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Old 10-14-2013, 10:26 AM   #1
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Bathroom tile floor from scratch


Hi, I'm adding a brand new 1/2 bath to the 2nd floor of my house. It's an old house so the existing floorboards are not flat and I'm planning on ripping them up and adding a brand new bathroom floor on top of the ceiling joists. This is all from scratch so I can do anything I want with the floor. I want to lay tiles on the floor.

What's the best/easiest approach for building up a floor to tile on?

I'm a semi-competent DIY-er but will probably bring in a professional for the tiling.

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Old 10-14-2013, 12:11 PM   #2
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Bathroom tile floor from scratch


#1 What size and free spans are the floor joist?

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Old 10-14-2013, 01:58 PM   #3
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new 1/2 bath to the 2nd floor of my house... old house
What's the best/easiest...
Setting aside the appeal of a really well done mud job...
the best/easiest is going to be plywood underlay and vinyl sheet.

If this were the main or a full on master bath remodel...
I might suggest otherwise but for a ancillary 1/2BA? Go Vinyl.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:52 PM   #4
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Bathroom tile floor from scratch


The floor joists are 2 X 6 and spaced about 15 inches apart. the span is about 12 feet. The 1/2 bathroom itself will be very small. Only about 4.5 ft x 4.5 ft of tiled area total.

So for the floor: 1 inch plywood with vinyl sheet on top?
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:12 PM   #5
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So for the floor: plywood with vinyl sheet on top?
Pretty much. 3/4 is most common; plus a smooth lauan.
The concern is with getting it flat/even; especially at the threshold.
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:21 PM   #6
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Bathroom tile floor from scratch


2x6s are pretty bendy for a 12 foot span.

I think you're confused about the vinyl. TarheelTerp was telling you to forget tile and go with vinyl. It's personal preference obviously, but I hate vinyl. Tile is a big upgrade visually, for not that much money.

Personally I would use 3/4" plywood, then 1/2" plywood for a sturdy 1 1/4" subfloor. Then Ditra, then tile.
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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Bathroom tile floor from scratch


6" joist is way under sized for any type of flooring, and out of the question for tile unless you sistered more joist . A modern home would be more like 2 X 10's.
Lauan has not been an approve underlayment for any form of flooring for many years.
To thin for tile and causes glue releases and color bleed (staining) through with linoleum.
Sheet goods would need 1/4 underlayment rated plywood.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:40 PM   #8
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I was planning on laying sister joists in order to get a level floor, but it would double as extra floor support. And yes I plan to lay real ceramic or porcelain tiles.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:11 PM   #9
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Bathroom tile floor from scratch


What is under the area?

Is there anything to prevent you from adding additional floor joists so that your spacing is 8" oc?

Once you have a suitably framed floor, then I would recommend 3/4" osb or plywood sheathing, tongue & groove, with 1/2" tilebacker on top of that.
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Old 10-15-2013, 12:11 AM   #10
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"Tilebacker" (Durock etc.) really does nothing structural for a floor. You're much better off with 3/4", then 1/2", then Ditra. Ditra is roughly the cost of Durock, once you figure all the fasteners for it, and it's way easier and faster.
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Old 10-15-2013, 01:47 PM   #11
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@cleveman
there's two different A/C supply/return ducts running between at least 2 sections of floor joists so I can't really put anything between those. In the other ones I have to run a 3 inch waste line from the toilet and possibly a waste line from the sink in another one. So there's limited options for putting in extra joists given all the A/C and plumbing.
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:50 PM   #12
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Bathroom tile floor from scratch


You are the man on the ground, so you'll have to beef up the floor to the best of your ability.

I'd have to check the charts, but I don't think you can span over 8' with 2x6 floor joists 16" oc, so you may want to get them 8" oc to span the 12'. I think 12" oc will span 12', but you are not new construction. Not by any means.

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