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Unread 02-27-2009, 09:25 PM   #1
diln76
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Bathroom Floor Leveling

I'm a diy, third tile job on my 110yr old rehab. 5 yr project so far but we live in it now at least. Tiling a bathroom with 1" hex flooring and tiled wainscot. All durock, continuous through floor, cove and walls.
The bathroom floor is out of level 3/4"over 10', low end at the door. It then takes another 5/8" dive into a toilet alcove, same end.. I know, some diy framer would like to do some things over. Too late but her bones are strong.
The subfloor consists of old 3/4 flooring strips over dimensional. So two 3/4 layers. I plan to tame the strip flooring by joist nailing every other strip, and I have double joists underneath, so it should keep the strips stable.
I plan to use Hydroment slc, 6 bags, pouring in multi lifts per mfr's approval.
I had to tear out a hired job; it was slc over 1/2 durock, too high, wavy to 3/16, bad cure, and still 3/16 out of level overall. So this one will be right. I want to put 1/4 durock over that, thinsetted with med trowel, and carefully drilled and screwed after curing.
By using 1/4" strips and shims, I can do a pretty good job of setting up drag surfaces for skimming. So i want to pour slc to within 1/8 of desired level, then skim over with 1/8" of thinset. Then pull out the strips and fill in their holes with slc.
If this is all covered with 1/4 durock, I feel good about the adhesion. I gets a little thin on the high end (1/8 + 1/4 durock), but there is no traffick .
Is this nuts or ok? I would like to keep the door threshold as low as possible, and I think the subfloor will be strong enough.
Shooting for a beautiful, long lasting job.
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Unread 02-27-2009, 09:41 PM   #2
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Welcome, diln76. Please put a first name in a permanent signature line for us to use.

Not a good plan at all to my thinking. Sorry.

You really need to remove at least the hardwood flooring layer. Then you can assess the condition of the subflooring boards and determine the feasibility of removing them, too, so you can repair the joist structure to flatten the floor.

Before any of that, you'd wanna look under that floor and determine the joist type, condition, size, spacing, and unsupported span to see if that part's suitable for a tile installation.

Maybe tell us what SLC you plan to use. I know most of them require reinforcing lath when used over wood-framed subfloors. Pouring several thin layers as you want to do may work fine over a concrete slab, but I'm concerned with pouring it over your wood subflooring. Especially over your two layers of sawn board subflooring. Just ain't likely to work well.

Also not a good idea at all to try to install the CBU in the manner you describe. That material is meant to be fastened down into a bed of wet thinset mortar. Laying it and letting the thinset dry and then trying to fasten it isn't gonna make any of the manufacturers happy and won't make you happy at all in the long term.

I think flattening the floor structure (tile don't care diddly about level, only flat) first, then installing plywood subflooring would be a far better choice in your situation.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-27-2009, 10:56 PM   #3
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If you make the slc a continuous layer thick enough, you can tile directly to that, or use an isolation membrane like Ditra. Drilling and screwing through it is not a good idea at all.
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Unread 02-28-2009, 08:43 AM   #4
diln76
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bathroom floor leveling

Hi cx.

Joist condition is double strength for the span. I did the framing, thats why it's uneven, but like i said, everything is quite adequate in joist stability and load capacity. I could probably remove the top flooring level, to within a couple inches of the wall, replace with 3/4 sturdy floor, then slc..But mostly it is also finished, drywalled, done. No more messin with framing.
The slc im using is "Bostick Hydroment SL150".
As to the durock/thinset problem: I thought thinset was for support over uneveness. What if I set it in a medium to small layer of thinset, let cure, then used LONG ROOFING NAILS (no more screws) in drilled holes(to penetrate the slc). I know the mfr. wouldnt sign off on this, but they probably didnt have the burning need to test such a crazy thing. I really want a smoother and more reliable surface than slc.
Is it feasable that i could avoid floor cutting by joist nailing each of the top flooring strips, 3 1/4 framers at most 12" apart. And would an isolation barrier of some sort help? Ditra would be nice, but I've allready blown 500.

Last edited by diln76; 02-28-2009 at 08:44 AM. Reason: mistake
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Unread 02-28-2009, 09:53 AM   #5
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Sorry, I forgot to give you my name : Bill Dillman
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Unread 02-28-2009, 12:03 PM   #6
diln76
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bathroom floor leveling

Ok. Hrre's my revised plan.
cut out top layer of flooring. Add any between joist bracing for unsupported edges. table saw cut shims from 2x4, run them across joists, getting close to level. Then durock, slc, thinset skim, tiles.
Or, try to avail myself of the now open floor, and run a mud pack. is the proper next thing there cbu?
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Unread 02-28-2009, 12:54 PM   #7
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I say strip the floor down to the sub floor, THen lath it, pour slc to desired hight in one lift, membrane (ditras out cause your using mosiacs), tile. All of this is assuming your floor structure is adaquite mind you.

What your proposing to do with the shims ontop of the joists ontop of subfloor is a bad idea, it will create an unsupported space between shims and sounds like a guarentedd failure IMHO.
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Unread 02-28-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
diln76
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bathroom floor leveling

Jeremy.

Thanks for the response.
2 questions: what is "lath" as per over the plywood? and, why would shimming leave it unsupported, if i shim along the joists?
Just want to avoid all the slc involved (i figure 6 bags in a 60sf area. I can pull a lot of that out once i have the luxury of having the top layer gone.

bill
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Unread 02-28-2009, 02:20 PM   #9
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Bill, if you intend to remove all the subflooring, why not just sister some 2x material to the joists and flatten the whole floor before you install any subflooring?
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Unread 02-28-2009, 02:23 PM   #10
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I agree with cx as this would be the easyest solution.

I was under the impression that a layer of floor was to be left.

Bill, most slcs requires lath over wood.
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Unread 02-28-2009, 02:41 PM   #11
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I was confused about that, too, Jeremy, but don't know how he intended to "try to avail myself of the now open floor, and run a mud pack" if he didn't remove everything. Dunno.
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Unread 02-28-2009, 06:51 PM   #12
diln76
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bathroom floor leveling

Befor I start cutting, is everyone SURE I need to remove the subloor? Is it because it swells and joist nailing wont help?
I'm prepared to sister the whole room level if so. (double subfloor any benefit?) hopefully will need NO slc.
I was only toying with the mudpack idea.
Also, I need to know what you all mean by "lath", and what type of membrane goes under tile without messing up the bond.
Should be it for now
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Unread 02-28-2009, 07:11 PM   #13
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Bill, would you please enter that name for us in the Edit Signature box in the UserCP you'll find in the blue bar near the top of the page so we don't hafta search for it?

You hafta remove the subfloor only if you wanna fix the joists. You don't wanna fix the joists, don't remove it. But you must still remove the hardwood flooring layer. Yes, because it's far too unstable for a tile installation.

Double subflooring is always of benefit, but not always required. If you'd tell us what your joist structure is, we could help you evaluate that need.

A deck mud installation is an excellent substrate for tile if you have the vertical room for it. You should still fix your joists, but it's possible to get by leveling the floor with the mud. Ain't legal, though.

Lath in this context is an expanded metal mesh that's used to reinforce mud floors and walls. Sometimes called diamond mesh or diamond lath or stucco lath.

Several types of membranes are available for use under tile installations. One of the favorites here for floor installations is Ditra. The Noble Company makes a couple. Then there are a number of liquid-applied versions.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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