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Old 03-12-2013, 08:05 PM   #1
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Getting conflicting info...


Hello,

I'm in the process of laying out the floor tile in my small guest bath (18"x18" porcelain).

What is the recommended gap where the tile and bathtub meet? I'm reading/hearing everything from 1/8" to 3/8".

I'm working with a Lowes porcelain tile. It's their best, but still inexpensive, and the degree of variance in their dimensions shows it...ranging from 17 3/4 to 17 15/16.

The bulk of them are right at about 17 7/8", and I'm thinking of adjusting at the tub line to get a nice straight edge on the opposite side, but i need to know how much room I have to mess with as far as that tile/tub interface is concerned.

As always, thank you in advance.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:13 PM   #2
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Getting conflicting info...


Both will work.
But I would go with the smallest gap because that ones going to need color matching sanded silicone caulking not grout.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
...that ones going to need color matching sanded silicone caulking not grout.
Thanks, joecaption. I remember the sanded, colored caulking from my painting days.

Hope not to sound too loopy, but is there a minimum? I keep reading/hearing about a gap for expansion around the perimeter. I'm on slab,and the idea of porcelain tile expansion seems counter-intuitive to me...however; I was a painter, not a floor guy...

Last edited by clambake6; 03-12-2013 at 09:07 PM. Reason: wrong term
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:28 PM   #4
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Getting conflicting info...


I'd go 1/8" or so at the tub if possible. Man, those tiles are really poor quality size wise. That's a 3/16" difference between the tiles. They should have been scraped. How are you gonna keep them straight?

The grout gap recommendation is 3x the size difference or more. Those will be wide joints.

As far as perimeter expansion, not only do the tiles expand with temp change and humidity, but the house shrinks too.

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Old 03-12-2013, 11:01 PM   #5
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Getting conflicting info...


Thanks for your reply, JazMan.

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Man, those tiles are really poor quality size wise... . How are you gonna keep them straight?
I've decided I'm not going to hassle with even trying; I'm going to keep the ones that are 17 7/8" (about half the total) and return the others. I'll look through their singles stacks for 17 7/8." If I can find about 10 more I'll be fine.

If not, I guess I'll try to keep the oddballs behind the toilet and under the shadow line of the toekick on the vanity.

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...tiles expand with temp change and humidity...
I did not know that. I know many a painter has learned a lesson by not accounting for substrate expansion and contraction when choosing coatings. I guess I always thought of things like tile as being pretty dimensionally stable. Learn something new every day around here!
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:20 PM   #6
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I forget the number but, porcelain expands about .0006 per 1 degree of temp change. That's each tile. So in 20-30 ft. the tiles can grow perhaps 1/8"? That's a guess, too lazy to do the math right now.

But when you don't allow for it you can get what is called "tenting", and also shearing, I've seen it several times.

Personally worked on a cafeteria where sections of the 9,000 ft. of 6x6 quarry tented. The first section was about a 20x20 ft. area. The center of the tenting was about 18-20" off the floor. As I repaired each section with super-dupper thinset, the next year another section tented. The floor had no perimeter expansion and none in the filed too. A sure failure guaranteed given enough time.

Here's another small example. One is tile, the other a wood floor.

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Old 03-12-2013, 11:36 PM   #7
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Nice, JazMan! You reminded me of this one. Gym class at school is cancelled today....photo 2: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...d-but-strange/

Gary
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:39 PM   #8
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Wow, those are some amazing photos. Not really what you wanna see when you think of a "floating" floor.

I'll be sure to leave the 1/8" expansion gap. Lowes is usually very good about returns, so my hope is to get enough of the 17 7/8' porcelain to minimize the headache.

Oh, and thanks for the confirmation on the Mapei AquaDefender for crack isolation which I asked about in another thread. Stuff went on beautifully; came out really nice under the brush, and appears to be nailed on there.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clambake6
Lowes is usually very good about returns, so my hope is to get enough of the 17 7/8' porcelain to minimize the headache.
You're right about that, they'll take back almost anything including a used toilet weeks after you bought it and put it in use. And that's a problem for the next sucker that buys the rejects (tiles) you returned. Another reason to think twice before buying tiles from people who search the world to find the cheapest tiles possible. They could care less as long as people buy it.

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Old 03-13-2013, 05:57 PM   #10
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Getting conflicting info...


Quote:
Originally Posted by clambake6 View Post
I'm thinking of adjusting at the tub line to get a nice straight edge on the opposite side, but i need to know how much room I have to mess with as far as that tile/tub interface is concerned.

As always, thank you in advance.

I would have my straight line at the tub, and then make up for the difference under some baseboard at the opposite wall.
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