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Old 08-08-2014, 12:21 PM   #1
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Is installing ceramic plank tile flooring really as easy as this video makes it look?


I'm trying to decide between laminate flooring, since I could install it myself, or wood-look ceramic tile, which until now I believed I'd have to have someone else install. I was convinced the tile was too expensive, but it looks like I can get it for less than $2.50/sq ft. I'm installing the same flooring throughout the condo, including the kitchen, excluding the bathroom (different tile).

My family and I are pretty handy, I can't remember the last time my father hired a professional to do anything related to home or automotive. This video makes me think that as long as we studied what we're doing, it wouldn't be too difficult to lay the flooring ourselves and achieve professional results. Is it really as simple as this video makes it look? I know the devil is always in the details, what commonly sets a DIY job apart from a professional job? I'd be going with 1/16 grout, as I want the floors to look like hardwood.


Last edited by Joe Link; 08-08-2014 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:03 PM   #2
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Check with your HOA to see what's allowed?
I hear condo and I think built just as cheap and fast as possible.
Tile floors need totally nonmoving floors.
That style flooring also needs a perfectly flat floor.
Going to have to figure out what the size and spacing is of the floor joist.
What's there now for a subfloor.
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:09 PM   #3
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Last edited by joecaption; 08-08-2014 at 03:11 PM. Reason: double post
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Link View Post
I'm trying to decide between laminate flooring, since I could install it myself, or wood-look ceramic tile, which until now I believed I'd have to have someone else install. I was convinced the tile was too expensive, but it looks like I can get it for less than $2.50/sq ft. I'm installing the same flooring throughout the condo, including the kitchen, excluding the bathroom (different tile).

My family and I are pretty handy, I can't remember the last time my father hired a professional to do anything related to home or automotive. This video makes me think that as long as we studied what we're doing, it wouldn't be too difficult to lay the flooring ourselves and achieve professional results. Is it really as simple as this video makes it look? I know the devil is always in the details, what commonly sets a DIY job apart from a professional job? I'd be going with 1/16 grout, as I want the floors to look like hardwood.

There is a lot more to installing any ceramic tile than what you appear to realize. Several questions about your structure must be answered first. Don't move too fast at this point.

First question is: Will your HOA allow ceramic tile throughout? Ceramic tile is noisy to neighbors and not all condos allow it throughout the living quarters.
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Old 08-08-2014, 04:58 PM   #5
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Ceramic tiling easy? Now that's a good one.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
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There is a lot more to installing any ceramic tile than what you appear to realize. Several questions about your structure must be answered first. Don't move too fast at this point.

First question is: Will your HOA allow ceramic tile throughout? Ceramic tile is noisy to neighbors and not all condos allow it throughout the living quarters.
Thank you for the heads up and the recommendation to slow down. The HOA will allow it, so long as there is some sort of effort to mitigate the noise (same as hardwood). What are my options? Cork?

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Ceramic tiling easy? Now that's a good one.
This is exactly what I thought before watching that video. Maybe that guy makes it look too easy
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:20 PM   #7
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What is your subfloor? Wood or concrete? If concrete you'll need to shave down high spots and level the lows. Wood though needs more prep. You'll need to put down another layer of plywood, and then use some sort of decoupling substrate. Quarter inch hardi board or ditra. Ditra is nice, but runs about $1 Sq ft. I've never tiled anything bigger than about 10' x10', but read that you also should break up large rooms or transitions as well. Like an expansion joint in concrete.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:45 PM   #8
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Ditra for a $1 a ft. NO WAY! Unless you're a real tile contractor and buy a lot of it. The cheapest retail is $1.55 unless you're friends with someone.

Sorry Joe but, I don't understand how you can compare/be considering laminate with a ceramic tile in the same area. Like warm water to a nice wine.

I didn't watch that entire video, but it's just a small room. Back to the video.

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I'd be going with 1/16 grout, as I want the floors to look like hardwood.
The wood look porcelain tiles are not gonna fool anyone to make them think it's wood. 1/16" grout? NO, don't even think about that. Where did you see these tiles? Do you know the brand? The good stuff is not gonna be $2.50.

You can do this yourself I'm sure. You'll need to do a lot of research and ask lots of questions. We can help for sure.

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Old 08-09-2014, 09:37 AM   #9
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What is your subfloor? Wood or concrete? If concrete you'll need to shave down high spots and level the lows. Wood though needs more prep. You'll need to put down another layer of plywood, and then use some sort of decoupling substrate. Quarter inch hardi board or ditra. Ditra is nice, but runs about $1 Sq ft. I've never tiled anything bigger than about 10' x10', but read that you also should break up large rooms or transitions as well. Like an expansion joint in concrete.
I believe it's particle board over plywood, here's a photo.



Regarding breaking it up, here's a pic of the room. I've seen photos of much larger rooms that weren't broken up, but that doesn't really mean it's a good idea



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Ditra for a $1 a ft. NO WAY! Unless you're a real tile contractor and buy a lot of it. The cheapest retail is $1.55 unless you're friends with someone.

Sorry Joe but, I don't understand how you can compare/be considering laminate with a ceramic tile in the same area. Like warm water to a nice wine.

I didn't watch that entire video, but it's just a small room. Back to the video.

The wood look porcelain tiles are not gonna fool anyone to make them think it's wood. 1/16" grout? NO, don't even think about that. Where did you see these tiles? Do you know the brand? The good stuff is not gonna be $2.50.

You can do this yourself I'm sure. You'll need to do a lot of research and ask lots of questions. We can help for sure.

Jaz
Heh, I understand the comparison, Hyundai or Mercedes. If I can find a way to pull off tile for under $4k-$5k, I think it's worth the investment, and I'll do it. If I can't, I think the best option would be laminate, since it sounds like just about any wood product has the potential to be damaged by water, and it's the lowest cost option.

I'm not trying to fool anyone into thinking the laminate or the tile is real wood, I just want the look. Forgive my ignorant questions, why not 1/16" grout? This is the look I'm going for (this is ceramic tile).



I appreciate the vote of confidence. I'm the type of person who researches even the smallest DIY tasks extensively, and I have absolutely no problem asking questions or taking advice
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:01 PM   #10
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Don't think you would want to put ceramic on particle board.
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:16 PM   #11
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All that particle would need to be removed and replaced with subfloor rated plywood and a layer of tile board set in thin set if you want tile.
Want a real wood looking floor, then consider cork underlayment and engineered flooring.
Looks like real wood because it is.
It can be refinished.
Not going to be destroyed with one water event like laminate will.
Not going to look like plastic, and it's going be quieter.
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Old 08-09-2014, 02:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Don't think you would want to put ceramic on particle board.
Yeah I'll definitely need to replace the subfloor.

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All that particle would need to be removed and replaced with subfloor rated plywood and a layer of tile board set in thin set if you want tile.
Want a real wood looking floor, then consider cork underlayment and engineered flooring.
Looks like real wood because it is.
It can be refinished.
Not going to be destroyed with one water event like laminate will.
Not going to look like plastic, and it's going be quieter.
So you think engineered hardwood would be a better option? I hadn't considered it. Any chance of coming in under $6/sq ft installed?
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