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Axhammer 04-07-2009 11:54 PM

particle board question???
I want to install 5/8" bamboo hardwood floors and ceramic tile in my recently purchased 31 Y/O house. Right now under the carpet and vinyl flooring is 5/8 toungue and groove (on a 45), with 5/8 particle board nailed on top, throughout. I understand the particle board will have to be replaced with some real plywood, so I can nail the flooring into the plywood. My question is will the particle board be OK where the tile is going to go? since the tile gets glued, not nailed. Is this true?

Bob Mariani 04-08-2009 05:30 AM

Tile is set in thinset on a floor and never glued. And tile cannot be set on particle board. Are you sure this is not OSB? If the OSB is advantec or similar tile can be set on it after installing 1/4" cement backer board over the OSB. If it is particle board replace it with exterior grade 3/4" plywood for the tile and 3/4" plywood for the flooring.

Axhammer 04-08-2009 07:58 AM

Whats the difference between, OSB and particle board? How do I tell the difference?

What is Thinset? A form of adhesive similar to the mud that is used when laying block?

I am trying to avoid removing all this particle board, the cabinets sit on top of it for instance.

Bob Mariani 04-08-2009 08:22 AM

You can use a undercut trim saw to cut cleanly along the cabinets. (rent one). OSB uses wood flakes. The pieces look like slivers glued together. Most OSB on a floor will be something like Advantec, which is a very good sub-flooring. Particle board is used as an underlayment for carpeting. Looks more yellowish and is made with glued sawdust. Post a picture, I will tell you what you have there now.

Thinset is a mortar like product with good sticky-ness. Not an adhesive. I assume you have osb. If so, use Ditra over this. It wil provide waterproofing so the wood does not deteriorate from moisture moving though the grout (which it does, even if sealed) ; provide uncoupling so that the expanding and contraction of wood is not transmitted to the tile to avoid cracking or tile and grout ; and it provides a means for the moisture in the wood to bet out through the voids in this membrane. check out the specs at

JazMan 04-08-2009 08:37 AM

Hi guys,

Axhammer, you're thinking of installing ceramic tiles, BUT don't know what thin set is? OH BOY....:whistling2:

OSB looks like this:

Particle board;


Thin set mortar is TOO an adhesive! You're thinking of mastic. Do you realize your told our guest to undercut the cabinet? What will that do except collapse the base cabinets? You don't undercut cabinets.


Bob Mariani 04-08-2009 10:01 AM

He asked how to cut the particle board when cabinets are already on top. I said cut along the cabinets..... Now I cannot think of anyone that would assume I meant to cut the cabinets, since this still would not help remove the particle board that he asked how to do. Gee!

Thinset is a sticky motar, I just do not think of it as an adhesive. See this definition. Whereas Mastic is more of a tile glue. (adhesive) which I was trying to direct hem away from. Also I have read of some thinking silicone or PL400 is to be used with tile. More adhesives. Non-modified thinset is specifed in some cases for CBU so the thinset does not adhere to the plywood thus providing some un-coupling. So.. I see this as thinset not being considered an adhesive.

JazMan 04-08-2009 11:39 AM

OK, Bob, I see what you meant. An undercut saw will not do what you said. An undercut saw cuts off the bottom of things, it cuts horizontally not vertically. I got it though.:thumbsup:

Call the thinset what you want. Just remember adhesive can be good, but mastic is not a good thing to use in a tile project unless it's on a dry vertical area like a kitchen backsplash.


Bob Mariani 04-08-2009 01:05 PM

okay Jazman... a Bosh undercut saw that HD rents can be used since it has a flat coarse tooth blade and can be set up against the edge of the cabinet, as it this vertical edge was a floor and cut the particle board if so desired. The particle board if you will would be like the trim that you are undercutting. A sawsall could be used, but not by a DIYer, since you can only use the tip of a very long blade and need lots of experience to make that work. I also have a 3" saw or use a 4" angle grinder. But we as pros have every tool in the trailer. A diyer may have to rent something. The one I mentioned is safer. Also explained that I would not remove the OSB since I would not think anyway designed the house to have carpet in the bath or kitchen areas.

Bob Mariani 04-08-2009 01:38 PM


Originally Posted by JazMan (Post 256897)
OK, Bob, I see what you meant. An undercut saw will not do what you said. An undercut saw cuts off the bottom of things, it cuts horizontally not vertically. I got it though.:thumbsup:

Call the thinset what you want. Just remember adhesive can be good, but mastic is not a good thing to use in a tile project unless it's on a dry vertical area like a kitchen backsplash.


Hey I am not the only one who thought of this tool.. see a new post

Axhammer 04-08-2009 08:23 PM

Thanks guys, Iím learning hereÖ

Thin-set mortar in used to set tile not glue, I didnít know what to call the stuff, now I do. (I still think of it as an adhesive)

I have particle board, over tongue and groove (not OSB).

I understand the particleboard will not take a nail, so it needs to be replaced with plywood or OSB for the area getting the hardwood floors nailed in place.

Can someone explain why the latex PC mortar and Ditra cannot go on top of the particle board? What am I missing?

JazMan 04-08-2009 09:02 PM

Because NOTHING can be adhered direct to PB, and PB is very unstable. PB, will suck the life out of the thin set, it is fail.

And yes thin set mortar is an adhesive no doubt about that. :thumbsup:


rusty baker 04-08-2009 09:08 PM

Particle board will fail from just the moisture in the thinset.

Axhammer 04-08-2009 11:38 PM

OK, I think I get it, the particleboard will be weakened from moisture, the mortar will just break away.

I guess I'll buy the special saw and remove the particleboard, and replace with plywood or OSB.

Would it be OK to cut the particleboard close to the walls and cabinets, around 6" or so. Then just replace the stuff everywhere but the 6" perimeter strips adjacent to the cabinets and walls? Its not like these areas get much foot traffiic. I was just thinking it might be easier to pry it up, since the perimeter areas seem to have lots of nails, plus I would'nt be so close to my freshly painted walls, as the sheets of particleboard are getting pried up.

JazMan 04-09-2009 10:31 AM

I don't know I would stay back 6", but a few shouldn't matter? You're lucky you have a subfloor under it, or you'd have to install blocking under those new seams. You're gonna install a CBU or membrane over the new plywood before the tiles of course.

Did we talk about the joists to be sure they will support a tile installation? I didn't feel like reading this whole thread again. I don't recall talking about joists.


rusty baker 04-09-2009 01:49 PM

Particle board is not a good underlayment. It should never be used where there is moisture such as kitchens and baths. It will fail!

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