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Old 10-01-2011, 10:22 PM   #1
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


Hi all,
THis is my first time posting. I'm a first time homeowner, and I've heard this site is a great reference tool.

I'm planning on tiling our powder room with 12x12 travertine, it's 3x6 foot room, so it's very small. There is linoleum presently on the floor. The subfloor is wood, not sure how thick, but the basement is below the powder room. I've heard mixed advice saying either to rip it up, or lay the tile directly on top of it, or lay cement board first held down with thinset and screws.

There is a slight unlevel section of the room, maybe 1/8 of an inch, where there is presently a pedestal sink, which will be replaced by a vanity, which will pretty much cover where anyone will be stepping.

If I apply thinset or if I end up laying the cement board, will it take care of that slight imperfection?

Thanks!

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Old 10-02-2011, 02:35 AM   #2
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


Concrete board will not fix any imperfections. It may increase the problem.
travertine is a great choice but is quite thick. You will have problems with the transition between floors.
My advice is to tear out all that is there now and start again.
Self leveling grout is the only way to level problem areas, but you must use the appropriate primer on the plywood subflooror it will not adhere properly.
for a small problem like that I would use a nylon or plastic mesh stapled to the floor and the lay the tiles on that. If you are not experienced , I would suggest laying a screed coat of thinset and let it dry. You can then lay the tile.White thinset only.
Make sure you use a good quality sealer on the stone before you grout and again after Hope this helps

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Old 10-02-2011, 06:47 AM   #3
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


Howdy---

The best method is to remove everything down to the original subfloor---Check the span and size for your floor joists before you start---some floor systems are not strong enough for tile--and few are strong enough for natural stone.

One of us will walk you through that.

Next step is to see if your subfloor is good for tile---3/4" exposure 1 (exterior) is minimum--
After that a tile backer (1/4" Durrock for example) set into a bed of fresh thinset and nailed or screwed.

Then self leveling compound if the floor is out of wack.

Last---tile set into modified thinset---
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:15 PM   #4
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


I don't see any reason to mess with removing the laminated flooring because it's wood and you have to put durrock. I always put 1/2 to be safe. The only reason to worry about the floor not handling the weight is if you doing a large area over a great span and this size bathroom I wouldn't worry about it. I always screw my durrock down and ensure to sink the heads.

Good luck

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Old 10-02-2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiveash View Post
I don't see any reason to mess with removing the laminated flooring because it's wood and you have to put durrock. I always put 1/2 to be safe. The only reason to worry about the floor not handling the weight is if you doing a large area over a great span and this size bathroom I wouldn't worry about it. I always screw my durrock down and ensure to sink the heads.

Good luck

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Fiveash---there is so much wrong with this statement---

Almost every thing---

First --the Sheet goods are attached to 1/4" Luan --a very unstable product that adds no measurable strength to the floor system.

Deflection is deflection---doesn't mater how small the floor is--if it moves the tile will break.

Tile requires 360 minimum deflection--natural stone 720---

If the floor is designed to minimum code it might be O.K. for tile but few floors are strong enough for stone.

Backer boards sole purpose is to provide an ideal bonding surface for the tile---it add no measurable strength to the floor system---backer must be set in a bed of thinset and screwed or nailed

There is no benefit to using 1/2" Backer unless extra height is needed to match an adjoining floor.
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:06 PM   #6
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


gtothek,

I apologize for some of the information you have been given in the above posts. Most of it is so far off it's no wonder you are confused.

Here's the deal.
Stone tile requires a stiffer subfloor than ceramic. The subfloor is required to be twice as stiff.

Stone tile also requires two layers of subfloor.

In addition to the subfloor you should also use cement board for the reasons stated above.

You should NEVER install any tile over a vinyl floor and its underlying components.
You CAN NOT install tile over any laminate flooring, I have no idea where that came from anyway since no one has mentioned laminate.

The minor irregularity you have will likely go away with the addition of the second layer of plywood and the cement board. If it doesn't it will be rendered small enough to repair with thinset.

Your main issue is going to be the thickness of the new floor meeting the adjacent floor covering. Transitions can be used to soften that variance.

Quote:
B.D.R.: "I would use a nylon or plastic mesh stapled to the floor and the lay the tiles on that. If you are not experienced , I would suggest laying a screed coat of thinset and let it dry. You can then lay the tile.White thinset only."
The above information is the worst of all, please erase that nonsense from your memory banks.

Self Levelling Compound can be used with a plastic mesh but in this case isn't the answer.

Using plastic mesh (or any mesh) with thinset has been outlawed for years and years and when tested has proven to fail every time. This has been investigated by The Tile Council of North America more than once and has been found to be the worst method that exists.

If you decide to move ahead we can get you through it without any problems.
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Old 10-02-2011, 04:12 PM   #7
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


This is one of those threads that contains bad advice as Mike and Bud already explained. It appears the advice came from a couple of handymen who may do all type of repair work, but are not real experts in tile installations.

So, keep reading and double check your answers before the average DIY'er believes all that is written. People really do trust us to give good advice.

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Old 10-03-2011, 11:21 AM   #8
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


Thanks Bud...it seems your info is the best.

How do I know how thick the subfloor is?

My plan is to remove the linoleum down to the plywood subfloor. I don't know how to check how thick that floor is.

Then I was going to install 1/4' cement backer with thinset and screws (non-drywall ones, I know).

Then install the travertine.

One of the questions you beat me to in asking is the transition. With the backer and tile, it's raising the floor level 5/8" (tile is 3/8, backer is 1/4)

The transition from the bathroom to hall is tile to carpet. I was thinking of just having a carpet guy just tuck the carpet up to the tile. What do you recommend?
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:31 AM   #9
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


I have no idea what your joist spacing is unless I've overlooked it. The problem with using travertine is going to be deflection-between-the-joists without adding more plywood. You proceed at your own peril if you don't beef it up some.

The cement board offers no structural value what-so-ever.

If there is a floor vent you can determine subfloor thickness from looking in there and poking around a little.

The transition is somewhat problematic but you could have a carpet installer "ramp" the carpet slightly to alleviate some of the variance. A marble saddle could also be used at the transition. That would be a legitimate means of creating a "step-over" situation and still look good.
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:26 PM   #10
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


There is no vent in my bathroom, but there is one in the next room, can I check that?

What is correct spacing for floor joists? Is it 16" on center? I will go into my basement and measure the joists where the bathroom is tonight.

What is deflection? What is the needed subfloor thickness to lay tile on? And what material? Just plywood or something more specific?

Also, if it isn't thick enough, what could happen? The floor would collapse? You're making me nervous
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:37 PM   #11
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


It is safe to assume the same subfloor thickness exists throughout the house. So yes, you can check it in another room.

No one has said anything about your floor collapsing. Where did you get that idea?

Floor joists spaced 16" on center is one standard but so is 19.2" and so is 24", and there are other spacings also.

The minimum subfloor thickness for stone tile would be around 1-1/4", that's why a second layer of plywood is required.

Deflection is the up and down movement of the floor plane.

Quote:
Also, if it isn't thick enough, what could happen?
Grout would crumble, tile would crumble and crack.

Quote:
You're making me nervous
Now you are joking - correct?
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:48 PM   #12
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


Ok crack or crumbled tile I could deal with, phew! I thought the weight of the tile and insufficient subfloor could lead to the floor collapsing. See I told you I'm a newbie

I will check tonight on the joist spacing.

Where can I buy a marble transition? Lowe's or HD? And does it come in standard sizes?

Thanks for all your help so far!
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:53 PM   #13
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


Quote:
Where can I buy a marble transition? Lowe's or HD? And does it come in standard sizes?
HD sells them and they come in two widths but also only about two colors. The length would have to be trimmed to fit your installation.
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:22 PM   #14
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


If you can see the joists from the basement you can read the bottom of the plywood to see how thick it is. Otherwise drill a small hole some place.

You definitely need another sheet of underlayment, probably 1/2" is OK. Then the backer board or Ditra.

If you need a marble threshold I recommend a real tile shop or a marble/granite fabricator in your area. The big boxes are very limited and don't even carry them in the correct width. A standard wall is 4.5", they only carry 4.0", around here anyway.

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Old 10-03-2011, 08:33 PM   #15
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Can thinset cover slight imperfections in a floor?


THanks Jazman, I assume they will cut it for me to size?

And would I use thinset to put the transition down as well? Would I lay it over the tile, or leave space between the tile and carpet?

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