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Unread 04-02-2016, 09:10 AM   #1
rocjr
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Your thoughts on flashing/patching materials?

Hello All,

I'm looking at a 950 sq ft basement in a new-ish build approx 1 1/2" years old. 6" x 36" rectified plank over Ditra heat is going down. It's a rectangle with a staircase landing about a third of the way of its length and one partial partition wall to hang a TV on.

The perimeter, except for one gradual sweep up about 3/8" in one corner for about 10', is rather level. Unfortunately there are several crowns in the field. One just shy of 1/2". Normally I'd consider grinding the crowns down. They're not that all that wide or long. But, the homeowner is in the industry, and won't allow it in this circumstance. Won't budge. SLC, or mudding (my go to normally), the entire floor is out of the question as it would kill the rise on the first step of the stair case. Technically, the Ditra heat, tile and thinset alone is is encroaching on that limit.

He wanted me to use thinset to flash it out. I said nope.

My question is this: Any specific recommendations on the latest and greatest, or even old favorite, appropriate flashing/patching material for this application? Any preferences? I just don't deal with these circumstances this way enough to have formed a definite opinion. Especially on a space this size.

Thanks!
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Last edited by rocjr; 04-02-2016 at 09:04 PM. Reason: forgot the 1 in 1 1/2! oops.
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Unread 04-02-2016, 10:19 AM   #2
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Why in the world would the homeowner be opposed to grinding down some high spots?

I'd say this customer is a red flag for potential problems. Unless you are slow, I would walk.
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Unread 04-02-2016, 10:52 AM   #3
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1/2" is a big hump with 36 inch planks. If you have a good dust contained grinding set-up- a vac, a grinder with a shroud, and a cyclone- I would offer to demonstrate it to the homeowner. (I'm assuming the objection is to dust?) Otherwise I think there's too many constraints to do a good job. Maybe line up the joints on the planks rather than offset them?

A micromanaging homeowner can be a nightmare. I've learned the hard way that you have to tell them what can be done. You give them the options and the consequences of each option. Then they can pick and they feel like they still have some control. But it's always you that determines the options. You can never let them take control of your job.
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Unread 04-02-2016, 01:24 PM   #4
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Greg, Jim.

Thanks for your input. Once every now and again I've reluctantly set over a moonscape. I have zero desire to do this here. Zero. My biggest one and only concern is getting this place flat enough that there isn't an issue properly bonding the ditra. I'm thinking that using 10',12', and 14' straight edges and whatever material I'm seeking here will mitigate the conditions to the point where that can happen. Last year I set 1400 sq ft of plank over gypcrete topped with a Merkrete membrane. I think their hire the gypcrete guy was a little drunk. It wasn't great at all. Yet, with judicious trowel choices used in the troubled areas and RLS, it came out spiffy.

I'm not obligated to this job or customer. I'm just pricing this thing and pricy it will be. He's pretty much acquiesced on every point except the grinding. Regardless of assurances he doesn't think it can be done without a dust storm occurring, or maybe he's just superstitious. **** if I know. He's in the very large stone setting end of the business. Commercial industrial. So he has an opinion and it's his house.

I appreciate the advice on not getting kicked around. But trust me, I'm the furthest thing from a doormat. Where there are hoops to jump through the price goes up.
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Unread 04-02-2016, 01:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by all Rich
The perimeter, except for one gradual sweep up about 3/8" in one corner for about 10', is rather level. Unfortunately there are several crowns in the field. One just shy of 1/2".
Couple a high spots, no big deal

Quote:
Normally I'd consider grinding the crowns down. They're not that all that wide or long. But, the homeowner is in the industry, and won't allow it in this circumstance. Won't budge.
Ok, so no grinding

Quote:
SLC, or mudding (my go to normally), the entire floor is out of the question as it would kill the rise on the first step of the stair case.
Oh, and no SLC/mudding

Well, you can't take down the high spots, and you can't bring the rest of the floor up to them. Seems you gotta do one or the other with those planks. Not sure flashing will solve this.

Grinding seems the easiest, cheapest, and fastest solution. I'd work on the 'why no grinding' angle, or maybe the 'mudding & recut stairs' angle.
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Unread 04-02-2016, 05:08 PM   #6
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Dana,

I tried the " If I had my way we'd do mud and redo the stairs". Crickets on that one. They're only a builders set. Not expensive. In fairness, he just had the place framed. Electricians, drywall, and painters are already slotted in for next week, and a deadline of sorts.

I knew there was nothing that I'm aware of that could get me through this efficiently with these constraints. Or, nothing I could give a valid warranty with like thinset as a flattening agent like he wanted. I know most of you guys get out more than I do, so I figured I'd ask. I have my answer. Thanks to all!
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Unread 04-02-2016, 06:57 PM   #7
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So , basically he is telling you to roll with the floor , with a 36'' tile over a pricey system -- ditra heat -- , 'cause he knows it works just because ?

What difference would make to replace the SLC with '' thin-set mortar '' -- let's throw in there the medium bed mortar -- for height purposes ?
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Unread 04-02-2016, 07:29 PM   #8
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Off topic, but not really...

We recently found an old scarifier in the bone yard of the equipment rental shop we frequent. It needed very little TLC and have found it to be an awesome way to alleviate high spots in concrete, much faster than any other method. You may be able to find one for rent near you.
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Unread 04-02-2016, 08:06 PM   #9
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Roberto,

Quote:
So , basically he is telling you to roll with the floor , with a 36'' tile over a pricey system -- ditra heat -- , 'cause he knows it works just because ?
Essentially yes. The difference in his mind is that it will be flatter than it is now once the existing dips are broadly filled, therefore flat enough. Believe me, the others involved and there are others, excluding this guy, aren't thrilled about the prospect. He said that he's seen his mechanics set over some wavy surfaces and they ended up flat. So he has this in his head.

Quote:
What difference would make to replace the SLC with '' thin-set mortar '' -- let's throw in there the medium bed mortar -- for height purposes ?
Thin or medium bed mortar is not sanctioned as a leveling material especially under a membrane AFAIK. Therefore any warranty, such as there is one, wouldn't stand up if anything fails. Even if it actually would be fine in practice, I'm really not interested in dragging straight edges that are long enough to get me what I'd like over vast distances of modified mortar. This is 950 sq ft. I don't see that going well.

My last resort/thought here was to ask if anyone had something in mind that I was unaware of. It is possible that someone might chime in with "Hey, I was just in the same boat! I recently used some brandy new fancy muck from the XYZ Fancy Muck Company and it worked out great!". That's all.

With all my will, I pull my mud with lasers and shoot for nothing less than deadly flat. It always takes me longer than it should. So, there's not much about this project that I'm digging. Regardless of how he'd like it to go, he understands simply by the conversation we had, this is not what we'd normally do and are particularly comfortable with.
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Unread 04-02-2016, 08:10 PM   #10
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Brad,

Quote:
Off topic, but not really...

We recently found an old scarifier in the bone yard of the equipment rental shop we frequent. It needed very little TLC and have found it to be an awesome way to alleviate high spots in concrete, much faster than any other method. You may be able to find one for rent near you.
I'd love to have one of those in the arsenal, even if this guy wouldn't let me in his house with it.

Thanks!
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Unread 04-02-2016, 08:17 PM   #11
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Rich,

So , if mud floors are in your arsenal , the use of Mapecem wouldn't be an issue, right ?

Used it in a similar situation

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Last edited by eurob; 04-02-2016 at 08:37 PM.
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Unread 04-02-2016, 09:01 PM   #12
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Roberto,

Yes, right up my alley. Mapecem or NXT skim. Any high quality featheredge. Ideally I'd end up using something with a greater working time though, given the space at hand. I just don't know if that exists. If we go forward, it'll probably be with one of those two products most likely as this client uses oodles of Mapei and Laticrete and their reps would be recommending one or the other.

Thanks for the recommendation. I'd rather get one from a boots on the ground person!
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Unread 04-02-2016, 09:27 PM   #13
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Mapecem is harder to work with but gives you a fast drying times .

I am not sure about the NXT for basement slabs , but maybe Ultraplan extreme is better for your application . I prefer the use of Mapecem where you are better controlling the pours and the '' out of level '' flat surfaces.


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Unread 04-03-2016, 06:16 AM   #14
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Like someone said before, I'd be walking. I'm the professional and if I can't do it on my terms I won't be doing it.

Maybe him and his guys should do that project. He called you because you know what you are doing.
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Unread 04-03-2016, 06:28 AM   #15
Brad Denny
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NXT Patch is great for filling depressions. I had a large Grand Foyer in a home, about 3000sf, and was able to shoot a laser, grid out the floor, mark high/low spots, and then grind/fill. I didn't want to pour the whole thing.
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