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Self leveling? Floor patch? Help?!

Hi there - Ok, so I want to install new tile in my bathroom. It had carpet *yuck* which I ripped up only to find...tile.

Old, hand set, 1x1 or smaller mosaic tile. Which was partially taken up when taking up the carpet tape (which was how the carpet was laid down) because the small tiles basically were no longer adhered to the mortar bed.

Today, the rest of the tiles were taken up, leaving a fairly intact mortar bed - no giant chunks or anything out, just cracking.

It is level, and but for the cracks and a few divots, is in good shape. I really REALLY don't want to have to rip the whole thing up. Do i need to do anything to it, like self leveling compound or floor patch? What would be best? Or can I just tile over it? :thumbup: maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
More info - Will be installing 12x12 tiles, very basic for new install. Live in michigan, house was built in the 50s. Anything else you need to know, please ask! Thank you so much!
 

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I have a mortar bed, that was under the original tile that i just pulled up (tile came up fairly easily) mortar bed is in good condition, with some cracks, largest being 1/8", no more than 2 feet long. couple of divots. My question is - do i need to prep the mortar bed before tile goes down? If so, what should I use? Redgard? SLC? Floor patch? Something I've never heard of?? HELP!
I am having 12x12 ceramic tiles installed. Thank you in advance!!!
 

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Do you not trust your tile installer to do the prep right? But you trust them to do the install right?
 

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I'd be taking a look under that floor to see why it cracked and fixing that before trying to lay tiles of that size.
I'm talking about size, spacing, condition of the floor joist.
 
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Tileguy
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Filling cracks and divots is a waste of time. You're not painting the floor after all. If you don't replace the mud, you're likely to have a failure down the road. How large an area, what type of room, where are you located?

There may be loose subfloor or other problems. The constant changes due to the weather conditions may cause the crack to change like the seasons. Have you tapped with the handle of a screwdriver or similar tool to get an idea how sturdy it is? If it's solid I'd use a crack isolation membrane or an uncoupling mat like Ditra.

Jaz
 

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Assuming there's no serious subfloor problem (e.g. it was just drying and "settling" of the concrete that is now mostly settled), then look into a crack isolation membrane to cover the crack. Filling it does absolutely no good whatsoever.
 

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Tileguy
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Assuming there's no serious subfloor problem (e.g. it was just drying and "settling" of the concrete that is now mostly settled), then look into a crack isolation membrane to cover the crack. Filling it does absolutely no good whatsoever.
Jeff, that was an absolutely brilliant answer! :laughing:

Jaz
 

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If you can post a picture---get us one from below---

Also helpful info----how old is the house?
The 'mud bed'--how thick is it?
Size of floor joists--spacing--unsupported length and type of wood or grade.

old time mud beds were 1 1/2" thick or more---
Recent ' mud beds' are nothing more than a thin skin of wire mesh and thinset---and are useless--thus they must be removed.
 

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Tileguy
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It would be better if you kept all questions concerning a project in the same thread. This way it'll get confusing and repetitive.

What do the people installing the new floor have to say? Are they tile setters or friends that have done this before?

Jaz
 

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I merger your two threads together----so members can keep details straight.
 

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Still need to know how thick this 'mortar bed' is----

is it a thin layer of thinset over plywood or a 1/2" thick layer of mud over mesh--ot a true mud bed 1 1/2" thick?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey everyone - thank you SO much for your answers so far!
Ok - the house was built in the late 40s/early 50s - it was my great aunts house. This was the original tile that was in the house. The mortar bed is at least 2 inches thick - i kind of dug a small hole with a screw driver in an inconspicuous spot to see. I can't get under to see, because the house is on a crawl space, and I'm not that brave - sorry! the bathroom is L shaped, about 12 feet long, but only about 4 feet wide (of floor space where tiles will be going) then the bottom part of the L has the toilet. The mortar bed seems solid - when i knock it with a screwdriver handle, it doesn't move. I'm in southeast michigan.
 

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That's a real old time mud bed---you should be fine---let the tile setter take over---any minor defects will be filled as the setting is done---call him and ask if he is okay with the floor as it is--
 

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Tileguy
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Well, I hope it doesn't move by knocking it with a screwdriver. I was thinking more like distinguishing a hollow sound.

I thought you had a real mud-job since you live in this area. We don't do Jersey mud here. But why were the old tiles loose? There's no pics and I can't see it from here, so I can't say. I asked what the people who are installing the new floor thought, and if they had enough experience to know earlier.

Jaz
 
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Tileguy
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OK, so it's Saturday night, wonder what happened?

Jaz
 
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Discussion Starter #18
update!

Ok - so, not surprisingly I guess, my original guy called me on saturday morning and said he couldn't come - super unprofessional, was a little leery of him anyway - with good reason, apparently. Called a friend of mine who has a friend who does tile professionally, he was busy, so he called another tile guy who totally saved my butt. I had put down redgard on friday night, and he came over this morning, looked it all over, said it looked good, went to work, and I have lovely new tile floor in my bathroom. Thank you guys for your help!!!
 

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I'm glad you came! Thanks for the update.
 

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Tileguy
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Glad it worked for you. Getting someone who knows what they're doing this fast on a Sunday is amazing. Normally you wait 2-6 weeks. It gets grouted when?

Jaz
 
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