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Unread 10-27-2020, 10:41 PM   #1
flyfisherman0322
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total newbie question about membrane over concrete.

I have decided to tear out the hardwood floors in my 3000sqft house and install wood plank Porcelain LFT over my slab on grade concrete. I am going to start in one of the small bedrooms, hoping i get the hang of it before I get to the large living room/kitchen. doing some prelim planning right now. I've decided that ditra and all-set are out of my budget so I'm looking to go with a liquid membrane, unsure if in the non wet locations if a waterproof/vapor membrane like MAPEI AQUAGAURD or Redgard is necessary or if I can just go with a crack isolation membrane like CI. Planning on using Kerabond-T for the mortar, along with some sort of self leveling product as necessary. any help would be awesome! FYI I haven't done any moisture/vapor checks.

Product recommendations are welcome as well!
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Unread 10-29-2020, 10:51 PM   #2
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Lake-house floor redo

Hi all...New to the forum! really excited to get started on replacing the floors in my new house. The wife and I retired from the military and bought our forever home. We thought this would be a good project for us. I decided to go with Large format wood plank porcelain tiles. Over the last couple of days I tore up the carpet in one room and started to get an idea of what this job will look like.

I am hoping you guys can make sure I'm on the right path here.

Going with 8x48 inch tile.

Things I need to do next:
-Remove the carpet adhesive with a chemical or grinder.
-patch the divots in the concrete from pulling up the tack strips for the carpet with concrete patch of some kind
-use the same patch to patch the crack in the closet (no vertical movement, barely wider than my credit card. card is standing in the crack in the pic)
-Check level of the concrete with laser for LFT specifications
-level floor if needed using some sort of liquid
-apply Maeplastic CI or similar product on entire floor for future crack isolation
-mortar using 1/2x1/2 U notch.

What about transitions between rooms when going from tile to tile when they are the same tile? how do folks handle that?

thinking about going all out and laying in a herringbone pattern. I figure I can perfect it in this small bedroom before I go live in the main part of the house.

Thanks for the help!

R
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Unread 10-30-2020, 08:37 AM   #3
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Welcome Ryan,

I like to scrape the floor with a 4" scraper that has replaceable blades. Gets most floors I encounter ready for tile. If something on the floor is stubborn, I use a grinder with a diamond cup and dust attachment.

I normally don't patch small carpet tack divots, the tile mortar takes care of those, but if they are large chunks say 2" wide when I mix up the patch I'll hit em.

As far as the crack and patching it, with all these plank type tiles it's imperative you start with a flat as possible floor. Crack's, even with no vertical movement tend to be the highpoint of the floor. I'd take the flattest gauge you have and go around the floor and see if you can identify the high's and low' of the slab. Then patch or grind accordingly.

After the floor is patched/leveled then use your crack iso over everything.

When it comes to transitions a lot of people prefer just a straight cut thats hidden beneath the door. Sometimes you have height changes between two tile jobs and most would then stop tile at the outside of the jambs and fill-in with a design of some sort with a slight ramp effect between the height changes. Others on here will have their preferred method of transitions. Including using a metal trim "schluter" being the popular brand.

If you do herringbone it's a good idea to lay the short side of the tile to 1 long side and see if they match up edge to edge with a grout joint between all the shorts That way the pattern won't grow and start to misalign as you progress.
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Unread 10-30-2020, 08:41 AM   #4
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Welcome, Ryan.

1. Please do not use any sort of chemical remover on that carpet glue. All you'll do there is seal the concrete surface, which will require mechanical abrasion to eliminate. You want to use only mechanical means to remove the glue. I'd start with a razor scraper and see how well that works.

2. You can do that or just let them fill while setting the tiles if the divots are not too deep. Pre-filling them is best if they're more than a quarter-inch deep and a cementitious patching material can be found at your local home center.

3. Patching the crack will do no good at all and is best left to fill while keying in your tile setting mortar. When the industry asks if you have any differential height between sides of that crack, they mean any! If one side is even a few thousandths of an inch higher than the other it means you slab is cracked all the way through and subject to vertical movement, which no crack isolation product will overcome.

4. Your tiles don't give a rat's patooti whether your slab is level, they care only about flat. Tiles as large as yours will care a lot.

5. Again, no reason to level unless you just want to do it for fun. The industry standard for flatness for your tile size is no deviation from intended plane of more than 1/8th" in ten feet nor 1/16th" in two feet. That's a very, very flat floor and you'll be happy to have it when you start to set those long tiles.

6. Optional, but good insurance. See #3.

7. The flatter the substrate and the flatter the tiles, the less need for such a large notch, but the 1/2" notched trowel seems to be popular for those wood plank-looking tiles.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-31-2020, 07:30 AM   #5
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Welcome, Ryan,

It seems to me a product like CI will do the trick. The only "wet" areas in the house are the shower floors, and those would be handled completely different anyway. Keep in mind that if you do need to apply any self leveling product it would have to be installed prior to the CI (or any other product).

Doing the moisture check is a good idea.

With 3k Sq/Ft spread amongst different rooms planning the layout will super duper important.
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Unread 10-31-2020, 10:21 AM   #6
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update

Thanks for the info. The 4 inch scraper worked awesome! I feel like i spend hours at home depot trying to find the tools that I need . I have a laser level on the way today to check different spots on the floor for flatness. I was able to use a 8 foot cutting guide to start getting an idea. You can see from the pics below I definitely have a low spot over by the window. It appears to to be about .5 inches below the center of the room. I will probably have to use some leveling compound for that. Sorry the pics are upside down

Those dark stains on the concrete...they look like wood stain/paint or something. Do I need to get those up prior to laying tile. They are in a small area and they are smooth. If so I plan on just sanding them up.

My plan is to order all of the tile I will need for the whole house. While I will be working on this a little at a time over the next several months. I was afraid that they would discontinue the tile potentially and leave me in the current situation where I have 3 different types of wood floors in the house. I can buy the mortar and other stuff as I nee it.

As always thanks Gents!

Ryan
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Unread 10-31-2020, 08:50 PM   #7
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Ryan you're in good company, finding tools I want need is a full time job. The laser level is very handy, but your flat edge will work better for gauging the overall contour of the floor. Don't worry, if asked by anyone you know I'll say it's a necessity.

If you put drops of water on the stains and the water absorbs into the slab (within 5-10 minutes) instead of sits on top (because the stain has sealed the slab) you're ok.

Now as far as getting the floor flat I generally will run my straight edge the same direction as the long side of the planks on how they will install on the floor. I make sure and get the floor as close to perfect as possible that direction. If I run my edge the perpendicular (short side of the tile) direction and it's varies say 1/8" in 8-10' I'm good to go on tiling it. Because the tiles are 6-8" wide that direction and will sort of flow with that type of change of plane.

If you imagine a speed bump the tiles will flow over it on the short side, but trying to tile over a speed bump long ways would be impossible since the tiles wont bend around it. So most my focus with planks is getting that long direction as perfect as possible, and then focus on the short side if needed.
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Unread 11-05-2020, 10:34 PM   #8
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Second opinion?

Purchased enough material to finish the job. The person at Floor and Decor changed my mind on a couple things that I wanted to get your thoughts on. Changed to a 6x24 tile because it will look better in a herringbone pattern than a 8x48 tile. Visualizing that, it does make sense.

He told me that 6x24 isn't considered LFT because its the same square inches as 12x12 tile. Convinced me that a 1/4X3/8 trowel with thinset is fine. Im skeptical of this. If using a 1/2 trowel and medium bed mortar causes no harm it seems like less risk? I bought the small trowel and thinset so its hard to return but its cheap compared to needing to redo in a few years.

Thoughts?
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Unread 11-05-2020, 10:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
He told me that 6x24 isn't considered LFT...
Isn't considered by whom?

Careful with that square area analogy, Ryan. The ceramic tile industry currently considers any tile with any edge longer than 15 inches to be large format for the purpose of floor flatness and you'll find a good deal of difference between setting 144 square inches of a 12x12 tile and 144 square inches of a 6x24 tile.

As for the type of mortar used to set the tile, my opinion is that if the substrate is sufficiently flat and the tile is sufficiently flat, you can use a traditional thinset mortar rather than a LHT mortar (there are no medium bed mortars in the tile industry standards). If the tiles are particularly heavy, you can, indeed, have problems with them settling unevenly in some instances and a LHT mortar will usually prevent that. If you have any doubt, set a few tiles just the way you expect to do the whole floor, pull each one up to check your coverage, then set them and wait 'till the next day to see if they're still just the way you left them.

If I were to set your tiles I would start with that 1/4 by 3/8ths square notch and see how it goes.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-11-2020, 07:55 PM   #10
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Got started today...It was messy!

I started laying the tile today. I think I used way to much Mortar. Also because the tile is only 6 inch wide and doing the herringbone, it was difficult to not get mortar in a spot that I didn't need it.

Back buttering was a pain. I don't know how you guys make it look so easy. The trowel I used was too big...ended up using a 9 inch putty knife. The first few I puts so much mortar on that it smashed up between the tiles and I had to get it with the knife. I think it was because I was using to much.

Learning how to use the trowel was a bit of a curve. but I'm figuring it out.

All of that dried mortar is from using the sponge to wipe it up. I assume that will just mop up when I'm all done?

I got a little of square on the second row...I think I can fix it on the 3rd.

Also...How do you guys make sure they are level between tiles? do you just lay a level and if it's too high you take out some mortar...if it's too low you add? it seems like there is an easier way. I have on tile that is slightly lower than the others. it's pretty much set now, wondering what I should do about it? It will be covered by the bed.

any pointers?

Thanks!
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Unread 11-11-2020, 08:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan
I assume that will just mop up when I'm all done?
I fear you've got a bit of a rude awakening coming up, Ryan.

I'd very strongly recommend you go back to that floor right now and see if you can't clean that installation a whole lot. Just looking at your photo my gut feeling is that you're gonna get to take it all up and start over.

The very best way to get your tiles to set flat and in plane with one another is to ensure that your substrate is very flat and that your tiles are, too.

You shouldn't need to be back-buttering those tiles at all, really. Keying in mortar to the back of each one, yes indeed, but buttering up any more thickness of mortar on the tiles? No. The mortar you've keyed into the substrate should be sufficient if you're using the right trowel and the right technique. The very thin bit of mortar you've keyed-in to the back of the tile just makes it a very friendly surface when it meets the notched mortar on the floor. Correctly done you should be able to eliminate most of the squeeze-out into your grout joints.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-11-2020, 09:35 PM   #12
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I assumed that was the case...I already started fixing it. Are you talking the mortar around the tiles or on the tile...or both. I'm going to tear them up and then scrape the mortar up as good as I can. If I can use a blade to scrape the mortar smooth, can I just reapply over it.


Thanks!
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Unread 11-11-2020, 10:22 PM   #13
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Both.

Yes.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-12-2020, 07:18 AM   #14
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Ryan,

As mentioned before, it's always easier to flatten the floor first then rely on the notch from your trowel to deliver a consistent amount of mortar while you tile. With that being said I'm not immune to have been in situations where I've had to adjust on the fly as I tile... it's tough, messy and slower.

The good news is you're finding this out in your small bathroom before you move onto the larger rooms

Some tips:
Establishing your first couple rows as flat as possible with planks or any tile for that matter is really key. I'll spend all the time necessary on my first two rows of tile to get them as flat as my edge will read. Even if that means taking some up and adjusting as needed. Why:Because as I continue to tile the floor I'm basically referencing my previous row of tile with my hands for lippage. You start flat and it's easier to continue flat.

Keep in mind how you end for the day, I personally like to end my tile day with the easiest way to begin the next day. Meaning I won't leave a wood tile floor until I finish a complete row so I'm not starting on a stagger the next morning. I know I can't adjust ANY tiles the next day so I make sure I have a straight run to begin my next day. I know on herringbone you don't have straight runs, but remember you won't be able to adjust the next day so end in a fashion where you take no adjusting tomorrow into account.

To keep things clean, change the water out in your water bucket when it's leaving a haze on the tile. I usually change mine out after lunch, but being you're getting the hang of things you might need to more frequent. Plus as you tile and get that mortar oozing through, use a spacer or old toothbrush to keep the joints clean, and for the edges of the tile where mortar oozes make sure and scrape those clean so you don't have to deal with it later when it's hard. Most of us will smear our floors, then right before we set the tile against another one we'll run our margin trowel along the edge of the previous set tile to knockdown the mortar at the edge so it won't ooze through.

Hope this helps.
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