate to sound like this.
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Unread 09-10-2008, 11:33 PM   #15
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Derrick, I installed some tile in a similar situation about a year ago and so far no problems. My installation was just about the same as Nathan's but I had leveling issues. The bad part in my situation was the slab and wood floor were diagonal to any reasonable grout joint. When floating the concrete pad out to be level with the wood floor, I installed an expansion joint where the two meet. Then went over the top with ditra. Yes, I should have maintained that expansion joint to the tile surface but didn't - a matter of aesthetics over function.

However, I just completed another job this summer just like this one but the floor had a control joint and a wood/concrete joint to contend with. But as luck would have it, I was able to install the tile and honor the expansion joints from bottom to top and kept a nice looking floor. I have some posts in here about both of these.

I think you should be more proactive with your boss and explain or show him how it can be done effectively. I certainly appreciate it when my employees or subs can provide solutions to job problems. And the GCs I work for appreciate the fact that I will "just take care of it" for them.
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