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Unread 12-06-2020, 09:07 AM   #1
tomaskroupa
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Subfloor update - trouble deciding

Hi all!
I am new here so thank you for all the advice I found already on the forum. I've done a lot of searching and have trouble deciding what to do.

I am retiling our bathroom and just ripped out the existing tile that was 12x12 porcelain on top of a 5/16 hardiebacker.

The subfloor below the hardiebacker is a 1950's style wood that's somewhere around 3/4" - 13/16" thick - hard to measure from if it's consistent. Photo attached.

Unfortunately the hard wood floor next to the bathroom doesn't give a lot of wiggle room - the hardiebacker + tile was exactly flush with it so I am having trouble deciding how to replace it in a better way.

Joists are 16" spaced, 2x10 or even 2x12"


My original plan was to add a layer of plywood with Ditra on top and then tile. Unfortunately based on the Ditra handbook the plywood has to be at least 3/8 which combined with the Ditra, thinset and tile will make the floor slightly thicker than the hardwood. I could go back with just a hardiebacker but the house is getting older, technologies are changing and I'd prefer a proper Ditra uncoupling.

My question: what second layer of subfloor can I use to add strength + level the floor before Ditra so I can stay up to code while minimizing thickness. The one thing I am NOT considering doing is removing all this existing subfloor - that'd be too much for me.

My second question: I assumed Ditra is 1/8 and will add another 1/16 possibly of the thinset under it to a total of roughly 3/16 after installing. Am I making the wrong assumption?

Thank you!
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Unread 12-06-2020, 10:08 AM   #2
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Welcome, Thomas.

First, you've actually got as much "wiggle room" as you need there. One of the easiest transitions to be made is from ceramic tile to hardwood flooring with a simple custom piece to match tile height on one side and hardwood on the other.

As always, I recommend you make your subfloor suitable for the tile installation, then make your transitions to other flooring as needed.

I think you might be misreading the Schluter recommendations for installation over sawn board subflooring (which they call structural planks). The minimum requirement for Schluter as for the ANSI standards is a minimum of nominal 1/2" plywood over such board subflooring.

You've given us your joist spacing and a possible range of sizes, but no unsupported span. I'd recommend you evaluate the actual structure to determine whether it is suitable for a ceramic tile installation. You can use the Deflectometer in the dark blue bar at the top of the page to get an initial go/no-go reading. Doesn't matter that you had tile before, which was incorrectly installed, by the way. Doesn't mean it couldn't work, just that it didn't follow product manufacturer's recommendations.

Bottom line: You must install a second subfloor layer of a minimum of nominal 1/2" exterior glue plywood with no face of grade lower than C, then the tile installation substrate of your choice. Your thickness guess for the Ditra installation is close enough. You'll not know the actual final height of your finished floor until you have a finished floor using your materials, your tools, and your technique.

There is no need to level the floor unless you just want it level, your tiles don't care. But your tiles do care that the floor is very flat, and the larger the tiles, the more they care.

Then you can make a wood transition strip to mate the tile to your existing hardwood flooring. You'll want the strip to be as wide as possible to avoid a steep slope and remain withing industry standards and probably your local building code. We don't know where "local" is as you've not added a geographic location to your User Profile.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-06-2020, 10:27 AM   #3
tomaskroupa
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You are absolutely right, I missed that! That just means I need to go with 1/2" and bite the bullet with the height transition. THank you!
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Unread 12-06-2020, 10:46 AM   #4
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It's completely typical to have a saddle to transition the doorway, don't overthink it. The problem is when you are way out of wack and create a tripping hazard.

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Unread 12-06-2020, 11:19 AM   #5
tomaskroupa
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Measured the joists. They are 8" X 2" with 8ft span and 16" spacing so L/780 - looks like I am good!
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Unread 01-01-2021, 12:08 PM   #6
tomaskroupa
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Removing shower arm stub out

Hello all,
my plumbers helpfully left this attached stub out at the top of the shower to help guide for tile cutouts, etc. - however I am having a lot of trouble removing it :-) I tried the biggest pliers I found and still nothing. Wondering if anyone has any tips on how to loosen it? There is a bit of pipe sealant around it.
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Unread 01-01-2021, 12:14 PM   #7
Tool Guy - Kg
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Pliers don’t have enough grip or power. You’ll need to up the ante to a couple of ‘Channel Locks’ or pipe wrenches - one on the nipple and one on the drop ear in countering directions so as not to damage the drop ear.

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Unread 01-01-2021, 12:16 PM   #8
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Righty tighty, lefty loosey, Tomas.

If you can't budge it with pliers you might have to pick up a pipe wrench.
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Unread 01-01-2021, 12:26 PM   #9
tomaskroupa
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This is what I tried so far and no luck https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Gr...8067/203429535
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Unread 01-01-2021, 12:41 PM   #10
Tool Guy - Kg
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Are they slipping on the pipe...tearing metal away from the pipe...or it’s just too hard to rotate?

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Unread 01-01-2021, 12:46 PM   #11
tomaskroupa
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Slipping and tearing metal away...couldn't get it to move at all
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Unread 01-01-2021, 12:57 PM   #12
Tool Guy - Kg
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I’ve never known a plumber to tighten that nipple more than hand tight.

I don't particularly like flat jaws like you’ve pictured. Channel Locks make a pair with curved jaws that digs more teeth into the pipe simultaneously to get a better grip.

But let’s see if you can get that off with what you’ve got. Are you adjusting the handles so that they are as close together as you can get without them touching? That gives you the most possible grip leverage. And are you positioning the handles at “9 ‘o clock” to give yourself the best possible rotating leverage?
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Unread 01-01-2021, 01:00 PM   #13
tomaskroupa
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Yeah I get pretty good grip but it's strange - I can't even get the nut at the end off. And yeah - righty-tighty and lefty-loosey :-D
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Unread 01-01-2021, 01:03 PM   #14
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That’s way too tight.

The design of the pliers has an impact. For example, I have a relatively large Chinese-made pipe wrench that likes to chew and tear metal from overly-tight pipes. And I have an American-made, but smaller pipe wrench that gives me a significantly better bite on the pipe with no tearing. While it’s smaller, it’s superior. Maybe it’s time for a new tool?

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Unread 01-01-2021, 01:07 PM   #15
tomaskroupa
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You know what thanks for the encouragement - I just used a bit more force than comfortable and it finally loosened You know how it is - afraid to break it
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