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Old 07-29-2014, 11:53 AM  
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How can you know that? And how do you know it is better than an uncoupled system? After all, the true "old way" dates back to Roman times, and is an uncoupled system. The monolithic approach you mention is actually relatively modern, and strikes me as quite American.
Im not sure what an "uncoupled" system is Jeff, and I suppose that saying that the old way is "The Best" is somewhat presumptuous, but I have never seen a tile floor set in the old way fail. That probably has a lot to do with the load bearing capability, and the materials used to construct the sub floor, though.

Never mind, I now understand "Uncoupled" VS "Monolitic" I had a Brain Fart.

After reading what the OP has gone through I said to myself "What was wrong with the old way?"

You may be correct though, and I revise my statement to "One good way".

I will research your uncoupled system though, Thanks.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:59 AM  
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After reading what the OP has gone through I said to myself "What was wrong with the old way?"
Nothing except it's difficult to do well, messy and takes a ton of practice to get a perfect surface.
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:36 PM  
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I have never seen a tile floor set in the old way fail.
Well it's true, the "old way" is pretty sturdy. I know that because they're difficult to take apart when doing bathroom remodels. But it also takes a lot of time, and raises the level of the floor pretty high.
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:59 PM  
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Well it's true, the "old way" is pretty sturdy. I know that because they're difficult to take apart when doing bathroom remodels. But it also takes a lot of time, and raises the level of the floor pretty high.
Good Points. The demolition is no day at the beach. The walls were wet set too, back in the 50's. I used to see that damn pink tile in my sleep, doing remodeling. The tile guy I had was a real artist. He placed and leveled the damp mix, then used kneel boards to set the tile. He made it look easy, but then, that is true of any real pro.
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Old 07-29-2014, 03:19 PM  
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For those who want to read about it, it's explained here. Be sure to click on the Next button for page 2. The heavy duty approach jagans describes can work. The modern decoupling approach can also work. The problem arises when you try to shortcut the old heavy duty approach by cutting corners, but without using a modern uncoupling system.

http://www.contractflooringmagazine....hluter-systems

The gist of it is "It's based on the theory that ... an extremely strong bond between the tile and the substrate is needed, and the mortar bed was eventually perceived as unnecessary. It quickly became popular because the ease of installation...However, this created a problem in many cases, with tiles eventually cracking, splitting or becoming debonded from the substrate."

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Old 07-30-2014, 08:02 AM  
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Was wondering how you walked on 1/4" decking.

Your bath is 5' wide? Is there a wall under the floor? Try jumping in the middle of bath. If there is no bounce, then think about using the floor you have. Get min. 8' straight edge and 4' level. Check the floor for level and flat. String can give you a rough idea too. If level to what you can "live with", but just rough, scrape the surface rough bits, and skim smooth with thinset. You can set a guide on opposite walls and skim across the whole 5' as well (research youtube for paver setting and preparing the ground). 1/2" notch trowel can adjust to small problems with underlayment. Skim or back butter the tiles with 1/8 notch trowel.

Make sure the tiles will be at least even with door threshold.
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Old 07-31-2014, 02:23 PM  
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Thank you for all the advice! Stay tuned...


That's weird, I wrote a response yesterday but I think my browser crashed and it didn't save.

Thanks everyone for your advice! JeffNC, you were correct, the subfloor is diagonally laid, horizontal 2x6's not vertical. I must have been really brain dead when I wrote that because I've seen it with my own eyes too, although it's been a while. One thing I am guessing is good, is that our bathroom is positioned such that the "spine" of our house (a massive, maybe 4"x6" beam? running the length of the house) is right under where the toilet, sink, and bulk of the bathtub weight would lie, and the 2 sets of joists hat go to the front and back of the house respectively are doubled up/overlap about 1.5 - 2 feet (which is 30-40% of our 5 ft wide bathroom). So once we take everything off down to the subfloor, we should have sufficient support to build it back up again... is our guess.

Of course we're still trying to figure out the best way to take everything off, and we found out that one of old friends is married to a contractor who does a lot of tile. He may be able to take a look and advise next week, so we're hoping to get moving again. Generally though, everyone's advice has been the same: even though we have a good thick subfloor, put 1/2" plywood on top of it anyway, followed by some type of cement board, followed by tile. (To the master roofer, there is no way I'll tackle the old concrete/chicken wire way to lay tile since I couldn't even handle the new easier way! But thank you!)

We're a bit concerned that by the time we lay the tile, the bathroom floor will be an inch to 1.5 inches higher than the rest of the house, but c'est la vie. Our first problem is to take everything off.

I so appreciate all your comments. The worst thing about this has been to know I screwed up but not knowing how to deal with it and undo it. The next few weeks won't be fun, but seeing how everyone is giving us similar advice is really comforting. (Of course it shows how clueless I am but at this point I have no pride...)

So thanks again, and stay tuned... I guess it's very possible I can screw up even more.

<---That's some form of alcohol in the glass correct?
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:23 PM  
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Gal,
Allow me to save you some real stress and add ten years to your hearts life.

Don't even consider installing the tile "THE OLD WAY". That is ridiculous for a first timer to even consider. Bring your project's tile installation methods into the 21st Century and get on with it.
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Old 07-31-2014, 05:00 PM  
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We're a bit concerned that by the time we lay the tile, the bathroom floor will be an inch to 1.5 inches higher than the rest of the house, but c'est la vie. Our first problem is to take everything off.
Since you're taking it all off, and since you're concerned about height, I'd use Ditra instead of cement board. It's lighter, easier, and only 1/8" high. If you still need leveling, you can always do that first. I haven't wrestled with cement board in 4 years.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:16 PM  
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That's weird, I wrote a response yesterday but I think my browser crashed and it didn't save.

Thanks everyone for your advice! JeffNC, you were correct, the subfloor is diagonally laid, horizontal 2x6's not vertical. I must have been really brain dead when I wrote that because I've seen it with my own eyes too, although it's been a while. One thing I am guessing is good, is that our bathroom is positioned such that the "spine" of our house (a massive, maybe 4"x6" beam? running the length of the house) is right under where the toilet, sink, and bulk of the bathtub weight would lie, and the 2 sets of joists hat go to the front and back of the house respectively are doubled up/overlap about 1.5 - 2 feet (which is 30-40% of our 5 ft wide bathroom). So once we take everything off down to the subfloor, we should have sufficient support to build it back up again... is our guess.

Of course we're still trying to figure out the best way to take everything off, and we found out that one of old friends is married to a contractor who does a lot of tile. He may be able to take a look and advise next week, so we're hoping to get moving again. Generally though, everyone's advice has been the same: even though we have a good thick subfloor, put 1/2" plywood on top of it anyway, followed by some type of cement board, followed by tile. (To the master roofer, there is no way I'll tackle the old concrete/chicken wire way to lay tile since I couldn't even handle the new easier way! But thank you!)

We're a bit concerned that by the time we lay the tile, the bathroom floor will be an inch to 1.5 inches higher than the rest of the house, but c'est la vie. Our first problem is to take everything off.

I so appreciate all your comments. The worst thing about this has been to know I screwed up but not knowing how to deal with it and undo it. The next few weeks won't be fun, but seeing how everyone is giving us similar advice is really comforting. (Of course it shows how clueless I am but at this point I have no pride...)

So thanks again, and stay tuned... I guess it's very possible I can screw up even more.

<---That's some form of alcohol in the glass correct?

I dont blame you, I would not do it that way either, I was just saying what the best way was in case you wanted to hire a professional to do it. You can get good enough results with wonderboard or Duroc and thinset. As far as the subfloor goes, I would check that again. I dont know how old your home is but in the 40's through the 50's the typical subfloor was 1 x 6 tongue and groove fir. laid diagonally across the floor joists which were typically 16 inches on center. I hand nailed a few of these with my dad, felt like my arms would fall off when we were done. No pneumatic nail guns back then LOL. I think the 23/32 BC Plywood screwed down first is a good Idea if you have the allowance for it. I never heard of 2 x 6 lumber for sheathing, other than commercial roof decks on trusses about 6 foot apart, but I guess anything is possible. Some older places are built with whatever they had in the shed.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:48 PM  
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Actually 2"X6" is used for subflooring, especially in California. Typically when 2"X6" is used the floor structure joists are 48" on center, hence the need for 2X's to cross over them, and mostly on a diagonal. Tongue and grooved 2"X6" may be in use here also.

Roof decking made of 2"X6" also isn't uncommon, again mostly in California and Oregon. Open timber beam construction also sees a lot of the same material.

Anyway if this is the case then plywood must be used over the 2X6's, 3/8" would be the minimum and 1/2" would be better. After that DITRA could be used. This would bring the new elevation to somewhere around 7/8" to 1" including the tile.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:57 PM  
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I would use an electric chipping hammer and go after the filler. If you could rent an SDS chipping hammer with a bushing tool that would be the way to go. A lot of the filler should also vibrate loose, that won't hurt anything. Once the underlayment is exposed then sacrifice a circular say blade and get the underlayment out in strips any way you can.

Not going to be easy but you can't hurt anything. You will probably break off a few fasteners in the process but they can be ground off with a grinder.

I haven't been there in a long time but I remember the area is beautiful. Is that Contra Costa County or am I thinking of another area? I remember the damned fog every morning laying in the hills. I remember fog and avocados everywhere.
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:48 PM  
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Actually 2"X6" is used for subflooring, especially in California.
I think I remember something like in another thread last year. Seemed strange at the time too. But I guess next time a CA subfloor question comes up, I won't comment on that!
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