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Unread 09-07-2011, 11:50 AM   #1
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JustinC's front hall

Long time lurker, first time poster...My current front hall/powder room/foyer has 250 sq ft. of 8" square ceramic tile original to the home (1988-SE Wisconsin). The tile is in good condition, but its time to update the look. Deflecto says I'm good to go with ceramic tile-joists (2x10) 16" OC Span 14'. When looking at a cross section of the floor (via heat register) I see 3/4" plywood with 1/2" concreteboard nailed on top-thinset is sandwiched inbetween. All in all- it looks like a good, professional job.

I picked up 12" and 6" porcelain that I plan on laying on a pinwheel pattern-on a diamond. Currently I am removing the tile with a chisel and am fiding 85% of the thinset is staying on the floor. What are my options? Does the concrete board have to go? I haven't gouged it at all so far-the tiles are popping off with moderate effort. Should I plan on grinding the thinset down to a smooth surface? Could I burn in/skim coat the floor with thinset and Ditra over the top? I'm open to the idea of floor leveler, but my previous experience with it leaves me nervous.

My concern is to do things the right way, as this is my "forever home". Finished floor thickness is not a high priority as I plan on replacing all the floor in the level and can match what this first project creates.

Thank you in advance, I truly appreciate your professional insight.
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Unread 09-07-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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Cement board is cheap so I'd vote to tear it all out and get the demo over with ASAP. Also, by removing it, you eliminate an "what if" situation concerning how much damage you did to the cement board during tile demo. If you do keep it, you would have to grind down the stuck on thinset so your new tiles will be easier to set. I don't advise skimming over what you have, and I don't think you need Ditra.
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Unread 09-07-2011, 04:32 PM   #3
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Agree with Bob - demo down to the plywood should be just as quick, maybe quicker, than trying to grind all that thin set off.

Rip it all out & start fresh. No what-if's this way.
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Unread 09-21-2011, 09:44 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. The CBU came up easier than I expected (I had low expectations) using an ice scraper and some crowbars. Since the subfloor was exposed, I drove some extra deck screws into the joists to reinforce the existing nails.

I am planning on thinsetting the 1/4" hardie being careful not to hit joists with the screws. Is there consensus regarding modified vs. unmodified under the CBU? In my past projects, I've always used the same under the CBU as above -usually CBPs flexbond.
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Unread 09-21-2011, 04:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Justin
Is there consensus regarding modified vs. unmodified under the CBU?
You can use whatever mortar you have on site. I buy the cheapest unmodified under Hardi. You're not bonding the Hardi to the floor with mortar, you're just ensuring that it has full support with no voids.

"the road to hell is paved with osb, mastic, pre-mixed latex 'grout' or 'thinset', "
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