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Unread 01-09-2003, 10:50 PM   #1
merrillynn
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Tiling Bathroom Floor

Just found this forum - great resource! I need to replace a broken toilet and would like to use the opportunity to tile the bathroom floor. This would be my first experience with tiling. The current flooring is industrial rubber installed by the previous owners. It's surface was painted and the paint is somewhat worn. Is it possible to tile over the existing rubber? If so, is some special treatment required? Can thinset (or some other material) be used to build up the floor level to correct a slope? I'm reluctant to take up the current flooring unless it's absolutely necessary. I'd like to make this first experience as easy as possible!
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Unread 01-09-2003, 10:55 PM   #2
Jason_Butler
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Industrial rubber ?? Can't say that I've heard of it.

Nonetheless, I doubt very seriously if this is an approved substrate for tile. If you have a slab floor, remove the existing rubber and level the slab with a SLC ( self leveling compound). Then tile over the SLC with thinset

If you have a wood subfloor, remove the rubber and install cement board prior to tile. An SLC be used in addition to the CBU to correct any slope issues.

Let's see if any of the others are familiar with your type of floor

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Unread 01-10-2003, 07:02 AM   #3
John Bridge
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Hi Merrillynn,

I would like to make your first tiling experience as painless as possible, but tile work doesn't work that way.

We do need to know what the floor is made of, concrete or wood. And if wood, we need to know more about the rubber stuff and what's under it in the way of framing and subfloor.
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Unread 01-10-2003, 07:18 AM   #4
tileguytodd
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If this Industrial rubber floor is Rubber Tiles, And it was installed properly,it was set in thinset with a 3/4" half moon trowel.You may have a difficult time removing Them. I would be most interested in finding out if this is the case.

Finally something Unique!!
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Unread 01-10-2003, 09:32 AM   #5
merrillynn
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Tiling Bathroom Floor

Thanks for the interest in helping with my problem. In response to the questions asked, the subfloor is wood - a second storey addition built around 1985. The industrial rubber appears to have been installed in four pieces. The largest is approx. 3 feet by 3 feet. The other pieces were cut to fit the remaining floor space which is about 4 feet by 5.5 feet in total. Ditto for my second bathroom. (Yes, I'm blessed with two of these - but luckily the other toilet still works - sort of !) I do not know any details of the cement or adhesive used. Because of the potential difficulty in removal, and since I have a clean hard surface, I am wondering about the feasibility of tiling over the existing floor.
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Unread 01-10-2003, 10:21 AM   #6
bbcamp
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Go ahead and fix the toilet. Even if you have to install a new one, it isn't hard and you can remove it later once we get this figured out.


The only approved material, other than plywood and cement-based products, suitable for use under tile is vinyl composition tile (VCT) and then only under specific conditions. The rubber must go. The reason is that tile, thinset and grout are rigid and brittle. They present a very hard surface, but if they are bent, they break. The rubber will flex under the weight of normal living. That's why it's used, to cushion your feet when you walk (it may be hard, but it's not concrete). When it flexes, the tile breaks!


Now, if you wanted to install 5/8" plywood over the rubber, then 1/2" backerboard, then the tile, it might work, but you won't get any guarantees from anyone. You will get a 1-1/2" height difference at the door threshold, and you will have to extend the closet flange, and maybe the vanity.
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Unread 01-11-2003, 11:34 AM   #7
merrillynn
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Tiling Bathroom Floor

How would you go about removing a rubber floor? I use the term generically because I don't know how one distinguishes rubber from vinyl, but I suppose it could be vinyl or some other substance. I do know that it is quite rigid and doesn't have any 'give' - it's not bouncy. I'm not sure what you mean by 'flex'. Now, as to installing plywood over the rubber, I'm not sure why you would put plywood overtop. Isn't it likely that there is already a layer of plywood underneath the rubber? I would be okay with the cementboard and SLC that was suggested, but 1 1/2" sounds like way too much relative to the threshold.
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Unread 01-11-2003, 12:13 PM   #8
tileguytodd
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Can you post a picture of the floor. perhaps 1 near the threshold and another near the stool/tub
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Unread 01-11-2003, 01:20 PM   #9
merrillynn
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Great idea! Only problem - at the bottom of this posting page it says "You may not post attachments" and no "browse" button appears. Can the administrator permit me to post these pictures?
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Unread 01-11-2003, 01:23 PM   #10
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there are some rubber floors out there(ie: nora,perelli,ect) as far as tiling to them __no-- as stated you might be able to glue and screw cbu over, then tile, but i would check with the mfg. of board. with out dought best would be to remove it.
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Unread 01-11-2003, 02:47 PM   #11
merrillynn
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Thanks. Here are two pictures.
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Unread 01-11-2003, 02:53 PM   #12
John Bridge
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Yep, those look like commercial rubber tiles all right.

If the floors are otherwise firm, I would be tempted to put down CBU with thin set and roofing nails. I don't think those tiles are going to collapse.

[I can see the tile police coming after me now]

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Unread 01-11-2003, 03:19 PM   #13
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Mr. Bridge?

Would you step over here with me, please?

And bring your copy of the TCA Handbook if you don't mind.

I just have a couple questions for you. This will only take a minute.
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Unread 01-11-2003, 03:41 PM   #14
Bri
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Hi
This is what you have: http://www.johnsonite.com/products/roundel.htm#

If it was put in by professionals, then a 2 part epoxy adhesive was used, and they are very difficult to pull up...but not impossible....only one way to find out

I'm with Mr Bridge on this one...if you can't pull it up, then I would go on top of it with cement board. The room is small enough that it shouldn't be a problem. The flooring may be rubber, but it's a very hard rubber..it's not going to flex under foot traffic.
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Unread 01-11-2003, 03:54 PM   #15
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Now that I know what y'all are talking about, I think it might not be all that bad. The only time I ever ran into that stuff it was installed on a wood floor with what looked to be just regular contact cement. Left a messy residue on the wood, but that shouldn't matter if you're gonna install CBU anyway.

I'd say remove that toilet (which you gotta do anyway) and try to peel the edge you find under there. See how tough (or how easy) it's gonna be.
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