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Terabitdan 06-26-2013 11:57 PM

New entryway tile trying to Match existing hardwood flooring height
I'm seeking advice on how to tile an entryway without going above the 3/4" hardwood flooring it buts against. The entryway was tiled in a mud bed since the 1950s when the house was built with no cracks or breakage until my sledge hit it :).

The existing subfloor does not meet current recommendations so I'm wondering if installing 3/4" plywood below the existing subfloor, glued and screwed, with blocking added between the joists will provide a solid base for tile. We are planning on 12x12 porcelain tiles, the area is 4' x 4' 6".

2x10 floor joists 16" OC with a 12' 4" span. Multiple joists are sistered 2x10 below walls above. I don't know the species, but they are labeled floor joist 156 if that helps. The subfloor is 1x6 slats laid diagonally.

My thought is to first screw the subfloor to the joists, then reinforce with 3/4" plywood glued and screwed to the underside, add 2x8 blocking installed vertically and fastened to the joists. Finally, add underlayment, thinset, Ditra, thinset and porcelain tiles. If all goes according to plan I'll end up with about 3/4" total thickness matching the hardwood flooring.

Will this work? Is it a crazy idea?



JazMan 06-27-2013 10:18 AM


The numbers don't add up. Tile and Ditra will be just over 1/2", but you need ply since the subfloor are planks. What were you planning to use as an underlayment?

Why not remove the planks, install blocking and new 3/4" subfloor as your base? Then find Ditra XL and then the tiles. Ditra XL is 5/16" and will get you to 3/4" with most tiles. Alternatively you could apply two layers of regular Ditra and be almost perfect.


Terabitdan 06-27-2013 11:50 AM


Since adding 3/4" plywood under the floors gets the rigidity needed, I thought a 5 mm plywood glued down would provide a smooth base for Ditra.

I could rip up the subfloor, it might even be less work even after having to add joists to support the joints. I thought the 2nd layer of 3/4" plywood would be a better platform for the tile.

Thanks for your advice,

JazMan 06-27-2013 02:33 PM

Nothing wrong with adding 3/4" ply underneath, you can do it in addition in any case. But, if you keep those planks, you need minimum half inch ply, and that's if the planks are in perfect condition. Actually, 5/8" would be my recommendation.

You can not use 5mm or 1/4" anything in the sandwich of a tile installation. 3/8" is the recommended min. and that's if you're going over other ply in good shape. Your planks need min. 1/2" as already mentioned if they're flat, thicker or replaced if cupped or bowed.


Terabitdan 06-27-2013 08:54 PM

Thanks Jazz... It looks like the best answer is to rip it out.


Terabitdan 07-19-2013 11:06 PM

Ok, so i went and decided that marble looks better than the porcelain, so here is what we have done. Removed the 1x6 slats, then used the calculator on John Bridge site to determine doubled 2x10 joists would have a deflection rating of over 1000. So we doubled the joists for 8 to 10 ft under the entryway. They were jacked level with existing joists and screwed together with 3" screws. Then added a layer of 3/4" plywood between the joists supported by 2x4s screwed into the joists, glued and screwed where it overlaps the existing subfloor. We did not screw the plywood into the stringers to insure solid contact with the subfloor. We glued and screwed the plywood layers together and then glued and screwed the subfloor to the joists.

The floor is very solid, we've jumped with a couple 200 lb men with no movement felt. The question is, should we add blocking between the joists to further support the subfloor?

The tiles are 12x12 and we will be using Ditra.

Thanks for your advise,


JazMan 07-20-2013 10:10 PM


That sounds like a very good floor structure. So yes, go ahead and add blocking. You're done more than most people would take the time and effort. So sure, why stop now?


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