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Old 08-15-2008, 06:12 PM   #1
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Travertine Flooring & load bearing

I want to install Travertine Flooring in our kitchen but I am concerned about the weight on the floor after the installation. So far, no one can tell me if it is safe/prudent to add Travertine to our floor.

I did find John Bridge Forums Deflect-O-Lator on Google & according to the calculator my foor is rated for only Sheet Vinyl or wood. Although his calculator seems credible, I would like another opinion(s) before I abandon the thought of using Travertine.

Our floor is currently construction grade Southern Pine 2 x 10's, 16" OC with a span of 15'. The kitchen is 15' x 30'. The floor joists rest on poured concrete on one side & on 2 2x12 beams with 1/4" plywood sandwiched between the 2 2 x 12s. There is a 2X4, 16 OC wall constructed in the basement which is perpendicular to the floor joists which shortens the span from 15' to 14'. There is also another 2x4 16 OC wall parallel to the 15' floor joists with the walls 2x4 header attached to the bottom one of a joist which is approximately 10' into the length of the 30' room. The subflooring of the kitchen is 2 sheets of plywood: One 1/2" sheet & One 3/4" sheet or a subfloor 1 1/4' thick.

Thank you


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Old 08-16-2008, 05:32 PM   #2
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His calculator IS credible. You're barely at the limit for ceramic tile, much less stone. What you might want to do is sister up those joists with 2x8s. That should strengthen your joists enough for stone. The subfloor should be fine with either 1/4" cement board or Ditra.


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Old 08-16-2008, 07:26 PM   #3
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Hi John,

I agree, your subfloor system can not support any type of natural stone and last as long as it should. If you want natural stone, you'll have to do as Bill said. You need to sister every joist, or build a supporting wall to shorten the span of the 2x10 joists.

If I'm understanding what you said correctly, your joists span 14'. Actually 14' is just a tic above minimum standards of L360 deflection for ceramic and porcelain tiles at 50 lb. live load, and 15 lb. dead load. Normal minimum building standard is L360 at 40/10, which means a builder can build a floor to span up to your original 16' 1". All this is assuming the joists are grade #2, which I believe is the common grade used for joists.

So, if the floor was installed correctly, and is in good condition, you should be able to have ceramic or porcelain tiles, no travertine though.

TILE GUY - retired- TROY, MI - Method & Product suitability consulting.

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Old 08-17-2008, 08:51 AM   #4
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The deflection guide you mention is one that hundreds if not thousands of tile installers have used to date without 'credibility' issues. To me, a theory that withstands the test of time becomes gospel...Why would you have any issues? Do you know of a way that ensures that proper calculations are made before an install is done that protects both the homeowner and the setter from tile cracking and loose grout? If so, let us know and we'll tell you if any credibility issues arise from it.

In the end, it's still your choice as to whether or not to accept the information that is given - or do it the way you want. In real terms, what's at stake here?

Let's say you go ahead and purchase 450 12"x12" polished or honed, filled or unfilled travertine (marble) tiles at $5 each, have them installed by a team of installers over a period of say 3 days. Proper plywood, perhaps some anti-fracture membrane (because you've read elsewhere that these things are "credible" and so you put them in). And let's say the whole things sets you back $5k...

Even with the plywood and antifracture membrane, your grout - and maybe the tiles - will start to crack - unless you restrict your kitchen to one-light-user-at a-time...LOL. Like kids under 10...

Well, maybe you can live with cracked tiles and loose grout. But maybe your SO can't...either way, most people would wonder what the hell you did wrong and why you blew $5k on cracks that shouldn't be there. Like many, they'd look to blame someone - anyone - like the installer...

Or try selling your house. Do you think a prospective buyer will go along with your 'credibility' tales - or dock you $10k for removing the stone and doing it right.

All you have to do is tell those people that you had credibility issues with the structural engineering calculations that were offered.

That'll sure shut 'em up.
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