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Unread 06-30-2022, 07:52 PM   #1
vbdino
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Ceramic to hardwood

I am facing a problem to transition from 12 x 24 tile to 3/4*in hardwood. I am using Ditra XL and the tile is 5/16 thick (9mm). I am using L shape aluminium bar for the transition. The vendor says I will have a 1/16 in level difference which I can live with for the entry but in the kitchen/dining area, this thickness gap is troubling me.

Two of the four table chair will have this transition in their way and I feel I will regret this in the future.

I would like to know if I could use 1/4 subfloor board instead of Ditra XL. With 3/8 of thinset (Keraflex Plus) and the 5/16 inch tile, that would match the hardwood. My chairs would then be able to slide back without hitting any age. My subfloor is 5/8 plywood. I don’t see cupping in the tiles.

In my basement, I have 12x12 tiles installed since many years without problems, installed on 5/8 plywood. So I don’t know if using Ditra is new trend, maybe better, but if 1/4 plywood is good enough for my kitchen/dining/patio area, I would go with that.
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Unread 06-30-2022, 10:56 PM   #2
jadnashua
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You won't have any luck finding a 1/4" ply that is rated for use under ceramic tile. Instead of the Ditra, you could use 1/4" cbu, but won't gain the benefits of the membrane. Millions of sqft of tile laid on cbu, though.

FWIW, Ditra XL was designed for a 3/8" thick tile to mate up with 3/4" hardwood, so your tile is a little thinner.

One of the pros may have some ideas on the best alternative.
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Unread 07-01-2022, 10:04 AM   #3
vbdino
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At homedepot in Quebec, Canada, they have 30 boards left of HardieBacker EZ Grid Cement Board 3 ft. x 5 ft. X 1/4 inch. Strangely, there is a shortage everywhere else in the province and same for Rona.

If what is left is not crapy inventory, would that work for my project. The subfloor is screewed at avery 19 inches and perfectly leveled.

If it is good, do I need to apply thinset under it or just screw it every 8 inch.

I included 2 pictures of a test show the height difference.
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Last edited by vbdino; 07-01-2022 at 10:07 AM. Reason: More info
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Unread 07-01-2022, 02:10 PM   #4
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You won't have 3/8" of mortar under the tile unless you use a 3/4" trowel, which you shouldn't be.

A 1/2" trowel will smash down to about a 1/4" or so.

Where will that put you?

Also, there's regular Ditra which is just 1/8".
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Unread 07-01-2022, 03:08 PM   #5
vbdino
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The ditra xl installed at the entry, is about 6/16 high. The membrane being 5/16, I can’t get it lower. The tile is 5/16 high. That leaves 1/16 for even height with hardwood. Need more than that for good coverage. The vender said to use 1/2 square trowel in 45 degre. I read it gives 3/8 when pressing the tile. The tile has no curve in it, pretty flat.

The pictures shows how I expect it be. As you can see, walking on this transition is fine but if sitting on a chair, that would be annoying when getting up. As you see on the plan, the dining area is left to the kitchen.

If I go with hardiebacker ez grid ciment board 4/16 thick plus 5/16 for the tile, that leaves me 3/16 compressed thinset. Does that work?
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Last edited by vbdino; 07-01-2022 at 03:30 PM. Reason: Correction
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Unread 07-01-2022, 06:21 PM   #6
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Say your thinset peaks are 3/8", in order to get the full coverage, if those were square notches, it would compress to half if you actually got the mortar layer flattened out to get the full coverage.

So, if supply is not available, the cbu may not work for you, but yes, you must put the thinset layer underneath it to follow the instructions and for a reliable end result.
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Unread 07-01-2022, 08:15 PM   #7
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I saw a video from schluter about trowel. They use 1/4x1/4 and 3/8x1/4 with a 12x24 tile to compare doing it wrong versus right to get good coverage.

When using a 3/8x1/4 trowel at 45 degree, what is the thickness of ciment after pushing down the tile?
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Unread 07-01-2022, 10:14 PM   #8
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Square, round, or V-notch? 3/8" tall covering 3/4 of the width, with the trowel held at say a 45-degree angle, maybe resulting in 1/4" tall, times 3/4 = 3/16". Round would be less, and V less again. That assumes you were to get a perfect 100% coverage, which doesn't happen usually, so maybe more. What you don't want is the tile just sitting on the peaks without having been spread to cover most of the tile's back, which, obviously, fills in the notches and makes the layer thinner.

Setting the membrane does not require much thinset. What you put on top of it would depend on how flat things are, including the floor and the tile.
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Unread 07-02-2022, 06:16 AM   #9
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Square notch, 3/8 high, 1/4 width

In this video, he used a 3/8 by 1/4 trowel.

https://youtu.be/AaP1uA6FIQE
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Unread 07-02-2022, 12:25 PM   #10
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Getting proper coverage is, at the minimum, essential. Getting the tile set at the desired height may be critical to you. Which trowel gets you there, depends on the situation and your workmanship. Also consider that each thinset will have a maximum depth that it is useful for. Excessive depth tends to cause shrinkage cracking, and can allow the tile to 'sink', making lippage more of an issue as well as making it more likely to get thinset oozing up into the grout space, requiring more careful cleanup. Plus, you're carrying, mixing, and costing more to make it thicker.

Personally, I really like the idea of using a slant-notched trowel, especially on larger format tile, as after combing, you end up with a nearly flat surface that makes it easier to get full coverage rather than trying to flatten notches.
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Unread 07-02-2022, 01:11 PM   #11
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I am using Keraflex Plus thinset. The vender said he previously sold schluter modified and unmodified thinset but clients were using wrong bag and then complaning they didn’t have enough. He opted for this thinset which he says, is acceptable by manufacturers as good for both application.

The height difference between hardwood and tiles should be ok for walking. For the dining chairs, I order these under leg glides. Contrary to felt pads, they can glide easier over small floor differences.

My remaining question is about choosing or not 1/4x3/8x1/4 square which I assume is thinner than 1/2x1/2x1/2. Seeing the video I linked earlier, he got full coverage with 3/8x1/4. But was it only an example of coverage differences or was it also an industry acceptable choice for porcelain 12x24 tiles. I tend to read more often to use 1/2x1/2 square.
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Unread 07-02-2022, 01:55 PM   #12
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The only industry standard is that you achieve the minimum required coverage. That video you posted is only valid for those exact conditions of how flat the floor was, and how flat the tile was to achieve that coverage. With the smaller notched trowel, one might have achieved the required coverage IF the tile were moved back and forth rather than being just set in place and pressing.

On that 12x24" tile, that's 288sqin. If you weigh 200#, and press down, that's about 2/3'rds of a pound per square inch...IOW, not much...you won't compress the thinset notches much or move them. And, you're not going to be standing on it, so it will be VERY much smaller amount of weight psi applied.

It's all about technique.

To get a good estimate on your coverage depth with a particular trowel, you'd have to calculate the volume applied, then calculate what that volume would be if it was spread out into an even surface after the voids created by the notches were filled in.

The video showed three things (well maybe more):
1. back buttering the tile helps
2. how much mortar is used, regulated by the trowel selected makes a difference
3. moving the tile back and forth is required versus just pressing down to spread the thinset. Here, a slant-notched trowel can help, but not eliminate that requirement.

Those are all independent on how thick the thinset layer will end up. It's a combination of the circumstances, the workmanship, and the materials involved.

You may need to play with several trowels to get your tile height exactly where you want it while achieving the desired coverage. IOW, you're going to have to experiment. You can get a close approximation after you do some calculations.
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Unread 07-02-2022, 02:51 PM   #13
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Thanks for the clarification.
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Unread 07-02-2022, 07:21 PM   #14
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Since there would be no industry standard even though 1/2x1/2 square is recommended in most places online.

And by looking also from this video https://youtu.be/cqbYzSTiLG4 about different trowel size vs tile. Unfortunately he stopped at 3/8x1/4 with 12in tile.

And by what you mentioned on coverage.

And by the included pictures of my tile showing no curve on both direction.

I should then presume that if 3/8x1/4 square results in good coverage, I am ok?

I will experiment it tomorrow since I still don’t know if I am going to get the 1/16 lower that I need.
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Unread 07-02-2022, 07:36 PM   #15
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The only way you'll know is to try. Back butter the tile to fill in the waffle pattern and make the back flatter. IF your floor is also flat, a smaller trowel can work. Make sure to pop it back up once you think you've embedded it properly.
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