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Ceramic Tile over plywood, particle board

5728 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Gary in WA
I am getting ready to install ceramic tile in my kitchen. While removing my cabinets i discovered particle board. More research led me to discover I have a 1/2" plywood, then tar paper, then 3/4 particle board, then vinyl, then 1/4 luan. All in very good shape. I plan on putting down 1/4 hardibacker. Is the floor suitable or should I still remove the particle board that is sealed on the bottom by tar paper, and on top by vinyl?:(
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Not sure I see your floor profile: you say 1/2" plywood (first yellow light), then tar paper (why?) (second yellow light) then 3/4" particle board (third yellow light) THEN vinyl, then luan? Do you mean to say you're walking on luan?

You go on to say your particleboard is sandwiched between tar paper and where's the luan in this statement?

Know what? whereas I am sure you could put tile on top of all these different substrates, I just see too many yellow lights flashing at me - not red lights but enough caution warnings to make me think that there wouldn't be a cumulative effect that isn't pointing to a solid floor. Again, I may be wrong, but seeing that, I'd do a deflecto test and see what that gives. Besides, you're starting to get quite a high floor there...if either the deflection or the height gave me one bit of grief, I'd say there's too many question marks for a tile job that lasts, so I'd take out everything down to the plywood. The vinyl already there means that the tile job may not last over 5 years.

And I say that not with one particular reason for it - just a gut feeling.:yes:
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What he said. Tile requires a STIFF floor of at least 1 1/4". While you have many layers there, none of them really add rigidity to the mix. I would be incline to go down to the 1/2 subfloor, add 3/4 plywood-glued/screwed, then 1/4 backer board.
forgot that on the luan used to be more vinyl that i removed. So yes the luan is now on top. Odd situation I know. Being that I have walls on top of the particle board, what is the best way to cut the particle board even with the wall? Thanks
Particleboard is an "unsuitable substrate" for thinsetting just doesn't perform well under wet conditions and absorbs the moisture in the thinset to the point of failure of adhesion...but it could stay under a wall.

You can cut the particleboard along the walls about a 1/2" out from the wall if you can get a circular saw in that tight. Otherwise take up the luan+ vinyl and see how the PB was attached, maybe you'll be lucky and it'll be screwed down. Just unscrew it and lift.
The box stores rent toe-kick saws, that cut flush to objects and 3/4" deep.

If you use 1/2" plywood, do not use CDX. It is not rated for floors and has too many air pockets that could be detrimental for tile, even over backer board.

Be aware of the height distance needed to re-install the dishwasher. Be safe, GBAR
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