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Old 09-11-2012, 11:31 AM   #1
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tile size


hi, is there a recommended maximum tile size for homes in the northeast with a wood frame? I like the 24"x24" tile, but a man at the tile store said this was not recommended for homes in the northeast because the tiles would crack. he wouldn't even sell it. He had 20"x20", but basically told me I was crazy for wanting it that big.. Is there a max size I should use? has anyone used 24x24" and not have it cracked?

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Old 09-11-2012, 11:36 AM   #2
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The bigger the tile the more perfect the subflooring and floor joist have to be
and by far the most likly to crack. Any delection at all and there going to come loose or crack.
Think about it, the man that sells tile suggested not using tile that big, that should tell you something.

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Old 09-11-2012, 11:46 AM   #3
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I understand what he is saying and that the wood subfloor is going to expand and contract - especially because of the weather, but I hate 12"x12" tile and I'm trying to figure out how big I can go. if anyone has been brave enough to put a 20x20 or 24x24 tile down in weather that has very hot and very cold, i'd love to hear and see if the tile actually cracked or not.
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:01 PM   #4
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i would say if you put down ditra or another uncoupling membrane i don't see why you would have any problems. do any of the office or city buildings have large tile on the floor? do any of the malls or shopping centers have large tiles on the floor? i put 22x22 inch tile in my kitchen and it was really hot here this summer. it may not get as cold here as it does where you live but it is probably hotter here in the summer than your location.
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:07 PM   #5
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You can use large tiles over suspended wooden subfloors, it's done all the time, but......

The framing has to be very strong. The subfloors has to be very flat. It's best to use in a large space and is why you don't see them in residential so much. It's also gonna cost you more.

Tell us how you floors are built and we can talk about it. Planning to do it yourself?

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Old 09-11-2012, 10:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JazMan
You can use large tiles over suspended wooden subfloors, it's done all the time, but......

The framing has to be very strong. The subfloors has to be very flat. It's best to use in a large space and is why you don't see them in residential so much. It's also gonna cost you more.

Tell us how you floors are built and we can talk about it. Planning to do it yourself?

Jaz
Ok, right now there is tile on plywood underlayment then linoleum on another plywood underlayment and the subfloor is cedar planks (3/4" thick). The cedar plank under the sink area has water damage and needs replacing. What else do you need to know? I will stop by the house and get the floor joists measurements tomorrow- haven't moved in yet. Sorry for my ignorance. We are getting ready to remove the tile this weekend. Should we remove everything down to the cedar plank? Or to the linoleum?
The house is built in 1965. As for DIY - I will probably get someone to lay down the tile. In our previous home I did one of our bathrooms - so so job. I did learn from my mistakes, but this time I have my two year old and 5 month old to take care of.
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:01 PM   #7
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any old flooring and any plywood or underlayment that is 1/4 inch needs to come up.
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:14 PM   #8
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6x6 tile is nice.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:27 AM   #9
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As mentioned, you need to removed everything down to the subfloor. Then repair/replace the subfloor as necessary. Be sure to inspect the joists for damage and make sure they are in plane with each other before going further. The floor must be very flat for tile and extremely flat for large tiles.

Measure and report the; type and size of the joists, would help greatly to know their species and grade, the on-center spacing, the longest unsupported span. Is the floor open from below? You might have to do some work from down there. Let us know the condition of those planks too, pics would be nice.

Once we hear back from you, we will suggest how thick an underlayment you should install over the plank subfloor, then you can choose a tile backer or membrane.

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Old 09-12-2012, 06:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
As mentioned, you need to removed everything down to the subfloor. Then repair/replace the subfloor as necessary. Be sure to inspect the joists for damage and make sure they are in plane with each other before going further. The floor must be very flat for tile and extremely flat for large tiles.

Measure and report the; type and size of the joists, would help greatly to know their species and grade, the on-center spacing, the longest unsupported span. Is the floor open from below? You might have to do some work from down there. Let us know the condition of those planks too, pics would be nice.

Once we hear back from you, we will suggest how thick an underlayment you should install over the plank subfloor, then you can choose a tile backer or membrane.

Jaz
ok - sorry, no pictures. will try to take some later. the floor joists are cedar, maybe average grade (this is a guess). they are 2" wide, 142" in length and 9.5" deep. center to center spacing is 17" (so 15" gap). the longest unsupported span is 132" ( there is support on the edge of the house and in the middle). measurements were taken in the basement.
thanks. let me know what other info you need.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:25 PM   #11
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So the actual size of the joists is 2x9.5"? Are you sure? Sounds to me the joists are 2x10" which should measure more like 1.5x9.25" Cedar joists, huh, kinda unusual but ok.

If they are 1.5x9.25" grade #2, you should be stiff enough for ceramic tiles. How does it feel? Did you check the flatness of the floor? BTW, the standard on center spacing should be 16".

OK so, the next step is to decide whether keep and repair the planks. If you do, I suggest min. 5/8" underlayment grade ply. then a backer or membrane, then the tiles. Before much further you'll also have to decide if the floor is flat enough. We need to know how flat it is. Measure with a perfectly straight 10' straight edge or other accurate method. For large tiles you need it to be within 1/8" in 10' of plane, cuz tiles don't bend much.

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Old 09-12-2012, 08:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JazMan
So the actual size of the joists is 2x9.5"? Are you sure? Sounds to me the joists are 2x10" which should measure more like 1.5x9.25" Cedar joists, huh, kinda unusual but ok.

If they are 1.5x9.25" grade #2, you should be stiff enough for ceramic tiles. How does it feel? Did you check the flatness of the floor? BTW, the standard on center spacing should be 16".

OK so, the next step is to decide whether keep and repair the planks. If you do, I suggest min. 5/8" underlayment grade ply. then a backer or membrane, then the tiles. Before much further you'll also have to decide if the floor is flat enough. We need to know how flat it is. Measure with a perfectly straight 10' straight edge or other accurate method. For large tiles you need it to be within 1/8" in 10' of plane, cuz tiles don't bend much.

Jaz
My husband did the measurements and I'm sure those are the numbers he wrote. I can remeasure as needed. As for them being cedar - they look similar to the cedar plank subfloor (which my dad identified as such), but I personally can't tell oak from birch, so it might not be cedar. For the floor flatness - should I measure once we have removed all current tile, linoleum and the underlayments and are down to the subfloor? Sorry if this seems like a dumb question or can I try and measure now?
Ok, so basically we'd have floor joists, subfloor, 5/8 underlayment grade plywood, then maybe ditra? And then the tiles correct? And how far out of flatness the floor is will dictate the tile size? Thanks for all your help and patience btw.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:35 PM   #13
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While checking the span chart for someone else, I noticed a few other types of cedar giving me different results from what I told you earlier. You really should figure out what you've got there and see if any of the boards are marked with grade/species markings. Accurately measure them too. Today's "2x10's measure 1.5x9.25".

You can check how flat the floor is before you remove the second underlayment and flooring. If the ceiling below is not finished check there first to get an idea. Use straight edge, string or laser or (?) check the bottom of the joists. Should be same same as the top of the joists. Check both across and in line of all the joists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laorguidia
Ok, so basically we'd have floor joists, subfloor, 5/8 underlayment grade plywood, then maybe ditra? And then the tiles correct? And how far out of flatness the floor is will dictate the tile size?
The normal industry standard is max 1/4" in 10 ft. and 1/16" in 12" out of plane. But......... with large tiles you need within 1/8" in 10 ft.

You're welcome BTW.

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Old 09-14-2012, 08:56 AM   #14
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ok, so I went to the house and re-measured and took some pictures. The center:center span is 16" (not sure where DH got 17"). the board does measure around 1.5-1.75" wide and between 9.25-9.5" in depth. In any case they are 2x10s. As for the type of wood, I looked for any sort of stamps/marking and only found 2 stamps in the whole basement (one was under the thick center beam in the middle). The house is built in 1965 and the wood does look reddish. I'll try to measure how flat it is this weekend.
Here are some pictures from below - sorry for the quality, they were taken with my phone. one picture is of the joists and the other are the two stamps I found.
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:27 PM   #15
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Sorry I can't make much of those stamps. The only thing that is obvious is the grades. One appears to be "construction" the other "utility", both not good. I'd expect to see grade #2 or better.

So, what does this mean? Here's an example.

Western Cedars - 2x10 grade #2 50/20 live/dead-weight L360 deflection max can span 11'8".

The same board grade #3 & stud grade can span only 8'10"

I'm not positive but I think grade #3 and stud grades are better than construction and utility.

I suggest you let someone from a real lumber yard see the photo, or go to your town's building department for guidance.

This is what a typical grade stamp means;
http://www.aivya.com/images/stories/grade%20stamp.gif

Jaz

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