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Old 08-20-2009, 12:52 AM   #1
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Laying diagonal tile on first floor - unsure of how to meet up the tile


My husband is laying 18" travertine tile throughout the first floor of our house. He plans to lay it diagonally but we are having trouble determining a few things.

1) What area do we start in? We have an entry way that you have to step off of and down into the living room. Does he start on the entry way?
2) Because he is doing the entire first floor, he will be working around several corners to tile into the kitchen, family room, bathroom and laundry room. With that, there are turns and we aren't sure if the tile will meet up properly or if the diagonal shape lay out will begin to look odd as you turn corners.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 08-20-2009, 05:44 PM   #2
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Laying diagonal tile on first floor - unsure of how to meet up the tile


this type of installation is called laying a 45 degree field. You need to consider this method to be time consuming, costly and techinical.
Time consuming: It will usually take double the time a novice would take if the tile was laid streight.
Costly: after figuring out the amount of tiles needed you would have to buy at least 20% more for missed cuts.
Technical: this is more advanced skill type of installation. usually a contractor would charge extra for.

Not to deter your palns just a word to the wise.

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Old 08-21-2009, 10:41 AM   #3
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Laying diagonal tile on first floor - unsure of how to meet up the tile


Thank you for the insight. We realize it is going to be more difficult but think it will be well worth it in the end. We have hopefully given ourselves plenty of time to get it accomplished.

Do you have any suggestions for the questions above?
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
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Laying diagonal tile on first floor - unsure of how to meet up the tile


-Snap chalk lines so he stays on course.
-Dry lay what tiles you can just to see where the problem areas may be.
-Use a wet saw...It'll make life much easier.
-Buy a jamb saw to cut out your door casing and jambs. They're less than $20 at home depot. That way the tile is under the trim and not against it.
-Be sure he pulls the base shoe up before tiling and re-installs it later.
-Don't forget to mesh tape and thinset the seams of the backerboard before tiling!
-Be VERY SURE that your home's floors are able to structurally support an 18" travertine tile...Travertine is incredibly prone to failure due to floor joists and floor sheathing that are not stiff enough. That floor system needs to be rock solid or you'll have big problems.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:10 PM   #5
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Laying diagonal tile on first floor - unsure of how to meet up the tile


We didn't intend to put down backboard as the the floor is a concrete slab. Are backerboards needed outside of the bathroom if it's concrete?
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:24 PM   #6
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Laying diagonal tile on first floor - unsure of how to meet up the tile


Concrete sub-floors don't require backerboard.

BUT, what condition is the concrete in? An isolation membrane may be in order here. Any cracks or movement in the concrete will be transmitted through the travertine. Travertine is very susceptible to failure and isn't the best choice of tile floor covering products available.

How flat is the floor? The larger the tiles the flatter the floor must be.

With your lack of experience you are asking for problems using the approach you are using. Why not break up the area into the individual rooms and create your layouts one room at a time with a fancy divider in each doorway? This way you can basically balance each room for its best appearance. If you try to "flow throughout" you will have rooms out of balance and giblet pieces in many many places that won't look all that good. By breaking up the rooms you can still "flow" throughout the entire project.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:19 PM   #7
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Laying diagonal tile on first floor - unsure of how to meet up the tile


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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
With your lack of experience you are asking for problems using the approach you are using. Why not break up the area into the individual rooms and create your layouts one room at a time with a fancy divider in each doorway? This way you can basically balance each room for its best appearance. If you try to "flow throughout" you will have rooms out of balance and giblet pieces in many many places that won't look all that good. By breaking up the rooms you can still "flow" throughout the entire project.
Awesome advice from Bud.

The isolation membrane he speaks of essentially breaks the bond between the tile and the concrete. That way any cracking in the concrete doesn't instantly take the tile with it. Ditra by the Schluter company is an example of a widely available product.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:36 PM   #8
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Laying diagonal tile on first floor - unsure of how to meet up the tile


You are right, we may have to use a border in areas. I was hoping too avoid it but sounds like there may not be another solution.

As for the membrane that you are referring to we will definitely look into that to do whatever we can to protect the tile. The tough part of the prep has been removing the roofing paper that the original owner put under the tile. Thank you.
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:39 PM   #9
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Laying diagonal tile on first floor - unsure of how to meet up the tile


I suggest that the best bet would be to surf the web "how to lay a 45 degree tile". they have tutorial videos and the such. It really needs to be shown "how to" rather than this venue. And i agree totally with all the above posts. any inperfections in your sub-floor (not level, cracked or loose,) will ruin the whole propject.
good luck!
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:50 PM   #10
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Laying diagonal tile on first floor - unsure of how to meet up the tile


In each of the door openings you could cut small tiles to straight lay. You could cut tiles for a soldier course. You could cut tiles for a running bond design. There are many ways to do this and still the floor will be flat and flow from room to room.

With this method in mind each room could then be laid out individually and balanced where need be.

Also keep in mind that tile layouts are visual things and they don't have to be perfect in all respects. Based on the shape of the room and the location of furnishings a layout can be designed to be pleasing to the eye and not intended to satisfy mathematical geniuses.

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