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Old 06-13-2014, 07:11 PM   #1
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I have a fairly small bathroom (approx 30sqft) that I plan to tile with 24x12 inch tiles...Through reading posts on this forum I have learned about SLC and seems like exactly what I need to do to my plywood subfloor to make it level. My question is about the application of an SLC... Is this stuff fairly user friendly? I have watched a couple videos where people have used a type of squeegee with little adjustable feet on it to set a certain height/depth of product, as well as another tool they called a skimmer. Are both of these tools needed for it to work properly?? If it is a "self Leveler" seems I could push and pull it around with a number of different tools/brooms... I appreciate any and all responses! I am months into this bathroom project and want it to last!
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:24 PM   #2
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I have a fairly small bathroom (approx 30sqft) that I plan to tile with 24x12 inch tiles...Through reading posts on this forum I have learned about SLC and seems like exactly what I need to do to my plywood subfloor to make it level. My question is about the application of an SLC... Is this stuff fairly user friendly? I have watched a couple videos where people have used a type of squeegee with little adjustable feet on it to set a certain height/depth of product, as well as another tool they called a skimmer. Are both of these tools needed for it to work properly?? If it is a "self Leveler" seems I could push and pull it around with a number of different tools/brooms... I appreciate any and all responses! I am months into this bathroom project and want it to last!
Your area is small enough that you wouldn't have any serious problems. The two tools you talk about wouldn't be necessary and would be more awkward than anything in an area that small. You can do just as well with a (hard) garden rake.

How thick do you think you need to pour the SLC and why?
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:43 PM   #3
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I had read that with tiles that large I could not afford for my floor to be unlevel at all... I am doing much of this for the first time and simply trying to take every precaution nesc. to make the job last and add to the equity of the house down the road. The room is long and thin and probably has 1/4" difference from one side to the other, (a bit of a guess). The other need I thought the SLC would fullfill is to raise the height of my finished floor so that my toilet flange will sit directly onto it for a optimal toilet install. (I have not removed the old flange and it looks in good condition) I would say about 1/4" is needed plus the thickness of my new tiles and ditra + mortar to hit the height of the underside of the toilet flange. The tiles I removed were 1" square sheets laid with a thick mortar bed and steel mesh... need to make up the difference in height somehow no?
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:00 PM   #4
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I had read that with tiles that large I could not afford for my floor to be unlevel at all... I am doing much of this for the first time and simply trying to take every precaution nesc. to make the job last and add to the equity of the house down the road. The room is long and thin and probably has 1/4" difference from one side to the other, (a bit of a guess). The other need I thought the SLC would fullfill is to raise the height of my finished floor so that my toilet flange will sit directly onto it for a optimal toilet install. (I have not removed the old flange and it looks in good condition) I would say about 1/4" is needed plus the thickness of my new tiles and ditra + mortar to hit the height of the underside of the toilet flange. The tiles I removed were 1" square sheets laid with a thick mortar bed and steel mesh... need to make up the difference in height somehow no?
Just my opinion...But, the tiles you have chosen are way too big for that application but that's up to you.

Your floor doesn't have to be level but it must be flat (plane) as plane as it can be for tiles that size.

Sounds as if the old floor was an old-fashion mud-set installation so I can only imagine how rough the surface must be. SLC is your best choice. When the time comes you MUST also use the compatible primer ahead of the SLC.

Can't imagine why you want to also use DITRA in this case but that also is up to you. You are aware...DITRA is available in two thicknesses if you are using it to re-elevate the floor. It comes in 1/8" and 5/16" thicknesses.

Anything that happens with your toilet flange can be dealt with later, it doesn't have to be perfect.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:20 PM   #5
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Really appreciate your responses, I have read many posts from you Bud.
1. Yes, I agree the tiles are way to big, actually the first plan was to cut all the tiles length wise to create long 6X24" tiles, since we couldnt find the exact size "we" (my wife) wanted. Once it was pointed out all the rough edges this would create, and looking into how to soften those edges seemed too much, we are left with these large, already purchased tiles.
2. Plane is exactly what I meant actually, terminology getting the best of me.
3. Yes when that tear out was all hauled away, the floor looked rough, it was actually planks running diagonally across the room. I have since put down 3/4" plywood over those planks and that is the surface I am dealing with now.
4. yes I am aware of the different thicknesses of the ditra and planned on making that call once the SLC was done and could see what I had left to deal with. However, the only reason Ditra is even in the game plan is because that is the only thing I have seen used, and have used myself in the past (helping on 2 dif kitchen floors). Is this not needed? in what cases shud Ditra be used?
5. I would have actually preferred to remove the old flange and install a new one myself (for some reason if I am doing a project I tend to redo EVERYTHING myself) but with little experience and knowledge couldn't seem to get the old one off and didn't want to crank on it too hard for fear of causing problems with the pipes below. Is there a trick to removing old flanges? it is from the original construction in the 50's or 60's.
6. wow, longest post to date.... thanks again.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Pocket7s View Post
Really appreciate your responses, I have read many posts from you Bud.
1. Yes, I agree the tiles are way to big, actually the first plan was to cut all the tiles length wise to create long 6X24" tiles, since we couldnt find the exact size "we" (my wife) wanted. Once it was pointed out all the rough edges this would create, and looking into how to soften those edges seemed too much, we are left with these large, already purchased tiles.
2. Plane is exactly what I meant actually, terminology getting the best of me.
3. Yes when that tear out was all hauled away, the floor looked rough, it was actually planks running diagonally across the room. I have since put down 3/4" plywood over those planks and that is the surface I am dealing with now.
4. yes I am aware of the different thicknesses of the ditra and planned on making that call once the SLC was done and could see what I had left to deal with. However, the only reason Ditra is even in the game plan is because that is the only thing I have seen used, and have used myself in the past (helping on 2 dif kitchen floors). Is this not needed? in what cases shud Ditra be used?
5. I would have actually preferred to remove the old flange and install a new one myself (for some reason if I am doing a project I tend to redo EVERYTHING myself) but with little experience and knowledge couldn't seem to get the old one off and didn't want to crank on it too hard for fear of causing problems with the pipes below. Is there a trick to removing old flanges? it is from the original construction in the 50's or 60's.
6. wow, longest post to date.... thanks again.
1. If you don't have a bridge saw the twenty-four inch tiles are going to be a hassle to cut on the long dimension. Most tiles that size have (fairly) cornered top edge. Meaning you could cut them long ways (rip them) and then soften the edges if you wanted to. The least expensive way to do that is to buy a "diamond" knife sharpening stone and rub the cut edges to match the factory edge.

2. A "plane" surface is what is needed. The floor doesn't necessarily have to be level. If the floor isn't "plane" you will have tile corners that will stand proud as a result of the uneven floor.

3. The plywood is going to be your savior, that was a smart move.

4. DITRA is a great product, I use it often. However I see no reason to spend the money on DITRA if you are using SLC. Any necessary elevation needs can be accomplished with the SLC. In a room that small and with fresh plywood and SLC, you wouldn't need the DITRA.

5. What is the existing toilet flange made of? If it is in good shape there is no reason to remove it unless the current elevation is just too drastically off base. If it is too high, that's an issue that needs to be addressed with the plumbing layout. If it is too low, that's not a big deal. There are inexpensive ways to deal with it.

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Old 06-13-2014, 09:37 PM   #7
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Is this stuff fairly user friendly?
No, not really.

The small area will probably make it easier. Probably the low spots are all to one side (Hint-- measure beforehand and with a marker write on the floor how low the bad spots are - or even better put a few screws into the floor with the top to the height you want to pour to). Bud could probably do that job in his sleep, but for rookies like me and you, the problem is that the stuff is not self leveling -- it is almost self leveling -- you need to give it some help to flow (hence to garden rake). Another hint for a rookie --- when it is still a little fresh -- don't recall exactly the timing, I think about an hour or two --- a belt sander with 30 grit can remove any high spots -- once it is fully hard, its hard as a rock and what you see is what you got.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:43 PM   #8
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:16 PM   #9
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Beltsander after a short while? That's a new one to me.

If you can apply at least 1/4" over the highest area, that means about 1/2" of SLC on the low side, there's no need for Ditra. But overkill is a good thing. On the other hand if only part of the floor gets SLC cuz you're feathering to the high side, Ditra is a good move.

Use cold water to mix and of course add the powder to the water. Have the water pre-measured and ready to go.

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Old 06-17-2014, 11:28 AM   #10
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I'm no pro, but I've used SLC a few times. And personally, I have found it to be very user friendly if you follow the directions. If you have "high spots" in your SLC you didn't do something right. The whole point of SLC is that it flows and finds its own level. You WILL get humps if you do multiple pours and don't prime correctly. (been there done that) You must must must seal the floor before you pour, or the floor will suck all the moisture out of the SLC and it will stop flowing, then you get humps in the floor that are a nightmare to fix.

If necessary, mix a couple buckets worth and pour them all together so you get the entire floor flooded at once. If you know there is a high spot, pour around it so that the SLC works its way up to the height you need and then goes over it.

I would get that old flange out of there. Why give yourself the headache of trying to work around it? Odds are, the floor will not be exact to the height you need. Take a hacksaw or reciprocating saw to it in a couple places and it will probably fall apart. But be sure to plug the drain with something, so you don't lose pieces into your stack.

Is it metal, plastic or wood? (Don't laugh, I had a wood flange in my last house. It was disgusting.)

And personally, I love large tiles in small spaces. I can't imagine trying to bevel the edges of big tiles to try to make them look like the factory edges. What a pain in the neck! We had to touch up a ton of two inch octagon tiles, and that was bad enough!
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Last edited by mnp13; 06-17-2014 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:03 PM   #11
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sorry for the delay.... My flange is not plastic or wood, I would guess cast iron? It is connected on the outside of a 3inch pipe. From what ive seen so far on various videos is that this pipe is likely "leaded" on? Is there any other way that an iron flange could be connected?? I also have read that if I have a 3" pipe, a flange that connects on the outside is the only option, is that correct? I am starting to think that I do not need to apply a SLC and my floor is plane and simply sloped. So if that is the case and I can skip that step, i am left with a flange that is too tall for what will be the height of my new finished floor. It sounds like a nightmare to remove an iron flange that is connected by lead and it still holding firm.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:16 AM   #12
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If the flange is high, you have two choices---raise the floor or lower the flange---

You have covered 'raising the floor'

lowering the flange usually means cutting the pipe and replacing the elbow with PVC---if you want the low down on that--start a thread in 'plumbing'--the difficulty varies---so post a picture of the piping-Mike--
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:09 PM   #13
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sorry for the delay.... My flange is not plastic or wood, I would guess cast iron? It is connected on the outside of a 3inch pipe. From what ive seen so far on various videos is that this pipe is likely "leaded" on? Is there any other way that an iron flange could be connected?? I also have read that if I have a 3" pipe, a flange that connects on the outside is the only option, is that correct? I am starting to think that I do not need to apply a SLC and my floor is plane and simply sloped. So if that is the case and I can skip that step, i am left with a flange that is too tall for what will be the height of my new finished floor. It sounds like a nightmare to remove an iron flange that is connected by lead and it still holding firm.
With tiles that large, use the SLC. It's not overly expensive, it's relatively easy to use and you'll have a perfect surface to put your tiles on. Just follow the directions, every brand has different minimum thicknesses.

And no, if you have a 3" pipe, an outside connection is NOT your only option. I have a 3" waste pipe in my bathroom, and the connection is a normal one. Go to a plumbing store (not HD or Lowes) they will likely have the flange you need. In my opinion, removing the old one will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. You can remove the flange by cutting through it in a few places and then getting the pieces off. Lead remains soft, that's why it was used. It will give, the pieces of the flange will come off and then you just scrap any left over off.
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:39 AM   #14
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here are a couple pictures of what Im dealing with...one is over top of the flange, and the other shows the height difference with the new tile underneath the edge of the flange... What seems like the best option to match my different heights?
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:57 AM   #15
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Best option? Remove the flange, put down your new floor and then reinstall a new one. You're going to make yourself nuts trying to get them to the right height.
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