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Old 12-10-2017, 05:23 PM   #1
zach90z
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Cement Tile (Encaustic) Subfloor Requirments

Hey guys I have a question about the subfloor requirements for Cement Tile (Encaustic Tile).

After looking through many threads and reading through many documents I am now stuck.

I started my project by trying to add a few cabinets to my kitchen that was redone when I bought this house a month ago and now I am knee deep in a full kitchen remodel. When I purchased this house they had installed bamboo wood flooring in the kitchen. I decided to add a few cabinets and ended up scratching the floor in a small area and realizing how soft the floor was by dropping a small wrench an inch from the floor. So I was going to replace the scratched plank and just get by and well when I pulled up one of the planks I saw this old dirty linoleum that was never removed and from there I decided I want to replace the entire floor with tile. So I tore everything out and removed all the linoleum and the million staples someone decided to use to hold down the old flooring and sanded the glue off. In the mean time my Wife and I where deciding on what tile to buy and at first we decided porcelain tile that had the same art as the cement tiles so we went to the store to have a look and well I saw tiles and the porcelain looked like a cheap printer was used to make the image and I decided I might as well do this right the first time and get the cement tile since it looked so much nicer but it was double the thickness. So I got a closer look at the floor and I found out I had two layers of plywood. Wish I had known sooner would have saved me a bunch of work and time.

So after that I started looking into what is required to make this happen I stumbled upon the deflection issue of wooded subfloors. I ran the numbers and came up with a deflection of L302 based off the Deflectolator which fails for both types of tiles. My joists are Douglas Fir, in good condition, 7.25 inches tall, 1.5 inches wide, 16 inches on center, and 12 feet long between supports.

My issue is I have no Idea what family the Cement Tile fits in so I can figure out what my next step is to get this subfloor up to spec.

My plan was to sister the joists and replace all the plywood with tongue and groove plywood. I believe if I sister the joists the deflection would double and I should be ok for Ceramic Tile but would the Cement Tile be ok? As far as adding a wall in the basement I have to many items in the way and I want to leave the area open for when I remodel the basement in the future.
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Old 12-10-2017, 06:10 PM   #2
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Welcome, Zach.

I think the first thing you gotta do is decide whether the tiles you want to install are encaustic tiles or "cement" tiles.

Actual encaustic tiles are hard fired tiles and would likely fit into the ceramic tile category. Concrete tiles wouldn't fit into the ceramic tile category and depending upon just how well they are made might not fit well into any tile category and would be somewhat unpredictable in their suitability for your application.

In any event, you're gonna need a good bit more subfloor structure than you have no matter what tile you install, so you could at least begin that part of your project. Adding 2x8 sister joists (presuming your current joists are actually of good species and grade) you could have a good structure for ceramic tiles. If you want natural stone, or a weak version of a concrete tile, you'd want to increase your joist structure to meet the industry requirement of a deflection of L/720 or less. And for the stone you'd need a double layer of plywood or OSB subflooring, each layer properly and differently installed.

Can you find out specifically what your prospective tiles are?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 12-10-2017, 06:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply!

Here is a link to the tile:

cementtileshop.com/in-stock-encaustic-cement-tile/BouquetII.html

Here is a description and video from the site:

cementtileshop.com/DESCRIPTION.html
cementtileshop.com/MADE.html

I guess they are Cement Tile, sorry I am new to this.

I was hoping to get away with using one layer of plywood and a 1/4in backer board. This house was build in the 60s the joists are Douglas Fir 2x8 and they look like they are in great condition. Also my budget is not tight I want to do this once and have it last a very long time. I forgot to mention that I am looking at also adding radiant floor heating to the mix. I have attached some pictures to give you an idea of what I have going on.
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Old 02-22-2018, 03:57 PM   #4
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Hey CX I'm wondering why your recommend two layers of plywood? From what a read on the Backer board documentation they say one layer with a layer of 1/4in Backer board.
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Old 02-22-2018, 04:33 PM   #5
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Have you contacted the tile manufacturer yet?
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Old 02-22-2018, 04:36 PM   #6
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This is what they say:


1.Inspect your order carefully. Cement Tile Shop will not be responsible for material that has been cut or installed. Throughout the installation process and handling of the tile, be careful not to damage the finished surface or corners of the tiles.


2.Do not let the cement tile boxes get wet! Store material in a dry area. Moisture or dampness can cause the tiles to get stained, have faded color, a damaged surface or efflorescence causing a white powdery effect on the surface of the tile from moisture coming through from the bottom of the tile.


3.Allow interior tiles to season in their final environment prior to installation.


4.Cement Tile is a cement-based product and may have residue on the surface. This will be removed during the cleaning prior to grouting, and buffing process after installation, as well as after implementation of an ongoing maintenance routine. It is recommended to wipe the back of the tiles with a damp sponge prior to placing in thin set to remove concrete dust residue and enable proper adhesion.


5.Install over flat, level and stable cured concrete surface or suitable stable sub-floor (such as Hardibacker, Durock or Ditra) or wall surface. Wall installation on drywall is acceptable when installed with appropriate non-sag setting materials.


6.Cement tile, as a product of natural materials, is subject to color and tonal variations and may require blending of tiles. It is recommended to shuffle tile from different boxes during installation to achieve a uniform effect.


7.Use a high quality, medium-bed thin set adhesive, such as a Laticrete or Mapei product. Contact adhesive manufacturer to recommend the appropriate adhesive. Follow adhesive manufacturer's instructions. Cement tiles are not intended for installation methods employing large quantities of water.


8.Make sure that adhesive is applied to the full back of each tile (100% coverage) using a large notch trowel (At least 1/2 notched trowel). Spread floor and also back butter the tiles like a natural stone installation. Make sure all tiles are level so there is not any lipping. Do not beat with a mallet or rubber hammer to set tiles, level the tiles using hand pressure. Remove any excess adhesive from the surface with a damp cloth or sponge while it is fresh. Tiles should be cut using a sharp diamond blade in conjunction with water to avoid chipping of edges. Recommended grout joint width is a tight joint of 1/16" - 1/8". If using spacers, we recommend a soft, flexible spacer.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:04 PM   #7
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Zach-

A few things - we do quite a bit of cement tile.

#1. Once your deflection of L/720 is squared away, I'd look into an uncoupling membrane.

#2. SEALER - Prepare yourself for an impregnating sealing application to the point of water penetration (water beads off). Color enhancing is NOT recommended, we've had quite the luck with Fila MP90. Drytreat also a good one.

#3. GROUT - Highly recommend Mapei's flexcolor CQ - the technology has pigmentation encapsulated so staining of the tile does not occur when grouting, and it is VERY finicky. Darker grout stains lighter sections, ect.

These are common 8"x8" x 1/2" thick on a 1/8" joint. I hear Ryan up there, but sometimes the sales folks don't know the answer. We have quite the large project right now on the riverwalk with 15 different colors and a pretty crazy submittal process. All exterior!
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:38 PM   #8
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Thanks Easa,

My path at the moment is to sister the current 2x8 with two more 2x8's bringing the deflection to L/905.

As far as the uncoupling membrane are saying use DITRA as a replacement for the HardieBacker? Now that I'm looking at it we wanted to run radiant floor heating and that DITRA looks like it would make that easy.

Also so what do you mean by 1/8in joint are you talking about the spacing between the tiles? What tile leveling method or system would you recommend?

Also money is not an issue, I just want to do this one time!
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:48 PM   #9
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Ditraheat or strataheat would go in place of any cement board if you want heat.

Yes, Erin is saying 1/8" spacing between tile.

Typically lippage tuning systems are used with larger tiles. Prepping the floor properly, using a high quality thinset, and proper size notched trowel should be enough to get a flat install with that size tile. If decide to use one there are tons out there to chose from

*Erin knows her stuff I would definitely take her reccomendations.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:00 PM   #10
zach90z
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Thanks Erin and Ryan for the information!

If money was not an obstacle what would your guys ultimate recommendation be for this tile installation?

So pretty much the Ditraheat is ok right over plywood I'll look at the spec sheets and installation guide when I get home!
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Old 02-24-2018, 02:05 PM   #11
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Hey guys another question about the decoupling membrane. I walked into the tile shop and spoke with one off the guys and he recommended Prodeso Heat over Ditra Heat. Does anyone have experience with both?
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