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        tile floor over wood subfloor Sign In/Join 
        posted
        We are tiling our kitchen floor. we took up old tile. we are not sure how smooth subfloor has to be for new tile. is it best to install backerboard? or just smooth out existing floor?
         
        Posts: 1 | Location: United States | Registered: Jan 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        You'll want to install a backer, especially since this will solve your smoothness problems along with having the tile stay in place better.

        On the existing floor, you need to get any lumps off but do not need to remove all remains of glue or thinset. You can use either 1/4" or 1/2" backer, but bed either size in thinset as well as screwing down. Once you install the backer you will have a good, smooth surface to make for a nice tile job.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10425 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Hi ab1208,

        Smooth isn't the right term, flat is what you need. Flat and stiff enough so there is very little deflection.

        You should first make sure the framing is stiff enough for ceramic tile. Chances are it is but if you tell us the; type and size of the joists, spacing, their species and grade would be helpful and the span of the joists to the inch.

        Then evaluate if the floor is flat to within 1/4" in 10 ft. and 1/16" in 12" of plane. This is if you're using ceramic tiles up to 14-15". Other types and sizes require a different spec.

        If all is good so far, you install your favorite concrete backer or membrane such as Ditra.

        There's a lot more to it of course, but that's a good start.

        Jaz


        Tile 4 You llc - Troy, MI
        Kerdi shower specialist - Ditra installs - Product-Method suitability consultation. I have NEVER made a mistake, I thought I did once...........but I was wrong!
         
        Posts: 49 | Registered: Apr 18, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        If the old tile and grout was not cracked there's a good chance you don't need backer board. Backer board will change the height of the floor by it's thickness.
        If you have access or know what size floor joist you have use these to determine for backer board.
        http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/deflecto.pl

        http://www.floorstransformed.com/calculators.html
         
        Posts: 887 | Registered: Jan 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Sorry Ron, but I have to disagree with your statement that a tile backer may not be needed. It shows your lack of tile installation experience and understanding.

        Tile direct to plywood is never a good plan. You're gonna have a high chance of partial failure. A concrete tile backer or a tile mat such as Ditra is the way to go.

        Anyway, you can NOT install tiles to the subfloor. You need a second layer of plywood, so why not do it right?

        Jaz

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: JazMan,


        Tile 4 You llc - Troy, MI
        Kerdi shower specialist - Ditra installs - Product-Method suitability consultation. I have NEVER made a mistake, I thought I did once...........but I was wrong!
         
        Posts: 49 | Registered: Apr 18, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Your right, not all floors are created equal, that's why two links were given for calculation.
        ab did not say floor tile was in bad shape ( cracked and or loose) and needed replaced. There is no mentioning of taking up any flooring, just tile. If ab is just replacing tile what makes you think new tile will become cracked and or loose.?
         
        Posts: 887 | Registered: Jan 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        Backer board has many uses. The concrete type backers make an ideal surface to bond thinset, reducing the chances for tiles to release. The backer board also isolates subfloor movement from the tile - again, helping to keep the tile in place. Backer board comes in 1/2" or 1/4" thicknesses or you could use a Kerdi liner.

        Beyond that, if you apply thinset to a wood floor for tile installation, the moisture in the thinset tends to be drawn out and wick into the wood. This can cause the thinset mix to become too try before it cures, making for a poor bond to the floor surface.

        Can you install tile on a wood floor - sure. But doing do greatly increases the odds that that tile floor will fail long before it's time. With all the expense of tile material and labor to install, it just doesn't make sense to skip the basic step of using some form of backer between the tile and the subfloor.

        Those links deal with subfloor deflection - a matter of framing & subfloor thickness and area calculation for tile install. Neither addresses the issue of backer boards and tile adhesion.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jaybee,


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10425 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Well, I didn't know this was going to turn into pissing contest, But I guess I can piss just as good as anybody else.
        It truly amazes me when people who drink too much Kool-Aid and believe everything they hear. They then turn around and think their way is the only way, and everyone else is wrong.

        In the link below this is just one way and there are more, that clearly shows that backer board is not needed.
        http://on.aol.com/video/how-to...er-plywood-517774314

        Two mistakes, two wrongs, want to try for three.?

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: ron45,
         
        Posts: 887 | Registered: Jan 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Hi All,

        Jaybee,

        Good post, your answers are right on, except..... I'm sure you meant to say Ditra instead of Kerdi here; "Backer board comes in 1/2" or 1/4" thicknesses or you could use a Kerdi liner."

        Ron,

        I had to LOL when you linked that video. It shows the exact opposite of what you said. It shows Mr. Tavy installing his membrane which takes the place of concrete backer. They are not installing tiles direct to plywood, everyone knows that's not such a good idea.

        Big flush. Big Grin

        Jaz

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: JazMan,


        Tile 4 You llc - Troy, MI
        Kerdi shower specialist - Ditra installs - Product-Method suitability consultation. I have NEVER made a mistake, I thought I did once...........but I was wrong!
         
        Posts: 49 | Registered: Apr 18, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Show me where I said to lay tiles directly on plywood..
        Three mistakes, three wrongs, want to try for four.?
         
        Posts: 887 | Registered: Jan 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Ron,

        Well, maybe you meant something else (?), but........

        ab said; "...we took up old tile. we are not sure how smooth subfloor has to be for new tile. is it best to install backerboard? or just smooth out existing floor?"

        I said; "If all is good so far, you install your favorite concrete backer or membrane such as Ditra."

        To which you said; "If the old tile and grout was not cracked there's a good chance you don't need backer board." + you added "Backer board will change the height of the floor by it's thickness." Well dah........

        So, you're now saying maybe just add a membrane? You said maybe no CBU and didn't mention any membrane, the only method left is over ply. If you recommend a membrane, that's reasonable. If so I agree, I like Ditra.

        Then when you got po'd you said; "It truly amazes me when people who drink too much Kool-Aid and believe everything they hear. They then turn around and think their way is the only way, and everyone else is wrong."

        Not at all, not true. There are several proven methods to install tiles over a suspended wooden subfloor system. Over CBU, such as Hardie, Durock etc., Membrane, such as Ditra, and a real good old fashioned mud job. Tile direct over plywood is not one of them.

        Jaz

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: JazMan,


        Tile 4 You llc - Troy, MI
        Kerdi shower specialist - Ditra installs - Product-Method suitability consultation. I have NEVER made a mistake, I thought I did once...........but I was wrong!
         
        Posts: 49 | Registered: Apr 18, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        Pissing contests on message boards are a bad idea - all it does is mess up your keyboard. Big Grin

        Ron - Believe me in that I am trying to word this so that all I am doing is trying to make sure that all information in these threads is correct. If you care to read any of my almost 10,000 posts on these forums, my only interest is giving accurate building information. I have no interest in belittling anyone here (well, maybe a spammer or two)- however, I will offer a correction or an alternate opinion if I disagree with information in a post. With that in mind:

        1. The video in your latest link shows them doing exactly what I and Jaz have recommended in all of our posts. That white material bedded with thinset is a backer material - similar to the Kerdi material that I mentioned. The Ditra that Jaz talks about does the same thing too - it's just a waffle shaped material that holds more thinset and thus, makes a backer that is about 1/4" thick. My professional opinion is that a Ditra liner makes the best quality backer surface, but it is not as DIY friendly as the messier but easier to install concrete board.

        2. So the video that is titled "How to lay tile on plywood" is showing you how to start with a plywood subfloor, add a backer surface and then lay your tile. To Quote Jaz here: "Tile direct to plywood is never a good plan". I agree with that completely, as I stated in my responses above. That video is saying the same thing.

        3. I think we have some terminology things going on here. You'll notice that both Jaz and I have used the terms 'backer' and 'backer board'. A backer is any material used to isolate the tile from the subfloor, be it a concrete board or a fabric-like material. A backer board would specifically be the various types of concrete boards made for this use.

        My response to the OP's original post was to recommend backer board to create a smooth (yes, Jaz, I did mean to say that) surface. The OP's problem was a rough surface from the residue of the old tile thinset or adhesive. Installing a backer board bedded in thinset would cover over any minor lumps or imperfections on the subfloor and result in a smooth (and flat, and level)Big Grin surface that would be OK to lay tile on.

        4. Early in this thread, one of your answers was "there's a good chance you don't need backer board". In a thread titled "tile floor over wood subfloor" and following our responses recommending either a board type or membrane type backer as a necessity, this sounds like you were saying you could tile directly to the wood subfloor - especially without mentioning using a membrane backer. If I missed something there, I apologize, but that's how it sounded.

        5. Everyone on this board can give incorrect information. Sometimes it's just a vague post that is interpreted differently than how the author meant to say it. There's nothing wrong with anyone here to offer up a correction to any misinformation. Far better to do that than to leave some wrong information for any posters or lurkers to try to incorporate into their DIY project.

        If you want to let your fingers search, just last week I offered up a technique in the electrical section that turned out to be a code violation. One of the electricians on the board corrected my incorrect advice. No pissing was noted.

        6. Finally - If you really want to search around with your fingers via old posts you'll notice that Jazman has pretty much had a disagreement with just about every one of my posts that he's responded to. For he and I to be in agreement on something has got to indicate that either we both know what we are talking about or that the world is about to end. I'm pulling for the former.

        We now return to our regularly scheduled movie spam post, joined in progress.

        Edit to add: I didn't see Jazmans response directly above. Evidentially it took a long time to type this. Smile

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jaybee,


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10425 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Four mistakes, four wrongs, want to try for five.?

        ( Well, maybe you meant something else (?), but.......)

        Nope, meant what I said...There's a good chance they won't need backer board.

        ( ab said; "...we took up old tile. we are not sure how smooth subfloor has to be for new tile. is it best to install backerboard? or just smooth out existing floor?" )

        This means glue is still on the floor, it could also mean they don't know what the floor consist of. So if the floor was in good shape and they just wanted to change to a tile of their liking, why would they need to add backer board to an already sound floor.? So just in case I linked the floor calculators.

        (I said; "If all is good so far, you install your favorite concrete backer or membrane such as Ditra." )

        If the floor is sound and all they did was remove the tile why would you suggest this.?

        (To which you said; "If the old tile and grout was not cracked there's a good chance you don't need backer board." + you added "Backer board will change the height of the floor by it's thickness." Well dah.......)

        If I read it correctly this is in a kitchen and not everyone is aware of what a height difference might mean. dah.

        ( So, you're now saying maybe just add a membrane? You said maybe no CBU and didn't mention any membrane, the only method left is over ply. If you recommend a membrane, that's reasonable. If so I agree, I like Ditra. )

        Nooo. I didn't suggest anything except that they might not need backer board. If the floor is sound and only tile was removed and the glue smoothed, why would they need anything more then new glue and tile.?

        (Then when you got po'd)

        I didn't get po'd, your just hell bent on being right when your wrong.
        You decided to make this into pissing contest to prove what I don't know.?

        (Not at all, not true. There are several proven methods to install tiles over a suspended wooden subfloor system. Over CBU, such as Hardie, Durock etc., Membrane, such as Ditra, and a real good old fashioned mud job. Tile direct over plywood is not one of them)

        Keep repeating our self do we.?
         
        Posts: 887 | Registered: Jan 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Jaybee..
        (Pissing contests on message boards are a bad idea - all it does is mess up your keyboard. Big Grin

        Ron - Believe me in that I am trying to word this so that all I am doing is trying to make sure that all information in these threads is correct. If you care to read any of my almost 10,000 posts on these forums, my only interest is giving accurate building information. I have no interest in belittling anyone here (well, maybe a spammer or two)- however, I will offer a correction or an alternate opinion if I disagree with information in a post. With that in mindSmile

        I agree 100%, but you two got out of line on this one. I just stated if the floor was in good condition they wouldn't need a backer board, and height does matter.

        1. Answer .... You and Jaz kept telling the poster they needed backer board like it was their only option. The video was to show not only is there other options but maybe a better one for a kitchen if needed. Since the poster ( my opinion) is basically saying the floor is sound and only wanted to change the tiles there is no need for backer board.

        2. The video also proved,Oh well you two seem to come to your own conclusions. Make up something.

        3. Jaybee I have been in the home building and remodeling business now for about 30 years. Your recommendation would be adding to an already sound floor that probably only needed to have the glue knocked down. Creating much more expense, time, and height.

        4.Poster posted for answer.... "we are not sure how smooth subfloor has to be for new tile. is it best to install backerboard? or just smooth out existing floor?" This could mean the floor was in good shape, existing tiles were not cracked or loose. Who knows backer board could have been installed but covered by glue.

        5. I agree 100%

        6. That's between you and him and I would rather not go there.
         
        Posts: 887 | Registered: Jan 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        OK, OK this thread has gotten way off course, & I'm sure I helped.

        It's just that I can not let bad info stand for others to read without at least a challenge. The OP said the old tiles had been removed and whether a concrete backer should now be installed. That means there is no backer and no membrane. And to install a concrete backer he has a wood floor. We do not recommend tiling right on a wood floor so...............

        I will stop talking to the door knob. Anyone who can read and knows anything about setting floor tiles knows that tiles should be set over a tile backer, a tile membrane or on a " real mud" base.

        Jaz


        Tile 4 You llc - Troy, MI
        Kerdi shower specialist - Ditra installs - Product-Method suitability consultation. I have NEVER made a mistake, I thought I did once...........but I was wrong!
         
        Posts: 49 | Registered: Apr 18, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        First I made no assumptions you did........
        You have now made 5 mistakes, 5 wrongs, want to try for 6.?

        You said.."It's just that I can not let bad info stand for others to read without at least a challenge."

        So your saying only your ideas and methods of doing things are right and all others wrongs. Are we playing God.?

        You said..." The OP said the old tiles had been removed and whether a concrete backer should now be installed. That means there is no backer and no membrane. And to install a concrete backer he has a wood floor. We do not recommend tiling right on a wood floor so...

        First of all who is we.? Who is to say your right everybody else is wrong, who decides.? You.?
        You obviously can't comprehend what you read because the OP said this.."We are tiling our kitchen floor. we took up old tile. we are not sure how smooth subfloor has to be for new tile. is it best to install backerboard? or just smooth out existing floor?
        This means they took the tile up and are now staring at the glue. So you being God knows that the original floor layer did the job wrong.?

        If this is an older floor and the tiles and grout show no signs of cracks, and only the tile is taken up, why would would you suggest backer board.?

        This is why I said.. "If the old tile and grout was not cracked there's a good chance you don't need backer board. Backer board will change the height of the floor by it's thickness.
        Why add to a floor that doesn't need it, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

        You see, some people replace tile because they want something different, not because the job was done poorly.

        You said...." I will stop talking to the door knob. Anyone who can read and knows anything about setting floor tiles knows that tiles should be set over a tile backer, a tile membrane or on a " real mud" base.

        You see, this is a matter of your opinion too. It's like saying which is better a ford or a chevy... Why buy a fiat when you can purchase a lamborghini....
        Here's one example of a corporation that doesn't agree with you. Maybe you can call 'em up and tell them, their wrong.?
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOczr9WCVig

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: ron45,
         
        Posts: 887 | Registered: Jan 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        Ron - A question. Because frankly I am totally confused as to why this thread has taken the direction it has.

        I think I understand your main point: The old floor was there before without a backer board so why install the new floor with a backer.

        You have dismissed suggestions to use any of the types of backer boards or membrane systems mentioned in this thread. You also said, "Show me where I said to lay tiles directly on plywood..". It seems like you have eliminated all the possibilities.

        So my question is: If you do not recommend any of the backer systems and also do not recommend tiling directly on top of plywood than what exactly are the steps you would suggest to solve the OP's original problem?

        *****************************************

        For the record, here is my opinion:

        The OP's problem was what to do about what was remaining on the subfloor after removing their old tiles. There is no mention as to if this is a mastic or thinset.

        I've run into this countless times. Trying to get that last 1/8" or so of product off of a plywood subfloor can be almost impossible. We have actually had many projects where it was both labor and cost efficient to remove the top layer of subfloor and replace it with new. For a DIYer, my recommendation would be less drastic:

        Scrape as much of the residue as you can, concentrating on any high spots or lumps. Then install a 1/4" concrete backer board bedded in thinset and screwed to the subfloor. The size of the backer board sheets will even out any highs or lows caused by the remaining residue on the subfloor - giving you a smooth surface to install the new tile.

        That's it. Yes, this will add about 3/8" or a little more to the overall height of the floor. The added height may or may not be a problem. If it is, then there are other methods that require more time or money that could still work. Right now we are working from a two sentence description from the OP. Assuming he ever responded to any of our suggestions, we could fine-tune what to do as he provided more details about his project.

        Of course, I'm pretty sure all three of us have effectively scared him off by now.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10425 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Oh boy, Now he's recommending a video from Rona in Canada where the most popular method to install floors is "scratch coat" aka "Jersey Mud Job". Both of which have failed every performance test conducted by The Tile Council of North America & the Canadian equal association TTMAC. Can you say HACK?

        Tile over double ply is only an approved method for light duty residential floors in dry areas. Most people start with an approved single layer subfloor system. Why add a second sheet of ply and tile over that, when you get a much better job by adding a tile backer or membrane such as Ditra? The floor is much more stable and is water resistant or waterproof depending on method.

        To the Rona video;

        * They start out showing the top layer of ply installed wrong. (at about 20 sec.) They butted the sheets together instead of leaving an 1/8" gap as all specs tell us to do.

        * They spread the thin set wrong. (at about 1:55) You're supposed to "burn" the thin set into the substrate with the flat side of the trowel to achieve a good mechanical bond. Then add more mortar and spread with the notched side making ridges in one direction. You then "collapse" the ridges by sliding/pressing the tiles across the ridges. This gives you better adhesive transfer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyt2US_SSBM

        * They end the video by saying to caulk the expansion joints with silicone. I'm sure most DIY'rs have no idea what they mean.

        * Once again it's just a short video to show how easy it is the tile a floor. They skipped many steps, but then it wouldn't seem so simple.

        The Rona video or tile classes on Saturday morning at the box stores is not a standard we should follow.

        Jaz


        Tile 4 You llc - Troy, MI
        Kerdi shower specialist - Ditra installs - Product-Method suitability consultation. I have NEVER made a mistake, I thought I did once...........but I was wrong!
         
        Posts: 49 | Registered: Apr 18, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        You have now made 6 mistakes, 6 wrongs, want to try for 7.?

        Get this through your thick scull, I am not recommending anything.
        I am showing you that your opinionated, and wrong. There is not just your way of doing things, and your way may not be the best way of doing things all the time.

        You said.....Tile over double ply is only an approved method for light duty residential floors in dry areas. Most people start with an approved single layer subfloor system. Why add a second sheet of ply and tile over that, when you get a much better job by adding a tile backer or membrane such as Ditra? The floor is much more stable and is water resistant or waterproof depending on method.

        Again this is your opinion, it may driven by an industry of greed.
        For one...Plywood adds much more strength to the floor then backer board. Not all plywood is suitable for structural use but the ones that are, are definitely up to the the job. This plywood is rated using what is called a boiling test.

        http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/docum...fpltn/fpltn-f026.pdf
        http://www.simplicityboats.com/boil.html

        You said.... * They start out showing the top layer of ply installed wrong. (at about 20 sec.) They butted the sheets together instead of leaving an 1/8" gap as all specs tell us to do.

        Again, If your using anything other then rated plywood usualy ( 4 layers or plies) then yes you have to leave 1/8" gap. Plywood does not expand and extract like regular lumber,OSB, etc., and can be lightly abutted. This is clear when using 3/4" T&G.

        You said... They spread the thin set wrong. (at about 1:55) You're supposed to "burn" the thin set into the substrate with the flat side of the trowel to achieve a good mechanical bond. Then add more mortar and spread with the notched side making ridges in one direction. You then "collapse" the ridges by sliding/pressing the tiles across the ridges. This gives you better adhesive transfer.

        Again, exactly how much pressure would it take to pry up a tile, remember it's being walked on not pried up.
        Good video I like it... But their splitting hairs because some jobs that were done 20 yrs. ago are still around. I personally only use swirls when installing sheet goods because afterward it's rolled.

        You said...The Rona video or tile classes on Saturday morning at the box stores is not a standard we should follow.

        Again, Which is better a ford or chevy, why have a fiat when you can have a lamborghini.

        Again I am not making any recommendations, opinions very from person to person. Sometimes money is a driving factor and will make people form an opinion, good or bad.

        If the older floor was sound all you have to do is take up the tiles, knock down the glue, then install the new tiles...... No extra time, cost, or height difference that could cause more problems.

        Now if you know something about the original installer, and know for a fact is was not done right. Please let us know........

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: ron45,
         
        Posts: 887 | Registered: Jan 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        I'm done with this thread. See you elsewhere.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10425 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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