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Unread 03-13-2005, 09:27 PM   #1
HouseOfJoe
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Tiling directly to Concrete Slab

I'm about to help a friend tile a small entryway (maybe 3x9) and a small bathroom (5x5 ish) in his basement with 12x12 porcelain tile. The floor is a concrete slab. Not sure of the age, but probably about 10-15 years, maybe a little less.

I know if we tile directly to the floor and it cracks, then the tile will crack. Other than that risk, is there any other reason not to do it? If the floor in the areas we're going to work on are crack free and are as old as I think they are, are we being foolish? I know my friend won't be eager to spend money for more substrate prep, but that's what I'll talk him into if that's what we need to do.

What are the pros and cons here? I really appreciate any feedback that will prevent my friend from being irritated with me in a year or so!

Joe
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Unread 03-13-2005, 09:35 PM   #2
John Corley
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Hello

I always put underlayment down on my cement slabs when I tile, however I live in Southern California and we experience a lot of earth movement.

If the slab is as old as you say, and the earth does not quake where you live then go for it!

Good luck

John
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Unread 03-13-2005, 09:51 PM   #3
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As a form of cheap insurance, I would consider using one of the newer thinsets that are sort of a CI thinset. I recall Mark speaking of one that Customs makes, and I am sure that at least some others make them too. Just a thought.
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Unread 03-13-2005, 10:00 PM   #4
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Custom is billing its brand-new MegaLite as crack prevention mortar. Might be worth a look.
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Unread 03-13-2005, 10:46 PM   #5
cx
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Welcome, Joe.

Your floor have any cracks now?
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Unread 03-13-2005, 10:55 PM   #6
HouseOfJoe
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Hi cx,

I've only seen this floor a couple times...I'm going over to talk to them again Tuesday and I'll take a closer look then, but I can say that across the main area of the floor there are no major cracks. There may be some very minor ones that I didn't notice the first time around...not sure about that, but I don't think so.

Joe
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Unread 03-14-2005, 06:44 PM   #7
John Bridge
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Hi Joe, Welcome aboard.


They are small floor areas, not all that much of a risk. I would got right to the concrete in this case, although an antifracture membrane is always good insurance. The Custom brand of thin set that is currently in Home Depot that will add protection from cracking is called "Flex Bond." It's about $26 per sack, but again, you are not doing a large area. I recommend using that thin set.

Tell us where you are located. I may take it all back.
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Unread 03-14-2005, 10:53 PM   #8
HouseOfJoe
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Hi John, thanks for the welcome. I've actually been lurking here for a few months. The amount of info and the generosity of you and the merry crew here in sharing your expertise is pretty darn wonderful. Kudos to you!

I'm in Nebraska, so we certainly have our share of freeze/thaw cycles. Also, the entryway is, of course, by the door of the walkout basement, and is on the southern exposure and gets a fair bit of sun. The bath is on the north end of the basement and won't get any sun at all. I'll check around for the Flex Bond. Given where I am, the size of what I'm doing and the apparent good condition of the floor, do you think that's enough?

On a not so related topic, does anybody have any good websites/resources for tile patterns/layouts?

Joe
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Unread 03-15-2005, 07:34 AM   #9
Dave Taylor
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Joe... here are a few tile design URL's

http://www.bedrosians.com/flrpatrn.htm

http://www.superior-tile.com/Patterns.asp

http://252fwww.thevirtualshowroom.com/CT/Dal/dal's_tile_patterns.htm

http://www.floridatile.com/NewPatter...ry/Pattern.htm

There are also CAD design tools for tile available for download... but I can't find them right now.

Good luck to ya.
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Unread 03-15-2005, 07:46 AM   #10
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Joe,

If there are no cracks or more importantly, uneveness between cracks, then I too would recommend Custom Building Product's Flexbond. It is a little more expensive, but a small price to pay for a little extra insurance. Just make sure there's no glaze or sealer present. Sprinkle a little water onto the surface. If it beads on the surface, you should rough it up. If the water penetrates/soaks in, you should be good to go.

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Unread 03-16-2005, 07:04 PM   #11
HouseOfJoe
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How much unevenness can thinset alone cover?

I KNOW this question must have been asked and answered a thousand times, but darned if I can find it, so...

Concrete slab, small area (3x7 or so), laying 12x12 tile directly to it. If I have nonflat areas, what's the maximum height those areas can be to just use thinset to level them out? And whatever that number is, if thinset CAN be used for the flattening process, do you put it down and screed it and let it dry first, or can you just put down a thicker layer when you're laying the tile?

Thanks for any opinions!

Joe
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Unread 03-16-2005, 07:08 PM   #12
Davestone
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I have answered this a thou...just kiddin,i wouldn't go more than a quarter inch or so,it tends to crack up if you go deeper,otherwise you can flattrowel some thinset, then some stucco mix,or sand topping mix on top.
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Unread 03-16-2005, 07:11 PM   #13
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I personally wouldn't use thinset for anything more that a light 1/4". Prescreeding will make it easier to install the tile, although if we are only talking of 1/8", I would fill as I tile.
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Unread 03-16-2005, 07:44 PM   #14
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Thanks guys. I appreciate it!
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