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Old 08-22-2013, 09:36 AM   #1
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Ceramic tile over hardwood


I have a 100 yr old brick 4-square in Northern Wisconsin. The first floor is all original maple flooring, but is so stained and damaged/patched that restoring is not a good option.
I hope to put engineered hardwood on about half the area in the living and dining rooms, and tile over the maple in the kitchen, laundry, entry and mudroom.
I see no problem with the engineered, but I'm confused and concerned about tile. Is a cement backer all that I need for prep? I don't want to tear out the maple, if I can avoid it.

I tried searching the forums...but something as simple as "tile" and "hardwood" brings up an awful lot of reading material, but I haven't seen a direct answer to this sort of question.

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Old 08-22-2013, 03:55 PM   #2
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Ceramic tile over hardwood


You are not supposed to install tile over hardwood planks.

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Old 08-22-2013, 04:13 PM   #3
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Ceramic tile over hardwood


Solarboy,

You need to remove the hardwood where ever the tiles will be installed.

In a house of that vintage you will find a plank subfloor, probably a pine. Let us know what you find if you don't know yet. You'll need to install plywood over the subfloor then a tile backer and then the tiles.

We can walk you through the entire process. The first step is to tell us how the framing is built. Tell us the size of the joists, their spacing and the longest span measured from face to face of the supports. It would be helpful if we knew the species and grade of the joists, but I'm not expecting that info in a house that old.

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Old 08-22-2013, 05:39 PM   #4
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Ceramic tile over hardwood


Yes, it has 1" pine plank, laid on the diagonal on full-cut 10"x2"s, 16"OC, max span 12'. Maple is T&G, end matched. Most likely white pine for planking and joists.
But if I have to pull the maple...I probably won't. We wanted tile because we are nervous about using engineered wood in those rooms, and especially the entry. We are in Northern Wisconsin, Jazman...so you know what kind of tracking of mud/snow/rain/sand/salt we can get.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:56 PM   #5
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Solarboy,

So you're saying that since you'll need to remove the maple hardwood flooring you'll not do ceramic and go another way? HUH?

So, from outdoors direct to engineered? Tell me about your family, who lives there?

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Old 08-22-2013, 08:13 PM   #6
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Ha! Yeah...if I have to pull the maple, I'd have to think really hard before I did it...I'd have to pull the kitchen cabinets, or somehow cut around them...I'd have to pull the dishwasher and range, too. Oh...I "could"...I've done more than that on this place so far, but everything has been proceeding with the idea of engineered, and suddenly...one of the residents of importance...decided she wanted tile. The entryway is only about 3'x3', so I could pull that, plywood/backer and tile there. It's between two archways, one leads into the mudroom, the other the kitchen and straight ahead it's up the stairs.
There is just the two of us, but we have grandkids we like to have over, and we like to have some pretty good sized parties in the summer...so there is a fair amount of foot traffic at times, and it may not be as "tidy" as we are. After all, they didn't pay for and install the flooring!
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:38 PM   #7
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Ceramic tile over hardwood


I don't know if you'd have to pull the kitchen cabinets. If the hardwood is under them you might, or cut the flooring with a toe-kick cut off saw.

The dishwasher and range are not an issue, you have to remove them no matter what you do.

Just remember wood and water are enemies. I've seen high quality engineered go bad because a medium size dog's water dish was on it. The dish was on a large plastic mat, but the dog would walk away and a few drops fall on the wood causing discoloration and surface finish cracks. The outdoors was not an issue.

Having said that, we just finish a complete redo of our old main floor area consisting of a foyer, kitchen/dinette, living room & dinning room. Most was ceramic while the dinning and living room were carpeting, now everything is 4" hickory.

The separating wall is gone and it's an open concept deal. Looks fantastic and we love the hickory floor. It'll be interesting to see how we can protect the wood. We do have a buffer from the main entrance through the attached garage, a carpeted entry I built within the garage. Being a ceramic tile guy I know this floor is not the most durable for this area, but we wanted to make a change. Just two of us live here and we're shoeless 99% of the time.

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Old 08-26-2013, 09:23 AM   #8
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Ceramic tile over hardwood


Thanks for all the suggestions.
There have been so many changes on this project it is hard to keep track of them all. Originally, the plan was to restore all the maple and we got an estimate for that. But after getting all the old cabinets and flooring off and making some changes to enlarge some archways and shift some doors...the amount needing patching doubled. We decided early to do the living/dining room with engineered, and that is still a "go", but in the main entry/kitchen/mudroom/laundry the concern was longevity with the inevitable tracking of snow/water/mud/salt/sand/dog poop, so we decided on tile. Our contractor said we could just put down cement backer board on the hardwood and tile it. So, on this apparently bad advice, the kitchen cabinets were set and other things done that make it that much harder to pull the old maple.
So, I'm looking at maybe going with restoring the maple in the kitchen, remove the maple in the entry/mudroom and laundry and do tile in those areas.
I could develop a simple moisture detecting mat to lay on the entry to the kitchen maple that would sound an alarm, and blare out a prerecorded message "Stop. You are not authorized to enter this room. Please return to the mud room and take off your damn shoes".
Seriously: Do you think a well finished maple floor will give good performance in a kitchen, if it is well maintained?
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:22 PM   #9
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Ceramic tile over hardwood


You will be fine with a properly finished maple floor in the kitchen---you always have a risk with wood from plumbing leaks---but of all the common woods,maple is the safest choice for a kitchen----It does not discolor if water does hit it---

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