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Old 08-21-2015, 08:34 AM   #1
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Multi-Purpose sub floor


I would like to install a sub flooring in my kitchen and bathrooms that will work for linoleum temporarily until I can get more funds to do a tile or laminate floating floor. I think tile may not be too much more price-wise but it will take me more time to install and I am running low on that for now. I will have carpet installed and want the thresholds to line up so there won't be too much of a change in height.

I was thinking 3/8" ply used for linoleum would be too thin for tile. Would 1/2" cement backer be the only solid option? If so, is it advisable to install ($$$) a subfloor layer over my current 3/4" T&G OSB in the rooms that will have carpet just to build the level up?
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:10 PM   #2
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Why not install a loose-lay or perimeter glued sheet vinyl instead? Most roll goods are glued to new smooth underlayment grade ply which would later be removed in preparation for tiles. So the odds of keeping the same underlayment may not be possible.

If it's gonna be temporary you might be able to lay it over the subfloor then decide what to do when it's time. Re-doing the carpet in the threshold is very easy to change.

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Old 08-21-2015, 10:49 PM   #3
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Jaz, that may be what I meant by linoleum. Just the vinyl type product that comes in a roll that you normally have to have 1/4" plywood as a subfloor for it (mainly the nice even surface).

I definitely don't want to glue it down as it will come up later. Maybe perimeter as you said.

I think my OSB Subfloor is too rough to just install right over. It took on water since the roof sheathing was delayed and as a result I have some spots that flaked off around the fasteners. :/

Is it common now to just have 1/2 pad and carpet over the single layer sub-floor now days?
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Old 08-21-2015, 11:19 PM   #4
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¾" OSB subfloor is very common and works fine if it was installed correctly and not left open to the weather too long. Sounds like yours was not protected and may have been installed too tight. You may be able to fix it enough for loose lay vinyl, I can't tell you of course. If not, or to be safe, install an underlayment for the vinyl. The single ¾" t&g OSB is fine for carpeting or hardwood without any other wood type underlayment. A second layer of ply or OSB would of course make a better floor.

If you go with loose lay sheet vinyl, you should install ⅜" or thicker ply* which can stay as a base for laminate or as the substrate for a tile backer, and then the tiles. ¼" ply may be ok for laminate, but should be removed if you go the tile route.

Not to be picky but;
*The word linoleum is often used as a generic term for sheet/roll flooring. There is such a thing as linoleum and I'm, pretty sure you don't have it.
* When talking about suspended wood flooring systems; the word subfloor is the material directly above and attached to the joists. The 2nd layer of wood is an underlayment. ¼" ply is not structural and is installed as you said to provide a smooth base for vinyl. It's an underlayment, not subfloor.

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Old 08-21-2015, 11:54 PM   #5
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Okay thanks for the term clarification. I guess I felt awkward calling two layers sub-floor each time, underlayment slipped my dictionary.

So it sounds like I really just need to decide if it's going to be tile or floating floor in each room as the underlayment would differ too much (no economical universal option).

Do you have a favorite tile backing product?
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:27 AM   #6
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Ditra!! It's a premium product and it's only ⅛" installed.

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Old 08-22-2015, 05:41 PM   #7
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So is it common to have carpet with no underlayment and 1/2" underlayment + tile thickness transition between each other?
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Old 08-22-2015, 08:04 PM   #8
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What's the ½" underlayment on the tile side you're considering? How about the concrete board or membrane?

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Old 08-22-2015, 10:33 PM   #9
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the 1/2" would be cement board or plywood. My understanding is that is required to prevent cracking?
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Old 08-23-2015, 12:18 AM   #10
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We can better answer about the underlayment once you tell us exactly which way you're gonna go, but..........

A single layer of ¾" properly installed subfloor is enough as the base for ¼" concrete backer or membrane such as Ditra. You're free to install a second layer of ply or OSB if you want and of course it'll reduce the between the joists deflection.

Once again, ¼" CBU for floors, unless you wanna raise the floor for some reason. Don't forget the thinset under the CBU.

Plywood will stiffen the floor, concrete board will not stiffen the floor, just gives you a tile-friendly surface.

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Old 08-23-2015, 10:42 AM   #11
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So, I should actually install 1/4" ply for a more sturdi base? I think plywood is tile friendly in terms of flatness, the wood vs concrete in terms of absorbing tile mastic moisture/bonding is probably the difference you mean?

Last edited by CTSNicholas; 08-23-2015 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
So, I should actually install 1/4" ply for a more sturdi base?
Absolutely NOT. See #4, paragraph 2.

Don't even say the "M" word speaking about ceramic tiles.

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Old 08-23-2015, 11:41 AM   #13
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Got it. So 3/8" plywood is the best cost effective underlayment that would be multi-purpose it looks like. (Ditra isn't locally sold but a similar product is and it's cheaper to use plywood).
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:47 AM   #14
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⅜" nominal ext glue rated ply is the minimum, not the best if you go the tile route.

Which product is similar to Ditra? Is it the one available at Menards?

Quote:
Ditra isn't locally sold but a similar product is and it's cheaper to use plywood
I don't get the underlined part.

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Old 08-23-2015, 11:58 AM   #15
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Sorry reworded it without proofreading :P I meant the plywood seems cheaper than Ditra.

Yes, Menards has a similar product I forget the name of it, but they don't seem to have Ditra. They have quite a few different tile underlayment products. I am hesitant about them, though. Some are rolls and some are sheets.

I do have an additional concern, I would like to have heated tile in the bathrooms when I do tile them. I think that means I should definitely have a cement underlayment if I went that route, in terms of thermal mass, right?

Edit: I can purchase Ditra online and have it shipped to me.

Last edited by CTSNicholas; 08-23-2015 at 12:00 PM.
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