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I'm helping a friend who is determined to use the HD Trafficmaster Ceramica vinyl tiles, in spite of my encouragement to go with regular ceramic tile. These are peel and stick and are groutable. We've figured out most of the installation issues, but are stymied on how to install the Hardibacker he's got. He's using 1/2" Hardibacker on top of 3/4" OSB subflooring. The question is how should the Hardibacker be installed? According to the directions for regular tile...a bed of thinset, taped/thinset joints, then nailed...or should we follow the directions for vinyl tile...no thinset, just nails/screws and butted together at the joints? Since these are closer to vinyl then ceramic, should the Hardibacker be put in smooth side up rather than the embossed grid side up?
 

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if these are peel and stick i doubt that they will stick very well to the hardibacker. 1/4' luan underlayment would give a smoother surface. that is what is usually installed under vinyl floors. It's also cheaper then the hardibacker is. does he want to raise his floor the additional 1/2 inch? they recommend that you prime the floor with a primer made for peel and stick tiles. the odd thing was i went looking for reviews for this product and couldnt find any bad ones. in my experience it doesnt matter what the product is there are a;ways people that have a bad experience with it. I just thought it odd. I have never heard of hardibacker being called for under vinyl flooring.
 

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Thanks...I'm sharing your thoughts with my friend...

He has 3/4" OSB subflooring, so 1/4" brings it up to a 1" base for the tiles, but he's thinking that the 1/2" Hardibacker will strengthen the floor and silence a few squeaks he hasn't been able to fix. It's new construction. When I went out last to help him, his wife had marked where the squeaks were, but he and I couldn't get them to squeak again to fix them, so they may be a non-issue at this point.

We are going to be priming as per the product recommendations whatever we put down.

I'm going to try to convince him to do the 1/4" luan instead. Would it help to put some adhesive under the luan, or is stapling/nailing/screwing all that's needed? I really appreciate your thoughts on this project.
 

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we always stapled the luan but never glued it. staples 6" apart in the field and 3" apart on the edges. and we always used floor patch on all the seams.
concrete board adds nothing structurally to the floor. i would screw all the osb down also if it isnt. and find the squeaks.
 

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Concrete board just flat out won't work under peel and stick. The tile won't stick to it.
 
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