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Unread 04-19-2017, 04:55 PM   #1
machinemanjr
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Wall Tile Backer Board: Hardie, DensShield, Kerdi Board and others: Thoughts?

Hello, I am remodeling my bathroom in an old 1919 Craftsman in Spokane, Wash. The floor and lath/plaster has been completely removed. I am planning a walk-in shower with a mud-pack and curb as well as wall tile 4' up the walls of behind the sink and toilet.

My tile installer is partial to DensShield. I am wondering with so many products on the market, what do user of this forum like? I am leaning towards Kerdi-Boad as just a membrane over sheetrock makes me nervous (Kerdi membrane). I also see Wedi board is popular. I just want to install the absolute best product in the shower and behind the wall tile.

So question 1: Which back board is the forum partial to?

As for the floor: The new floor is 3/4" plywood over 2x10 (they actually measure 2' x 10", gotta love old growth actual dimensional lumber!) floor joists 16" on center with a 10' span and a load bearing wall installed underneath (recent bedroom addition). I want to install Kerdi Heat directly over the plywood subfloor.

2: Lay the heat membrane over the 3/4 ply or install a CBU on top of the plywood then Ditra?

(Side note: Ditra requires 2''x2'' floor tile to maintain warranty. I am using a 3/4" by 3/4" square mosaic tile. Any thoughts on using small tile over DITRA heat?, See attached image) The tiles are 1/4" thick, made by A.R.T. (American Restoration Tile)

Thanks in advance everyone!
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Unread 04-19-2017, 05:21 PM   #2
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Hi Ian.

Which backer is best? Think of the Bell Curve. You'll get lots of different opinions here from mud to all you've listed. Most people who keep up on education find mfgrs that have extensive training programs as their best friend. So we gravitate that way. Lots like Wedi, Kerdiboard, and newer waterproof boards so it's going to be a toss up.

I like Kerdiboard and Wedi, also Hydroban. Each do some things better but all are superior to non-waterproof systems.

Re: Ditra/Ditra Heat - 3/4" tile is a no-go. Change either tile or substrate.
Ditra goes right on ply. No need to add cementitious backer in there.

Add tile size, type (glass, porcelain, ceramic, etc) to your project description to help.

Happy trails.
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Unread 04-19-2017, 06:15 PM   #3
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You will lose warranty most likely but many times installers simply prefill the ditra heat with thinset or SLU then set the smaller than recommended tile. Try checking with schluter and see what they say.

I have the same thoughts on backer, I've used lots of kerdi board, just finished a couple projects with Wedi, and my next will be with Hydroban board. All are great products.
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Unread 04-19-2017, 07:09 PM   #4
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You do need something that your installer is comfortable with. If the installer has never installed, Kerdi, Wedi board, or any of those systems I would be hesitant to be the first one.

With that being said I think Denshield is a lousy product when you have so many other options. Most people don't waterproof the seams and edges correctly anyways.
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Unread 04-19-2017, 08:38 PM   #5
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What Jim said! All of it.
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Unread 04-19-2017, 10:04 PM   #6
machinemanjr
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Thanks for the update!

The tile is 3/4" x 3/4" by 1/4" unglazed ceramic tile. The attached picture is the exact tile design I am doing. I'm not convinced on the DensShield either, but I will talk to my installer. I do want a mud set though, I think the polystyrene pre-fab curbs and pans are ugly (curbs are gigantic) and no do have sufficient slope to them.

As far as the small mosaic tile over the DITRA-heat, I talked to Schluter and they said it can be done but will void the warranty. They said to float it with thinset or use slc. I like the DITRA because it is so thin and acts as a water sealer.

Has anyone used mosaic tile over a floor heating system? If so, what was used?
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Unread 04-19-2017, 10:10 PM   #7
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Wire embedded in SLC then tiled when using small mosaics. Use the fibreglass mesh heating system to skip the wire lath in the SLC, OR use Ardex LBB and a wire embedded in that to skip the wire of an ordinary SLC.
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Unread 04-19-2017, 10:21 PM   #8
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The problem with small tile over a membrane like Ditra or Ditra Heat is that the tile is only supported by thinset towers in between what is essentially just a thin plastic 'empty air space'. A point load will not have any support, at least in some parts. But, the force is transmitted somewhat down along an angle (think pyramid), so if you have a thick enough substrate, the forces will act like a bigger tile, hitting those 'towers'. So, if you were to fill the surface of the DitraHeat with a layer of SLC and maybe 1/4-1/2" above the surface, you'd be able to use those smaller tiles. But, while DitraHeat may be easier to do your heating wire layout, if you're going to use SLC over it to be able to support smaller tiles than suggested, you're really kind of wasting money and embedding the wire/mat in SLC would seem to be a better way. You could use something like RedGard or Ditra over the SLC and heating to waterproof things, if desired.
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Unread 04-19-2017, 10:59 PM   #9
machinemanjr
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Should I be concerned about not using an uncoupling product (such as Ditra) under my small bath tile given that I have a 3/4" plywood subfloor? OR does a wire system covered in SLC act as uncoupling membrane?
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Unread 04-19-2017, 11:05 PM   #10
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Ian, I would not install one of those wire heating systems under a ceramic tile installation without a crack isolation membrane over the heating system. There are many of those available and I would recommend NobleSeal CIS from the Noble Company. Tile size makes no difference with such sheet membranes.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-19-2017, 11:32 PM   #11
machinemanjr
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CX thank you, I appreciate your clues. I will look into one of those.

Also, any suggestions on heating cable or system that has a nice looking thermostat and is easy to install?
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Unread 04-20-2017, 07:55 AM   #12
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I'll second the vote for skipping the Ditra Heat and going directly to a wire based heating system embedded in SLC. I used laticrete's floor heat mats embedded in Ardex LBB, and topped it with Tec Hydraflex as a crack isolation membrane. It worked great under marble mosaic tile.

The Laticrete thermostat looks good and is easy to use and install.
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Unread 04-21-2017, 02:22 PM   #13
machinemanjr
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So in talking to the tile guys the plan is this:

Install new 3/4" T&G plywood over the joists, seal with hydroban, then install wire floor heating system, self leveling cement over the wires, then seal with hydroban again and tile over that substrate.

Thoughts? I believe hydroban acts as a uncoupling membrane too, is that correct?


As for the shower walls and mud set this is their plan: Install mudpack, shower heating cables and rubber liner (not sure of order) then coat with hydroban. Wall backer they want to use DensShield then coat in hydroban.


Thoughts/Comments?
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Unread 04-21-2017, 04:26 PM   #14
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The first proposed coat of Hydroban is a complete waste as far as I'm concerned. What is their reasoning for that?

The SLC manufacturer's required primer over the plywood is what you want after the heating wires are installed, then the SLC. If you want a crack isolation or uncoupling membrane over that, which I would require, I'd want a sheet type.

I don't believe Laticrete indicates their Hydroban for use over single layer plywood subfloors nor under SLC, but I suppose it would work over the SLC if you allow the SLC to cure sufficiently before application and apply per the manufacturer's instructions. That presumes Laticrete indicates the material over an SLC substrate, which I do not know.

I think you should sit down with your tile contractor and read together all the manufacturer's instructions for all the products you intend to use. Very helpful at times.

I think I'd wanna consult Laticrete before I painted the stuff over the DensShield, too.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-21-2017, 04:40 PM   #15
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Like CX said, with emphasis to dial 1.800.243.4788 x235 for Laticrete tech support. I think they will frown upon your tile guy's plan.

You can call them direct, and should to get the straight scoop from those in the know.
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