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Unread 11-15-2010, 11:52 AM   #1
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floor prep for bathroom floor

My wife and I are starting to tile our bathroom floor. It's very small, about 4" x 6". We just tore out the existing cabinet and I'm wiring up the new vent fan/light.

I've done some tiling in the past but I'm very fuzzy on subfloor prep. My current subfloor is 3/4 ply. I recall adding additional plywood but I don't recall the thickness or how I attached it to the existing subfloor.

I'm considering either hardibacker or ditra on top of the subfloor. I've used hardibacker once before. I've never used ditra. I have a few concerns with ditra.

1. applying the thinset to such a rough surface (for a novice)
2. having to use two types of thinset (modified and unmodified)
3. price

The tile that we selected is a 6" square italian porcelain tile. We're applying it in a checkerboard fashion.

I'm in a bit of a rush as my wife would like this project completed this week. I've googled a bit but I'm not finding anything concise.
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Unread 11-15-2010, 12:16 PM   #2
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Use backerboard. It's easier to get so you won't be waiting for special orders. Also, you can set the tile on it as soon as you install the backerboard. 2 sheets should do it.

Your existing subfloor meets all the requirements as-is, unless it's all chopped up and repaired. If that is the case, install 3/8" plywood. Just stagger all the joints and screw it down with deck screws. Don't use any glue.
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Unread 11-15-2010, 12:22 PM   #3
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Okay, so you have 3/4" subfloor over your joists? Is it plywood or OSB?

How's about that second layer of ply? We need to know more. If it's less than 3/8" thick, it's more of a liability and needs to be removed. Do you have an HVAC opening in the floor you can use to obtain it's thickness and tell us what it is (plywood, OSB, particleboard, etc,)

Sorry if we're hitting you with questions you didn't expect, but specialized advice for your particular job is what we specialize in around here.
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Unread 11-15-2010, 03:22 PM   #4
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I haven't stripped the old flooring off yet but I do have an HVAC vent that I can check once I get it removed. Most of what I'm listing here is from work I did in a different house bathroom.

The subfloor was 3/4 plywood. Pretty good quality with some squeeks (= deflection). The additional layer of plywood that I mentioned was from a previous project. I put down additional plywood on that job but I couldn't recall what thickness I had used at the time.

What thickness of hardibacker should I use if I do 3/4 ply with 3/8 ply on top of that?
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Unread 11-15-2010, 07:54 PM   #5
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1/4" BB is all you need for floors. It provides no strength to the floor.

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