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Unread 09-16-2008, 11:31 AM   #1
Confused56
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How to replace Mexican tile floor with porcelain

I have received lots of conflicting advice on how to proceed. I will not be doing this myself but hiring someone and the "pros" have various suggestions. Each thinks his is the only way to go.

The situation:
11x12' kitchen presently with Mexican tiles. All to be ripped out and new cabinets, etc. added after new floor. Want to use 13" square porcelain tile,
3/8". There is already a height difference: kitchen is about 3/4" higher than adjacent dining room (oak T&G floor)

Presently:
1. 1/2 inch ply on 2x10 joists 16" OC, (75 No. 1 SGR-N, HEM FIR-N)
2. topped by 1/2 inch ply
3. then lathe (aluminum?) and mortar (or something similar)
4. 8" generally square hand made Mexican tiles (1/2")
Total height 1 3/4"

Mexican tiles have cracked along a three foot line in recent years. Contractors say probably due to settling (Floor and are 28 years old.)

All contractors have said remove top ply layer and replace with new or (one said) with durock, another, hardiboard. Then thinset, tile and grout.

Some have said do thinset over new ply and set tile in that. Another said use mud over plywood, but height could be a factor --one suggested 3 inches of mud (which would be much too high); others say never tile directly on plywood.

Height is an issue and I must try not to exceed the 1 3/4". (Lower would be a big plus.) Otherwise the room to room transition problem will be greater. Also, the space between the refrigerator and the 24"H over-the-fridge cabinet--plus 3/4 " overhang for full overlay handleless door--will be less than 1 inch. Ceiling is 95 1/8 inches, 42" cabinets and a "tall" pantry cabinet will go to the ceiling.

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions on how best to proceed.

Many, many thanks.

Confused56
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Unread 09-16-2008, 01:52 PM   #2
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Whats the unsupported span of the joists? With that information, go to the Deflecto tool above (see blue bar above), input your joist data and tell us what you get.

The 1/2" ply for a sub-floor is a problem. So is the Jersey mud job they put under the Mexican tiles (that's the lath plus thin layer of mortar).

Hardie vs Durock, that's a Ford, Chevy thing. Nothing to be concerned about with that difference of opinion.

I like the contractor who said not to tile directly to plywood. Mud over plywood is fine, long as it's thick enough and your 1-3/4 total height limitation eliminates that opton. The mud layer alone must be in the neighborhood of 1" to 1-1/4".

Welcome to the Forum. How about a first name?

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Unread 09-16-2008, 04:00 PM   #3
Confused56
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It's L416

Hi, Mike,

Thanks so much for your response. Deflecto says it's L416.

I gather the existing 1/2" ply would not be sufficient by itself and that I would need another 1/2" layer or something else.

I really appreciate your help. This has been terribly confusing, frustrating, etc. Having your input makes a big difference. I may even be able to sleep tonight!

Thanks so much. I am eager to get this project moving at last.

Bill

Last edited by Confused56; 09-17-2008 at 03:38 PM.
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Unread 09-18-2008, 07:38 AM   #4
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Measurements being done today

Cabinet people are coming to do final measurements today. Floor height is a major issue. Current distance fromfloor to ceiling is 95 1/4" with Mexican tile 1 3/4" over joists.

With 42 inch wall cabinets (doors extend another 3/4"lower), and 36"H base cabinets, only 16 inches remain between countertop and cabinet. The Deflecto is L416, and what I think i need is the lowest floor possible, remembering that the porcelain tile itself is about 3/8."

Thanks so much for your help. It will make the difference in how/whether this all works. If the porcelain doesn't, perhaps I need to go to vinyl or wood--neither of which is close to a first choice.

Thanks again!

Bill
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Unread 09-18-2008, 08:04 AM   #5
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If you're having custom cabinets installed, no reason they can't make the uppers a couple inches shorter if you want your full 18" between countertop and upper cabinets.

You could prolly learn to live with the 16", too.

Your half-inch subfloor is no subfloor at all to my mind. If you've got a height problem, I'd start by removing that subfloor and starting with a minimum of 3/4" T&G plywood and work up from there. Using a membrane such as Ditra from Schluter or one of Noble Company's products could save you a little more height.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-18-2008, 09:53 AM   #6
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Yep -- 3/4" ply + Ditra + tile (3/4" + 1/8" + 3/8") gets you to 1-1/2" total. Add in another 1/8" allowance for thin-set mortar and you're still under the 1-3/4" maximum.

The key is loosing that 1/2" sub-floor, Bill.

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Unread 09-18-2008, 10:50 AM   #7
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Mike, CX,

Thank you both so vey much.

Cabinets are semi-custom and only come in 36 and 42" in heights. Otherwise I would have gone for 39". Unfortunately we are on a limited budget. The custom were wonderful but just not affordable.

One of the contractors I have been talking with recommend removing the top 1/2 inch of ply and then covering the bottom 1/2" ply with thinset, then 1/2"
durock followed by more thinset and then the tile.

His calculations: 1/2" ply; 1/2" durock. 3/8" tile and a total of 1/4" thinset.

He says this will be very strong, last a lifetime, will not shift, and that he has done it many times.

From what you both say, do I conclude correctly that his proposal is
inappropriate and unacceptable?

Thanks again.

Bill
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Unread 09-18-2008, 11:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
His calculations: 1/2" ply; 1/2" durock. 3/8" tile and a total of 1/4" thinset.

He says this will be very strong, last a lifetime, will not shift, and that he has done it many times.
With all due respects, Bill, I don't think contractor person knows what he's talking about. Or....maybe to put that somewhat more politically corrrect, I think he's suggesting you take a BIG risk with your floor AND your money.
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Unread 09-18-2008, 11:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
One of the contractors I have been talking with recommend removing the top 1/2 inch of ply and then covering the bottom 1/2" ply with thinset, then 1/2"
durock followed by more thinset and then the tile.
Quote:
From what you both say, do I conclude correctly that his proposal is
inappropriate and unacceptable?
Matters little what we say, eh? Invite your contractor to show you where the manufacturer of Durock says that's an acceptable installation.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-18-2008, 11:18 AM   #10
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Thank you both.

I have not signed a contract and think I'll talk to another contractor.

Removing and replacing that lower layer sounds expensive. But I gather there is no less expensive option.


Bill
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Unread 09-18-2008, 11:21 AM   #11
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Naa, costs nothing but your labor and some 3/4" plywood, Bill. Shouldn't be one of the more expensive parts of your project at all, just a big PITA.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-18-2008, 04:22 PM   #12
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You'll love this. I just had a visit and recommendation from a guy touted by the biggest tile dealer in the area as one of the best tile people around, a guy who does a lot of the high end estate houses. He said to remove the top 1/2" ply and put 1/2"in hardiboard over the lower 1/2 inch ply with thinset. Said he's done this hundreds of times. Also said at his house two years ago he did 1/4" over 1/2" ply and has not had any a problem.

He also said that if the under layer of plywood needs to be replaced, he would use 5/8 or 3/4 ply with 1/4 inch hardiboard.

Still pursuing your and Mike's recommendation.

Unfortunately with my back it's going to have to be someone else who does the plywood. But good thought!

Many thanks!

Bill
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Unread 09-18-2008, 04:38 PM   #13
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Where you finding these jerks? Tijuana?

Come back home, Bill.
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Unread 09-19-2008, 08:32 AM   #14
Confused56
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This is East Hampton toward the far Eastern end of Long Island.

QAnd I still can't find anyone who will do the preferred method.

Latest: backerbaord over ply--if two 1/2" sheets, then 1/4" with thinset and tile.

This is becoming increasingly critical since the cabinets are ordered and I need to have someone to do the floor first and then get them in. When the local tile store starts recommending person after person who suggests unreasonable solutions... It's real frustrating!

I do thank you for your help and will continue to try to act on it.

Bill
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