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Unread 07-13-2017, 06:59 AM   #1
thull
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How to Install Porcelain Tile over Plank Subfloor. Please help!

Hi All - I am retiling a 10'x10' kitchen (with a contractors help) in our 1959 home in Orlando. I've finished the demolition of the old floor. From top to bottom, I have removed old tile & thinset, 1" of poured concrete over metal lathe (that wasn't fun), linoleum, and 3/4" plywood. I'm down to 1"x12" boards layed diagonal to the joists. The joists are 16" apart. I have a 24" crawlspace under the entire house. It's just bare dirt down there.

When I walk across the subfloor, there's a little bit of flex to the boards. My contractor (coming today!!!) is suggesting we screw down 1/2" Durock, then thinset and 1/4" porcelain tile on top of that. I have only 3/4" to work with to be flush with the dining room floor, which is original finished oak. I'm ok with a little bit of a height difference if necessary to have a durable floor. We previously had 1-1/4" difference before I ripped everything out, which was a huge trip hazard.

Can someone advise if our approach is sufficient? Is one layer of 1/2" Durock stiff enough to eliminate any flex under load from say, the refrigerator? Do I need to put down some 3/8" exterior plywood first and learn to live with the height differential to the dining room? Thanks for any advice!

Tim
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Unread 07-13-2017, 07:59 AM   #2
rmckee84
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You have a couple options, cement board straight to the planks is not one of them.

1. Remove the planks, then install 3/4" tounge and groove plywood. Then you can use a 1/4" cement board or an Uncoupling mat like ditra.

2. Go through and screw your planks down, then add a layer of 3/4" ply followed by cbu or Uncoupling mat.

Basically if you leave the planks you have to treat the install as if they arent there since they don't offer any structural strength for your install. If they were Tounge and groove planks you could probably get by with a layer of 1/2 ply followed by a tileable surface.

*Do not go over the planks with just cement board. Cement board does not add any structural benefit even if you use the 1/2". It is merely a surface to adhere your tile to.
Don't forget to evaluate your joist structure using the deflecto calculator in the blue boxes above.
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Unread 07-13-2017, 10:04 AM   #3
tatumjonj
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Cement board will add zero strength to your installation. If you contractor is telling you it will, he's either misinformed or he's hoping your current subfloor will support the installation long enough for your check to clear.
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Unread 07-13-2017, 11:42 PM   #4
thull
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If I went the tongue and groove plywood route, do I need to use an adhesive under the ply, or are galvanized/decking screws sufficient to hold it down? I will use 1/4" hardibacker board on top of the plywood and tile on top of that.
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Unread 07-14-2017, 01:26 AM   #5
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No glue between the plywood and planks.
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Unread 07-14-2017, 07:12 AM   #6
thull
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I should clarify...I'm removing the planks. Is adhesive needed between the joists and T&G ply?
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Unread 07-14-2017, 12:14 PM   #7
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Yes.
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