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Old 12-19-2012, 07:25 PM   #16
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Help Laying Marble Floor Tile


One question that probably has an obvious answer but I don't know it....besides size and cost (and I guess larger motors in general) what is the difference between a 10" saw and a 7" saw??? I was thinking about it like a sliding miter saw but I guess each would have the same "reach" unlike with miter saws. I was told by someone that the 10 inch blade will wobble more, which would make it LESS accurate, right? The other thing I was told was that 10" saws can be used to cut pavers. However, in another thread someone specifically said you wouldn't use a saw like (for example) the Dewalt 10" wet saw to cut pavers. I am confused....please help!

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Old 12-19-2012, 09:24 PM   #17
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Help Laying Marble Floor Tile


Hey Doc let's clear up a few things. You are moving kinda fast and getting your information from way too many sources.

First things first.
Your 2X8 floor joists could be problematic. A natural stone floor requires twice the structural support as what is required for a ceramic tile floor. You MUST eliminate any deflection. Ceramic tile requires 1/360 whereas stone tile requires 1/720.

Need to know (for sure) the exact size of the floor joists.
Are they 2X8 (1-1/2" X 7-1/4") or are they 2X8 (2" X 8")?
Are they (for sure) spaced 16" on center (14-1/4" between the joists)?
What is the unsupported span of the joists from one support to the next support?

To make matters worse you have chosen Carrerra marble. Carrerra is very popular but it is also the "artists choice" when doing stone carvings and sculptures like you see in art museums. It is very soft and that makes it tool-able, but in platen form it is very weak.

If you go by the book then you should have two layers of plywood. Since you already have a slatted subfloor then I would suggest you use nothing less than 3/4" exterior grade Exposure-1 plywood. Screw it only to the slats and intentionally miss the floor joists with your screws. Over the plywood the use of Schluter DITRA would be a good idea.

Whoever told you 10" saw blades wobble is inexperienced and I would stay away from taking advice from that person. Any saw blade can be made to wobble if it is abused. A good 10" blade will not wobble just because it is a 10" blade, that is nonsense.

My guess is you will be doing more tiling once you get over your case of nerves, so buy a good saw. I would suggest either a 10" saw or even an 8" saw. A rail saw will have a size-able table and will do a lot of things you can't do with a smaller saw. Especially if you are clipping a lot of corners in this case.

Do you have a Menard's Home Improvement store in your area?

By-the-way...I have several 10" tile saws and I have cut pavers with them for many years - so that too is nonsense.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:33 PM   #18
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Help Laying Marble Floor Tile


Bud-That was an extremely informative and clear post...thank you very much! I love getting opinions but when you don't have your own opinion you can quickly become disoriented. I am appreciative of everyone's help...I just have to get up to speed.

With that said, let's start with some facts and decisions...

It inspired me to go crawl around the dark, scary crawl space and get some solid numbers...I had partially lied before as I was lied to by my contractor....here is the verdict:

2x10 floor joists (yes, 10, not 8 as my contractor told me, which I assume is good news). They are old but appear solid. Real life measurements ring in at 1-7/8"x9-3/4".

They are in fact spaced 16 inches apart reliably from center of one joist to center of the next.

The unsupported span is 11'2".

In light of the info you provided about saws, I lean strongly towards the Dewalt 10" wet saw. I'm sold on 10" and planning to spend somewhere in the $700-$800 range. I'm open to other options.

The last decision where I have gotten tons of varying opinions is whether I should proceed with marble or back out and use porcelain. Cost is not an issue, I don't mind the extra work to secure the floor, but I just wonder if marble is suitable for foyer that is the main path in and out of the house where several kids live. The opinions on that have been very mixed...I want to use marble, but just want to make sure it is a reasonable choice for the daily wear and tear.

I'm eager to hear opinions on any of that, especially how to proceed with the floor. The last unknown I probably need to provide is how level and flat the floor is. I know there is some slope, although the floor is flat. I can get specific measurements in order to help you guys help me.

Thanks again!
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:22 PM   #19
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Help Laying Marble Floor Tile


Okay Doc here's what you are up against.

Marble is a beautiful thing, Carrerra marble especially so in my opinion.

Unfortunately marble has some weaknesses. As previously mentioned it is soft and subject to scratching. With the type of shoes most all of us wear these days the shoe soles can collect rocks and debris and these foreign objects can scratch any floor. An "entry" is your homes first contact with the outside and therefore most vulnerable to scratching from foot-traffic.

The next thing is marble is also vulnerable to even the mildest of acids. If you are in a freeze zone then you can easily track-in ice melting products that could wreak havoc with a marble tile.

Another thing is that marble tile generally has a high gloss finish - - that in my opinion is asking for trouble.

My suggestion would be to look around at some "real tile shops" and find a good porcelain tile. Porcelain tile is made these days to mimic every stone imaginable. You won't find the vast-variety at a big box store usually.

Porcelain tile is the hardest of the hard tiles and if installed properly will out-live us all.

If you have access to a Menard's they have their own tile saw that is (for the money) the best tile saw on the market. A little over $400 will buy the Menard's saw. It is an 8" saw but it is also a bridge saw with a floating head and will take big tiles. The saw comes with it's own fold up stand and also has a laser light cutting guide. I own several saws of all sizes and this little Menard's saw is the best I have ever owned for the price.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:24 PM   #20
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By-the-way...

With the updated information your floor structure is fine for marble if that's what you decide to do.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:36 AM   #21
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So, assuming we proceed with marble how would you guys handle the floor?

I lean towards leaving the pine planks, subfloor over that, thinset, ditra, thinset, and tile. I could also remove the pine planks if that would help.

Also, I need to do some leveling. I know I do that before ditra. How would you guys suggest doing that?

Lastly, does the floor have to be perfectly "level" or just flat? Seems to me you can lay marble that is not level but if the substrate is "flat" it will do just fine. Is that flawed logic?
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:21 AM   #22
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You need to know the floor structure of the place where you want to lay marbles because marbles need a very flat floor and should be set with a narrow grout line...
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:58 AM   #23
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He has several threads going---Bud analyzed his floor structure and has determined that it is safe for marble--

Flat is what you need--- with Ditra the self leveling compound is applied before the Ditra---

Bud or Jaz will give you the best advice on this---I'm not experienced with Ditra--
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:47 AM   #24
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Help Laying Marble Floor Tile


I agree with Bud and Mike, based upon the span and size of joists they are sufficient for the recommended deflection limits from the Marble Institute of America.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:06 AM   #25
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Thanks guys! I hope the multiple threads didn't confuse people...I had so many questions I thought it would be better to have threads for each question rather than 5 conversations in one. Anyway...

I think the big question now is floor leveling. I know parts of the floor are not level. What I'm wondering is are they worth worrying about as long as the floor is flat. Sounds like Bud and/or Jaz are the experts I need....any help is appreciated. I'm totally in the dark about leveling a floor for tile so the more help the better! My concern is that if the floor is flat but significantly off from being "level" that I may end up raising is significantly. An inch is not a huge deal except for that means reframing all the doors, baseboard, figuring how it goes with the stairs, etc. Would certainly be easier to not have a drastic change but I want to do what is right. If you guys need measurements let me know what would be helpful.

I feel like we are leaning towards marble at this point although we are still looking at procelain options at reputable tile shops. By the way, for my own curiosity, how to you figure deflection? I trust you guys...just curious...
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:01 AM   #26
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There are charts available that compute deflection based on joist size--type--length and spacing--

The TCNA manual and other engineering books have them'

Flat is king with shiny tiles---level is a nice thing,too, but not as important as flat.

There are many things to learn about self leveling compounds---I use one that is mixed with a liquid latex for the first bond coat to the wood---(Jifset)
Most others require a bonding primer on the wood first then the product is mixed with water only--

Ask away----and ,yes, having several threads going on the same project leads to confusion when a person tries to offer a solution without knowing the facts you may have included in a different thread.---And members get frustrated and stop contributing--

Listen well to Bud and Jaz----they have my respect .
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:10 AM   #27
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Help Laying Marble Floor Tile


DrDIYer,

I'd like to commend you on coming to this site, asking the questions, and actually listening to the advice given. Bud, Mike, JazMan, these guys really know their stuff.

I second the idea of checking out "real" tile stores. There is some fantastic looking tile out there.

The only question (which may not be an issue because there was tile there previously) is to get a rough idea what the final floor height after adding the 3/4 subfloor, leveling, thinset, ditra, thinset, tile to make sure you don't run into problems with doors etc.

We tiled both our entry ways and had to cut down one of the exterior doors. And they both still catch the carpet mat we put at the entrance.

One last request. Please take photos along the way and share them with us. I personally love to see before and after.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:19 PM   #28
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As mentioned, level does not always equal "flat" and flat does not always equal "level".

Tile doesn't care if a surface is level (necessarily) but it does care that the floor is flat (plane). A "plane" substrate is most important when using a polished stone with (basically) square corners. Marble is generally installed with very narrow grout lines and the more narrow a grout line is the less forgiveness there is when the tiles are placed side-by-side. If the substrate is not plane you will get "lippage". Lippage is an uneven surface condition that exists when tiles placed side-by-side are not on a plane surface. Highly polished tile surfaces really show the imperfections of the substrate if it isn't "plane".

If after the plywood is attached to the slats, and things get a little wavy due to weird slats down below, Self Leveling Compound can be used to remedy the surface condition. Self Leveling Compound (SLC can be poured with as little as 1/8" thickness.

Door jambs and door casings are typically "undercut" to accommodate a change in floor elevation and doors can be cut. Exterior doors can be a problem if they are metal doors. It isn't unheard of to have to raise an exterior door-assembly.

I won't be chasing this project on other threads because it is just too confusing. All topics of conversation should be kept in a single thread for the sake of clarity and reference. So...If I am repeating details that have already been mentioned in other threads...sorry.

Estimating deflection is basically a function of charts that exist for the purpose. Scientifically deflection is literally measured using a three hundred pound point load device and a dial gauge. Suffice it to say we already have a handle on this procedure and can safely move on.
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:30 PM   #29
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Hi all,

I had written a reply on my opinion that a nice porcelain would be best and you should nix the Carrara last night. There are many reasons porcelain will be better for your home, (some of which you listed yourself.) I also agreed your joists are fine and do meet L720 deflection. But the site was being updated and my post is still in outer space somewhere.

I had noticed the other thread and recommend you keep all Q's in a single thread otherwise you will lose fans.

As for flat and level, I think you implied part of this floor was flat & level, while another area was flat but had a pitch. If that's the case, then the whole room can not be flat. You have at least two planes. You need to check using a 10' straight edge or a laser level. The floor needs to be flat within 1/8" in 10' and 1/16" in 12" of plane. Using SLC to make a floor flat will at the same time make it level. This might raise the floor way more than you'd like.

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Old 12-22-2012, 11:46 PM   #30
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Thank you, Jaz! You seem to be one of the most respected opinions on this forum so I appreciate and value your input.

So...decisions (at least tentative) and gameplan...

I've talked with 50 people and have mixed reviews about whether to go marble or porcelain. I think our compromise is going to be with honed (not polished) marble. While I realize this is still marble, my research has told me that it will stand up better against scratches. I know it is not as durable as porcelain, but we haven't found a porcelain we like as much yet. We were at the tile store today and really loved a Bianco Carrara from Stone Partnership, Inc (New Jersey). Supposedly this company is more picky than most about the quality of their marble and puts more effort into making sure all your tiles match more closely than most companies. Of course, this comes at a premium price ($15.69/square foot is the first quote we got from store #1).

I'm going to jump in head first and do this myself with a little help from you guys and some folks I know. I am ordering some books on laying tile tonight (open to suggestions on books, or if there is a good video for education let me know). As for equipment, I have researched the saws and lean strongly toward the 10" Dewalt wet tile saw. Contractors Direct has it with a stand and diamond blade for $750. I realize that is a little pricey for a DIY job but 1) I will do more tile work 2) I want to make this easy on myself 3) I am saving enough money doing this myself I still come out way ahead and 4) I just like having useful tools around!

As for the floor, tentative plan is subfloor with grade 1 exterior plywood over the heart pine tongue and groove floor (which is over 2x10's on 16" centers). After the plywood, I will level, then thinset, ditra, thinset, and tile. I know there is more than one way to skin a cat, but does anyone see anything wrong with that plan?

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