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Old 04-16-2014, 07:49 PM   #1
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Tile on sloped sidewalk


How important is it to have a perfectly flat concrete sidewalk to lay tile on? I understand that 16" x 16" tile needs to have a flat solid base otherwise it will crack but wouldn't it be correct that as long as each "individual piece" of tile is fully supported by thinset, that the tiles won't crack?

Here's our situation:
We have an "L" shaped concrete sidewalk coming to our front door. Although there's a roof over the sidewalk, rain can make it wet depending on the wind. A crude drawing is below:

G|......|P|
A|......|L|
R|......|A|
A|......|N|
G|......|T|BOX
E|................|
..|_________|
.....H O U S E

(periods just used for spacing).

The garage wall is on the left, the house wall is on the bottom and there is a plant box made out of 4" hollow tile as shown. The sidewalk is 4 feet wide x 14 feet vertically, and 10 feet horizontally.

The sidewalk slopes away from the house toward the plant box. The roof mostly protects the sidewalk from rain but the sidewalk can get wet (not flooded) and the little amount of rain drainage is along the plant box down toward the house, then out to the right.

The sidewalk is not totally flat and I can't use liquid leveler since I need the slope away from the house.

Suggestions on how to do the job? Use something else other than tile?

BACKGROUND INFO:
We live in Honolulu, Hawaii. The coldest recorded temperature was 52 degrees farenheight and the hottest was 95 degrees. It never gets to freezing in Honolulu.

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Old 04-17-2014, 09:24 AM   #2
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Tile on sloped sidewalk


Just to nail down a couple of terms before this goes any further. Flat and level are not the same thing. Your surface needs to be flat, it does not need to be level.
For instance, if you were to place a block of wood under a table leg, the table would no longer be level, but it would still be flat.
If your slope is even, with no holes or bumps, it should be acceptable.

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Old 04-17-2014, 01:39 PM   #3
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Tile on sloped sidewalk


Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondesense View Post
Just to nail down a couple of terms before this goes any further. Flat and level are not the same thing. Your surface needs to be flat, it does not need to be level.
For instance, if you were to place a block of wood under a table leg, the table would no longer be level, but it would still be flat.
If your slope is even, with no holes or bumps, it should be acceptable.
Referring to the drawing below, the main problem is the diagonal from the lower left corner of the drawing to the plant box where I inserted the forward slants.

G|......|P|
A|......|L|
R|....>|A|
A|......|N|
G|..x..|T|BOX
E|..../...z^.....|
..|/_________|
.....H O U S E

Because the sidewalk slopes away from the house toward the plant box in the direction of the arrow heads, I guess I'll need to cut the tiles at a diagonal. Getting plane x to line up with plane z at the diagonal might be a bit of a problem since the sidewalk concrete does not have sharply defined planes like the tiles will be.

I guess I'll need to start laying the tiles at the diagonal for plane x and plane z and go from there. But that might necessitate building up the thinset to accommodate the concrete.

How thick can the thinset be for good support of the tiles?

Thanks,
HomeRepairGuy
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:38 PM   #4
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Tile on sloped sidewalk


Any thing thicker than 3/8" is pushing the thickness of thinset---Ardex feather finish would be a better choice to even out the transition---a latex primer might be good to insure a proper bond for the Feather Finish--
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:25 PM   #5
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Tile on sloped sidewalk


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Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Any thing thicker than 3/8" is pushing the thickness of thinset---Ardex feather finish would be a better choice to even out the transition---a latex primer might be good to insure a proper bond for the Feather Finish--
Thanks for the info.

I did some research on Ardex feather finish and found that it is for indoor use only. I found Henry's FeatherFinish and Henry's UniPro listed at HomeDepot but they both are also listed for indoor use.

I don't think I'll need to get to 3/8" thick so it looks like thinset will be the way to go for my project.

Thanks,
HomeRepairGuy
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