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Unread 05-26-2016, 11:51 AM   #1
D!NGO
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My first big tiling project. Questions as I go along....

Hello everyone, glad to be here.

Last week I ripped up my vinyl and carpet on my downstairs living areas to prep for tiles. I found 3 cracks on my concrete slab. The slab is basically in rectangular shape. They ran width wise, one in the middle and the other 2 are about 1/3 from the ends, basically splitting the foundation into 4 sections. They appeared to be shrinkage cracks with some smaller spider cracks branching out. The openings range from 1/64" to 3/16" with no vertical differences on either side of the cracks. There are no control joints on this slab. The area I want to tile is around 1900 sf (58' x 33'). House is 2 story built on SOG in 2005.

I did some research (mostly here and Google) on crack isolation and narrowed it down to two products I wanted to use: Greenskin and Mapeguard 2. My decision was based on convenience/speed and no mortar to put down to wait a day before tiling, although Mapeguard 2 needs a primer compared to Greenskin. I also need to match my existing bath tiles that is 7/8" high. However, most of the info I've read were about are 3 years old and older. And some of the links that were referred by members and associates of their products on this forum no longer exist.

So I was wondering if they are slowly fazing out the stick-on iso membranes for a better type, either by the tiling industry or their respective company? I've also read somewhere, but couldn't find it now, someone who was using Greenskin had to pull up their tiles for some reason, that the tiles were easily separated from the Greenskin. He stated that all the mortars came up on the tiles and the Greenskin looked like it was still new. Don't know what type of mortar he used....wish I could find that article again.

Some members here also said they had some delamination problems with the Greenskin but that's because they left it in their trucks in the sun. This worries me about their long term reliability. Because Greenskin is relatively new compare to Mapei, coupled with concerns of future "floating" tiles gave me no confidence of using this product. I've read too, probably from the same thread, that Greenskin came out with a newer product (?maybe to combat these issues?) but not much info can be found. Can someone please confirm that?

That leads me to my second choice: Mapeguard 2 with bonded fabric on top. I would think this would make for a more solid hold fast than the plastic membrane of Greenskin. But here too, I've found mostly old info. And there are not that many web commerce selling them.....maybe because there are better products out there? I dunno. So any info would be appreciated.

This will be my first big project so I want to start out right and be prepare as much as I can. I've done some small tiling before in my old house. Just clean floor and start tiling....so yeah, amateur at best. This time around I hope I can rely on the guidance of members here so I won't have to redo this project again in the future. I will surely have more questions as I go along in the process so I would like to thank you in advance for any and all info given.
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Unread 05-26-2016, 01:32 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Derek.

No experience with either of those products, but others here have. Maybe they'll chime in later.

Are you leaning toward those two products because they're both thinner products? Will either of those allow you to get the tile installed at the height you're wanting?

Is this a basement, or ground level floor?

There are other products that will work very well as a crack iso product, one of them being Laticrete Stratamat. It installs with thinset mortar to the slab. I know you mentioned being able to tile the same day, but I can assure you that you'll spend the entire day getting everything ready and covering the floor with a crack iso the first day, and if you're like me you'll be too tired to do anything else.

You can tile over the membranes the same day, but I prefer to wait until the next day to allow them to dry. Otherwise, if you have to lift a set tile, you'll likely pull the membrane up with it.
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Unread 05-26-2016, 01:56 PM   #3
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Thanks, Kevin.

Slab on ground level.

I thought Stratamat and Ditra are uncoupling membranes. I think they do provide some kind of crack prevention but I didn't want to take the chance. IIR, their data sheet said for cracks up to 1/8". My cracks are up to 3/16" on some places.

Regarding the height issue, these two membranes would work out better for me as the tile I'm looking at are 1/2"...so thinset + 1/8" membrane + thinset + 1/2" would probably match my 7/8" existing tiles. But because of concerns stated above, I chose to go with crack iso membrane instead and maybe put on a thicker thinset under the tiles. Will this method work?
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Unread 05-27-2016, 09:07 AM   #4
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I need to match my existing tile that is 7/8" in height. If I use a 1mm underlayment membrane to install 1/2" tiles, can I get this to match up to 7/8" by putting down thicker thinset under the tiles? Or do I need thicker underlayment?
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Unread 05-27-2016, 07:26 PM   #5
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Matching tile levels, my DIY cheat

I and a DIY'er, not a professional, so just passing this idea along.

I recently tiled a bedroom with a wood plank tile that joins a private bath that had been previously tiled. I had been thinking that I would enjoy a mosaic tile transition between it and the adjoining bathroom by incorporating colors from both tiled areas. I'm not sure how other people like the look, but I did it and enjoy it. It ended up working great for transitioning any slight height differences between the two areas. The mosaic wasn't quite as thick as my tile so I had a little wiggle room for adjustments on height. It seems all flat now that it is done, but if I put a level on it, it probably has a slight change from one floor to the other but not at all noticeable.

I showed my floor to a friend today and the first thing that she noticed was the mosaic transition and she loved it (I didn't mention or point it out). It looks better in person, the picture doesn't show how well it it really looks.

Good luck on your flooring project.

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Unread 05-27-2016, 10:00 PM   #6
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Derek, there are minimum and maximum thicknesses for thinset under tile. I wouldn't try to build up the entire floor just to match a certain height. I'd rather have a slight transition as required where it meets the other floor.
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Unread 05-27-2016, 10:55 PM   #7
D!NGO
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Thanks for the photo Cathy,


That is exactly my situation. A question for you: Do you feel the height difference in your feet when you step on the transition with your toes and heal are on the opposite sides of the transition? If you do, could you share what is the height difference between the bath tiles and the wood tiles?
BTW, your tile work is very nice and the transition brought the two sides together nicely.
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Unread 05-28-2016, 12:25 AM   #8
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Thanks Kevin,

I think I'll take that advise of yours about not building up mortar. But I'm really anal about having to make a transition to "bridge" the difference in heights. I know this is normally done but I will always know there will be a slope there every time I step on it and thinking I shoulda, woulda and coulda. It will drive me crazy!

I might look into putting 1/8" SLC on the concrete and then the crack membrane. I'm still searching for something a little thicker than 1mm that would be suitable for my cracks.
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Unread 05-28-2016, 01:51 PM   #9
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mosaic transition - don't notice slight level change

I took a level and saw that it is not 100% level, but I don't notice the change in floor level very much when walking on it. Only when you asked for me to notice & I put a level on it did I start to notice it had a slight difference when I walk directly on it with my heel on one room & toes on the other side. It is not a huge out of level difference though, just slight.
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Unread 05-29-2016, 12:19 PM   #10
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Thank you Cathy for taking the time to do that. I hope I didn't make you feel bothered by it knowing that it's there now.
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Unread 05-30-2016, 09:36 PM   #11
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Smile nope, not bothered by the transition slope

It really is not noticeable at all. And I really enjoy the mosaic. Another friend saw my floor today and loved the mosaic transition. I'm really glad that I added that touch to the floor.
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Unread 07-12-2016, 08:26 PM   #12
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So, after I rented a diamond grinder from HD to do the whole floor, my house looked like it just went through a flood with mud.

Now all the cracks are filled with dried up mud. I was able to easily cleaned the holes left from carpet tacks, but the cracks are a different story. I could only clean the top 1mm in the cracks. There are still dried mud below this. I included a photo of one of the cracks below. There are about 4 to 5 cracks like this running width wise in about 2000 square feet.

I'm concerned that eventual movements in the cracks that will cause this 1mm of thin set to pup up and becomes loose and causing problems. Do I really need to remove all the mud from the cracks before I put down underlayment?

Also, do I need to prefill the holes? I am going to use Laticrete 254 to put down Strata Mat.
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Unread 07-15-2016, 01:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Also, do I need to prefill the holes? I am going to use Laticrete 254 to put down Strata Mat.
Hi Derek,
The best way to approach this would be to try and remove as much of the “mud” from the cracks as possible. A screwdriver or awl should be able to get in there fairly well and then a vacuum to remove the debris should work. Once the floor is clean the follow the instructions from the STRATA_MAT data sheet for Concrete Subfloor and then installation of STRATA_MAT.

Concrete must be cured sufficiently to support tile installation traffic as determined by design professional, construction manager, or general contractor. The surface shall be free of voids, sharp protrusions and loose aggregate. All surfaces should be between 40°F (4°C) and 90°F (32°C) and structurally sound, clean and free from all dirt, oil, grease, paint, concrete sealers or curing compounds and cement laitance. Rough or uneven concrete surfaces should be made smooth with a LATICRETE Latex Portland cement underlayment to provide a wood float or better finish. Do not level with gypsum or asphalt based products.

Good luck on the project!
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Unread 07-15-2016, 02:39 PM   #14
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254 is real pricey. Super sticky thinset. It is a great product when needed. Strata mat is not one of those times. Save yourself 20 dollars a bag and use 253. It is still a premium thinset and will bond strata mat to the concrete just fine.

As long as holes are carpet tack holes, you will be fine filling them as you Burn your thinst into the concrete.
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Unread 07-18-2016, 12:51 AM   #15
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Thank you Sharon and Cain for you reply.

Sharon: I took your advice using an awl but some of the cracks were too narrow, so I got an idea of using a paper clip to get deep into the cracks. It worked out really well. Dunno why I didn't think of it before .
So now, is it better if I try to press patching cement into the cracks now so it'll will go down as deep as possible? Or should I just leave it and burning thin set when I put down the mat is good enough?

Cain: I have few hundred holes to fill so it's good to know I don't have to prefill all of them. But I have some that are about 2 to 3 inches wide and 1/2" deep so I fill them with patching cement just in case. Regarding the 254, I've read laticrete brochure that it has a long open time. Being a novice, I need a much time as possible.

Do you or Sharon know what is the open time for 253 and 254?
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