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Old 02-21-2009, 04:43 PM   #1
jbs
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Basement Project

Hi All,
I'm a bit of a newbie. I'm an engineer with a fair amount of experience with wood and I've done small very basic tile in a kitchen before but I've never undertaken a stone project of the scale. I've scanned thru the archives and found many of your posts very informative. Based on what I've read I've put together a plan but wanted to post it for a little critique. This project is travertine with radiant heat on top of a basement slab with no joints but a does have a small hairline crack with no vertical displacement. All together it is about 700 sq ft between two rooms and a hallway.

Here is my plan:
- Unsealed Slab(removed carpet glue residue)
- Latex Primer for SLC
- Edge perimeter with 1/4" thick sill seal
- Heating coil secured with hot glue gun
- SLC ~3/8"
- Modified thinset using 1/4" V trowel
- Ditra
- White Unmodified thinset
- 18" travertine tile with a diagnol pattern

A few questions I still have:
1) I like the look with a 1/16" spacer. Is this too ambitious for a 18" tile?
2) Any tricks for covering floor vents when pouring SLC?
3) I plan on laying the stone with a 1/2" square trowel. I'm thinking I also need to back butter each tile as well?
4) Do I need a field expansion joint? Largest area is 26'x'15'

Thanks
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:06 PM   #2
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Welcome, jbs. Please put a first name in a permanent signature line for us to use. If you go by those initials, pewt those in there so we'll know.

This the same floor you had trouble with last month? If so, have you scarified the concrete?

1. That's tight and will only work if your stone is very well rectified (cut to shape). Even at that, it'll be a challenge.

2. I dunno.

3. If your floor ends up really flat, you may not need a big notch like that. You just gotta try it and see what gives you the closest to 100% coverage.

4. Industry standard for interior applications is for movement joints every 20 - 25 feet in each direction. If the floor sees substantial moisture or sunlight, make that 8 - 12 feet. You must also have such a joint around the entire perimeter, of course.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:56 PM   #3
detroitMi
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Travertine floor

jbs ,you're a brave man trying to install all that basement! 700 sqft travertine floor it s a huge job.
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:14 PM   #4
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Sounds like you're gonna try to get the slab real flat. I use a 3/8 notch trowel most of the time and skim coat the backs with the flat side of the trowel. Too big a notch and the joints want to fill with thinset. To help avoid this, when setting the tiles down, set them right against the neighboring tile, then slide it away to create the joint.
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:44 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback.

I'll make sure I have a 3/8" trowel on hand too in case I need to swap. I'll see how flat I am once I have the SLC poured.

The tiles look good with a 2' square but I imagine I won't have much tolerance. Once I have the SLC down I was going to try a dry run and layout out a large section with the 1/8" spacer to see if it will pass or if I have to step up to 1/16". I've seen so many tile jobs in Europe with really tight joints and it really changes the look.

I've changed the room layout since last month so this area doesn't have the the residue from that last problem. The only thing this slab had was a little carpet pad adhesive and I've steamed that clean with a wallpaper steamer(works great, came up very easy).

For the perimeter expansion joint I was going to use sill seal foam when I pour the SLC and leave 1/4" from the wall that will be covered by baseboard. There is one stretch where this won't work because it is an exterior wall with exposed brick and no baseboard. For this area I'm thinking about cutting the foam back and then filling the joint with caulk to match.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:21 PM   #6
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I'm pouring the SLC this weekend. Should I be concerned about the SLC leaking under the Sill Seal around the perimeter? Do I need to caulk or tape the seem with the floor or is SLC thick enough that it won't seep under it?
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:42 PM   #7
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Whew. I finally got all my Ditra down, almost 700 sq ft.

I've seen a few people suggest prefilling the Ditra the day before laying tile. When prefilling are you filling just the little cavities such that you can still see orange in between or is it best to make it a little thicker so you have a skimcoat over the entire surface?
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:37 AM   #8
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If you fill over the entire surface, as i just did, be aware that when you walk on it some of the thinset with chip off in the spaces between the squares. If you walk in bare feet across Ditra you can fell your heel pressing in those areas between the squares causing the thinset to flake off. It wasn't a big deal to vacuum it up.

The possibility exists you could crack the thinset inside the squares as well. That wasn't an issue for me.

I found it difficult to fully fill the squares and NOT have a thin coat everywhere....

I found when troweling it to fill the squares that if I ran my flat scraper one way 3/4 of each of the squares would fill, then if I ran my flat scraper back over the opposite direction, the thinset would move to the opposite side of the square. Some times little bubbles would show up in the squares.

This made it difficult to have all the squares filled perfectly. A second skimming was required in spots.

I haven't tried to just lay tile on NON skim coated ditra yet, I found my grove for my one little project. Plus I have time to "waste" skim coating....
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:39 PM   #9
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I think the fill coat is a waste of time. What do you think you are gaining?
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:29 PM   #10
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It may be a waste of time....

I am a noob so keep that in consideration while reading the rest of this post.

I continue to do it for a couple of reasons.

1) I started doing it so i could draw some nice lines to start my multi-room pattern and see them as I positioned the first tile. Perhaps this could have been achieved with a permanent marker on the ditra. So i'm used to it.

2) I feel I get the Ditra mat full of thinset, so I don't have to worry about that part during tile installation. I had to pull one run of ditra up the next morning. I had mixed the thinset to thick when I laid it, it didn't adhere very well. I had skimmed that piece. I took it outside to spray it clean and it took me over an hour to get all of the squares clean. Because they were full of thinset.

3) I can lay more tiles at once, as my bucket spreads over a wider area as I've already filled the mat. Since i'm pretty nervous about minimizing the lippage getting more laid and the getting out the long level helps me.

I'm sure if i had more experience and was doing this for a living I would be more concerned about saving time.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:16 PM   #11
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I appreciate all the suggestions I received from this board. I pretty pleased with the result(and my wife loves the radiat heat during the winter) so I've expanded the project to include an entry way and a few steps

Here is a pict of one corner of the first room I completed.
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