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Unread 05-20-2021, 11:42 AM   #1
bobimhoff
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Bathroom Floor Tile - Advice Needed

Hey there, my name is Bob and I'm new to the forum. I've got a small condo (built ~1990) in which I'm replacing the old vinyl floor with tile. For reference, I'm on the ground floor, over a crawlspace.

My unfortunate surprise upon pulling the vinyl was the fact that my subfloor is 1/2" particle board. Beneath the particle board is a layer of tongue-and-groove boards running perpendicular to the floor joists. Pictures attached.

Looking for some feedback on my plan of action. My plan is to pull the particle board, and replace it with plywood. On top of that I would install a Schluter Ditra uncoupling membrane (for which plywood is an accepted substrate), making sure to tape any seams for waterproofing. Then I would tile over that. Any blind spots that I may have with this plan? Want to make sure I'm considering all factors at play. Thanks for the help!

Images:
1)Bathroom view with piece of particle board removed.
2)Close up of spot with particle board removed, exposing tongue-and groove boards beneath
3)View in crawlspace showing tongue-and-groove boards spanning joists
4)Side view of floor (from top) - floating laminate floor (this is in front hall), particle board, tongue-and-groove. (Next layer down is not a joist, just a board framing crawlspace entry)
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Unread 05-20-2021, 12:54 PM   #2
PhilWA
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Hi Bob,
Have you considered floor stiffness requirements for tile?

I have a similar floor construction and had to use some conversions in order to use deflectolator. I used a forum post titled "T&G Subfloor for slate tile" referencing the pier and beam construction with some number manipulation methods (I don't have enough posts to link to the thread).
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Unread 05-20-2021, 01:55 PM   #3
bobimhoff
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Hey Phil - thanks for your response. I'm almost able to use the deflectolator. My joists are 7.5"x3.5", with supports 8 ft apart, joists spaced 48in apart. The deflectolator only allows for joists spaced up to 24in apart.

Any insights you can give into the number manipulation methods you used?

Unfortunately I'm not able to locate the thread you mentioned. By chance do you know the date it was posted? That could help me in the advanced search.

Bob
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Unread 05-20-2021, 05:58 PM   #4
PhilWA
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The decking post "T&G Subfloor for slate tile" is listed as posted on 04-14-2019, 06:15 PM from original user Andy1212. Post #16 (user wwhitney) in that thread has some calculations. The gist if I interpret correctly, is they ignore the actual beam in the pier and beam construction and calculate the T&G decking as if they were the joists.

If your T&G is the same 2x6 (1.5" actual thickness) with 48" spacing of the beams, you should be in better shape than the poster in that thread that had 65" o.c. beam spacing.

I have the same 48" beam spacing as you and replaced my 3/4" particle board with 3/4" plywood with ditra and my tile has been fine so far.

Other considerations:
ditra & tile add height vs the vinyl to wherever you transition to bedroom/hallway; to your shower/tub; and to your toilet flange. Toilet flange should be installed on top of the tile, but there are some adapters/methods you may want to research to bridge the gap if you don't (I just tore out and replaced my plumbing to adjust my toilet location anyway).
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Unread 05-20-2021, 11:29 PM   #5
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Welcome, Bob.

It's frequently helpful to have a geographic location in your User Profile when answering some types of questions and it will tell us where on the Left Coast you're located.

Your floor structure is typical of what we see out your way and the joist structure can be evaluated using our Deflectometer with a bit of finesse. Suffice to say your structure is adequate for a ceramic tile installation.

Your subfloor, if it is the typical 2x6 "car plank" material we generally see in that type construction, is also suitable for a ceramic tile installation with the addition of a minimum of nominal 1/2" exterior glue plywood with no face of grade lower than C and a tile substrate of your choice. The calculations for that were done years ago by our then-resident engineer.

Welcome also, Phil.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 05-21-2021, 08:54 AM   #6
bobimhoff
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Thanks to both of you - your input is a big help! I'll proceed with laying ply over the T&G planks before the membrane and tile. I'm assuming I should orient all ply parallel to the T&G (therefore perpendicular to the joists themselves).

To answer your question CX, I live in Oregon, about an hour east of Portland.
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Unread 05-21-2021, 10:56 AM   #7
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Bob, if you don't put that information into your User Profile as I suggested the information will be lost before we leave this page.

The layer of plywood subflooring in this application is primarily to isolate your tile installation from the sawn board subfloor and not to provide any strength or rigidity to the subfloor. I would still orient the panels with the strength axis perpendicular to the joist structure, but even the Tile Ranger couldn't well fault you if you oriented them the other direction for convenience or conservation of material.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 05-26-2021, 01:23 PM   #8
bobimhoff
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Thanks again for the feedback.

I've got a plywood subfloor laid down, and there are a few gaps around the edges larger than the ~1/4" I'd intended. See photos. Would you recommend I fill those gaps with a material that would still allow the subfloor to move, such as silicone caulk or a spray foam? Not sure if those larger gaps will be a problem.

Bob
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Unread 05-26-2021, 05:02 PM   #9
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I would leave the gaps alone.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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