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Unread 02-01-2021, 06:02 PM   #1
easywilliam
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reroute ditra heat cable under installed tile?

We currently have a ditra heat system installed in our (fairly large) bathroom, under ceramic tile. We are thinking of replacing our freestanding bathtub with one that is deeper, but from what I have read, that means that we would have to remove the heating wire from under the tub to prevent overheating, since the tub would no longer have open air underneath.

I'd obviously like to avoid having to rip up the entire bathroom floor and reinstall everything. I've taken some measurements and from a routing perspective, I can rip up the tile around the bathtub area (about 7x4 feet), change the layout of the existing wire to avoid the tub footprint, and reinstall new tile.

However, I'm not sure how likely is it that I can remove all that tile and thinset without damaging the wire?
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Unread 02-01-2021, 06:08 PM   #2
jadnashua
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I haven't tried it, but I think you'll have almost no chance of pulling the tile up and preserving the wire or the mat underneath.

You might want to call Schluter and see if they have any suggestions, but I think you will likely fail.
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Unread 02-01-2021, 07:35 PM   #3
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Welcome, Ed.

Jim is just soooo pessimistic.

I think he's also quite right.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-02-2021, 07:10 AM   #4
Kman
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Getting the dried mortar out of those channels without damaging the wire would be quite a challenge.

I think if I was forced to at least try, I'd cut the mat straight across where I was going to remove the wire, being careful not to cut the wire. I'd then pull that section of mat off the floor. At that point the mat is flexible, and may open up enough to remove the mortar. Or cut the mat into pieces, and the wire would come out through the backside, maybe.

But I'd have a plan in place to replace the whole floor before I started, because it's a real possibility.
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Unread 02-02-2021, 09:49 AM   #5
jadnashua
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Thinset, especially a modified one, has the potential to bond to the wire. It doesn't bond actually to the mat, but is mechanically locked into it because of the shape once the thinset cures.

It will be really hard to crack the tile into small enough pieces that prying them out won't also pull the thinset that locks in the cable putting a lot of stress on it and likely damage. I don't think you can successfully splice the cable, and if you damage the insulation, IF you notice it, you might be able to repair it, but otherwise, long-term, that insulation failure could lead to a system failure.

Schluter may have an authorized repair method, so as I said earlier, I'd call them for help. You may not like the news, but you might be surprised.

WOrst case, ignore the warning, and if the cable gets damaged and fails, you won't be much worse off than damaging it during the remodel.
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