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Unread 01-21-2021, 01:25 PM   #31
cbaum
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Make sure they are putting the ditra heat on a dedicated circuit as schluter requires. I know most bathroom sizes won't take up all 20amp and you could likely get away with a shared circuit, but it should be a dedicated one.
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Unread 01-21-2021, 01:39 PM   #32
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Schluter HIGHLY recommends the use of a megohmmeter to verify that the wires are intact and not damaged. Less knowledgeable installers may say an ohmmeter is more than sufficient but they'd be wrong. A megohmmeter tests both the conductors and the insulation, an ohmmeter only tests the conductors. WHen it was first introduced, unless you used a megohmmeter and recorded the readings, the warranty was invalid, but they relaxed that. Some suppliers, I've heard, will loan the installer the tool if they don't have one.

The recommendation is to test the cable before installing (to verify the factory reading supplied), then after installing in the mat, then again after the tile is first installed. The odds are, things will be fine, but nicking the insulation probably won't show up with an ohmmeter, but can cause a failure down the road. Megohmmeters come in various capabilities...you'd want to check what Schluter currently recommends...the original one I think called for a megohmmeter with a 1000v output. The test is quite simple and quick, and should give confidence that the wires are intact. Essentially, it's checking both the continuity of the wires and the insulation for leakage.

There are some specific rules about how to lay the cable out regarding the maximum length straight line, and how close together they are, and about covering them (like, don't put them under an enclosed vanity) and how far from a wall they can go. One temperature sensor comes with the heating wire and a second one with the thermostat...they both should be installed, but only one hooked up, leaving the other as a spare should something happen.
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Unread 01-21-2021, 04:41 PM   #33
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Thanks for the replies.

Dan: the contractor mentioned he is using all the products as recommended by Schluter to make sure it stays within warranty. So not sure if that will be the modified thinset mortar? He mentioned that they first apply something to the plywood to prep the wood and then the thinset.

Cbaum: yes they passed a dedicated wire from my main board. It will be a 240V dedicated line.

jadnashua: wow, this is getting interesting! Pretty sure my contractor won't be doing that but I'll ask...

Cheers and thanks!
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Unread 01-21-2021, 04:59 PM   #34
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You are required to use a modified thinset to attach the DitraHeat membrane to the plywood subflooring, but it's not required on top of the mat. If your installer is using Schluter products, even their modified is acceptable on top of the mat. Schluter specifically does not want certain type of modified on top of the mat (one using latex), because a latex-modified mortar (there are at least three other classes of modifiers out there) must dry to become stable, and that won't happen between a waterproof mat and a nearly impervious tile except VERY slowly...one test they ran indicated it too almost 3-months to dry to the center of the large format tile when using a latex-modified one. During that time, because the modifier could move, it could impact the cement that crystalizes as it cures, fracturing their crystals and affecting the bond. SOme modifiers are stable before they dry, and one of those is fine.

There's a lot of science in all of this...some guys are good artists but you really need some additional knowledge to ensure these modern products will be installed properly to take advantage of their designed capabilities. Looking good is great, but lasting is equally important!
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Unread 01-21-2021, 05:17 PM   #35
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What Jim said, Dave, Charlie too.

The quandary is that Schluter wants an unmodified mortar to adhere the tile to the Ditra but, if you are installing porcelain tile, the tile manufacturers generally recommend a modified mortar to install their porcelain tiles to, well, to anything.
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Unread 01-21-2021, 05:41 PM   #36
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Wouldn't using all-set satisfy all the requirements here, aside from the hit to the wallet? I know schluter markets their all set as being able to do everything schluter/kerdi related except vinyl flooring. I plan to use all-set to lay regular ditra on plywood, shower pan on plywood, waterproofing kerdi board seams, set 24x24 tile to walls, and 12x24 tile to the schluter pan and ditra mat.
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Unread 01-21-2021, 09:53 PM   #37
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That would be correct, Charlie.
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Unread 01-29-2021, 07:34 AM   #38
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Thanks guys. I haven't been posting as there's been a delay in the work due to a potential case of COVID with one of the workers. Hopefully they can restart the work next week.

We've also decided to install some wall tile, I will have a few questions on that. I'll get a picture of the target wall first.

Mods: would it be a good idea to change the title of this thread to "Bathroom and Laundry room reno" or something along those lines as this is no longer just a sub-flooring thread.

Thank-you
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Unread 01-29-2021, 11:04 AM   #39
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Thread renamed at your request, Charlie.
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Unread 01-30-2021, 09:57 AM   #40
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Here is the photo of the main wall in the laundry room. The wall is 7' wide and 8' high built with standard 2x4 and 16" OC spacing. The wall is a bit particular in that it is an interior wall built right in front of the exterior wall. The contractor built this new wall to avoid having pipes going through the exterior wall and avoid risk of freezing (recall that I live in frosty Canada!).

The plan is to install Ikea cabinets across the top 1/3 of the wall (the cabinets will be installed on a rail that is screwed into the wall's 2x4's). There will then be 3x12 or 4x12 subway tile installed on the middle 1/3 of the wall. Then the bottom 1/3 will have a sink on the left and the washer and dryer on the right. I also included a pic of the plan to help visualize it.

My questions are:
1. Is the 2x4 wall strong enough to support the cabinets and tile (assuming tiles and cabinet will be properly installed of course)
2. Should blocking have been installed in-between the 2x4's to strengthen the wall? I'm pretty sure there wasn't any installed other than 1 piece at the bottom to support some of the plumbing going through the 2x4's.
3. What are the proper steps to install the tile on this wall? The contractor said they will put a coat of primer and then the mortar for the tiles.

Thanks!
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Unread 01-30-2021, 10:49 AM   #41
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1. Yes, quite strong enough if properly constructed.

2. No. The horizontal blocking you see near the vertical center of wood-framed walls in usually just code-required fire blocking and not required in 8-foot walls.

3. Your contractor's plan is sufficient.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-30-2021, 07:27 PM   #42
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Thank-you CX. I am having a lot of doubts as I noticed something that wasn't done correctly for the electrical wiring. The contractor passed a new wire for the Ditra heating and thermostat. However he passed part of the wire in front of the wall plate instead of drilling a hole underneath it to pass the wire (see pic). I think this may be the last straw...

Question: how hard would it be to remove 2 layers of glued and screwed plywood sub-flooring? And would doing so possibly damage the joists?
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Last edited by go_habs_go; 01-30-2021 at 08:10 PM. Reason: Trying to get photo in proper orientation...
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Unread 01-31-2021, 07:54 AM   #43
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Dave, do you mean he ran the 120/240 feed to the thermostat between the front of the bottom plate and the edge of the subflooring? Is that the red line we see in the photo? If so, definitely not to code. How far does it snake along in that gap? Does it eventually disappear into the floor somewhere?

Removing the first layer of subflooring isn't a big deal, just a LOT of screws, unless the top layer was glued to the bottom. Removing the bottom layer, if it was glued to the joists, will be much more difficult.
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Unread 01-31-2021, 01:27 PM   #44
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Hi Dan, thanks for correcting the photo orientation. Yes the red line is the wire he passed from the basement but instead of drilling a hole from under the wall plate he came out in front of it and then put it behind the drywall. It only snakes along there for a few inches as you see in the photo but still, it's just more sloppy work from my contractor. I even asked him to make sure it was passed correctly.

I'm asking about the plywood floor as I'm starting to question everything he's done up till now. I'm quite certain the 1st layer is glued to the bottom one which is then glued to the joists so removing it may not even be an option at this point. Ack.

I'm pretty sure I'll be parting ways with my contractor at this point but I'm just trying to assess where I have to restart from.
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Unread 01-31-2021, 01:34 PM   #45
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What's your concern about the subfloor, Dave? Is it the type of material used? The method of installation?

Do you know how, and with specifically what product the second layer was glued to the first?
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