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Old 09-01-2009, 12:04 AM   #1
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Advice on Travertine and Slate subfloor

I have been over a number of the posts here and I truly apologize as I'm sure this has been asked before but want to make sure I have it right before we go much further.

The local high school vocational program is building our house. The kids have already laid the first floor platform, and in the next week or two will be on the second floor platform. I maybe too late for the first floor, but have an opportunity to adjust the second floor underlayment before they get there.

Because we didn't plan on doing Travertine or Slate, the house design didn't really take that into account when designing the joists and subflooring.

First Floor - The area on the first floor that we want to lay 16x16 Slate is a 10x10 entry way. The joists are 2-1/2 x 11 7/8 I-Joists 16''o.c. with 3/4 OSB T&G subfloor. The 10 ft I-Joists are supported on both sides by 8 inch concrete walls. I can't use the deflectometer because of the I-Joists. So now my question is, is this suitable for laying Slate? Do I need to or should I laydown plywood on top of the OSB? If so how thick?

Second Floor - This area is a 6'x14' bathroom. The joists are the same 2-1/2 x 11 7/8 I-Joists 16" o.c. and again the planned subfloor is 3/4 OSB T&G. The joists run longways through the bathroom. The joist is 19 feet long and is supported by 2x6 walls on either end. The is a LVL dropped beam at 9.5 ft, so the span is really 9.5 ft from the 2x6 wall to the beam, and then another 9.5 ft to the other 2x6 wall. Again, I'm wondering if this is sufficient and if not what I could do to make it sufficient to hold 1/2 Travertine?

General Question? I know an I-Beam like this has more side to side movement then dimensional lumber, but does it have more or less deflection then a typical 2x12?

Thanks for any and all info.


Last edited by spo100; 09-01-2009 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:38 PM   #2
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Natural stone tile floors require a floor deflection of 1/720. A double layer of Plywood is also required. Whomever engineered the floor trusses must be the person to tell you what the deflection will be.

Typically homes today are engineered at 1/480 and in some cases 1/360.

Second floor structures are not always engineered to have values as high as the first floor values.

The proper plywood would be "exposure 1 - underlayment grade exterior plywood". The first layer of the subfloor can be a typical 3/4" t&g subfloor product any builder would use. The second layer should be the exposure 1 material mentioned.

Travertine even tho it is the "hot ticket" right now can be very problematic, I would stay away from it totally. Unless you use a high quality slate it can flake and peel and cleave-off over time.

A much better choice of tile would be a ceramic porcelain tile. There are many beautiful porcelain tiles available that mimic both of those stones you mention and won't require the floor structure upgrade you will need for stone.


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Old 09-08-2009, 07:52 AM   #3
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I've got to agree with Bud

I don't know a thing about deflection and all that, but slate in my foyer and travertine in my bathrooms were my first choices for flooring. After bringing some pieces home and getting a good sense of them, porcelain didn't seem like a cheap substitute! We walked on the slate. It wouldn't have lasted a year under our foot traffic. I never did find a porcelain tile in my price range that mimicked slate well, but there were several affordable styles that look like travertine, which is what I've decided to go with in all the areas that will be tiled.

I've tried to attach a pic of what I'm laying right now for you. Hopefully, you can view it.
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