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Old 01-28-2008, 04:05 PM   #1
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Tiling a bathroom and hallway questions


I have 2 basic questions about this project:

To start with, the existing flooring is tongue and groove hardwood over plank subfloor. I was going to screw 1/2'' hardy backer over the floor for my base, but on some other forums they recommend just using plywood, screwing it through the existing floor into the joists with long decking screws.

What I am curious about is if I should go with plywood or hardy backer, and if so, do I need to install a double layer?

Secondly, in the bathroom, can I leave the toilet flange as it is or will I need to put a new one in level with the new floor? I was told the existing flange will be fine - just need a large wax ring.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-29-2008, 12:20 AM   #2
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Tiling a bathroom and hallway questions


As long as your less than an inch above the flange a double wax ring will work. (Just went through this in my buddies bath)

One reason to use hardy or cement board is to help impeded moisture/water penetration, especially important in a bathroom. Floors can be 1/4 cement board (not sure for hardy). There is also a product made by Schulter called Dietra that can go on before the tile. It acts as a membrane and helps prevent cracking tiles and grout.

For a bullet proof floor make sure there are no loose planks, lay down a thin layer of thin set and 1/4 crete board screw it into joists, mesh tape the seams, more thin set, lay down dietra, then lay your tile. The floor will outlast you.

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Old 01-29-2008, 06:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Roddy Piper View Post
What I am curious about is if I should go with plywood or hardy backer, and if so, do I need to install a double layer?
Use 1/4" cement board. (Hardie or other brand) Make sure that you use thinset during the installation. If you use screws to attach, make sure to use the cement board screws only.

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Secondly, in the bathroom, can I leave the toilet flange as it is or will I need to put a new one in level with the new floor? I was told the existing flange will be fine - just need a large wax ring.
As stated, thicker wax rings or spacers will take care of that.
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Old 01-30-2008, 04:25 PM   #4
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Tiling a bathroom and hallway questions


HOLY COW I gotta jump in here too.

Roddy in reality you never want to install a tile installation over any hardwood, it just isn't a safe thing to do. Plywood over slat subfloor is OK if the plywood is thick enough. Then a tilebacker board is also recommended over that.

Hardwood flooring is super unstable and powerful. If you install tile backer board over hardwood you run the rick of the floor erupting with the first seasonal change. The hardwood should be removed totally and replaced with plywood, then backerboard, then tile.

Schluter Systems the makers of DITRA tile underlayment would NEVER bless an installation where DITRA was installed directly over hardwood, it must have plywood first.

Subsequent layers of sub-flooring are NEVER screwed into the floor joists, NEVER. The subsequent layers are intended to be somewhat isolated from the structure and the joists.

Roddy I can recommend a place where there are nothing but pros that can keep you on track and get away from some of this information that will get you into trouble.
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:40 AM   #5
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HOLY COW I gotta jump in here too.

Roddy in reality you never want to install a tile installation over any hardwood, it just isn't a safe thing to do. Plywood over slat subfloor is OK if the plywood is thick enough. Then a tilebacker board is also recommended over that.

Hardwood flooring is super unstable and powerful. If you install tile backer board over hardwood you run the rick of the floor erupting with the first seasonal change. The hardwood should be removed totally and replaced with plywood, then backerboard, then tile.

Schluter Systems the makers of DITRA tile underlayment would NEVER bless an installation where DITRA was installed directly over hardwood, it must have plywood first.

Subsequent layers of sub-flooring are NEVER screwed into the floor joists, NEVER. The subsequent layers are intended to be somewhat isolated from the structure and the joists.

Roddy I can recommend a place where there are nothing but pros that can keep you on track and get away from some of this information that will get you into trouble.

I will not disagree, I was offering an opinion of how to do the job based off what I have done, seen and been told to do working with several different "pros". I was never informed that original hardwood would be that unstable, so in hopes to learn I will take that under advisement, just as Roddy should. I was always under the impression that the hardwoods of yesteryear were more stable than that, and with crete board over them it would not be an issue, but it makes sense its only wood after all.
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Old 01-31-2008, 11:27 AM   #6
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Tiling a bathroom and hallway questions


INSTALLING CERAMIC AND STONE TILE OVER HARDWOOD -
NOT THE BEST IDEA!

Hardwood floors have been around for a long long time and under most circumstances have been considered to be stable in most cases, until you add some moisture. Ambient moisture as in humidity occurs 24/7/365. This moisture has an effect on the stability of the wood. Various wood species have varying rates of expansion and contraction. These floor components do move regularly. This movement goes unnoticed and is an acceptable behavior of the species when the intended finished floor is the wood. No one gives this a second thought.

Flood that same wood species with water and watch what happens, again at varying rates. In some cases the wood floor will erupt and never return to its original location. In some cases the wood will cup or crown depending on the occurrence and direction and makeup of the grain, and may or may not return to its original shape. In both cases these are natural phenomenons that occur in all species.

NOW, assume that that wood floor has served it usefulness over time and the time has arrived for a new floor. The natural path-of-least-resistance would be to cover that floor with the new product.

Should one desire to cover THAT wood floor with a ceramic or stone tile installation that is in and of itself a very rigid and non-forgiving application then disaster awaits the unwary doer.

The slightest movement from expansion or contraction would be enough to disrupt the rigid tile installation and the floor would then be doomed. If the underlying wood were to be somehow soaked with moisture the results and effects on the tile installation could be explosive. At the very least adhesive failures could take place dislodging tiles, tiles could crack and cement grouts would crumble. At any rate the tile installation would be ruined.

To cover the hardwood with a substantial amount of plywood may help redirect and redistribute the forces at hand but there are no guarantees. To cover the hardwood with only a cement board product would have no effect on the impending upheaval what so ever. Cement board offers absolutely no structural value (or rigidity) and would in fact be very flexible under such circumstances.

The only way to guarantee a long lasting tile installation would be to remove the hardwood totally and begin anew as prescribed by (among other sources) The Tile Council of North America's "Handbook for the Installation of Ceramic Tile".

In the future one saving-grace may be the use of some of the new so-called flexible thinset mortars coming on the market but even then those products have their limits. There is some protection laterally but if the underlying expanding movement is upward the tile is still doomed.

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Last edited by Bud Cline; 01-31-2008 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:13 PM   #7
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Tiling a bathroom and hallway questions


I have to jump in too! YIKES!

When surfers land on this forum and decide to ask questions, or just read the threads, (as most surfers do), they tend to believe what is written. If Bud or others of us weren't here to intervene, Roddy and countless others would come away with bad information. So be careful.

As for those of us that offer answers, I would be best if you would introduce yourselves and offer some background info to your experience in the tile industry. I mean do you have a tile installation service, a store, are you a rep, how long in this racket, etc? Along with that a website or something that shows you're not just a nickname offering answers with perhaps little or no experience.

This is the way it's done on most other forums, but of course it's voluntary. It can get embarrassing if one of the pros has to keep correcting obviously wrong answers.

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Old 02-01-2008, 07:00 PM   #8
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Tiling a bathroom and hallway questions


Thanks to both Bud and Jaz!! There is way too much mis information being passed on the internet as the perceived truth. Everyone at least has the responsibility to read the written instructions provided by each and every manufacturer. I can tell you that Hardi for a fact will not warranty any of their boards that are installed over hardwood or plank flooring. They require a certain thickness of plywood for their board to be fastened to. Most of the time they will tell you to remove the hardwood. Then, if there are questions, call the Tech dept of that company. My thinking is that's the least we owe ourselves. If you look at our profiles you will find a considerable amount of experience between the three of us. Sorry, Its not personal, just getting tired of having to tell someone why their tile installation failed and they not only are out the original money but add to that the cost of rip out, repair and replace. Then they get indignant when I hand them my bill.
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:41 PM   #9
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Tiling a bathroom and hallway questions


Just wanted to thank everyone for the replies. I was hoping I could leave the hardwood as it was, as it seemed a lot of people just put the subfloor directly on top of the hardwood, but I do want to do this correctly.

I've gotten a lot of great info on this forum, so I am glad I have posted this question!

It seems I am in for a lot of work!
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:44 PM   #10
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HOLY COW I gotta jump in here too.


Roddy I can recommend a place where there are nothing but pros that can keep you on track and get away from some of this information that will get you into trouble.
Thanks, I would like to check it out.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:52 PM   #11
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Roddy you have a PM.
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Old 02-07-2008, 03:35 PM   #12
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Thanks to both Bud and Jaz!!

Thanks JJC. I visited Acadia a while back - Maine was awesome. I'd move there if it wasn't for the taxes.

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