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Unread 09-22-2010, 07:35 PM   #1
COBALT
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Finished height versus trowel notch

Howdy all. Long time no chat.

Recently I decided to help my folks tile a back TV room with already owned 16" 3/8" thick ceramic tile with a simulated stone texture. Personally I would never pick this stuff, but that's what I have to work with.

Anyway, they have a back door that opens into the room that's pre-fabbed with the aluminum threshold. Pre-backer board the height of the aluminum threshold of the door was about 1 1/8". Now I have maybe a little over 1/2". After I cut and dry fit all of the tile I have maybe 1/8" left. The problem is that it's an exterior door with a metal shell and a big fat plate on the bottom of the door that will make trimming it from the bottom a nightmare. I have the door laying on sawhorses in the garage and it looks like I might ruin the door if I try to skim 1/8" off the bottom.

I'm thinking that if I go with the usual 1/2" square notch trowel for this tile my finished height is going to be above the threshold unless I can really pack these babies down. The problem is I don't want to spend the entire day cleaning thinset from between my tiles. I'm tempted to step down in notch size. Does anyone think that's a bad idea? Stick with 1/2"?
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Unread 09-22-2010, 08:00 PM   #2
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Really depends on the floor and the variation in the tiles themselves. If the tiles were well calibrated and the floor was dead flat you could use a very small notch trowel. I typically start with 3/8" x 1/4" trowel on most tile over 12". If the floor and tile seam to be needing more I will go larger but I prefer not to push alot of thinset around..I'm always a fan of dealing with the flatness of the floor before I set if possible to keep the thinset thickness down to a minimum.

You could always " cheat the last row at the door if all else fails and "ramp the last row down a bit.
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Unread 09-22-2010, 08:46 PM   #3
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I prefer to go through the extra work of flattening the floors before I set any tile - period. I should have mentioned that. It doesn't really matter what the job is - I like to be able to lay things out and know I'm working on a flat surface. Once the CBU was down, screwed, seamed and cured I floated the entire floor flat with some non-modified thinset and some straight-edges the following week. It's pretty damn flat. All of the high points were the seams of course with dips between them. I had one corner (the outside corner) that sunk a little.

I've been thinking about a 1/4" notch trowel all week. I don't like to push around a lot of thinset either - regardless of the height issue.
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Unread 09-23-2010, 06:30 PM   #4
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Ok, well after thinking about it since I flattened my floor I think I'm going to step down to a 1/4" notch trowel. Mud goes down saturday morning bright and early, so if there are any objections throw them out now!
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Unread 09-26-2010, 08:51 PM   #5
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Worked like a charm! Flatter floor means less thinset - 1/4" square notch trowel was perfect. I have less than 1/8" under the door, but I think that'll be enough. I have zero lippage so unless I'm missing something the door should clear.
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Unread 09-27-2010, 03:33 AM   #6
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as long as its level or sloping down.
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Unread 09-29-2010, 12:45 AM   #7
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I need a hardwood to tile transition!

I have a small 8' x 10' TV room project in which my parents needed pre-selected 16" x 16" ceramic tile set. The room was originally carpet with hardwood flowing into the doorway, which is set at an angle from the next room. Due to the nature of the hardwood layout there are a lot of parallel lines running from the kitchen all the way to this doorway. The doorway isn't set at a 45 degree angle - more like slightly larger than 30 degrees.

Problem:

When I laid out the tile I noticed a flaw in the layout of the hardwood at the doorway. It bends slightly to the left starting about 3' back from the entryway of this room and gets worse right at the transition. You can see it as you walk from the kitchen toward the back of the house. The tile layout makes the flaw stand out. My parents wanted to stick with the tile layout, but they don't like the flaw either. I told them we could possibly cut part of the hardwood back to make a thicker transition and that would possibly help break up the lines a bit to hide the flaw, and they seem to like that idea.

So, I'm looking for ideas on what to do for a transition. Any ideas? Whatever I pick I'll be most likely removing the door jam and resetting it once the transition is in place. Since the door is set in a 6' wall it can be wider than normal.





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Last edited by COBALT; 09-29-2010 at 01:01 AM.
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Unread 09-29-2010, 12:53 AM   #8
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So what's the question?
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Unread 09-29-2010, 12:55 AM   #9
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What do I do for a transition - given the fact that I have this flaw to deal with?
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Unread 09-29-2010, 05:19 AM   #10
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Can you cut the hardwood back to the red line I drew on your picture? If so, you could make a single strip of wood to match the hardwood and install it where you removed the wood in the door way. The strip would stop about 1/8" or so from the tile, and that would be caulked. If there is any height differences, the strip can be tapered.
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Unread 09-29-2010, 06:58 AM   #11
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I agree with Bob. A header is the way to go.
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Unread 09-29-2010, 11:18 AM   #12
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Yes, cutting it back that far is certainly an option.

So...use the same hardwood material as a threshold? Not a bad idea, but I don't know if they have any more of that stuff left - they set this hardwood floor quite a while ago. I may have to buy a piece of material that looks close and cut it down to fit.

It may be better doing it that way anyway. The tile is slightly taller than the hardwood, so using the exact same material may leave me with a height problem. I'd have to put something under it and bevel the edges to keep it from being too abrupt.

What do you guys think about marble, and cutting the floor back less? Do you think using something like marble is too "over the top" for this project?
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Unread 09-29-2010, 11:22 AM   #13
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Marble is traditional for this sort of thing. Make it relatively simple, and it won't be "over the top," but instead, be "part of the furniture."
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Unread 09-29-2010, 11:37 AM   #14
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Lol, I like that. The only concern I have about marble is finding one wide enough. It's a 6' exterior wall after all. Do you think I can pick one of those up at a tile store, or am I going to find myself ordering something special?
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Unread 09-29-2010, 12:12 PM   #15
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I don't think it'll be as noticeable as you think it will be. I would just use a standard wood transition available from homer's a la: http://www.rd.com/images/tfhimport/2...shWood_019.jpg

They sell one for hardwood to tile, which is shaped like a "T". The horizontal hardwood will break up the diagonal pattern enough to hopefully hide it a bit. When in doubt you can always make your own, just match the stain.

I just foresee cutting out a large trunk to look even more awkward ("what happened here?").
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