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Unread 12-01-2020, 08:12 PM   #1
diydanny
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Basement large plank tile project. Bit off more than I can chew?

What an awesome forum. Thanks to all the pros and diy’ers for all the info!

Ive been spending hours reading what to do and what not to do. I really love the look of large 8”x48” wood look plank glazed porcelain tiles and bought about 650 sqft for this project.

Not knowing what I had gotten myself into, I was excited to start tiling. However, after researching this forum I realized I am in over my head.

But I am going to see the project through and hope to make a grade of C to C+ so the wife doesnt kick me out of the house. Lol.

So this is what I am doing so far. I have found the floor to be horribly unflat. I bought a 9’ aluminum straight edge (the longest I could find nearby for a reasonable price). I have added SLC (Jif-set brand) to much of the low spots and spent hours and hours grinding with a 7” diamond cup wheel in a haze of dust after covering everything. I am wearing a rated half face respirator for asbestos, silica, and dust.

As I am getting the basement slab ready for this huge tile I have uncovered a couple of very old cracks in the original concrete floor that the old self leveler covered up. This old slc did not have any cracks in it.

My plan is to continue flattening the floor as best I can with the 10’ allowance to show no more than 1/8” deviation. This is proving very difficult to achieve for me. I have spent so much time already just to get the floor flat but am determined to keep at it.

Once the floor is flat, since I will have a mix of gypsum based SLC and some bare concrete areas, I was going to use RedGard mixed with water as a primer per the instructions, and let dry. then apply straight redgard over the whole area to proper thickness/coverage amounts.

I am going to be installing a 1/4” foam all around the perimeter to be sure to keep all perimeter expansion joints. I think I have located where my movement joint needs to be as well.

Does this sound like a good plan so far?
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Unread 12-01-2020, 10:02 PM   #2
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Welcome, Dan.

Hate to rain on your parade, but I'm a little concerned with that gypsum-based patching material you're using. I just Googled it up as I had never heard of the product. Let me know if that is not the product you're using.

My first concern was that it's gypsum based. Thinset mortar doesn't always play well with gypsum backing material.

Second concern was with your application, which you've described as a basement. In Chicago, I trust that means the floor is below grade, yes? From the manufacturer's website, this:

"Limitations

Jif-Set
is limited to interior use only, and should be used on or above grade where continuous moisture is not present." (underline theirs)

My point there is that you're below grade and the product is limited to on or above grade and dry floors. Have you done at least a rudimentary moisture vapor emissions test on your floor?

And no where in their literature do I find any specific reference to the use of a ceramic tile installation over the product. Not saying you can't do it, just saying it might be problematic. I see that you plan to use RedGard over the entire floor, which may alleviate any problem with the thinset mortar reaction with the gypsum, but it will also act to trap moisture between your slab and the RedGard if you have significant moisture vapor emissions.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-01-2020, 11:48 PM   #3
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Hi CX,

Thanks for this info. I was also worried about the use of it below grade. I put a lot of it on this floor about 13 years ago before I learned the important lesson of reading all the manufacturers instructions. I do believe I did a plastic square moisture test and had no water vapor. The slab is about 100 years old and was in good shape except for the sloping with no moisture issues.

This Jif Set has held up wonderfully well and no areas are coming up at all, even after a large water leak with some standing water. I even did the tap-tap hollow test and all good. I was pleasantly surprised.

So, I decided to trust it since it has stood a decent test of the time (13+ years) with no cracks and also while wet. This basement does not get water. Well, except for the broken hose bib event.

I am confident with the product. Maybe it has helped that I also mix it with their liquid latex product. On a small test area I wanted to pull up to test it. I used a crowbar to pry it and it almost flexed or bowed before it cracked and came off the concrete.
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Unread 12-02-2020, 02:29 AM   #4
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They do make a dust shroud for grinders that connects to a vacuum. You can also add a Dust Deputy to the system that will save your filters.

Get the floor as flat as you can before adding the Redgard. You also want to mop it well to remove all the dust. Actually a big yellow grout sponge and a bucket of water picks up the dust better than a mop. Keep the water clean.
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Unread 12-02-2020, 12:46 PM   #5
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Hi Davy,

Thanks a lot. I am doing just that. The dust deputy and 7” shroud work pretty ok. Grinding now and also mapping out high and low spots with my straight edge and sharpie. This is a tedious job. The contractors I received proposals from only wanted to scrape it or allow 4 bags of SLC in their price.

Thanks for the tips on the sponge and bucket I’ll buy some more as I know I will need a few sponges and buckets.
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Unread 12-02-2020, 11:25 PM   #6
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Adding SLC to the floor is a lot easier than grinding down the high spots. I was grinding a slab recently and was reminded on how long it takes...even with a fairly aggressive diamond cup wheel. My hat’s off to you for your persistence.
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Unread 12-03-2020, 03:02 PM   #7
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Thanks a lot tool guy!
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Unread 12-03-2020, 04:41 PM   #8
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Here’s some progress pics.
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Unread 12-03-2020, 04:45 PM   #9
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and some more.
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Unread 12-07-2020, 09:18 PM   #10
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and some more
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Unread 12-07-2020, 11:34 PM   #11
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How's that Dust Deputy working out?
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Unread 12-08-2020, 03:13 PM   #12
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It’s working pretty good. Glad I bought it.
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Unread 12-11-2020, 12:12 PM   #13
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I would like to use the spin doctors tile system. The plastic surface shields won’t work on the 3/16” bases I’m getting according to google and Amazon.

Will glazed porcelain tiles scratch from the spin drs with LFT modified mortar without the shields?

Please disregard that question. I called RTC and they have a universal plastic spacer item code- LSCPP that will work.
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Unread 12-11-2020, 12:24 PM   #14
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Only way to know for sure is to use the lippage control pieces on your tile using your thinset mortar and your technique on a test board, Dan.

Might be helpful to contact Russo about the use of the surface shields rather than relying upon Google or Amazon. Unfortunately I no longer have a phone number for Russo and their site has only one of those irritating contact forms to fill out with your question. No idea how responsive they might be.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-11-2020, 01:04 PM   #15
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The shields not only protect the face of the tile, they also prevent the tile from moving as you tighten the caps.

And be careful tightening those caps. Though I have a pretty good feel for such things I still managed to break a handful of the bases. You only want to tighten them enough to get the tile even, and you'll want to sneak up on that tightness. Snug them down a little, set another tile or two, then go back and tighten a bit more.

Also, when installing the bases; You'll notice the bottoms are forked, and you'll want to use that fork to remove some of the mortar from under the tile right where you want the base. Otherwise you'll have mortar oozing up between the edge of the tile and base, which might throw off your grout line and will definitely be hard to clean out later.

I found it pretty time consuming but worth it.
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