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Unread 10-07-2019, 08:22 AM   #1
Ijustdunnoaname
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Minimizing tile to hardwood height difference

I’m going to be installing porcelain tile in a house that was built in 1961. The deflection is showing as L/493. The current subflooring is as follows: ¾” plank subfloor with a layer of ¾” plywood on top (Not tongue and groove).

This tile is going to butt up to the hardwood flooring in the adjacent room and I’d like to minimize the lip between the two.
The hardwood is ¾” thick and is laid directly on top of the ¾” planked flooring, for an overall height of 1 ½”.

The tile thickness is 3/8”, so if I just install 1/4” backer board over the plywood, I’m still looking at an overall height of 2 ¼- 2 ½” , which would give me a lip between 3/4"-1”.
Is there a better method for making the two flooring surfaces mate more closely or is a ¾” – 1” gap an accepted practice?

This is going to be my first tile installation and I want to make sure it’s done properly.
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Unread 10-07-2019, 08:35 AM   #2
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Welcome, Jason.

One factor to consider is where the transition is located. Is this in a doorway or a longer, exposed location in the open flooring?

First potential method I see to reduce the transition height would be to remove the 3/4" plywood in the tile area, re-fasten the board subflooring, and install nominal 1/2" exterior glue plywood in that area. That's the minimum requirement over a board subfloor, but one application where I think the minimum is quite sufficient.

Another way to reduce that height in your application would be to use a sheet membrane as your tiling substrate in lieu of the CBU in your current plan.

The combination of those two adjustments could gain you as much as 3/8ths" in your overall finished floor height, making your transition more manageable.

That said, a 3/4" height transition between floor coverings can be pretty manageable in the right application and done effectively and tile to hardwood is one of the easier transitions to manage.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-07-2019, 08:48 AM   #3
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The transition is going to be located within a cased opening. I had originally planned on removing the 3/4" plywood and replacing it with 1/2" but was hesitant just because reading the john hardy installation instructions, it calls for a minimum 5/8" plywood thickness. However, I wasn't sure how the 3/4" planked flooring below would play into the equation.
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Unread 10-07-2019, 09:32 AM   #4
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That would be James Hardie, Jason.

The board subflooring counts in that application and the addition of just half-inch exterior glue plywood generally makes a decent subfloor. The industry standard presumes tongue & groove boards installed perpendicular to the joists, though.

The Hardiebacker, or any actual CBU, provides no structural addition to the subfloor and is no advantage over use of a much thinner tiling membrane.

My opinion, worth price charged.
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Unread 10-10-2019, 07:01 AM   #5
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How water resistant will my kitchen floor be?

I’m going to be installing 3/8” porcelain tile over 1/4” backer board, which will be installed over 1/2” exterior grade plywood with 3/4” slats below that.

This is going to be in a kitchen and I’m curious to know how water resistant this flooring will be. In the event the dishwasher leaks or if the wife gets overzealous with the mop, will I be doomed to rip out the floor and start over?
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Unread 10-10-2019, 07:13 AM   #6
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does the same floor prep and tile extend under the dishwasher and cabinets???

Not really sure why you have 3/4in slats under the plywood. What exactly is this for?

Your floor will not really be water resistant either way. Spilling a cup of water, no problem. Hosing it off? No way. Broken dishwasher flooding it? I would count on the wood getting wet.

The cement board and tile/mortar can get wet, that doesn't hurt it, but it all will allow water to seep past it and soak the wood below. This can cause (eventually) swelling or rot, which will cause the gout to crack, tile to become loose, and tiles to crack. It really depends if you have a room below it and how fast the wood can dry out.
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Unread 10-10-2019, 07:33 AM   #7
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What Mike said, Jason. You won't have any problems with occasional spills and such, but plumbing leaks from any appliance have the potential to dump so much water onto the floor that you simply can't contain it, unless you build the floor like you would a shower, complete with floor drain.
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Unread 10-10-2019, 08:21 AM   #8
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Jason, it'll help if you'll keep all the project questions on one thread so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered. A moderator can give it a more generic title any time you'd like to suggest one.
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Unread 10-11-2019, 01:18 PM   #9
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Would it be silly to waterproof the kitchen floor? I was thinking of putting redgard down over top of the hardie board and just sealing the wall edges adjacent to the dishwasher. Because if the dishwasher leaks, it will most likely only be a few gallons at most.

I prefer to use backer board rather than a ditra membrane because I'm not installing over t&g and I want the substrate to be as flat as possible.
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Unread 10-11-2019, 03:23 PM   #10
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A "couple gallons at most" of water on your floor could result in a great deal of problems if it were to happen when you were not there to immediately remove the appliance and dry it up. Trying to waterproof the tile substrate effectively is entirely up to you, though.

Not sure what difference you're considering in the use of non-T&G subflooring there, but you'll need to make the subfloor flat one way or the other. If you were to use a membrane, you must flatten the floor before installing the membrane. If you use a CBU, you'll do your flattening after the CBU is installed.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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