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Old 03-04-2018, 10:22 AM   #1
Curly27
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Leveling Ditra duo heat with thinset

Guys,
First let me thank you. I have been reading this board for over a year and the wealth of knowledge is such a gift to a DIY'er like me. I wondered if you could give me your advice on my kitchen floor project.
Kitchen floor is about 120 sq ft and going to be porcelain 12x24 tiles. Floor is stiff with 2x10 16" OC with 1-3/4" ply total. There is a section about half way where a new addition was built and the transition in the joists is a little high so I have a slope on each side. I laid down 1/2" ext ply as underlayment and used thinset under this ply to try to level out the peak on one side. When done it's still about 1/4" low.
I'm thinking when I lay my Ditra heat dou I will switch from the 1/4x1/4 notched trowel to 1/2x1/2 trowel and put a thicker layer of thinset in this area thus leveling out the difference.
Does this sound like an acceptable idea? Thanks in advance
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Old 03-04-2018, 11:53 AM   #2
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Sounds tricky to do. What not level the floor with floor leveler first
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Old 03-04-2018, 12:20 PM   #3
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Thank you for your response. I guess I was trying to avoid that because from one end of the rectangular room to the other end the floor slopes about 3/4" over a 14' length. I really didn't want to get into the metal lathe required to self leve that much. I figured The floor doesn't need to be level just flat. The other thing was that the transition to living room is already 3/4 high and I really didn't want to add more. Do you think the 1/2x1/2 trowel would put too much thinset under the Ditra heat duo? Maybe I could just give it extra time to dry?
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Old 03-04-2018, 12:23 PM   #4
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What if I use the recommended 1/4 x 1/4 notch u see the Ditra heat duo, let dry. Next step would be fill Ditra waffles and let dry. THEN fill low spots with more thinset and let dry. Then final thinset with 1/2x1/2" trowel and tile.
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Old 03-04-2018, 01:08 PM   #5
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You need to get the floor flat before installing the Ditra. With the correct amount of thinset under the Ditra, it will pretty much follow the floor height. Adding more thinset won't raise it but rather make it real wavy. You have to mash the Ditra into the thinset and when you do that with 1/2 inch notches, it won't mash down evenly over the floor. Sounds like a big mess if you do that.
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Old 03-04-2018, 01:21 PM   #6
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Thanks Davvy, that makes sense the way you describe it. How about applying the Ditra with same trowel. Then fill the waffle and let cure. Then go back and fill with thinset and let dry. Then final comb and tile?
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Old 03-04-2018, 02:05 PM   #7
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There's nothing wrong with installing the Ditra and getting right back on top of it and filling the waffles. You would want to wait for that to dry before tiling. Thinset will stick to thinset, if that's what you are asking.

The floor leveling is what I was talking about. Take the time to get the floor flat before putting down the Ditra. Tiling will be easier.
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Old 03-04-2018, 02:11 PM   #8
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The name self-leveling cement is somewhat of a misnomer, and especially true if you pick one with thixotropic properties. Those are designed to be fluid when moved, but stable when you stop. IOW, you can use them to build a slope if needed.

You really do not want to try to level Ditra after it is installed, or while installing it. Unlike a tile that is rigid, it is fairly flexible and will not make a nice straight surface when you have excess thinset underneath it. It will also lose some of its properties if you use excessive thinset on top of it, too. Excessive depth of thinset can also lead to cracking and shrinkage, which does not make a good surface to tile on.
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Old 03-04-2018, 04:20 PM   #9
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Thanks Davy, I know it's best to get it right before Ditra. But my understanding is that SLC has a minimum thickness and I already have a big transition. I thought I'd get it with my underlayment but didn't get enough.
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Old 03-04-2018, 04:26 PM   #10
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Jim,
Thank you for your help. Sounds like you are saying SLC can hold itself up a little. I like the idea of building the ramp with SLC (if I'm understanding this correctly). But this is over plywood so then I'd have a part cement and part plywood. This would cause a problem with using modified or unmodified under the Ditra. Am I understanding your comment about the SLC?
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Old 03-04-2018, 07:36 PM   #11
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You'd probably want to use the modified because of the partial plywood left exposed. SLC should be able to transport enough moisture to enable modified thinset to work well. Make sure you get an SLC that is designed for this...not all are. Otherwise, it will run and attempt to self level and mess things up. I know that Mapei makes at least one, and the other manufacturers probably do as well. Get their help in choosing. If you could afford the height, a mudbed would be great, but that would need to be much thicker.
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