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Old 09-18-2011, 10:42 PM   #1
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My first tiling project-kitchen


Been working on this project for 5.5 months now and finally making visual progress. Took down two walls and soffits/bulkheads, redid the electric, plumbing, hvac, passed inspections, drywall, sanding and mudding and sanding and mudding (oh my). Ceiling is painted. Walls will be painted this week and we plan to start the tiling project next.

House was built in 1965 and the kitchen was redone about tenish years ago. The existing floor is 2x10 joists at 16 oc spanning just under 11 feet. Next is half inch plywood subfloor, then 5/8" plywood, then some kind of linoleum/vinyl flooring, finally the mortar and tile.

The new tile is a 12x24 matte black porcelain tile. Looking for advice on removing the existing tile, prepping the supporting substrate, and selection of installation materials. We plan to tile the entire floor even though the existing tile and linoleum was not installed under the cabinets. Total size is about 11x17.

I have a compressor and am comfortable with air tools. I'm armed with a borrowed bucket of tools from my brother who has done tile including trowels, a cheapo tile saw and a tile scoring/cutting device. AND most importantly, I've been reading tile threads on this forum.

Visual Aids:
1. foreground is the half inch subfloor.
2. foreground is a hole in the subfloor from an hvac pipe. that's dirty insulation in the hole-wanted to show the cross section of materials

Questions:
1. Do I need to rent or buy an air chisel to remove the existing tile? I guess the linoleum has to be removed since it doesn't cover the entire floor. Should I expect the plywood to be damaged during the tile removal?
2. What should I put on top of the two layers of plywood? cement board?
3. I know not to buy premixed thinset? What should I use? What else will I need?


Last edited by mystic_cobra; 09-19-2011 at 08:52 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:50 PM   #2
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My first tiling project-kitchen


Including a picture showing the overall layout. You can see in this picture that the tile was not under the old cabinets and that the kitchen grew by about a foot into the dining room. I cut out that strip of hardwood during demo.



Last edited by mystic_cobra; 09-19-2011 at 08:52 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:02 PM   #3
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My first tiling project-kitchen


Did I ask the wrong question? Any body out there?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

thanks!
Jimmy
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:55 PM   #4
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My first tiling project-kitchen


Jimmy,

Your house is built the good-old-fashioned way, 1/2 + 5/8". It makes a good subfloor, but usually, as in your case, sheet vinyl is glue direct on the 5/8" making its removal more of a challenge. You should remove it for sure. But be aware that the backing might contain asbestos if it was made in the '80's or earlier.

It looks like Armstrong's Designer Solarian to me, but could be something else. Have you verified that it's glued 100% and not just under the seams and perimeter? Is there nay chance you're in the mood to also remove the 5/8" underlayment? That could avoid the asbestos problem.

Remove the tile using any kind of elbow grease that works best for you.

Let's start with that info, you can keep asking here.

Jaz
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:15 PM   #5
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THANKS for the reply!!! The wife was getting anxious as I took the night off light night from working on the project. Two nights off and I'd have been in the dog house.

I was able to pull up a few small pieces by hand of the vinyl/linoleum at the threshold as seen in the pic in post #2. It seems like it will come up pretty easily. Based on the description I read of what lino is made of I guessed that it was in fact lino. I have not tried to pull any of the tile up to get access to what's beneath yet. I have no idea how well attached it is. I'm going to assume that the lino is original from 1965 but you guys would know better than I. Pulling out the painting respirator to use instead of the paper dust mask for this one. I am already considering removing the 5/8" layer based on what I've been reading on other threads. I want it done right the first time! If you guys tell me that 3/4" will decrease the chance of failure I'll use that vs 5/8" without question.

It sounds like you are suggesting that it would be safer to remove the 5/8" layer with the lino attached vs scraping it off???
I am planning to go at the first few tiles with a 3 lb sledge and a square shovel within the hour.

Thanks again!
Jimmy
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:38 PM   #6
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So, the first tile came right up with the first whack of the hammer, so we decided to roll with it. All the tile is up and we left as much of the linoleum as would stay down. We used a spray bottle with water throughout the process to keep the dust down. Didn't seem nearly as dusty as the drywall sanding, so I guess that's good.

Pending better suggestions from the experts...my plan will be to remove the 5/8" underlayment tomorrow night. I'm thinking of cutting the lino with a utility knife into reasonable sized pieces maybe along the seams of the 5/8" underlayment and try to remove it in large pieces to minimize the dust. I guess the removal will be done with a crowbar since everything in the house was nailed vs screwed.

We'd been working around the last cabinet with the sink since we started the project. The rest have been removed. With the underlayment coming up I guess we finally have to remove the sink and sink cabinet.


Last edited by mystic_cobra; 09-20-2011 at 11:42 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:08 PM   #7
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My first tiling project-kitchen


I think it's best to remove the underlayment, start fresh. Repair or replace any damaged planks, then go with the thickest ply you can. However, 5/8" is plenty good enough, but the thicker the better. You don't need t&g. Buy an underlayment grade, not CDX junk.

Whats your plan for a tile backer? With large tiles as yours, the floor needs to be very flat, check that before you install the new ply. Also did we talk about the framing? Need to know the type and size of the joists, species and grade if possible, on center spacing and the longest span of the joists to the inch.

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Old 09-22-2011, 12:08 AM   #8
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Most of the structural info is in the first post. Actual joist length is 128 inches. Grade stamp says SPIB no2 1200f.
Got half of the underlayment up tonight. Planning to go to home depot for plywood friday night. If they have 3/4 underlayment should I plan on getting that?
Tile backer? You tell me! Hardi backer? Ditra? I'm depending on you guys, google, and diynetwork!
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:31 PM   #9
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My first tiling project-kitchen


OK thanks for the additional info on the joists. You will be fine for ceramic tiles. 3/4" underlayment grade is better than 5/8" of course. Both are fine.

For tile backer I prefer Ditra, but it costs more $$$.

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Old 09-22-2011, 10:41 PM   #10
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Got the rest of the underlayment up tonight. Already cleaned up the work area and showered and it's not even midnight yet!

So, as we removed the second half of the underlayment, we discovered that the tile installer added some 1 1/4" screws from the bottom through both layers of plywood. Also found a few clothes pins stuck in between the joists and subflooring in a few spots. I'm guessing this was to get everything flat. I haven't checked the floor for flatness yet to see what I have.

As for ditra vs hardi backer and 5/8 vs 3/4 underlayment, I guess it will come down to cost. I'll happily spend 10% more to upgrade but if it cost twice as much, probably not. What's the order of magnitude for cost increase for ditra?
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:06 AM   #11
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I went to get the plywood for the underlayment at home depot. Based on the websites, both stores carry the same stuff. They have 5/8 (19/32) only in the low grade that's NOT exposure rated. They carry 3 different grades of 3/4" (23/32). A low grade, an exposure 1 grade (CD), and an exterior grade (AB).

I was planning to get the mid grade 3/4" but was talked out of it by brother and wife primarily due to the resulting increase in floor height. It would add almost a half inch to the kitchen floor (I think) which is already about a 1/4" higher than the hardwood floors in adjacent rooms. So, with no better option I elected to go with the 3/4. Meanwhile, an employee had tracked down a "tile expert" for me.

The tile expert (12 yrs in the business) escorted me back to the tile department while explaining his recommended method for my situation. Long story short, he recommended the following from bottom to top: On top of my 1/2" subflooring, a layer of thinset to fill the gaps!!!, layer of 1/2" plywood (medium grade), 2 coats of red guard, 1/2" hardibacker, thinset, tile.

Frustrated, I walked out with nothing.

Oh! Forgot the best part. I asked about using Ditra (which they carry) and he said he would never use it on a project. He said it should only be used in a "quick install". He doesn't like it and doesn't think it is as good as hardibacker.

PLEASE HELP!

Last edited by mystic_cobra; 09-24-2011 at 06:20 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:25 PM   #12
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So, I checked out an 84 Lumber store down the road and they have the 5/8 Exposure wood plywood in-stock. Who hoo!

Since I hadn't seen the suggestion of putting thinset BETWEEN my plywood layers, I'll be skipping that step. Still not sure which substrate I'll be using under the tile (Ditra, hardibacker, cement board).

Does the 1 1/4" minimum substrate include the tile backer or does the wood have to add up to 1 1/4" before the tile backer?
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Meanwhile, an employee had tracked down a "tile expert" for me.
I have never seen a tile expert at those stores. And after reading the advice you received, I still haven't even heard of one either.

There is no 1 1/4" requirement for ceramic tiles, just natural stone. The tile backer is never included as part of the subfloor thickness since it adds no structural strength. A single 3/4" ply or OSB makes an adequate base, in general. Of course more is fine. However, your home was built differently than most homes built from the '70's on. When your house was built it was common for 1/2" + 5/8", with vinyl direct over the 5/8". So you need the 5/8" or 3/4" over the 1/2".

Install the new 5/8" exposure 1 sub/underlayment, fasten with ring shank flooring nails or flooring screws that are no longer than 1 1/2" or so. Fasten to the subfloor. Do not use longer screws to try to hit the joists unless the screws are not biting the 1/2". Be sure to leave 1/8" between sheets unless it's t&g. (which you do not need). Offset the seams both ways of course.

Quote:
Still not sure which substrate I'll be using under the tile (Ditra, hardibacker, cement board).
Many of us like Ditra, but it does cost more. However, it's easier to install, only adds 1/8" installed, and performs uncoupling functions that could save you from a problem down the road. Otherwise 1/4" tile backers work well too.

Jaz
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:56 AM   #14
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Next question....on the underlayment... how flat is flat enough? I am part way through screwing down the plywood. HOLY SCREWS! Add a 6" spacing they add up fast! Went through one box on the first sheet.

I have a joist that is higher than those around it. With a 4 ft level lying across there with the center of the level on the high joist, I have a 3/26" gap under one end. Should up pull up a section and attempt to shim it or keep going and hope the stuff on top flattens it out sufficiently?
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:42 AM   #15
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3/26? - 3/16" maybe?

Either way that is way too much. For large tiles I would want: "flat within 1/8" in 10 ft. and 1/16" in 12" of the required plane". Using a 4 ft. straight edge does not give you the facts.

The "standard for floors is 1/4" in 10 ft., but for large, smooth and or shiny tiles the old standard of 1/8" is best.

Quote:
Should up pull up a section and attempt to shim it or keep going and hope the stuff on top flattens it out sufficiently?


How is that possible? If that would make a difference, adding a sheet of ply on your pitched roof would make it flat.


Jaz

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