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  1. #1
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    Tile flooring question

    Hi All,

    My 11 year old house has slate tile in the entryway and mud room. It's held up great with no cracks etc. all that time. We're about to DIY an adjacent room and I have some questions.

    It's not clear whether or not the underlayment beneath the old tile was adhered to the OSB subfloor with thinset. If it was, they used a VERY thin layer.

    - Most sources, including the manufacturer of the underlayment say that you MUST use thinset and screws to adhere it to the subfloor. Some sources say that it's ok to just screw it to the subfloor.

    - I've also read that OSB isn't appropriate for tile floors - too flexy and will absorb moisture from the thinset.

    On one hand, I want to do it right (i.e. use thinset) but on the other I worry that using thinset will cause the finished floor to be too high to match the existing AND maybe cause the OSB to swell.

    Should I worry about the thinset messing up the OSB and how much will the thinset "squish down" once I screw the underlayment to the subfloor?


    Thanks and happy Thanksgiving!

  2. #2
    pmf
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    I had tile installed in my kitchen a number of years ago. The guy doing it used a bunch of screws to secure the sub floor, but did not use thin set. I think the reason for using thin set is to level the floor. The floor has been perfect for almost 10 years. I recently had tile installed in my basement over concrete. They just slapped it on right over the concrete.

  3. #3
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    - Most sources, including the manufacturer of the underlayment say that you MUST use thinset and screws to adhere it to the subfloor. Some sources say that it's ok to just screw it to the subfloor.
    Absolutely follow the manufacturers instructions otherwise you'll void any warranty.


    - I've also read that OSB isn't appropriate for tile floors - too flexy and will absorb moisture from the thinset.
    Use a sealer. Whether you're using OSB or plywood. Both will absorb moisture.






    On one hand, I want to do it right (i.e. use thinset) but on the other I worry that using thinset will cause the finished floor to be too high to match the existing
    You're not applying that much. Maybe 1/32"-1/16".
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  4. #4
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    Part of the reason to use thinset between the layers is to add rigidity. If the floor is still going to flex, the use an uncoupling membrane (like ditra). As far as the base pulling moisture from the thinset, concrete does that as well. You won't have that issue if you use the membrane though. If it's not level, use self levelling compound, then tile directly into that. Again use a membrane. It's not cheap, but will save headaches down the line.

  5. #5
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    Darn.

    It seems the guys that do nothing but flooring for a living lean towards using the thinset. DIYers, house flipping realtors, and general handymen do not.

    I was hoping to skip that step but the "do it once, do it right" mantra hasn't let me down yet.

  6. #6
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    Darn.

    It seems the guys that do nothing but flooring for a living lean towards using the thinset. DIYers, house flipping realtors, and general handymen do not.
    Because pro's will get sued when their work turns to crap. DIY'ers get stuck living with cracked tiles. And flippers don't give a s#it once the house is sold.

    I was hoping to skip that step but the "do it once, do it right" mantra hasn't let me down yet.
    Definitely. If you put in carpet and don't get it stretched right, it's not a big deal to have a pro come out and re-stretch it. Kinda hard to put the thinset in afterwards.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post
    Darn.

    It seems the guys that do nothing but flooring for a living lean towards using the thinset. DIYers, house flipping realtors, and general handymen do not.

    I was hoping to skip that step but the "do it once, do it right" mantra hasn't let me down yet.
    I have tiled far too many floors. I am a DIYer. I do it right. When I did my bathroom (I am still finishing up the wall tile, but the floor is done), I had to use a rotary (SDS) tool to get the old tile out, which also included removing the thinset and cement board and thinset and tile (I wanted to kill myself for not hiring someone).

    After I got everything cleaned out, I put down a thin layer of thinset, then hardiboard (I prefer it to cement board as it's easier to cut, still a a pain in the ass, but less painful and less messy than cement board), then a thin layer of self leveling cement, then I tiled over that with a modified latex thinset. If I had used the uncoupling membrane, I could have used unmodified thinset. Both are correct, for me it was just cheaper this time around. I sponged down and moistened the concrete layer before putting down the thinset, this helps prevent the concrete from pulling the moisture out and causing the tiles not to stay in place.

    This was for about 150 square feet bathroom. I'll post a few pics of my current work when I get home to my laptop (at work). Here are a few pics of the bathroom I did in the house I just sold.

    Tile flooring question-oldbath3.jpgTile flooring question-oldbath2.jpg


    This is the current bathroom, I have already tiles it, but this was the demo pics. First one is the hardi board, second and third is the tub I replaced with a 6 foot 22" drain to drain soaking tub I could dismember a body in it with space left over it's huge.. and I have a warped sense of metaphors
    Tile flooring question-bathroom3.jpgTile flooring question-bathroom2.jpgTile flooring question-bathroom1.jpg

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    As a prank for future owners, you can either splatter red paint that looks like blood stains or do body outlines like a murder house on the subflooring.

  9. #9
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    I found a few on my phone I took last night. None with the tub in it though.
    Tile flooring question-current-bathroom2.jpgTile flooring question-current-bathroom3.jpg

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bremerradkurier View Post
    As a prank for future owners, you can either splatter red paint that looks like blood stains or do body outlines like a murder house on the subflooring.
    Oh.. don't need to use paint.. I have left plenty of blood in, on and around the walls and floors... I really need to use gloves when handling tile that is all chipped and broken up... also some burnt flesh from accidentally touching the pipes I just sweated. I had to redo all the plumbing and drainage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ljvb View Post
    Oh.. don't need to use paint.. I have left plenty of blood in, on and around the walls and floors... I really need to use gloves when handling tile that is all chipped and broken up... also some burnt flesh from accidentally touching the pipes I just sweated. I had to redo all the plumbing and drainage.
    Just finished a glass tile backsplash in my kitchen-had to use the wet saw with a diamond blade for inside cuts around sockets and got a lot of finger cuts from the splinters.

    ETA: used the Brutus horseshoe spacers for the first time and now wondering why I never used them for the three bathrooms I've tiled so far instead of the standard + sign spacers.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljvb View Post
    I found a few on my phone I took last night. None with the tub in it though.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Seats not level?
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  13. #13
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    In my opinion, tile should NEVER be laid on plywood, our first floor was 2 x 12, doug fir, 12 foot span on 16 centers, 3/4 t&g sturdy floor, 1/2 inch ply glued an screwed to that and tiles all laid in a good bed of thinset. We still had cracked tiles.

    The NEW floor still looks GREAT!!!!!!!

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  14. #14
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    You have three concerns when you are putting tile down on a plywood floor. Adhesion, deflection and isolation.

    Adhesion: most modified thinsets will bond on plywood just fine, but that is the least of your worries. (OSB should never be used for a subfloor, and especially not for thinset!)

    Deflection is a much more serious problem, especially for modern construction if they have used those TIG joists (often on 24" centers). No amount of fiddling will prevent cracked/popped tiles if you have serious deflection on your floor. Usually bathrooms can be done with the thinset/Hardi only because bathrooms tend to be small areas that are typically reinforced for plumbing... but Hardi/cement board DOES NOT SOLVE DEFLECTION ISSUES ON A LARGE FLOOR! If you have questions about whether your current floor construction will support a tile floor, post to the nice guys at the Tile Form who will run your numbers through their calculator to see if you need to reinforce the joists/plywood before starting.

    Deflectometer here: https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/deflecto.pl

    Isolation: even with a well constructed house, you have movement between elements--joists/plywood/humidity changes etc. Ideally, every tile floor should be isolated from this, using a membrane or coating (usually over concrete subfloors).

    The best method to attach tile or stone over plywood IMO is to use Schluter Ditra, attached to plywood by a thinset layer, then thinset on the Ditra to attach the tile. Gives you the isolation you need, and a tidy job, easier to use than concrete/Hardi and can be used with electric warming cables (their new version).
    Tile flooring question-ss_prod_ditra_r.jpg

    https://www.schluter.com/schluter-us...TRA-XL/p/DITRA

    Here's a shot of the slate kitchen floor I did--reinforced the floor joists with 3/4" plywood sisters glued and facenailed to existing joists, added a second layer of 1/2" ply (screwed to base 1/2" ply that the moreons who built this house used instead of 3/4"), thinset to attach the Ditra, then thinset to attach the tile. Going on 10 years, not a single crack, popped tile or other problem to be seen--and it is a large floor!Tile flooring question-tile1.jpg
    Last edited by paredown; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:56 PM.
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