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Old 02-10-2006, 10:27 PM   #1
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porcelain tile


Hello,

I have laid 13"x13" Porcelain tile over my landing and stairs which are 1.5" plywood (plywood from early 1970). I spent the weekend using floor screws (about 180) to secure the plywood to the framework underneath. I have used a standard thin set mortor to lay the tile. Will this be enough to prevent the tile from lifting?

Thank you,

Last edited by jayme_hall; 02-11-2006 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 02-11-2006, 01:09 PM   #2
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The plywood thickness is good, being 2 layers of wood. Sounds like you fastened it well, providing you spaced them about 4" to 6" apart. RE: thinset, what kind? dryset mixed with water, polymer modified, or dryset mixed with latex liquid?

Jim
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Old 02-11-2006, 01:51 PM   #3
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water based thin set - pretty standard stuff-

It sounds as though some of the tiles that are laid on the landing are loose (rock a little back and forth) is this normla before the grout is applied?
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Old 02-11-2006, 02:12 PM   #4
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You are right, not a good sign. Lets start from the begining, We know the ply thickness, you refastened the 2 layers of plywood. So at this point, is the top layer of flooring plywood, or OSB, or particle board? I ask this because back in the 70's Particle board was used a a underlayment for carpet. I doubt OSB, but can't remember back that far. (senior moment) What type of thinset was used? A name or type will help. Check the bag the powder came in. What size trowel did you use? jayme_hall, I know its alot of questions, but inorder to help you, I need to know. There are so many variables to this, so we have to play detective in order to figure this out. To answer your question re: loose tile, Absolutely not right!!!
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:31 PM   #5
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I used fortified thin-set morter - it is attached to flooring plywood - long grain stuff - that is 1.5" think. I screwed the floor down every 4"- 5" The landing is attached to the floor via stud 18" apart. The trowel is 1/2" notches. Please let me know what I can do to ensure the tile stays down and how to prevent the new tile from comming up.

Thank you,
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:46 PM   #6
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Thats good news, thanks. When did you install the tile? Time frame that tile has been installed and you noticed a loose one. At any rate, that loose one needs to be removed. If it wiggles in place, it most likely was disturbed before the thinset cured, or not enough thinset bonding the tile to the substrate. I doubt it is the later because you used a 1/2" notched trowel. If it was moved (broke the bond), check around for others. Anyway, if it was originally set less than 24 HRS ago, chances are pretty good the thinset has not cured completely and the tile can be scraped and reset with new thinset. Family pets and children are common causes of getting onto the tile too early.
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:00 PM   #7
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I set them a week ago - and was working to finish the stairs today - there are 6 loose tiles grouped together - high traffac area maybe two days after the tile was set. We have not grouted as of yet. Any suggestions? Am I able to get more thinset under the tile and se e if it will hold?

Please let me know
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:40 PM   #8
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OK, since they all are in the same area, it sounds like they were disturbed by stepping on them etc. If you have extra, remove the loose ones and scrape the floor and vac any debris from the area. Also when removing the loose ones, pay attention to the condition of the thinset. Did it sitck to the floor or to the tile or both. This will give you some very good clues as to what happened. If the thinset did not stick to the floor, it most likely is caused by a dirty substrate. Dust etc. acting as a bond breaker. If it did not stick to the tile, a likely cause is the thinset was left open too long and has skined over on the top. With this film on the top it will not bond completely to the tile. When you set the tile into the fresh thinset and side it back and forth it will break some of the skin but not much, as it is still pliable and act like its ok. If there is a good coverage on both, then you did everything correct except disturbed it too early, breaking the bond. Once this happens, you have to remove and reset with fresh material. If you don't have extra tiles, then try scraping the thinset off the tiles. If its cured and hard, then try with a abrasive disc attached to a grinder. Remember its DUSTY so plan accordingly.

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Old 02-11-2006, 07:50 PM   #9
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There is also more flex in stairs than floors, in those areas, do you feel any movement at all, when you said 18", was that the span of the supports for the treads, is this is what is getting tiled or the area leading to the stairs?

Everything said & asked above is correct and will help, for one, I'm not a fan of tiling directly over wood of any kind, a membrane or 1/4" cementboard would also help alot here.

When spreading the thinset, burn it into the floor with the flat side of the trowel, then the notched side, then backbutter the tile with the flat side of the trowel and set it, 3/8" notch should be more than enough for this size tile, you need to backbutter porcelain and as stated above, you MUST stay off of it for at least 24hrs. sometimes more with porcelain and type of thinset used, what brand was it and name on the bag?

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-11-2006, 08:28 PM   #10
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porcelain tile


Gentlemen,

Thank you for your help - I have pulled up the 6 tiles that were rocking - very little tileset stuck to the tile itself. This is not good with my little knowledge. Now I have six tiles with little fortified tile set on them and alot of tileset stuck to the ply wood - 85% of the wood is covered. What should I do next - this is becoming very frustrating. The thin-set is called Flexbond

Thanks again!!

Last edited by jayme_hall; 02-11-2006 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 02-11-2006, 08:48 PM   #11
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Hammer and chisle and carefully get up the old thinset, if thick and rough enough that it will interfere with getting the tile back down evenly, a rubbing stone with a handle works great to knock it down also, last choice, a grinder with a grinding stone or diamond blade, but that's a dust nightmare.

As said earlier above, it might have skinned over before you set them, wrong thinset used and or, not backbuttering the tile for 100% coverage.

Rare, but make sure the tile is clean on the bottom, no white film on them, that's Kiln release and sometimes it can be on the tile and interfere with the bond, I doubt this is what happened here though.
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Old 02-11-2006, 09:01 PM   #12
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Another long day ahead by the looks of thing thanks for the info - this the is thinset I am using- Flexbond Premium quality, polymer-modified mortar with outstanding flexibility and bond strength. Is is what is right for the situation.
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Old 02-11-2006, 09:06 PM   #13
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Yup, good stuff.

Just remember, I don't know the flex in that floor or stair, but if there isn't any thinset on the bottom of the tile, it was something else, it wouldn't have failed that soon due to movement.

Make sure you have 100% coverage next time, spread only enough thinset to set a few at a time, if you can, stay off them for 48hrs. Flexbond is high in polymeres and under porcelain takes alot longer to set up.
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Old 02-12-2006, 06:08 AM   #14
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Ok, sounds like you found your cause and can proceed to correct it. Re read Post#8 from me as it gives you your next steps. The thing to remember now is to remove enough old thinset to allow enough room for tile and thinset and still be flush with the surrounding area. Patience is your key to completion now. Don't skimp on this procedure, or you could be repeating it later. Just saying to take your time and be sure everything is ok before mixing the thinset.
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Old 02-12-2006, 03:41 PM   #15
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Just add water - I am using water and a putty knife to bring up the old tile-set. When I am ready to aly the tile what steps should I take to ensure the tile will not lift causing me to go a little insane and do this all over again?

Thank you again for everyone's help - it is much appreciated!
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