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Unread 04-06-2010, 02:49 PM   #1
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SLC over radiant heating cable: Lath or no Lath?

I am remodeling a bathroom. The floor is 2 layers of plywood over 2x10 joists 16 oc. I plan on installing a cable floor heating system (just to warm up the floor, not as primary heating). My questions are about whether or not to use lath over the cable system, and opinions about specific cable brands.

I have heard and read (on this site) of people using SLC without lath. However, when I checked out the data sheets for Ardex (both KL 15 and SD L), Custom (both LevelQuick formulas and LevelLite), and Mapei (NovoPlan Easy), they all call for lath. So far, only Novoplan 2 and Bostik Hydroment SL-150 (not available in my area) seem to allow use without lath (although Mapai sounds pretty iffy about it).

I have read the liberry article about this topic. I am trying to minimize the height buildup for the floor. I will be installing Ditra before tiling.

1. What are the benefits of using lath? Or said another way, what is the detriment of NOT using lath?

2. Has anyone who didn't use lath experience SLC failure (e.g. breaking up around the heating cables)?

3. What SLC works best (as actually used in the field) without lath?

4. Since there are so many companies out there now, what is the best cable system to use? I'm looking for specific pros and cons. Right now I'm looking at Suntouch, but just wanted to see if anyone has had better results with some other brand.

Just FYI: I have been using this site for a long time, but this is my first post. So I hope I'm posting correctly.

Thanks in advance for any guidance you may give!

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Unread 04-06-2010, 03:46 PM   #2
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The lath won't add much, if any, additional height. Lath reinforces the cement, just like rebar and mesh does in a concrete slab or wall. There is a plastic lath that is less likely to nick the wires. Attaching the lath, then the wire, gives you something to tie it to. Over a plywood subfloor, most SLC manufacturers want a depth of 1/2" over the highest point. Ardex also wants you to use their addative for part of the water to improve the strength, flexibility, and adhesion to plywood.
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
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Unread 04-06-2010, 03:58 PM   #3
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Confirm with the manufacturers but some systems allow that web-mounted radiant heating mats can be counted as a reinforcing lath. Laticrete is one of those that allows it's SLC product to be combined with their electric radiant heating system without additional lath being used.
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