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DavidKulzer 07-29-2013 01:26 PM

Flooring questions
Hey everyone. I have a few questions about my kitchen floor I'm replacing. I work at commercial cabinet shop and do commercial maintenance so I'm no expert at flooring.

First off, my house was built in 1947 and is a fixer upper. I've been doing all the repairs myself so far. The kitchen floor was 6 layers of linoleum/sheet vinyl and VCT. I pulled up the first 5 layers. The bottom layer of VCT(?) had some black paper/felt backing on it and seemed pretty well glued so I left it. I'm going back with Hardie board then wood grain porcelain. Now to my questions.

How concerned should I be about asbestos? It didn't cross my mind until I was almost done scraping everything up. I was wearing a medical face mask, for airborn diseases, not a respirator. It was my wife's mask.

A guy I work with does flooring on the side and said just to Hardie over the bottom layer of tile. Under that is a layer of plywood or hardwood floor (not sure which) then the board run on a diagonal. He also said not to put the mortar/thinset under the Hardie. I thought that was a bad idea. I screwed every other spot and used roofing nails on the other spots. Any problems with any of that?

The other thing that worried me it's the mortar I put under the Hardie. The person at Lowe's told me what one to get. This is the person that teaches the flooring how-to there. They also said that is the bag the rep recommends. After putting all the Hardie board down I noticed on the bag it says it's not for plywood subfloor or cement board until a additive is used. No one told me that part. They actually told me to put the stuff back that I chose and use this stuff instead. Am I screwed there?

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for any help.

oh'mike 07-29-2013 05:46 PM

You are fine with any sort of thinset under your backer board---it is there to fill any voids that could cause the backer to flex--that's it--the nails or screws are what is doing the holding---

JazMan 07-29-2013 10:18 PM


As Mike already said the unmodified thin set mortar is fine for under your Hardie tile backer. Just be sure to use a modified mortar to install the tiles.

Would have been nice to know what is under the old flooring you left. I also didn't understand what you meant about how the floor is built under it. You said there's plywood or hardwood. That's a big difference. The you said there's boards on a diagonal. That would be the subfloor. Well, too late now.

Also, tell your friend he should start installing concrete backer correctly from now on. :whistling2:


DavidKulzer 07-31-2013 10:13 PM

Thanks for the response. Good to know the mortar is ok. I did use a modified on the tile. It's still not done but it's getting there. The wife is ready to kill me for still not having a kitchen.

As far as the plywood or hardwood part, I'm not sure which it is. When I pulled the transition strip up from one of the doorways there were lines in the wood which made it look like hardwood planks. Not grain lines, more like edges. It's so old and I could only see about an inch of it so I couldn't tell exactly what it was. When I pulled the cabinets out there was plywood under all the flooring butting the cabinet toe-kicks. There was nothing under the cabs except the diagonal sub-floor. I built that up and Hardie'd over it.

My friend must not guarantee his work. Beats me. If you're going to do might as well do it right.

oh'mike 08-01-2013 05:47 AM

Houses of that vintage are not all the same---this was a transition period of time---Plywood was just coming into common usage---so some builders used it--others did not.

Also --houses of that age often had---1x6 subfloor---1x2 sleepers---then the plywood or hard wood.

This allowed the electrical conduit to be run between the subfloor and the top floor--

Not fun to find a conduit when nailing down the backer board----

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