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Old 11-30-2012, 07:48 PM   #1
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Looking for a quick answer.. I'm tiling my kitchen (approx 70 sq ft) with 12X24 porcelain tile over plywood. The person at the tile shop recommended i lay a metal mesh over the plywood to get a better adhesion to the tile. My question is pretty straight forward. is it necessary to use a metal mesh or is it sufficient to tile directly on the plywood? If yes to the mesh, what nails/ screws should I use? This is my first tiling job so any advise or recommendations is appreciated.

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Old 11-30-2012, 08:26 PM   #2
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Do not tile directly over plywood. Use 1/4" CBU set in thinset or Ditra.

Look through the old threads in this forum. There are a lot of them addressing this. You will probably find answers to questions you didn't know you had. If this area hasn't been tiled before, or if it has, but has had problems with cracking etc., pay attention to threads on deflection.

Anything written by Jazman or Bud is good advice.

FWIW, 12" x 24" is a tough size to start with. If your floor is not perfectly flat you will end up with lippage (where the edge of one tile sits higher than the next). If you insist on starting with this size, look into a leveling system to keep your edges even. Lash makes one, I think Tuscan makes another. There are one or two others out there.


Last edited by Blondesense; 11-30-2012 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:04 PM   #3
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The tile store is giving you some very bad advice---mesh hasn't been used for many years---

1/4" cement backer board set into a bed of fresh thinset then nailed with roofing nails or rock screws is a safe method---then set the tiles into modified thinset---

Blondsense mentioned 'deflection' that is the amount that a floor structure flexes under a load----

If you can tell us about your floor we can run a check on the deflection----
size of the joists 2x??
grade of the lumber if you can find a stamp
Unsupported length---foundation to center beam
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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Floor previously had linolium flooring. Tiles are already purchased so 12x24 it is. The floor is pretty flat and solid. For the slightly higher spots, i thought the thin set would help level it. I thought this would be a straight forward job- doesnt same that way now.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:12 PM   #5
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Would you recommend removing the plywood or set the backerboard onto the plywood? I thought about adding the backerboard but the plywood seemed sufficient according to some opnions. Unfortunately, i dont kno the answers about the joists etc. its a first floor single level condo built in the 60s- not sure if that tells you anything how the joists.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:54 PM   #6
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This is the typical layers of a floor with sheet vinyl----
2x 10 floor joists----
3/4" plywood sub floor----
1/4" plywood underlayment--(not always used by low end builders)
then the sheet vinyl---

To set tile the sheet vinyl and 1/4" underlayment needs to be removed---that layer may move and can not be under tile--

The strength of the subfloor needs to be checked---some builders use less than 3/4" plywood or use OSB (oriented strand board)

If that sub floor is less than 3/4" or OSB--add another layer of 1/2" BC grade plywood---

That will be enough sub floor for tile----

Wood expands and contracts with the seasons and is not the ideal surface to stick tile to----
You need a tile backer for a good bond---the backer adds no strength to the floor--just provides the ideal bonding surface--

I use 1/4" Durrock or Wonder board---I do not like Hardibacker---this is set into thinset just like a huge tile--then nailed with roofing nails or Durrock screws---

After the backer is down---check for flat---use a 10 foot straight edge and mark low spots---should not be more than 1/8" in ten foot---if it's to much---use self leveling compound to bring up the low areas.

Those big tiles need help as the amount of lippage is extreme with tiles of that size-----seriously consider using Lash leveling clips----you will be glad you did.

1/2" trowel is needed and I also recommend back buttering the tiles----

Rent or buy a bridge saw---and your good to go----(after you check out the floor joists)
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:32 PM   #7
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If it helps, my Hungarian neighbor is old school and uses metal lath for large floors and DITRA for others. He prefers using DITRA, but it is costly.

Me? I don't give a rip about cost. I want to do these chores once. I use DITRA.

One point of caution: always use eye protection when cutting tile! I picked up a flying ceramic sliver in my finger cutting tile. Had that been my eye, digging it out would have been problematic. You may want hearing protection, too, since cutting tile can be loud.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:05 PM   #8
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Thanks. I decided to remove the plywood and use cement board. Seems to be the best solution. Not a huge deal. Just adds some work but i rather do it right the first time!
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:48 PM   #9
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Putting tile over plywood won't be recommended by many here, but it will work. Just be sure to use a quality polymer modified thinset.

If taking up linoleum, you might want to check for asbestos first if you have an older home.

Tile can also be put down over linoleum, if it's not padded (spongy) and if it's scarified first. That also will work, but also won't be recommended here.

I would use Ditra if I were you. Easier, lighter and faster than cement board, and provides that decoupling effect which is exactly what you want over plywood. It comes in 1/8" and 5/16" heights depending on how much buildup you want underneath it.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:52 PM   #10
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I would considered ditra but its too pricey.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:45 PM   #11
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I sure hope when you said you removed the plywood and then layed tile board you did not mean that's all there is now is the tile board.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esco5710 View Post
I would considered ditra but its too pricey.
Really? You should be able to get it for $1.50/sf (I pay about $1/sf). Have you added the cost of screws to your cement board?

Cement board at 3 x 5 feet costs about $10. The screws are about 10 cents each and you need about 40 per board. So your total cost for 15 sf is $14, or about $1/sf. Hmm, same as I pay for Ditra, and a little less than you pay, but you don't need to spend time screwing, or carrying heavy cement board, or cutting difficult cement board. (Both require thinset underneath.)
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:53 PM   #13
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No, theres still the original subfloor.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jeffnc

Really? You should be able to get it for $1.50/sf (I pay about $1/sf). Have you added the cost of screws to your cement board?

Cement board at 3 x 5 feet costs about $10. The screws are about 10 cents each and you need about 40 per board. So your total cost for 15 sf is $14, or about $1/sf. Hmm, same as I pay for Ditra, and a little less than you pay, but you don't need to spend time screwing, or carrying heavy cement board, or cutting difficult cement board. (Both require thinset underneath.)
I estimated 4 boards @$9 each. I still calculate he cost for screws yet. I need about 70sq ft. HD is charging about $90 for 54sq ft. And they only sell them by the bundle which would be way more than what i need.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by esco5710 View Post
I estimated 4 boards @$9 each. I still calculate he cost for screws yet. I need about 70sq ft. HD is charging about $90 for 54sq ft. And they only sell them by the bundle which would be way more than what i need.
I guess you mean 2 bundles would be way more than you need? I'd find a local tile store that sells Ditra by the linear foot. In other words, Ditra comes in a roll that's 1 meter wide, so 1 linear foot is about 3 sf.

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