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Unread 10-21-2015, 05:36 PM   #1
gekkie96
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Chip the Slab Before Tiling?

I'm new to the forum but need some expert floor tile advice. We are in the process of a major remodel and I'm not sure I'm agreeing with the floor guys approach so I thought I should get some other opinions.

Here is the situation. My contractor is getting ready to lay the floor tile in our house. We are putting down a 24x24 rectified porcelain tile on every floor surface in the house. We have a 1963 slab foundation and an area of floors that also has exposed aggregate from the original floors.

The tile guy started chipping up the slab saying they need to do this so the tile will stick (see attached picture). What's your opinion on this?

He also said he can lay the tile right over the exposed aggregate and there will be no problems. What's your opinion on this?

My contractor also said they will be doing a mud float for laying the tile floors.

Right now the house is super dusty from all the work going on, do they need to wash the floors before laying tile and if so how long should the floors dry before laying the tile?

I'm very concerned about how these floors get done as the old tile on them was cracking all over the place. Any advice or expertise is greatly appreciated.

Aaron
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Last edited by gekkie96; 10-21-2015 at 05:37 PM. Reason: spelling
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Unread 10-21-2015, 05:54 PM   #2
jadnashua
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Unless the floor was super smooth or if a sealer was applied, there are mortars that can be used that will stick to it fine as is without doing something else. It MUST be cleaned up of dust or other contaminants before they start to tile, though. A quick check is to spill some water on it. If it beads up, it needs work, if it soaks in in a few minutes, it should be fine. As long as there is no standing water on the slab, having it damp will actually improve the bond. IOW, you don't need to wait, but no puddles!

Now, understanding why the existing tile cracked before proceeding, is probably the bigger issue. There are lots of install errors that could cause that, but if the slab has cracks in it where the tile cracked as well, that needs further investigation. You cannot tile a slab with VERTICAL displacement cracks. Depending on how wide a horizontal crack is, there is probably a way. Since you're tiling the whole house, what are their plans for expansion joints, and soft joints over any existing slab joints? Without those, you are likely to have problems with the new stuff. IOW, you cannot have a large expanse of tile without a means for individual sections to expand and contract independently, especially if there are a large expanse of windows. If a room is big enough, it may require expansion joints IN the room, but usually requires them at each entryway if you want things to last.
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Unread 10-21-2015, 06:44 PM   #3
gekkie96
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Thank you for your reply Jadnashua.

So will the chipping in the slab they are doing cause problems or does that make sense to do?

Any thoughts on laying tile over exposed aggregate?

Luckily the cracks we have in the slab are not vertical and passed with the engineer.

Thanks
Aaron
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Unread 10-21-2015, 08:16 PM   #4
jadnashua
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As long as there's no sealer (that becomes a bond-breaker), it should be fine. It's harder, since the surface isn't as smooth, but I'm assuming that it is still essentially level. With a tile that large, the floor must be VERY flat, or you'll have issues. Essentially, the industry standard for a tile that large calls for flat within 1/8" in 10' and no deviation greater than 1/16" in two feet, otherwise, it's really tough to keep lippage down and the tiled surface flat. I guess it would be good to see what others think on this. I'm assuming, and may not be correct, that the tops of the aggregate are level and flat. If not, then some additional prep is called for.
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