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Old 01-03-2012, 12:03 PM   #1
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Floor preperation for Tiling


I have a small bathroom. Because of damage by tenants (ex-tenants thankyouverymuch) the subfloor MUST come up.

I have decided to tile.

I am going to replace the floor this week, I will worry about the actual tiling step after I get the tile backing on.

A couple of questions:

1) My understanding is the floor is laid out like so:
Joists, some sort of wood (plywood?) layer, then the subfloor which is plywood - then for tiling I would add an additional layer which would be a cement backerboard and then maybe a tile sheet.
That very first piece of wood that sits directly on the joists, what is the proper name of it?
Is there a standard thickness I need to look for because of the additional weight of laying the tile and the cement boards? Is there ever a reason to replace this board, or is it mostly left alone and people work with the subfloor?

2) I have removed the toilet from the room. But I still have a sink that sits in a cabinet that sits on the floor and is bolted to the wall from behind.
Is it a good idea to take that out, or is all my work going to be done around it? (other words, is the flooring under it perfectly good and there is no reason to disturb it, it is bolted in place and not the sort of thing that gets moved - ever)
If I do have to take it out, when do I put it back in? Do I lay the subfloor, put the cabinet back in, then do the concrete around the cabinet? Does it sit on the cabinet?

Thanks for the advice.

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Old 01-03-2012, 12:15 PM   #2
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Floor preperation for Tiling


The floor joists are covered with the subfloor material. Plywood or OSB is what is typically used. Codes require not less than 5/8" in most places - thicker is better. It depends on your joist spacing as to what thickness subfloor is going to be required. Any additional substrate above the subfloor is generally known as the underlayment.

Installation of ceramic tile requires a tile-backer. This can be cement board, fiber cement board, foam tile-backer or one of the tile-backer membranes. Most all are warranted over the 5/8" subfloor depending on joist spacing.

Additional plywood "underlayment" can be installed if desired for more strength.

I would be curious to known how tenants could damage a subfloor severely enough to cause a need to replace it. That would be unusual unless you are talking about serious and ongoing water damage.

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Old 01-03-2012, 12:18 PM   #3
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Floor preperation for Tiling


The room has to be emptyed except for the tub or shower.
All 1/4 rd and baseboard needs to go.
How wide are your floor joist, how far apart are they, what's there span from support to support.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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Floor preperation for Tiling


Bud, thanks for the clarification (I have my terms backwards).
The tenants dog ate through the underlayment.
I made the problem significantly worse when I thought that I could rip out the linoleum by simply pulling it up off the floor. The upper layer of the linoleum separated from the paper backing that is glued onto the floor.

At that point I took my hands off the keyboard (I work in IT, when things start to spiral out of control this is step number 1 to getting them back under control) stepped away from the console (step #2) and started reading up on what I had gotten myself into (step #3).

I decided that my two choices for fixing this mess were a laminate or tile. I read up on the tile prep and was impressed with how indestructible I could make the floors with it. If I do the job properly it looks like a worse case scenario I am going to need to replace tile, I won't ever have to replace the floor again.

So I have divided the job up into steps. Step one is getting the old floor out. That requires me to decide if I need the subloor pulled or if the underlayment is good enough.
Step two is to replace those things.

Step 3.... I will worry about step three when I have made significant progress on step 2.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:06 PM   #5
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Floor preperation for Tiling


Okay let's go slow here for a minute or two.

Typically (not always) but typically vinyl floors are installed over a 1/4" underlayment as part of the vinyl flooring installation.

Typically when a vinyl floor is removed the 1/4" underlayment is also removed.

When the vinyl has been applied directly to the subfloor then peeling the vinyl is the only way to remove it. This typically results in the top wear-layer of the vinyl detaching itself from the bottom felt-layer. The felt-layer can then be scraped away after first soaking the felt with warm water. The whole process is a bummer. Gouges to the subfloor may result. But, typically, this doesn't require removal of the subfloor material. The last thing you want to do is to remove the subfloor. Typically the subfloor is glued to the floor joists as well as nailed or screwed and typically the subfloor is under the walls.

If you should choose to remove the subfloor material and if you plan your actions carefully and do it correctly you do not have to remove the vanity but is would open up some space and make it easier if you did.

If the 1/4" underlayment does exist and ceramic tile is intended then the 1/4" plywood must be removed as it cannot be a part of the ceramic tile installation.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:26 PM   #6
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Floor preperation for Tiling


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
If the 1/4" underlayment does exist and ceramic tile is intended then the 1/4" plywood must be removed as it cannot be a part of the ceramic tile installation.
I have verified that the 1/4" underlayment does exist.
That is one thing I am certain of.
The heating/ac duct is in the floor. I poked around it and could see both layers of the floor in the duct.

Thanks for your advice. I am leaning towards removing the cabinet as it would make the job easier AND if I decide to put in a new one in the future it is a simpler process to do so.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:29 PM   #7
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One last question.
I am going to put down a concrete backerboard to put the tile on. Can that sit on top of the subfloor or does it absolutely need to sit on underlayment?
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
One last question.
I am going to put down a concrete backerboard to put the tile on. Can that sit on top of the subfloor or does it absolutely need to sit on underlayment?
In this case the cement board becomes the underlayment and it can be installed directly to the subfloor but must be set into a fresh application of thinset mortar. Cement board manufacturers have their own ideas as to which thinset (modified or unmodified) should be used with their particular product, so check up on that at their website.

Don't forget to remove the 1/4" underlayment.

Removing the cabinet would (probably) make the job easier but I doubt the 1/4" underlayment is under the cabinet. If you intend to tile up-to but not under the vanity cabinet then it may easier to just leave the cabinet in place. Your call.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:54 PM   #9
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Thank you bud. You be the man.

When I am done I will post pictures.

Oh by the way, when is a kiddie pool not a kiddie pool?
When it is a litter box.
Goddamned tenants. No more pets. I don't care what sort of line of BS they to sell me.

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