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Old 01-08-2019, 09:58 PM   #1
BlkSC
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Subfloor/underlayment advice for porcelain

Hi, my name is Brandon and I really need some advice from some pros.

I have a house built in 1999 that I'm wanting to install 8"x32" wood look porcelain tile in my guest bathroom, hallway and my open floor plan living room/kitchen/dining room.

It's built with 24" OC 18" deep open web floor trusses, the longest unsupported span is across the living room and it's 20'. The ceiling in the mechanical room in the basement is unfinished so I can see the trusses but, unfortunately, I can't find any stamps on the trusses themselves. The subfloor is 3/4" Sturd-i-floor T&G OSB that's glued and nailed down.

I originally planned on using Ditra XL but I'm really leaning toward laying down either 1/2" ACX or 5/8" BCX plywood (it's what Menards has in stock and they both look nice and flat) and than use Ditra on top of that.

So what do you guys think? Is tile doable with what I have to work with? Thanks!
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:15 AM   #2
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Hi Brandon, welcome. Ditra and Ditra XL can be used over 24" centers. However opting to add another layer of ply isn't a bad idea as long as it is put in properly. Span the new piece 4" past the joist and 4" past any seams that are on the main subfloor. Screws need to be 4" on the seams and 6" in the field and try not to screw into the joists. Then continue with your Ditra and tile
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Old 01-09-2019, 10:38 AM   #3
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I believe adding the second layer of plywood is a requirement for the Ditra over 24" joist centers, Mike.

The Ditra XL can be used over single layer subflooring in that application according to Schluter.

I'd want the second layer of subflooring with any tile substrate in that application, Brandon.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 01-09-2019, 01:53 PM   #4
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I guess my primary concern is this, do the floor trusses sound like they are up to snuff for what I'm wanting to do? I'm definitely going to have more questions as I go though
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:00 PM   #5
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The only people who can tell you about your floor trusses are those who manufactured them. There is usually information about the manufacturer and the model of the joists printed on them somewhere.

Engineered floor joists are almost certainly sufficient to meet building code of L/360 and more commonly, 'specially on longer spans like yours, designed to a deflection of L/480, but the only way to tell is to contact the manufacturer or look up his printed information online.

I would expect the between-joist span of your subflooring with that joist spacing to be the more likely problematic part of your subfloor package when planning for a ceramic tile installation.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:53 PM   #6
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I sincerely apologize for how long it took to get back to this thread. I got derailed with work, then a fire rebuild at work, then flooding...I'm finally at a point where I can focus once again on laying this tile.

First, I want to thank cx and muskymike for the time spent replying to my questions, I appreciate it.

Second, Schluter recommends a minimum of 3/8" underlayment over 3/4" OSB or plywood to use the regular Ditra. Do you feel like 3/8" is adequate or would stepping up to, say, 1/2" have a good cost to benefit ratio?

Third, any recommendations on a tile saw for cutting the 32" long tile? I'll be laying around 450 square feet with this particular project.

Thanks again
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:10 PM   #7
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Finding 3/8" stuff that is actually flat is sometimes tough, making thicker stuff a better choice. If you can find 3/8" that is flat, it is enough, but it is the minimum...everything needs to be good to meet that minimum...thicker gives you a little leeway.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:18 PM   #8
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3/8" plywood usually lays about as flat as a Pringles chip. Save yourself some trouble and just get the 1/2".

Is this an open room, or will you be cutting around a number of obstacles in the room?

Rather than buying a saw for one job that will accommodate tile that size, you might be better off using an angle grinder with a good quality blade for cutting tile. You can get both for around $150, whereas a decent saw will cost you many times that amount.
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:47 PM   #9
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It is mostly open but it's a bathroom, hallway and open kitchen/dining room/living room area with an island in the kitchen. Thinking about it, I will also be redoing the tile in the hallway and bathroom downstairs, the tile in the entrance as well as the master bathroom. So I guess I will get more use out of a tile saw than I originally thought.

And I'll keep an eye out for the plywood when I purchase it...but I'll more than likely just go with the 1/2". The cost difference isn't that big of a deal, the only reason I was even considering the 3/8" plywood is so I'd have that much less difference in height to worry about with transitions.
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