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Old 09-28-2007, 12:18 PM   #16
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How do you Lay Large Tiles over Plywood Subfloor?


Evryone, again, thank you.

We also think the last guy is BS. Thanks for the confirmation.

I also agree with the point about the DITRA-guy's bidding approach, but since he is the only one to validate the joists & subfloor (or at least appear to be doing so) We've not dropped him yet.

I also like the idea on checking with local distrubutors, but who? It seems HD and Lowes are the suppliers for most of these guys. Who else should we be checking with?

BTW, I'd like to be a bit more clear in my head...
- One friend hated the job the tile retailer originally contracted for them, but they complained so much that the retailer eventually came through with a new contractor that tore up and replaced the floor.
- 1) We REALLY don't want that to happen, and
- 2) What's the difference between a "local distributor" and a retailer (theorhetically and practically speaking)? Is it merely who's their customer?

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Old 09-28-2007, 02:01 PM   #17
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How do you Lay Large Tiles over Plywood Subfloor?


I live in Vancouver Canada, and in the local area, we have 3 or 4 really good specialty tile distributors. Olympia Tile is one that has US locations... They also have an "advertising wall" in their showroom for tile setters... They have selections that you can't get from HD, and if you're a tile setter or designer, you can get up to 40% discount off the list price of tiles. We found slate for as low as $2.00 CDN/sq ft once.

Where abouts are you? I'm hoping there are some reputable tile distributors where you are... The difference I find is not whether they are retailer or distributor... they some times sell the same product from the same manufacturer... I find it's their business practice... are they only focussed on making quick profit or looking to find the balance of profit and repeat business.

I hate to say, it's a landmine out there... But one thing is for sure.. if the guy shows up with a big bag of those little "cross hair" spacers and starts using them like crazy, tell them to take a hike...

Last edited by slakker; 09-28-2007 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 09-28-2007, 03:07 PM   #18
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How do you Lay Large Tiles over Plywood Subfloor?


It is very common for floor joists and subfloors that were originally installed for a carpet or sheet surface to not meet the TCNA requirements for tile. I wouldn't hire anyone who did not evaluate your floor structure first before giving you a quote. And don't ask them to do so; consider it to be a screening test to determine if they know what they are doing.

If they get past this point, ask them if they follow the requirements in the TCNA handbook. If they say "No" or "What's that?", say goodbye.

If they say yes, ask them what defelection your floor currently is and how they calculated it. The answer should involve identifying the dimension of the lumber, the species of the lumber and the span of the lumber and then using a reference table or program. Ask them how thick your subfloor currently is. Ask them to show you the pages in the TCNA handbook that state that this deflection and subfloor thickness is ok for the 32" tile you want.

Ask them to show you the pages in the handbook that detail their method of installment and to put on the contract that they will follow the TCNA requirements for this method. As you are finding out, there are a number of methods that work as long as the correct procedures are followed.

If they are really into doing a good job they will be thrilled to talk about TCNA requirements and show you how they are meeting them. Those are the ones you want to hire and they may very well be more expensive than the "git-r-done" guys that are fast, cheap and hard to get hold of when the tile starts cracking.
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Old 09-28-2007, 07:08 PM   #19
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How do you Lay Large Tiles over Plywood Subfloor?


Quote:
Originally Posted by slakker View Post
Where abouts are you? I'm hoping there are some reputable tile distributors where you are...
East Bay of San Francisco Bay Area. ...specifically: San Leandro, CA (the other CA ) & zip is 94577.
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Old 10-01-2007, 04:20 PM   #20
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How do you Lay Large Tiles over Plywood Subfloor?


Seeing the hell-on-earth that "House Amuck" has been going through and taking in your advice given so far in this thread (e.g., yours "jogr" thanks! ), I am wondering how we can effect /make sure we:
- a) evaluate and hire a good/well-qualified contractor, and
- b) ensure the kind of working relationship needed to complete a job well done?

Jogr (and others):
- a) Is it "too late" for those contractors/bidders that haven't gone down into the crawl space to look at the joists?

I ask because I'm thinking I can go back to the 3 we are most interersted in and ask them some questions to help me "understand better." And so use that opportunity to evaluate them more fully.

- b) It seems to me to be easy to put words in a contract around abiding by the handbook, but what all will we need to do to know they aren't skimping? We aren't building inspectors so what homeowner/novice steps should/can we take since we aren't home all day when this work will take place?

- - - - - - - - -

Finally, to help in the discussion, here's a quote (with formatting added) that seems to sum it up from House Amuck's thread on their bathroom flooring problems:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
I can't tell you how many times I am so dissapointed when I see really poor substandard work. I really feel for the property owners...Bottom line is that there are some people that do this job simply for the money, and then there are some that want to do the best job possible on any given project and look forward to seeing a very happy customer that has a finished .... high quality job.
- We are constantly on the look out for better materials and better methods. We want all our work to be done expertly, a notch better than the best.
- We feel our customers have put their trust in us, and they deserve the best. Our goal is to deliver it .... no matter what.
- We only hire subcontractors who have the same ethics as we do. There are many contractors out there that feel the same way.
And, here's a link to that thread:
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Old 10-01-2007, 05:28 PM   #21
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How do you Lay Large Tiles over Plywood Subfloor?


It is difficult to "rehabilitate" a contractor to get him to do things right if that is not his standard operating procedure. In order to do that you have to be the expert, watch his every move and insist on doing things your way. That tends to be very frustrating for both parties and if you already had the time and expertise you'd just do it yourself anyway.

So if you've asked a contractor for a quote on installing 32" tiles (which are going to be very sensitive to subfloor/structural conditions) and he didn't check out the structure before giving a quote then I don't think I'd continue on with that contractor.

I wish I had an easy answer for how to find a good contractor. All you can do is ask as many questions as possible, check out their previous work and reputation and hope for the best. We all want to get a reasonable price and not pay too much but, in the end, don't base your decision on price. Take that out of the equation and base your decision on who you think will do the best job.

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