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Unread 07-20-2004, 12:31 AM   #1
SiliconValleyCanuck
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Stuart's First Tile Job - The Foyer and Closet

Ok, after a lot of reading on this site, starting my way through John's book, reading Michael Byrnes' book, and going through a lot of old 80's tiling videos from the library (wow a lot of bad fashion memories) I'm now preparing to start my first tiling project. I will post my project plan here and use this thread for updates and advice as I go along.

I have a small 22ft^2 foyer and closet that needs new tiling - a cracked tile due to dropping something on it (previous owner), closet not done originally (it was carpeted), and very dated. The subfloor appears to be 3/4" plywood and handily passes John's jump test. I am planning on using Dal-Tile's Continental Slate in 12"x12" with Oceanside Casa glasstile in 2"x2" using a diagonal hopscotch pattern.

I was thinking about using Ditra on top of the plywood subfloor as this will keep the tile floor in the foyer level with the wood floor in the living room. Is Ditra ok for this type of installation? I'm planning to use SpectraLock. Again any problems with using this in that area?

How about the diagonal hopscotch pattern in the small area of my foyer? We've made cardboard "tiles" and played with patterns for a while and it looks good. How hard is it going to be get it to work out? What about the inevitable small cuts? Will they be a problem?

Finally, I've got the loan of a tile saw, a Felker TM-75, from a friend of a friend who reads this forum - thanks Jim. I'm going to need to provide my own blade. What would the recommendations be? A TM-7 or an MK Hotdog? Something else? The tiles in the foyer will be porcelain and glass. The tiles in the next project will be granite and porcelain.

Thanks,
Stuart
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Unread 07-20-2004, 06:34 AM   #2
bbcamp
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Since you are planning on a stone floor, you will need at least 1-1/8" plywood thickness for the subfloor, plus your underlayment. Since you are trying to save floor height, adding plywood underneath the subfloor, and supporting the ends at the joists with 1x2 or 2x2 cleats will work acceptably. Remember that the plywood face grain runs perpendicular to the joists.

I was going to say that Ditra is perfect for your application until I read about the glass tiles. I think a call to the manufacturer is in order there. Also, using Spectralock, an epoxish grout, may be a problem with the glass tiles. Glass tiles are "special" and some common tile setting techniques will not work with them. Now, if you were using something else, then I don't know of any problems.


BTW, your image did not work.


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Unread 07-20-2004, 06:34 AM   #3
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Hi Stuart,

Use thin set over the Ditra, not epoxy. The jump test is one thing. What size are the joists and how close together are they?
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Unread 07-20-2004, 08:53 AM   #4
SiliconValleyCanuck
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Ok, I need to clarify some things. The Dal-Tile Continental Slate is a porcelain tile that looks like slate. It's not stone. The granite mentioned for the choosing of the blade is for a completely different project but I'd like to get a blade that was good for all of the materials if possible.

If I recall correctly the joists are 16" apart but I'm not sure what size they are. I had the living room down to the sub-floor about 2 years ago to lay a floating wood floor and that seems to be what the nailing spacing of the plywood was. But I'm not sure since I was just putting in a few screws to take out a couple of squeaks. There is no way to get to the joists without either lifting the sub-floor or taking down a finished ceiling.

As for the glass tile, I'll give the manufacturer a call and get their recommendations.

Hmmm, I can see the image. It's just a simple jpeg of a line drawing of my foyer/closet.

Thanks,
Stuart
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Unread 07-20-2004, 01:28 PM   #5
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My bad on the DalTile Slate tiles. Those are some of the ones we try to get people to use instead of real slate.

You can sometimes get a good look at your upper floor structure by removing a ceiling light fixture or an in-floor HVAC grille. You can use a stud detector to find the spacing. As far as the span, look for load bearing walls, such as an interior hall or room wall, then verify in the basement if that wall has adequate support.
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Unread 07-21-2004, 02:02 PM   #6
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Ok, I've got some estimates on the floor structure. The joists are a maximum of 15ft in length (and possibly only 5 ft if another wall is load bearing). I measure the depth of the HVAC duct as ~12" from the bottom of the subfloor to the bottom of the duct (where it curves away) so the floor joist should be at least that size. I can see what appear to be ~2" wide joists through a ground floor bathroom fan. I'm not sure of the wood type. With that information the deflecto gives me L/399. So I should be good to go.

I've been in contact with the glass tile manufacturer and they say that Ditra and their tiles are incompatible. The recommended thinsets for each do not overlap. They are working with Schluter to resolve this but no idea when.

The use of SpectraLock is not currently recommended because they haven't been able to confirm that the expansion characteristics of it are compatible with the glass tile.

So, it looks like I'm going to be using backer board of some kind and a regular grout. We only have HD in reasonable driving distance. That means Hardi-board or Wonderboard. Any preference? Hardi-board seems lighter and easier to work with. Roofing nails or screws?

They suggest that an acrylic admix could be used in the grout for elasticity. Would this also help prevent staining?

The thinset mixtures they recommend all seem to require latex admixture. Don't these thinsets already have acrylic in the blend? Is this going to be harder to work with - acrylic based thinset with extra acrylic admix?
e.g. Custom Building Products: Master Blend or Premium Plus Thin-Set Mortar mixed with Custom-Flex Ultra-Strength Thin-Set Additive.

Their recommendations on the tile saw blade are for one with a "continuous smooth rim" so I guess that means the Felker TM-7 blade instead of the MK Hot Dog.

Thanks

Last edited by SiliconValleyCanuck; 07-21-2004 at 02:44 PM.
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Unread 07-21-2004, 07:09 PM   #7
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Stuart,

Use the thin set the tile manufacturer suggests. It will be a modified.
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Unread 08-20-2004, 05:26 PM   #8
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Ok, I'm finally ready to get started on the tile job this weekend (it took a while for the glass tiles to come in). Since the foyer and closet are not that large my wife made a paper template of the area and I've been using it to play with different layouts. I think that I've found one that I like and will keep the small cuts to the less important areas. I'll put up some pictures once it's finished.

I've read a fair bit about how you are supposed to layout tiles in regular jack on jack, running bond, and standard diagonal. However, what do the pros do for layout lines when you have more complex layouts? Especially if there is no continuous straight lines as in a hopscotch pattern?

For my small floor area I can almost directly transfer from my paper template but that wouldn't be possible with anything much bigger.

Thanks
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Last edited by SiliconValleyCanuck; 08-20-2004 at 05:35 PM.
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Unread 08-20-2004, 06:25 PM   #9
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Stuart, fwiw, since HD will be your supplier, as will be mine in the near future, you do have another alternative with the backer board. They do carry Durock. You just need to go to where they have the drywall supplies instead of the tile aisle. At my local HD I've seen the 1/2" 4'x8' and the 5/16" size as well.


YMMV,
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Unread 08-20-2004, 06:46 PM   #10
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For something intricate i always drylay my pattern to get my joint width and sizing, then find my middle and see how it basically looks with the doors and such,then start my layout based on my drylay laying on the floor,i'm not a line snapper, so i basically get a couple control lines and eye it for smaller jobs.
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Unread 09-01-2004, 12:35 AM   #11
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Well, that's the tiling done last weekend and all that's left is to grout it this weekend. I'm going to use Custom's sanded grout in the colour Summer Wheat. I've included a couple of photos of the job. The original entry way, the backerboard going down, and the finished tiles. The small piece of wood you see in the lower right of the last picture is a piece of the T-molding that I will be putting down between the front entry tile and the existing wood floor in the living room.

Thanks to you all for your advice on my specific questions and the great information on all the other threads.
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Last edited by SiliconValleyCanuck; 09-01-2004 at 12:42 AM.
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Unread 09-01-2004, 06:13 AM   #12
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Hi Stuart:

Continental Slate...nice procelain tile by the way...very, very hard.

From experience, a TM-7 blade on the Felker TM-75 3/4 H.P. saw is not a good match for Continential Slate. Go with the Hot-Dog blade. It will also work for your granite job coming up.
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Unread 09-01-2004, 12:23 PM   #13
SiliconValleyCanuck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike2
From experience, a TM-7 blade on the Felker TM-75 3/4 H.P. saw is not a good match for Continential Slate. Go with the Hot-Dog blade. It will also work for your granite job coming up.
Mike,

What problems did you encounter? I did the front entry above using the TM-7 with no problems and even cut a couple of 3/4" grantite splashes to length for the bathrooms with it. It worked pretty good. But then I've got nothing to compare it against since this was my first time using a tile saw. I would prefer to not buy another blade if it's not really necessary (I'm cheap ) but if needed for a quality result then it can be done.

We're considering using the same Continental Slate and the same glass tiles (though in a different pattern - probably jack on jack with a couple of cutouts on the corners to insert the glass tiles) to cover the old brick fireplace on the living room wall just opposite that entry way. The granite tile job is the rebuilding of the master bath shower but that has been pushed off until early next year due to "scheduling constraints".

Thanks
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Unread 09-01-2004, 06:51 PM   #14
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Listen, Stuart, I don't know how long you've been hanging out in Cal., but by now you ought to know how to spell words like "color" the Noah Webster way. Drop all those unneeded vowels, eh?

Nice looking tile work, by the way.
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