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Old 04-15-2012, 01:59 AM   #1
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Porcelain tile over particle board over concrete slab?


Hi all, new to the chat room and looking for answers.

Laundry/powder room in my 1973-built house sits on a concrete slab. The builder glued down 3/16" particle board panels with black cutback adhesive to the slab, and made it a "finished" floor by top-coating it with some kind of varnish or urethane to give it a nice brown glaze.

I'm aware of the asbestos problem in very old cutback adhesive, so I'm very much wary of removing the particle board before I set new porcelain tile down.

The particle board has withstood 40 years of moisture from laundry machines, 1 sink, and 1 toilet, so I'm guessing it might be good enough for tile to go directly over it. I've combed over the surface with my level, and for a 40-year-old house, I'm shocked that the floor is flat and level as hell.

The last thing I want to do is free up a bunch of asbestos-laden dust, but at the same time perhaps having a professional abatement done is overkill (and over-expensive).

One idea I've come up with is to put down durock tile membrane right over the particle board, but that's also somewhat expensive and something I'd like to avoid doing.

Any opinions on what to do are very much welcome, and thanks in advance for taking the time to respond.

Best,

Ken Evans
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:45 AM   #2
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Porcelain tile over particle board over concrete slab?


I would remove the particle board if it were my job----You have been lucky for fourty years.

If you choose to attempt tiling over that---Use Ditra or one of the orher surface membranes---

Ditra is waterproof--requires no nails---perhaps a Kerdi band up the wall to keep water from getting under the particle board in the event of a flood---

Very risky install----I've seen what happens to particle board under tile when it gets soaked---Mike--

P.S. Durrock is not an option---no way to fasten it down--
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:38 AM   #3
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Porcelain tile over particle board over concrete slab?


I would get that "particle board" ( maybe OSB ) out before any tile install.
How do you know that Cutback was used ? You said it's a 40 year old install.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:40 AM   #4
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Porcelain tile over particle board over concrete slab?


This product from MAPEI might be an answer over old cutback without
making a dust mess.

http://www.mapei.com/public/COM/prod...%20grip_gb.pdf

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Old 04-15-2012, 01:42 PM   #5
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Porcelain tile over particle board over concrete slab?


Thanks for the replies guys.

It's definitely not OSB, as I have been working with OSB, ply, and particle board variants.

When I referred to putting durock down, I meant the tile membrane, not the cement board. The tile membrane is a "stretchy" paper with a concrete surface on one side that is installed "face-up". The bottom side of the paper is simply glued down. Very convenient to use when the underlying substrate is strong enough to support tile, but the surface type is not proper. I.e. Plywood surface, or concrete slab that is cracked or spalled in places.

My concern is not tiling over the cutback adhesive itself. I will put a primer such as that recommended MAPEI product before troweling on thinset for the tile.

My concern is that using a floor scraper to "peel" the very thin particle board panels will somehow release asbestos. I'm skeptical, however, because even if there is asbestos, I don't see how it can be released since it's embedded in the adhesive itself. Regardless, I'm setting a sample for testing this week.

The photo shows the brown particle board next to concrete. The concrete has the black adhesive all over it, with pockets of spall damage that will have to be repaired.

Thanks,

Ken
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:44 PM   #6
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Porcelain tile over particle board over concrete slab?


I'd peal that off the concrete---soak the floor a bit to prevent dust and get scraping---

You are correct,asbestos only poses a danger when powdered dust goes airborne--cut back can't fly--so you will be fine if you sprinkle some water as you work.

A two part thinset is best over cut back--Kerabond and Keralastic by Mepei is a good example.
Some modified thinsets are approved for use over cut back,also---check the product--most modifieds are not approved---
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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Porcelain tile over particle board over concrete slab?


Thanks Mike, appreciate the advice.

Ken
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:59 AM   #8
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Porcelain tile over particle board over concrete slab?


You sure that isn't cork sheet flooring? Makes more sense than particle board.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:20 AM   #9
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Porcelain tile over particle board over concrete slab?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 View Post
You sure that isn't cork sheet flooring? Makes more sense than particle board.
That isn't particle board in that picture. Could be OSB, but like Maintenance posted, most likely cork.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:24 AM   #10
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Porcelain tile over particle board over concrete slab?


Come to think of it, you might be right, Maintenance. it's only 3/16" thick, and is glazed on top. I recently took out a particle board underlayment in a recent bathroom renovation, and that material was thicker, and flakier (glued down with a honey-colored sticky adhesive to ply subfloor).

This material definitely feels spongy, and more elastic. It would make sense that it's cork, easy to mistake for particle board.

Regardless, my tile installation is also going into the adjoining family room which shares the same slab. I'm thinking it's still better to peel off the cork flooring to get a uniform, even-height substrate to work off of.

While the laundry / powder room is nice and level, I'm finding some low spots in the family room basically around the walls. It's basically a gentle "crown" profile that pushes the center of the room up by about 1/4" compared to the boundaries. Room is 25' x 17'.

I'm going to install 4" width porcelain plank tiles that have a wood grain pattern, and I'd like to go for 1/16" grout lines. I guess the floor would have to be super-flat for that. But I'm wondering if some Levelquik SLC would adhere to all the cutback. Definitely rolling down a liberal coat of Levelquik primer is in order, but anyone have concerns about this?

Thanks again!
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