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Old 05-12-2014, 07:00 PM   #1
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Leveling up for tile


Hi Everyone,

I'm installing 6 x 24" porcelain tile on a pretty decent slab. Only about 180 sf. Problem is I have two door joints that are abutting old thick tile. They are about 3/4 inch thick including the thin set. My modern tiles are 9mm or about 3/8 so they sit slightly under 3/8 low. Enough to catch a toe.

I don't know how much you can "build up" the tile with the thin set. If I use a 1/2 inch trowel would that do it? Or...

Do I cover the floor with 1/4 in Hardi backer or 1/4 inch lauan and use as little thin set as possible? This will be in a bath and kitchen.

Thanks,
Jack

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Old 05-12-2014, 09:21 PM   #2
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Leveling up for tile


You don't use any tile backer on a slab.

You'll want to do some more research before you start the job.

The best solution for you may well be to put a chunk of stone in as a door threshold. This could be the same height as the the high tile, or even above it.

This will be something which will catch a toe, but you will get used to it.

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Old 05-13-2014, 03:33 PM   #3
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Leveling up for tile


Yow, you need more research and a better understanding of what you are doing before you jump in to this one.

Those 6" X 24" tiles may be an issue for you also on a concrete floor, you may be asking for trouble.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:31 PM   #4
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I don't mean to be rude, but I was actually hoping for help or a suggestion. So far I've received two replies both saying I need to do more research. I thought that was what I was doing, in conjunction with talking to local tile stores.

The way I see it there are four options...

Live with the difference and use a threshold

Lift the floor with backer board or self leveler

Use a thicker coat of thin set and backbutter the tiles.

The first is unacceptable, the last takes more skill than I have. The self leveler is expensive but may be the best. I know the manufacturer won't warrant a cementitious board over slab but seems like using a good construction adhesive would get the Hardibacker solid on the floor.

Usually on the DIY forum there is someone with more experience that has confronted the situation and tells how he would handle it. "Do more research" sounds like someone who doesn't want to be bothered to help, has no idea how to help, or is just protecting his profession and assumes people can't do things themselves.

Thanks for any helpful suggestions!
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:09 PM   #5
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Leveling up for tile


This is the two first red flags "1/4 in Hardie backer or 1/4 inch luan".
Both should never be used over a slab.
And luan should never be used under tile.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:46 PM   #6
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Leveling up for tile


Quote:
Originally Posted by d56auction View Post
I don't mean to be rude, but I was actually hoping for help or a suggestion. So far I've received two replies both saying I need to do more research. I thought that was what I was doing, in conjunction with talking to local tile stores.

The way I see it there are four options...

Live with the difference and use a threshold

Lift the floor with backer board or self leveler

Use a thicker coat of thin set and backbutter the tiles.

The first is unacceptable, the last takes more skill than I have. The self leveler is expensive but may be the best. I know the manufacturer won't warrant a cementitious board over slab but seems like using a good construction adhesive would get the Hardibacker solid on the floor.

Usually on the DIY forum there is someone with more experience that has confronted the situation and tells how he would handle it. "Do more research" sounds like someone who doesn't want to be bothered to help, has no idea how to help, or is just protecting his profession and assumes people can't do things themselves.

Thanks for any helpful suggestions!
You won't find a better tile expert than Bud. Luan and/or CBU on a slab is a no-no. It WILL fail.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:23 PM   #7
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Leveling up for tile


Quote:
Originally Posted by d56auction View Post
I don't mean to be rude, but I was actually hoping for help or a suggestion. So far I've received two replies both saying I need to do more research. I thought that was what I was doing, in conjunction with talking to local tile stores.

The way I see it there are four options...

Live with the difference and use a threshold

Lift the floor with backer board or self leveler

Use a thicker coat of thin set and backbutter the tiles.

The first is unacceptable, the last takes more skill than I have. The self leveler is expensive but may be the best. I know the manufacturer won't warrant a cementitious board over slab but seems like using a good construction adhesive would get the Hardibacker solid on the floor.

Usually on the DIY forum there is someone with more experience that has confronted the situation and tells how he would handle it. "Do more research" sounds like someone who doesn't want to be bothered to help, has no idea how to help, or is just protecting his profession and assumes people can't do things themselves.

Thanks for any helpful suggestions!
Quote:
Originally Posted by d56auction View Post
I don't mean to be rude, but I was actually hoping for help or a suggestion. So far I've received two replies both saying I need to do more research. I thought that was what I was doing, in conjunction with talking to local tile stores.
You have not invested near enough of your time thus far. You have some dubious information so far and should take some time to sift through what you have. No one here is here to write you a personalized book. All of the information you seek is here, but you have to make an investment of your time as all of us have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by d56auction View Post
The way I see it there are four options...

Live with the difference and use a threshold

Lift the floor with backer board or self leveler

Use a thicker coat of thin set and backbutter the tiles.

The first is unacceptable, the last takes more skill than I have. The self leveler is expensive but may be the best. I know the manufacturer won't warrant a cementitious board over slab but seems like using a good construction adhesive would get the Hardibacker solid on the floor.
Live with the difference and use a threshold is one option.
Lift the floor with backer board is not an option, won't work.
Use a thicker coat of thin set and backbutter the tiles is also not the way to do it. I know it sounds simple but it isn't, fortunately you do seem to recognize that.

If you can't live with a slight change-up then; Self Leveler is in fact the least expensive approach believe it or not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by d56auction View Post
Usually on the DIY forum there is someone with more experience that has confronted the situation and tells how he would handle it. "Do more research" sounds like someone who doesn't want to be bothered to help, has no idea how to help, or is just protecting his profession and assumes people can't do things themselves.
THAT is just plain ridiculous.

I have more than thirty-five years of my life invested in the tile-knowledge I possess and you want it all handed to you in two minutes. Slow down, take a deep breath, take a step back and continue to do your homework. You'll get the answers you are looking for by sifting and eliminating the bogus.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:23 PM   #8
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You won't find a better tile expert than Bud. Luan and/or CBU on a slab is a no-no. It WILL fail.
I don't doubt either of your statements, but if you'll notice he didn't offer any help with the initial question. And he offered that 6 x 24 tiles on a slab were going to be a problem, but I have no idea why. Warpage across the length or something else? I had planned to use the 33% overlap to minimize that problem, but maybe there's something I'm missing.

I'm still researching as he suggests but it'd be nice if someone had a solution rather than just repeatedly telling me I can't use backer on a slab. I got that part.

At this point I'm still left with an unlevel floor and no practical ideas.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:38 PM   #9
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Thanks Bud. You have shared some useful information and sorry if I offended you. Not intended. Despite what it sounds like, I've been all over the web and talked face to face with a local installer and tile store owner. The answers aren't as consistent as you might think.

I suppose I'm gonna get a bunch of self leveler. I know (it's almost like a mantra,) YOU CAN'T USE CBU ON A SLAB but I've not heard anyone say why not. What happens?

And no, I don't expect your lifetime's knowledge in two minutes but I have another job and 20 other little projects that go with this remodel including plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc. When I have specific problems I guess I hope for some useful suggestions if some of you have them. Isn't that the point of the DIY forums?
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:46 AM   #10
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You can't use CBU on a slab because it has to be nailed down.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:58 AM   #11
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You can't use CBU on a slab because it has to be nailed down.
OK, I'll beat the dead horse just a bit more...

I know the manufacturer says you can't. I know the instructions for installation are to nail it down. I get it and won't be using it but I'm still curious regarding what happens.

If you were to etch the surface and use a good quality construction adhesive I don't understand what the failure would be...do the tile crack, pop up, come apart at the grout lines,...what? Logic says that if the CBU was tightly adherent to the flat slab it would be equivalent to nailing it down.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:00 AM   #12
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oh, and does anyone know what problem I'm supposed to be looking for using 6 x 24s on a slab?
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by d56auction View Post
OK, I'll beat the dead horse just a bit more...

I know the manufacturer says you can't. I know the instructions for installation are to nail it down. I get it and won't be using it but I'm still curious regarding what happens.

If you were to etch the surface and use a good quality construction adhesive I don't understand what the failure would be...do the tile crack, pop up, come apart at the grout lines,...what? Logic says that if the CBU was tightly adherent to the flat slab it would be equivalent to nailing it down.
See....This is EXACTLY why I do this the way I do it. You folks come here for legitimate advice and then when you get it you want someone to spend a lot of time explaining WHY. It's a waste of our time. When you consider how much you are paying for this education you are getting you should also consider that WE get paid for this knowledge in the realm of everyday circumstances. YOU...on the other hand are paying nothing and then want to complain.

So...I'll add this much for you so that maybe you will get off of dead-center and move on:

Concrete floors are never flat (plane). They are in most cases problematic because they are not flat/plane.

Cement board is (also) not flat. Cement board has a tendency to be a little warped. When you try to apply a not-so-flat cement board to a not-so-flat concrete floor you will have voids under the boards. Voids cause movement. Movement will wreck a tile installation in short-order.

Quote:
"Logic says that if the CBU was tightly adherent to the flat slab it would be equivalent to nailing it down."
Whose "logic" is that pray-tell? Nothing could be further from the truth.
1.)Construction adhesive will not bond to dusty cement board.
2.)Then the path-of-least-resistance in applying the construction adhesive is to drizzle it onto the floor or the board using a caulk gun disbursing the adhesive in strings. The strings will in-time get hard and the resulting voids (between the strings) will create movement, movement will destroy the tile installation.
3.)Another problem is getting the not-so-flat cement board to follow the not-so-flat contours of the concrete without using mechanical fasteners - ain't gonna happen.
So...your "logic" is laced with misunderstandings of how all of this works.

Last edited by Bud Cline; 05-14-2014 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:04 PM   #14
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oh, and does anyone know what problem I'm supposed to be looking for using 6 x 24s on a slab?
Yes! I do!

Again...concrete floors ARE NOT FLAT/PLANE. To the novice they may appear flat/plane but I promise you THEY ARE NOT.

The larger the tiles used, the greater the issues become. Tiles that are 24" in at least one dimension can be trouble. Twenty-four inch tiles on a concrete floor can be difficult to deal with when it comes to getting them plane on the surface and eliminating lippage.

Tiles 24" X 24" (square) are one thing, tiles 24" X 6" can be a completely different animal in some cases.

When I give seminars with this degree of detail I get paid for my time. In this case I am willing to donate my time to anyone that asks but at the same time I expect you to also make an investment in researching procedures in an effort to better educate yourself. The Internet is full of this information but you have to seek it out.
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:32 PM   #15
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Thanks, Bud. I get it. I think it's time to put an end to the pissing contest.

I have done considerable internet research including reading the threads on the professional site, youtube, the local tile store, and the archives of this site.

In the past I've received help and explanation. I'm sorry if you're annoyed that I didn't find "do more research" was an acceptable answer. That was my only complaint in this thread.

You folks come here for legitimate advice and then when you get it you want someone to spend a lot of time explaining WHY. It's a waste of our time.

If it offends you to give free advice to "you folks" or takes so much of your valuable time, why do you "waste your time"? What a troll.

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