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Old 03-23-2015, 02:26 AM   #1
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Sub-Floor for Marble Floor


Replacing existing 12x12 porcelain tiles with 12x12 marble. Was expecting to use cement board under the marble but after ripping off the old tile, I discovered that the tile had been layed on top of an old brick tiled floor. Now this is an old San Francisco building. And if I rip out the brick floor, it's probably going to be an asbestos nightmare and who knows what is even underneath there. The old tile I ripped out had never cracked or never had issues, so I'm guessing that brick floor is a pretty solid, flat and stable floor. Just wondering if it's possible for me to lay the marble with thin set on this brick floor from the 1920s that was under my tile. Since this is a bathroom floor project where there is water from tub/shower and moisture, what steps are recommended for waterproofing? Was thinking of a membrane but I'm guessing it would move a bit if it was between the brick floor and marble.

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Old 03-23-2015, 06:09 AM   #2
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Sub-Floor for Marble Floor


I'll wait for Jazmann to put in the final word---but,in my experience,the 1920s bathroom was usually a thick mud bed--and is plenty stable enough to simply tile over the top----use a modified thinset----

Waterproofing the old tile is not really needed----but could be done easily with Schluter Ditra--if you wish.

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Old 03-24-2015, 12:07 PM   #3
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Sub-Floor for Marble Floor


I pretty much agree with Mike, but I don't know what this old brick is or how flat it is. Is the floor over a suspended wooden subfloor system or on a slab? It could be over a wood subfloor but with a mortar bed too. Marble tiles required a stiffer floor than the porcelain you remove depending on how it's built. Is it polished marble or rustic? More details please.

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Old 03-24-2015, 12:55 PM   #4
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Sub-Floor for Marble Floor


The floor is flat except for the remnants of only a bit of thinset from the tile that I removed, but I'll be removing that shortly. Really no way for me to tell what's underneath without cracking the brick and looking under it. The marble tile is polished marble.
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Really no way for me to tell what's underneath
Sure you can. Is this part of the house on a slab, or is there a crawl space or basement under it? How does this floor transition to the adjacent rooms? You should be able to figure out what's under it and figure out how it's installed, (with a little help).

Most brick floors that I see are not flat which might cause a problem with polished marble tiles set close together.

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Old 03-24-2015, 05:13 PM   #6
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Sub-Floor for Marble Floor


This is a multi-unit building and on the second floor. So there is a unit below me. It's a bathroom so there is only one transition to another room (the hallway). The hallway has wood flooring but even at the transition, can't see what's underneath. The building was built in 1910 and I suspect this red clay tiled floor is original.

Attaching a close-up picture of the floor. Looks to be red clay tile. You can see the grout lines but there isn't any grout. Those grout lines aren't deep and digging into those lines with a utility knife leads me to believe that they laid it in a concrete bed.

The floor is level except for those spacings between the tile.

What would you recommend? Ripping up that tile really isn't an option. Let me know if it's okay to put the marble over that or if there is another layer of underlayment you think is best to go on first.
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:26 PM   #7
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I'll bet money that you will be fine ,tiling over that---those are not brick--they look like unglazed tiles----fairly popular many years back----

If you try to remove those tiles,you will disturb the mud bed----that might be a mess---

It's a small bathroom---I'd take a chance,based on the little bit of info you have provided----
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:52 PM   #8
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What I'm trying to figure out is how the building is built, is the floor 4-6-8" of solid concrete or is it wood with an inch or two of deck mud over the wood? Sorry, but that should be very simple to figure out, or you could ask the building maintenance supervisor maybe? How does the floor feel to you? Does it feel like the sidewalk outside or softer like a friend's bathroom floor in their upstairs house?

I'm not so sure that's the original tile from 1910, but you may be right. If the tiles are flat, you should be able to go over them as long as we get the other issue figured out to be sure there's no deflection or flex. I'm I seeing sealer or some gloss on them? Got another pic from a little further back? Was there ever any grout, any signs some joints are filled? Are all the tiles solid? Have you checked by the sound they make when tapped?

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