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laying stone tile


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#1 of 11 Jay H

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Posted March 20 2007 - 11:49 PM

OK, now my carpet is cut and I can see the thickness that I have to work with. Underneath my carpet is an old wood floor. If I were to lay 1/2" thick stone or ceramic tile, do I need to lay down a backer board of some sort before I lay down thinset, use the spacers to lay the tile and then grout the edges or do I simply thinset the existing wood floor and then start laying tile? I'm kind of afraid if I have to lay a backer board down, I'm going to not have enough clearance with my exterior door and the tile....

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#2 of 11 Chu Gai

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Posted March 21 2007 - 12:02 AM

Assuming that what you have underneath is something like plywood or an mdf type material, then you shouldn't lay the tile directly on it for the following reasons. The thinset will not adhere as well and this will result in both tiles coming loose but the grout also coming loose over time. Further, the wood material flexes to some extent and you run a high probability that your tile will simply crack.

If you're hell bent on laying stone or ceramic, you should remove the existing flooring. That can be done with a circular saw set to the proper depth to score the floor into sections and a pry bar to lift those sections up. At that point, you may want to examine the bracing of the floor joists and add additional cross bracing to stiffen the joists. If the floor area is fairly large, then it might also be a good idea to prop up the floor using posts to minimize vertical deflections. After that, you can simply use cement board to replace the sections you cut out using screws and taping the seams. Then the tile can go down.

#3 of 11 Jay H

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Posted March 21 2007 - 01:32 AM

Cool, thanks. I can use those premade backer panels like "Wonderboard" and a sealer to seam the cut in place of the wood floor panels I have.

I'm only doing the small foyer area which is approximately a 2' x 4' rectangle, probably wont need any extra support on the floor joists, but I just read up on Wonderboard cutting and sealing and also the type of screw to mount it to the floor joists.

Seems like the Wonderboard is easily scribed and cut using a basic utility knife or I'd have to borrow my father's old jigsaw to cut it....

http://www.trainweb....._tips.html#cut

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#4 of 11 Chu Gai

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Posted March 21 2007 - 02:55 AM

I have a foyer that's about 10' x 10' with a side closet where I ripped the old flooring out. It was very much back breaking work but having a teenaged son was an enormous help. I don't recall the brand I used but it seemed to be some kind of cement board with a mesh woven into it. The extent of my bracing there was merely to cut additional cross braces for the joists. Worked out great and the tile I put down was a 12 x 12 replacing the 8 x 8 that was coming up here and there. With a smaller space such as yours, you can definitely spend a little extra on the stone to get the effect you want. Being a foyer area, I'd recommend a nice dark grout to complement the stone and then just seal the shit out of it.

#5 of 11 Jeff Ulmer

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Posted March 21 2007 - 04:21 AM

Unless I'm reading something incorrectly, I'm going to have to disagree with Chu, there is no way that cement board over floor joists is anywhere near strong enough. All of the pros I have spoken to about my tile projects are recommending a minimum of 1" plywood, preferably with cement board over that. Wonderboard is fine on walls on its own, but not a floor.

If you really want a good job, you'll want a layer of Ditra in there as well, which acts as a mechanical decoupler between the wood/backer board and tile, meaning that there is no way for the tile or grout to crack as a result of the normal expansion and contraction in wood. Your new floor will be 2" thick by the time you are done with it though.

The two areas where tile floors fail is deflection, and from side to side expansion. You also want to make sure to use the correct thinset for your application, which depends on what the substrate is.

#6 of 11 Jay H

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Posted March 21 2007 - 05:32 AM

Big caveat here, reading both your replies, is that I don't think there is a subfloor underneath my wood floor. Strange as that sounds, when I look up in my basement at the floor on my 1st/main floor, I see not plywood, but the floor panels. When I ripped up the carpet and carpet pad, I see floor panels. Now unless I have plywood sandwiched between layers of floor panels, I don't see a subfloor...

Basically, if I was to remove my floor panels, I think I would have basically a hole between the basement and my first floor. Wonderboard doesn't sound like it's structural so I would have to lay some kind of plywood down which begs the question... perhaps I should just lay the wonderboard on top of the existing flooring and then proceed with the thinset and stuff.

This is getting odd cause I don't know if I'm going to have the clearance now unless one can get 1/4" thick stone which I'll have to check... seems like it would be pretty thin.

From google, it appears there is a 1/4" wonderboard to use. How thick of a plywood would one recommend?

Jay
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#7 of 11 Chu Gai

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Posted March 21 2007 - 05:48 AM

Jeff, I'm not talking about laying the cement board directly on the joists. In my home there was the existing flooring, which I spoke about removing in order to put the cement board, and underneath that was further plywood flooring.

#8 of 11 Jay H

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Posted March 21 2007 - 07:17 AM

Well, sounds like I don't have a subfloor... When I look up from my basement, I don't see plywood, I see flooring strips.

I guess I'll have to leave the flooring as is (it's pretty smooth in that regard) and install the wonderboard on top of that. First, I'll have to measure what kind of clearance I do have. How much clearance should I allow for the thinset? This is going to be tight I think. Posted Image

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#9 of 11 Chu Gai

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Posted March 21 2007 - 08:30 AM

Assuming that this wonderboard is rated for floor installations (1/2" I think), then you should find plenty of links regarding it's installation from the manufacturer. I take it you're concerned about height differential to the other room. There's also a cement board that's a bit thinner but should work equally as well. Ask your local tile place, HD, Lowes, etc.

#10 of 11 Justin Lane

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Posted March 21 2007 - 11:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay H
Well, sounds like I don't have a subfloor... When I look up from my basement, I don't see plywood, I see flooring strips.

I guess I'll have to leave the flooring as is (it's pretty smooth in that regard) and install the wonderboard on top of that. First, I'll have to measure what kind of clearance I do have. How much clearance should I allow for the thinset? This is going to be tight I think. Posted Image

Jay


I had a new tile floor installed in my kitchen and ran into a similar situation after taking out the old flooring, where the sub-floor was the only floor (90 year old house), The contractor I hired first screwed down any loose boards and then did a layer of thinset, wonder board, thinset, then tile.

Turned out nice and so far(1 year later) there have been no issues with stability or cracking.

J

#11 of 11 Jay H

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Posted March 21 2007 - 11:29 PM

Went to Lowes last night and talked to a flooring guy there, it isn't that uncommon to have just a hardwood floor down with no subfloor, it was a way to save money back in the early 1900s when my house was built. The wood is nice, I believe 3/4" oak or so and I have no problem so far with any sags, creaks, or gaps. Lowes sells "Durock" and I believe HD sells Wonderboard, all brand names for cement/fiber backer boards but the thinest one I saw was 5/16" but they had 1/4" "Hardibacker" which is some kind of fiber reinforced cement board and their own brand of screws for it.

So I bought one sheet of the 1/4" handibacker and the square head screws that are made for it and thinset (253) that was recommended for it. The board is simply cut by scoring it. And I looked at some of the ceramic tile that they had to check the thickness.

My concern with the thickness has to do with my exterior door which if I don't have to touch, I wont, the reason I changed the carpet in the first place is that there is no clearance between the door and the carpet for a carpet mat so the carpet there is in terrible condition. Replace with tile, put a matt in front of the tile and I should be good.

I still need to buy one strip of tackless to border the carpet and my tile after I install the tile and I still need to buy grout but I can wait til I choose my tile before I buy the grout and sealer.

Jay
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