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Unread 12-14-2011, 08:40 AM   #1
Meyco
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Tile Outdoor Balcony w Metal Pan

I own several condos and recently rebuilt a couple of outdoor balconies, about 5 x 10 feet each. The decks are 1-1/8-plywood nailed to floor joists on 16-in centers. On top of this, I have had a galvanized metal pan installed with a scupper for drainage out the front of the balcony. The joists are tapered to provide proper slope to the deck so the pan drains out the scupper. I now want to tile with 6x6 Quarry tile (commerical kitchen tile). I'm thinking about a layer of concrete or thinset, then tile on top of that. Someone suggested Redguard on the metal to help insure concrete sticks to metal. Not sure how thick concrete needs to be, or if I even need to do this. Is concrete okay, or should I tile directly to pan? I had a tile guy do a couple of these balconies in the past but he is no longer around; don't remember what he did, but they are holding up well. I want to make sure the next guy does this correctly. Basic question is how to tile an outdoor metal pan?
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Unread 12-14-2011, 05:29 PM   #2
Brad Denny
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Hello and Welcome Steve,
Pictures of the structure and details of how the weight is transferred to the ground would be helpful, as well as the pan and how it is attached to the plywood.
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Unread 12-14-2011, 06:37 PM   #3
Meyco
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No need to worry about weight distribution. The decks are solid as a rock; joists are 2x10 on 16" centers; deck is 1-1/8in plywood (flooring). Deflection is near zero. Pan is 22ga galvanized steel with 4-in rim all around (4-in deep). Pan is glued down to plywood with liquid nails; rim of pan is nailed to walls (studs) around balcony. I'm thinking 1-in deck-mud/morter bed, then tile job on top of that. Question is what to use for deck mud or mortar bed, and should I add something to bed to make it stick to pan, or just let it lay in pan? Do I want to install some type of mesh to strengthen bed?
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Unread 12-14-2011, 07:04 PM   #4
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Welcome, Steve.

If you're happy with the structure, we'll be happy with you. So long as you recognize that such raised deck areas are one of the highest liability structures in residential construction and require a higher load rating than any other floor in the building.

I presume the reason for the galvanized steel pans was to prevent water leakage to whatever is below these deck areas, yes?

If so, I think you need to maybe back up a step or two here. Those thin steel pans are gonna rust through in not very much time at all, depending upon their exposure to what kinda weather conditions. 'Specially when filled substantially with a cementitious compound.

The decking under these pans is sloped a minimum of 1/4" per foot to daylight, yes?

The only thing I can see you putting in those pans that would create a suitable tiling subatrate would be a minimum of 1 1/4" of reinforced deck mud over a cleavage membrane. If the cleavage membrane were some sort of waterproofing membrane that completely covered the steel pan, it would certainly help prevent the deterioration of the pan. Not sure how you'd treat the upper part of the pan for aesthetic considerations, though.

I really think you'd be far better off removing those pans all together, installing a mud bed or CBU, and covering the deck with NobleDeck or similar product. Actually, I don't think there is a similar product, I'd use the NobleDeck.

I know that's not what you axed for, but that's:

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-14-2011, 07:20 PM   #5
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Thank you cx. Pans are to prevent leakage. Material is same as roof flashing, maybe 20ga. Balconies are covered, but rain blows in occasionally, so not a lot of water. Located in Tulsa OK, not a great deal of rain. Snows three times per year, but melts in days. Decking is sloped 1/4 per foot. The old pans are 35 years old, and not in very bad condition, but due for replacement, yes. What is cleavage membrane? What brand technical name for deck mud and reinforced how?
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Unread 12-14-2011, 07:39 PM   #6
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Mud brand name, Momma Nature's Best. Five parts sharp sand, one part Portland cement, very little bit water. Like this.

Cleavage membrane is to separate the mud from the subfloor. Can be polyethylene sheeting, roofing felt, CPE or PVC membrane, etc.

Reinforcing must be a minimum of 2x2", 16ga welded steel wire mesh suspended in the center of a minimum of 1 1/4" mud bed.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-14-2011, 07:39 PM   #7
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Here's a few photos. This is job was done by previous contractor, but I don't know what he put down for morter bed if any.
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Unread 12-14-2011, 07:43 PM   #8
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Cleavage membrane on top of pan, right? Someone suggested Redgard to me, yes/no?
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Unread 12-14-2011, 07:56 PM   #9
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I honestly don't know. Membrane's gotta pass ASTM C-836 and I don't see that in Custom's literature for RedGard. Also don't see steel or galvanized steel listed as a suitable substrate. But that'd be between you and Custom Building Prducts.

Roofing felt would be a whole lot less expensive and we use that over galvanized flashings alla time.
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Unread 12-14-2011, 08:02 PM   #10
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Felt it will be. Thank you CX.
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Unread 12-14-2011, 08:16 PM   #11
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Sure looks to me like there can be a lotta standing water in them pans.

Is that just a roof over the deck in the very first photo where we see the red step ladder standing, or is that another, similar deck area not yet finished?
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Unread 12-14-2011, 09:08 PM   #12
Brad Denny
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If it were me, Steve, I'd let the existing pan be a secondary fail-safe for a surface applied waterproofing membrane like the Noble product cx mentioned. Laticrete has some great products as well, and if it is a paint on you'd like for the metal pan, HydroBan could be the ticket if their technical service guys say OK. Call and ask before taking my recommendation and running with it. From experience I can testify to it will stick to metal all to well, but not sure how well in this assembly.

Having the mortar bed independent of the metal with a cleavage membrane does gain you a buffer from a surface that expands/contract with temperature change.

Don't forget! Going with WP below tile/above top of pan, you'd need another outlet for the area you're pitching the water.
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Unread 12-18-2011, 07:43 AM   #13
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CX, that is a roof over the balcony. Brad, that pan is completely water proof and 4-inches deep. There is scupper in the corner (see photo), and the pan is sloped 1/4-in per foot so that water runs towards and out the scupper.
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Unread 12-18-2011, 09:37 AM   #14
Brad Denny
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I see the scupper, but if you waterproof above it with a product on the surface, it too will need an exit for the water. I believe cx and I both are steering you in a direction where water doesn't have to soak through 2" of material before it gets out of the assembly. Alleviates some worries about a constantly wet chunk of mortar encased in a metal pan because even though it slopes and has a scupper, it still isn't going to DRY. Over time, I'd bet that over hydrated cement is going to leech out salts, probably in a perfect line out of the scupper.
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Unread 12-18-2011, 10:06 AM   #15
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I've tiled several balconies over the years that had galvanized metal pans. It really helps to have the roof protection because the metal likes to rot out in 8 or 9 years when the balconies aren't protected. That's what I've experienced anyway. I would lay the wire loose in the mud and then apply a membrane over the mud like the others said. I have used Merkrete with the fabric on balconies out in the open with good luck. I usually go ahead and go up the walls 4 inches with Mercrete and install a tile base/flashing or have someone else install copper flashing.
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