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Unread 10-06-2011, 05:50 PM   #1
BMEP
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Porcelain tile on garage concrete slab - control & expansion joint help needed

Hi - this is my first post but I've been reading a lot of this forum for a couple weeks. What a great forum!

My questions are about movement joints on a concrete slab. This post is a little long but I wanted to provide as complete a picture as possible.

I’ll sincerely appreciate any and all help.

I want to put 12” x 12” porcelain tile in my garage. The garage is about 1,100 sq ft and this will be a “working” garage for hobbies. I’ve got a floor lift and some large tools (metal lathe, vertical mill, sheet metal shear/brake, etc.). I’ll be welding, cutting, grinding and working on cars and other hobby projects. I’m in the Sacramento, CA area. The house is 2 years old and I don’t have any information about the slab (e.g. does it have a moisture barrier under it? Is it reinforced?) but the overall construction of the house is good.

The tile I’m considering is Takla Montana sold by BuildDirect It’s a full body porcelain, matte finish. I have samples and like it but I haven’t fully decided on this tile yet.

My concern is dealing with the control joints in the slab and the expansion joint around the perimeter.

First, control joints:
The control joints are tooled with an edger and vary from ½” wide to ¾” wide. On the attached floorplan, they’re indicated by red lines.


I’m considering two different approaches (I’ll pick one) for dealing with the control joints and putting movement joints into the tile:

1 - Using Schluter Dilex immediately on top of the control joints and cutting a row of tile to ensure that the Dilex lines up.
2 – Using an isolation membrane on all the joints so I can maintain the tile size/pattern throughout the floor. I like the idea of the looks of this but that membrane is expensive.

Which of these – or another solution – makes the most sense?

Next up: Expansion joint:
The expansion joint is 3/4” filled with fiber type material and is around the entire perimeter of the slab.

My initial thought is that I just tile up to the edge of the concrete and leave the joint uncovered and use some sort of trim moulding to hide the tile/wall joint, purely for aesthetic purposes.
Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
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Unread 10-08-2011, 05:18 AM   #2
MakenaTile
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install the entire floor using hot tar!

Ok... maybe not. Honestly- Tile isn't designed to be a work surface. I'd strongly consider having someone polish out and color your cement to look like tile- there are methods out there that look incredible- And it wont crack when you drop a heavy tool on it. Porcelain is stronger than ceramic but it still can have chunks broken out of it.

I put porcelain in a car dealership showroom floor- I cant begin to tell you the prep and layers of slurry, thin set and back coating that had to be done to keep those tiles from breaking under the weight of cars. 100% coverage- flexible thin set. Nightmare!

If you go thru with this plan- use epoxy grout!
Maybe coat the whole floor with thick clear like a basketball court?!

Good luck!!
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Unread 10-08-2011, 07:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
posted by Janna:
Honestly- Tile isn't designed to be a work surface.
I read through the whole post and what Janna said is on the mark. As for a working area such as yours I don't really see the gain. Porcelain is hard but dropping tools and such on the floor will crack them. I do agree if you are going to use tile to use one with a matte finish. A showroom is a common place for tile or marble, I have seen combinations of tile and marble in these new huge showrooms. Quarry tile is a thing of the past with these new large format tiles. Have you considered using something larger than 12" with all that square footage?

Another option is a commercial epoxy floor with color chips, now I am not talking about the stuff they sell at the big box stores. I am talking about commercial grade. I do them as another trade. I put two layers of epoxy down the second with the paint chips and lastly a clear coat. They have many colors and you don't have to use the paint chips if you don't want.

Check out garagesealers.com just to see what they offer. They send the materials out and you can do it or they can have someone in your area do it. You would save on the labor if you do it but you don't want it to be your first time doing this on this large a project. Just food for thought! I have done some floors for them and I am very impressed with the product. You'll never have to worry about any tiles cracking.

Now if you are deadset on using tile...... Control joints have to be honored so yes the Schluter Dilex above the control joint would work. As for using a crack isolation membrane on the control joints check with the manufacturer. If it fails they are only going to replace the crack isolation membrane not all your tile down the road if something happens. That is the thing with manufacturers they only replace their product. To me if their product fails they should be responsible for any damage caused by the failure, no

They get around that though. I would use the Schluter Dilex myself or you can use Silicone the color of the grout and sprinkle some power over it the grout color. To help it match the grout, sillycone will stick out like a sore thumb since it is not really like the texture of grout. You could also mix clear silicone with the grout powder and use a margin trowel to apply it, same concept this gives you a flexible joint.

For your perimeter expansion joint I would do what you said and tile close to the edge, and cover that with some type a molding to make it look finished. Filling that area with silicone would just make it stand out. As you already know you don't want grout in that area, you never grout up against perimeter walls or immovable objects. Anything you fill that area with must be flexible, but your still going to want to put trim over it if you do fill it.

One last thing per industry standards, you want an expansion joint every 20-25 feet for movement. You could use the same method you are considering for the control joint with the Dilex or silicone. Pick the dilex and then match your grout color to it though I don't know if they have any really dark ones. I would think you would be using black or gray for your grout color in that environment. Hope this helps. One last thing, as Janna said if you do use tile you must get great coverage under than tile with the weight you're going to be putting on it. I would be burning the backs of the tiles as well as troweling the thinset onto the floor to ensure such coverage

Yes, one laster as she mentioned the flexible thinset, they do make crack isolation thinsets but very expensive and not easy to install. I would use a membrane over using crack isolation thinset.
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Unread 10-09-2011, 10:01 AM   #4
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Rob just a before and after on a 600 sq. ft. garage epoxy floor I did couple weeks ago. I do tile but once and a while I do a garage or basement with this commercial epoxy application. Clean and etch the floor adding muriatic acid to water and going over floor with a hard bristle broom. Two coats of epoxy the color chosen, second one with paint chips if customer chooses to do chips. The second pic I had just put the poly clear coat on, it is not dry. This is a very durable surface(color was sahara I believe).

Why do I suggest this on a tile forum, well we need to offer alternatives and some of us do other things besides tile believe it or not though most of us have a passion for tile. Options are always nice till you can decide what is best for your own personal needs!
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Unread 10-09-2011, 10:53 AM   #5
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If I had pictures of the few big garages I did to show I would post.
I would rather use tile, yes I am bias to tile, but even if you chip one you can replace it.
one we did for a guy in Orlando that had done the epoxy floor of some sort, the tires on his Lamborghini and Ferrari stuck to the epoxy after they sat for too long and when moved it pulled up the epoxy and left it stuck on the tires. he allowed to coating to cure for months before putting the cars on it, even used mats that also reacted to the floor and stuck. could be the humidity or something. he decided to have us tile the full garage. had to be scarified and then have the tile set.
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Unread 10-09-2011, 10:58 AM   #6
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Jon - Epoxy is an alternative I'm considering. I used the "Professional" (solvent based" Rust-Oleum (with their clear coat) on my last garage floor. It was a decent floor but there are down sides. One is that moving or dragging heavy things across the floor scuffs or even scrapes through the epoxy.

I know of a few other people that have used porcelain or even ceramic tile in their garages and are very happy. One thing I like about the idea of tile: If one tile is damaged, it's easy enough to replace. Though, I have to wonder how easy it would be to replace a tile that's on an isolation membrane. It seems like it would be hard to avoid damaging the membrane while removing a tile.
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Unread 10-09-2011, 11:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMEP
I have to wonder how easy it would be to replace a tile that's on an isolation membrane. It seems like it would be hard to avoid damaging the membrane while removing a tile.
it would be as easy as replacing a regular tile. just get under the membrane and scrape up.
cut a new piece of membrane, install it and then install the tile.

since its not a waterproofing there doesn't need to be a continuous membrane under the tile.
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Unread 10-09-2011, 12:05 PM   #8
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I cast another vote for not using tile. You talk about moving and dragging heavy object, probably blunt or sharp ones. No tile will stand up to that. In fact, I know of no floor covering that will stand up to that.
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Unread 10-09-2011, 12:12 PM   #9
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not even concrete
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Unread 10-09-2011, 05:31 PM   #10
BMEP
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First, thank all of you for your comments. I think I gave the wrong impression: I realize tile isn't steel, but the epoxy (at least the stuff I had) was fairly easy to scrape and make dull. The thing is, if the epoxy is damaged (or worse yet, the underlying concrete), it's not as easy to repair as the tile. I'm not expecting tile to stand up to anything and everything. If it's equally durable as the epoxy, that'd work.

Are there not quite a few factory floors that are tiled? I also know of a number of car dealership repair shops that are tiled. Perhaps they're more concerned with the appearance, I don't know.

Considering all my options:

Bare concrete: ruled out becuase of dust and stains

Sealed or stained concrete: Don't care for the looks, though it is cheap and relatively easy

Epoxy: A viable alternative, wide range of types/costs, $400 - $2,500 materials only.

Porcelain tile: I still think a good alternative, but obviously not all agree

Vinyl tile: Not durable enough

Plastic tile: (Race Deck, Moto Floor, Swiss Trax, etc.) - too soft, easy to damage

Tile still seems to be a reasonable alternative.
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Unread 10-10-2011, 04:27 AM   #11
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If you want tile, I see no reason why you shouldn't have it. I think you realize that it will require care to maintain a "showroom" look, so you'll develop methods for moving your heavy stuff around without damaging the tile, and to cover the floor with something non-flamable when welding or grinding. Let me also suggest you use rubber mats in areas where you will be standing a lot or working with hand tools, particularly ones with sharp edges. These will help your back and prevent damage to cutting edges should you drop a tool.

You have already adequately addressed the control and expansion joint issues, and have selected a tile that seems suitable for the application, so what remains is floor prep and selection of setting materials. Verify that your slab is flat to within 1/4" per any 10 foot direction, and that it is free of any sealers or other bond-breaking contaminants. If you decide to use an antifracture membrane (good idea on your young slab), then the membrane will dictate the type of setting material you need. When setting the tile, you really want to verify you are getting 100% coverage on the tile, and especially at the corners. I think the 12x12 tile size is perfect for your shop. It will allow you to follow any contours your slab has more easily than a larger size, and should you eventually need to replace a tile, it will be easier to find a suitable replacement as well as physically remove and replace the tile.
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