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Unread 06-07-2005, 05:22 AM   #1
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Are large rectified porcelain floor tiles really a job for the pros?

Issues with large rectified porcelain imitation stone floor tiles

We are planning to lay 24" x 24" rectified imitation stone porcelain floor tiles (rough textured and 3/5" thick) over a 300 sq ft (connected living/kitchen/dinning/hall) area.

The tiles come from Cotto d'este (Italy) are rough textured and are called Pietratech Goldengres Naturale Rectified (60cmx60cmx1.4cm). They do not have a beveled edge.

There is a new floating floor going down for under floor heating, which I hope should give us a pretty flat and even floor.

My questions are:

How do you best cut large and thick rectified porcelain tiles? I understand that a wet saw is necessary, but are there any points that you need to watch out for with such large tiles. Is it hard to cut such tiles on a diagonal, even if you have the correct equipment?

How do you manage to cut the smaller more detail cutting work (cutting to fit difficult areas etc) or drilling larger holes for gas, water, toilet, or heating pipes?

What is optimum thinset material for large and thick rectified porcelain tiles? I have sort of assumed that the thinset material provides a degree of correction to the level of the floor, letting you adjust where needed - I am only worried that because such tiles are so heavy they will literally sink into any medium and eliminate this effect.

Any issues regarding large and thick tiles and water/radiant under floor heating? The tiles are very heavy, is there any risk that their weight will cause the floor to sink, leaving a gap between the wall moulding and the tiles. This sinking problem is something I see a lot in houses where we live in Germany with floating concrete floors (the German word they use here is 'swimming' - I guess is means the same thing as 'floating' - although I am not entirely sure what this means).

How do you check that your floor is flat? I have read many times of people talking about a flat floor, but how do youknow it is flat enough (should a newly laid floating concrete floor theoretically be flat enough) and what do you do to correct it?

Any tips or advice for keeping lippage problems at bay (asisde from a flat floor)? Someone in an earlier post suggested using low set lights reflecting off the tiles so find areas where they are not sitting correctly.

This is great forum and I am very grateful for those who have taken the trouble to help. Thanks.

Last edited by Gavin; 06-07-2005 at 07:57 AM.
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Unread 06-07-2005, 05:42 AM   #2
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Gavin, you should use a medium set mortar for those large, heavy tiles. Look for somthing called Granite and Marble mortar.
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Unread 06-07-2005, 05:47 AM   #3
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Gavin, your concrete is probably not going to be flat enough for your large tiles without some prep work. The amount and type of work necessary will depend on what you find when you measure the floor.

To check for flatness (not the same as level), get yourself a 10 foot long straight edge and a ruler. Set the straight edge on the floor and measure any gaps. Mark those that are greater than 1/4" and less than 1/8". Move the staight edge around the room and continue marking. Change orientation of the straight edge from time to time. When you are finished you should have something like a topo map showing the deeper areas and the high spots. Report back here when you are finished and we'll plan the next step.
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Unread 06-07-2005, 05:52 AM   #4
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Maybe post some pics of the room your doing. 24's need super flat floor and being in Germany, you have access to some of the best setters. You my want to bite the bullet and hire one. If you have extreme patience and a burning desire to do it yourself, then you came to the right place..

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Unread 06-07-2005, 05:53 AM   #5
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Gavin, from your other posts, I understood this floor to be a concrete slab. Is it? Is the slab on grade or supported by structure? If structure, has it been analyzed to support the loads you are intending?

Wedi board is a foam core backerboard that can be used to insulate between slabs and hydronic heating systems. That should be your first layer. Your tubes come next, then deck mud. The deck mud must cover the tops of the tubes by 3/4" or it will crack. A good mechanic can place your deck mud dead flat and level, so installing your tiles should be easier.

You asked earlier about this being a DIY job. I'm beginning to think not.
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Unread 06-07-2005, 05:58 AM   #6
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OK, Gavin, I've rounded up all your threads and merged them into one. We get more confused if you have multiple threads on a single project. Keep everthing about this project here, and start another thread if you start another project.
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