Mobile Home, raw subfloor, installing vinyl tile.


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Old 06-03-10, 10:21 PM
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Mobile Home, raw subfloor, installing vinyl tile.

Hello everyone. I'm very glad I found this forum. I have no experience doing what I need to do, so any help offered would be greatly appreciated.

I've taken the factory installed carpet up in my living room. It was held down by about a thousand staples, into the sub-floor plywood.. I haven't removed the staples yet, because I didn't know if that was best or to pound them in.

I would like to install some vinyl tile. A friend told me I should put down a good surface over the sub-floor for the tile. The sub-floor has small spaces between some of the sheets.

My first question is what to cover it with. I'm retired and on a fixed income, so I have to watch my money. He told me I could use either more plywood or hardiboard.

If someone could help me along the way to getting this done, I'd sure appreciate it.

The room is roughly 21 feet by 23 feet in area.

I live by myself, so doing this a little at a time is possible. If it looks rough for awhile, it makes no difference to me or the cats.

What type of vinyl tile would be the easiest to put down for a rookie like me and also the least expensive? Please keep in mind that I don't know any of the terminology of the experts.

Thank you very, very much!
 
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Old 06-03-10, 10:44 PM
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If you have a newer MH with plywood on the floor you can apply self stick tiles directly to the plywood. It will be best to remove the staples.

If you have an older MH with particle board floor you will need to install 3/8" plywood. At least BC grade. In that case simpler to just pound the staples in.

Self stick are easiest to install. The dry back tiles can be messy if your not use to applying adhesive. Note some BigBox employees will try to convince you you need to apply adhesive even when you use self stick tiles. That is not true.

If you are not sure of the difference between particle board, strand board (OSB), and plywood post a picture of your bare floor.
 
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Old 06-03-10, 11:04 PM
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Thanks Ray! It looks just like any plywood I've ever seen, but my Mobile Home is about 20 years old.

I'm worried about using those self stick tiles. I keep hearing that they don't really stay put and will peel back off.

How about prepping the wood? It's 20 year old stuff with lots of spills and pet pee that soaked through. That's one of the reasons I'm taking the carpet up and putting tile in.

Someone suggested that I put down a coat of Thompson's seal to keep the odors sealed before tiling. Does this sound right to you?

I had a very old cat that was senile at the end of her life, (bless her heart), and she used a couple places for a restroom before I discovered it the obvious way.

Is the 3/8" BC grade plywood expensive? I have some money, but I can't throw it around...

I wish I could afford to have someone come in and do this, but I'm afraid that would be too much for my budget.
 
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Old 06-04-10, 05:57 AM
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Most 20 yr old MHs have 5/8" particle board sub floor. The early 70s MH I built my house around had regular plywood but it was only 1/2" thick

IMO using 3/8" ply is the best way to go although you could get by with 1/4" luan. You'll want to stagger your joints [no joints at the same spot but still try to keep the ends of the plywood over the floor joists] You'll also need to use some filler to fill the gap @ the joints. If there are any bad/soft spots in the sub floor, they should be cut out and replaced first.

Water seals won't seal in odors! You need to use a pigmented shellac like zinnser's BIN

Personally, I'm not fond of the peel and stick tiles. I've seen too many of them peel It doesn't cost that much more to get the commercial grade vinyl tiles and glue them down.
 
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Old 06-04-10, 07:06 AM
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Thank you marksr, the current sub-floor is definitely plywood.

I don't have a clue what zinnser's BIN shellac is, but I imagine Home Depot probably carries it. I'll look. Thanks for that info. I'm using a big air cleaner in the room to compensate for the odor right now, but before covering it again, I want to make sure I do what I can to eliminate the odor from continuing after the tile installation. I scrubbed the plywood sub-floor with every type of solution I could, but none of them completely got rid of that nasty odor. I'd be angry at the late cat, but she really was a sweetheart and just didn't know what she was doing there at the end of her life so I couldn't be angry with her. My two remaining cats are 13 and 18 years old. The tile is a precaution for a recurrence of the issue. Way easier to clean than carpet in this sense.

I'll get some 3/8th ply and start putting it down. I'll also stagger the joints of the ply so that they don't match the sub-floor joints. I'll measure 4 times and cut once so that I get a tight fit this time.

What type of filler would be the best for filling those gaps between the sub-floor sheets? Is there anything about using filler that I should know, or are the instructions on the container enough information to do it correctly?

I believe strongly in doing something right, even if it takes more time and money. I can take my time with this. I've had the carpet taken up for several months now while I investigated the tile installation. I'm in no hurry. I want to get it right and have it look good and last a long time.

The 3/8th ply would be as good to use as the 3' x 5' hardiboard panels? The flooring lady at Home Depot showed me those.

I have no vehicle to transport the full sheets, but I can fit the 3' x 5' sheets of hardiboard in my van. They charge $80 to deliver the stuff, no matter how much there is. If I have to have it delivered, I'll have to wait until I can get everything for the entire job delivered in one batch, so I can save some costs.

Thanks again for the help. I'm good at some things, but construction of any kind isn't one of them.

I worked with Databases for the last 20 years before I retired. I'm good at that!
 
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Old 06-04-10, 10:38 AM
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The 3/8th ply would be as good to use as the 3' x 5' hardiboard panels?
The Hardiboard is for ceramic tile not vinyl and would cost more per square foot. I doubt the tile would even stick.
the current sub-floor is definitely plywood
If it is smooth and in good shape you can apply vinyl tile directly to it. Just remove those staples carefully and fill any gouges with wood filler or Bondo.

In addition to pliers a tack puller can be helpfull when pulling staples.

 
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Old 06-04-10, 05:19 PM
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Since most MHs are built to bare minimum specs, I'd feel better about using the 3/8" ply overlay but as Ray suggested if the original sub floor is in good shape - you can tile over it.

Our local HD has a delivery truck you can rent, not sure of the cost but it should be cheaper than $80. Better yet, if you have a friend with a truck or trailer

btw- I can handle most construction with no problem but when I installed the security system in my house and shop - the hardwiring was a piece of cake but programing the key pad....
 
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Old 06-04-10, 06:38 PM
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If It is just 1/2" plywood Marksr has a very valid point. My reason for saying you could apply to the existing floor was cost and secondarily any transitions where a raised floor might be a problem.

If you go self stick from the BigBox you can usually by individual tiles By a couple and see how well they stick. I've seen them all the way from would barely stick to ones that stuck so well if you made a mistake positioning it you had a devil of a time pulling it back up. The grip of most self sticks increase with time so leave for at least 24 hours when testing.
 
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Old 06-04-10, 07:06 PM
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If you do get a tile stuck in the wrong place, just heat it with a hair dryer and it will come loose.
 
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Old 06-04-10, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
The Hardiboard is for ceramic tile not vinyl and would cost more per square foot. I doubt the tile would even stick. If it is smooth and in good shape you can apply vinyl tile directly to it. Just remove those staples carefully and fill any gouges with wood filler or Bondo. In addition to pliers a tack puller can be helpful when pulling staples.
Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Since most MHs are built to bare minimum specs, I'd feel better about using the 3/8" ply overlay but as Ray suggested if the original sub floor is in good shape - you can tile over it.
Our local HD has a delivery truck you can rent, not sure of the cost but it should be cheaper than $80. Better yet, if you have a friend with a truck or trailer
btw- I can handle most construction with no problem but when I installed the security system in my house and shop - the hardwiring was a piece of cake but programing the key pad....
Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
If It is just 1/2" plywood Marksr has a very valid point. My reason for saying you could apply to the existing floor was cost and secondarily any transitions where a raised floor might be a problem.
If you go self stick from the BigBox you can usually by individual tiles By a couple and see how well they stick. I've seen them all the way from would barely stick to ones that stuck so well if you made a mistake positioning it you had a devil of a time pulling it back up. The grip of most self sticks increase with time so leave for at least 24 hours when testing.
Originally Posted by sam floor View Post
If you do get a tile stuck in the wrong place, just heat it with a hair dryer and it will come loose.
Thank you ray, marksr and sam. I'm really leery of using the self-stick tiles. I've seen too many people who were dissatisfied with them due to them coming back up later. I think I'd prefer to use the adhesive that I've seen the pro's use with the serrated blade. I think I'll go ahead and cover this floor with the shellac that was suggested to conceal the pet odor and then the 3/8" ply. Then use the adhesive and a quality vinyl tile.

A few more questions for you pro's.

1. Since I'm going to cover the sub-floor with 3/8" ply, I don't need to remove the staples, right? I just need to pound them in good so that they are flush or even a little indented. Is this correct?

2. When laying the new ply, should I use screws? if so, what type and length of screw would be the best to use? Should I put the screws in until they pull in a little or just until they are flush? If I should let them pull in a tad, should I fill the area over the screw with something?

3. It was mentioned that I should make sure the ends of the new ply are on the joists. Not to sound too much like the rookie I am, but how do I tell where the joists are? They're covered with the other plywood. I didn't think I should cover the other ply in the same pattern.

4. Is there a suggested adhesive I should use that is better than others?

5. Is there a brand, type or thickness of vinyl tile that I should use? I know that some is colored all the way through and other less expensive are only colored on the surface. Is there a big price difference and what are they referred to as?

Thanks again folks. As you can tell by my questions, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm a fast learner though.

Renting the HD truck is about the same as having it delivered I think. Delivery is $80 and the truck has a sign painted on it that says it's $75.

Sorry for all the questions folks. I don't want this to be a shoddy installation. You are all helping tremendously.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 04:40 AM
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#1 - correct

#2 - screws are better than nails and they need to be long enough to penetrate the existing sub floor and secure the new plywood to the floor joists. A shorter screw is ok to use in between joists. Always draw them uptight and recessed slightly. Any screw/nail head that is raised [even slightly] will cause problems with the tile. I'm a painter not a floor guy but I've always filled the screw heads and joints.

#3 - If you look at the line of staples in the existing floor - that shows you where the joists are. Follow that pattern but just set your ply over a joist or two so the joints aren't in the same place.

#4 - probably but I don't know

#5 - I'm sure the pros know a better way but what I've done is buy the commercial grade vinyl tiles at the big box and whatever adhesive they have available for those tiles.

The last time I did this was on my youngest son's MH. I tiled the "foyer" [carpet was torn so tiled approximately 3 sq ft] and 1 bathroom shortly after he bought and then the kitchen and other bath a yr before he sold it [a few yrs later]. The tile seemed to hold up well.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 08:07 AM
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If you are just adding ply to make the floor smooth, 1/4 inch is fine. Screws do tend to make ply pucker, so be careful. We pros staple it. If you patch the seams and screw heads, use a cementious patch. Gypsom patch won't hold up. Just remember, when the adhesive turns clear and looks dry, you can install the tile. If you use a chalk line to start straight, use white chalk. Colored chalk will bleed thru. Been installing for 40 years. Oh, and the ply you are adding only needs to be fastened to the ply underneath not the floor joists. In fact if you were doing ceramic, fastening it to the joist would make it more prone to fail.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 11:38 AM
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Thank you again, marksr and sam. This site is a dream come true for a person like me. The help you've all provided is of the utmost value to me.

The tile I intend to use is an off-white with specks of black.

I've read elsewhere that I should turn each tile when laying it. I assume that the tile is all packed in the box at the same time and at the same pattern. So when I remove it from the box, just turn alternating tiles 90 degrees left or right, but keep the same method. Is this correct?

Also, should I start in a corner and work out or on one side of the room and work across? If on one side, would it be better to work from the longest side or from the shortest side of the room?

I think that covers all of my questions once these are answered. If any of you pros can think of anything I failed to ask, please let me know.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 11:58 AM
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Start in the center and work out. Lets asume the 4 corners are A B C D. Measure exaxtly half way between A and B. Measure half way between C and D make a mark and snap a chalk line. Now repeat half way between A-C and B-D. Start dry laying to each wall from the cross in the center. If it comes out an inch or two from the wall try moving the first tile so it splits the center line. Narow pieces don't stick as well so you really want nothing under 4" if possible. You start in the center because the walls may not be square.
I've read elsewhere that I should turn each tile when laying it.
There are usually arrows on back. All arows should point in the same direction. If the tiles are not all from the same lot shuffle them like a deck of cards before laying to minimize the obviousness of color differences.



If your first try doesn't come out to your liking at the wall just snap a second line paralell along side the first and go from there.

 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-05-10 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 06-05-10, 12:54 PM
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Ray2047 is exactly right. The boxes should have lot numbers on them. If you can't find white chalk, put baby powder in a new chalk line.
 
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Old 06-05-10, 05:13 PM
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I would like to thank each of you for your help. I now know what I need to buy.

This will enable me to plan my project into my budget and get it done properly.

I think I'll be able to start within a month. I'll do it in stages. First, I'll seal the odor, and then put down the 1/4" ply with screws, using a cement filler on each indented screw.

Once I've been that far, I'll post some pics of my progress and proceed from there.

Will one coat of shellac be enough do you think?
 
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Old 06-06-10, 03:52 AM
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As long as it's a heavy fluid coat [not dry brushed] - one coat should do fine.

I doubt screws would work well with 1/4" plywood - the ply isn't thick enough to sink the head of the screw.
 
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Old 06-06-10, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
As long as it's a heavy fluid coat [not dry brushed] - one coat should do fine.

I doubt screws would work well with 1/4" plywood - the ply isn't thick enough to sink the head of the screw.
How is a "Fluid Coat" applied?

I'll see if Home Depot rents a staple gun. If so, what size staples would be best to use with the 1/4" ply?
 
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Old 06-06-10, 08:25 AM
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1/4" head, 9/16" length. 2 inches apart on seams, 4-6 inches apart in the field.
 
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Old 06-06-10, 09:05 AM
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Last resort use ring shank Sheetrock nails. Do not use the smooth shank.
 
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Old 06-06-10, 10:36 AM
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"How is a "Fluid Coat" applied?"

It is just a heavy coat of primer, not dry brushed. Just apply it liberally so it flows completely over the stain [including the edges]
 

Last edited by marksr; 06-06-10 at 10:39 AM. Reason: got the threads mixed up - yikes
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Old 06-06-10, 04:41 PM
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Thanks again to all of you! I'm going to make my list of materials and a work plan for the project.

I'll report back in this thread when I've made some progress.

I wouldn't be able to do it without the help I've received here and would have resorted to hiring someone after a year of saving for it.

You folks are great!
 
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Old 09-13-10, 02:13 PM
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Question Reflooring around kitchen island

I am wanting to put linoleum tile in my kitchen/dining area but I have an island. My husband says that it has to come out to lay new tile (there's carpet there now) but I disagree. Can someone tell me who is right here? The island contains my kitchen sink and electrical outlets so would be a giant pain if I have to remove it.
 
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Old 09-14-10, 03:28 AM
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Welcome to the forums lotsopets!

Do you mean vinyl tiles [1' squares] or sheet vinyl?

The tiles would be doable with the island in place but I suspect the island would need to be removed to install sheet vinyl.... but I'm a painter, not a floor guy. IMO tiles are easier for a diyer, it's easier to deal with 1 sq ft at a time and if you make a mistake it's easier to throw away 1 tile than it is to deal with a messed up roll of vinyl.
 
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Old 09-14-10, 04:55 AM
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I've done sheet vinyl around an island, but it's not a DIY project.
 
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Old 09-14-10, 05:24 AM
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I was thinking of the squares yes. So I can work around the island then? That is great news!! Thanks for the info.
Any special instructions? Do I need caulk at the edges near the island? Also, there is a spot in the subfloor at the sink that I need to replace. Do I just cut out the weak part and cut a piece of the same material to fit?
 

Last edited by lotsopets; 09-14-10 at 05:27 AM. Reason: Adding to previous sentence.
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Old 09-14-10, 09:42 AM
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You can use caulking or shoe mold around the perimeter.

You definitely ought to cut out and replace the weak area. You may need to go further than just the bad plywood and you also might need to add some framing members to help attach the replacement piece securely. You'll know more once you open it up
 
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Old 09-14-10, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
You can use caulking or shoe mold around the perimeter.

You definitely ought to cut out and replace the weak area. You may need to go further than just the bad plywood and you also might need to add some framing members to help attach the replacement piece securely. You'll know more once you open it up
Thanks for the reply again. Not sure what "framing members" are though. Is there some sort of waterproof barrier underneath the subfloor? If not, what will I find underneath the plywood? The home was manufactured 20 or 25 years ago.
 
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Old 09-14-10, 01:34 PM
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Floor framing generally consists of 2x8 thru 2x12 depending on the span and load. It could also have engineered floor truss's either made by 2x4s or 2xs and plywood. A mobile home usually has 2x6 floor joists. The sub floor is then nailed/screwed onto this framing. It's common practice to overlay this with 1/4" plywood with the joints staggered [not in the same place as the sub floor plywood joints] to give a better surface for vinyl.

You may need to cut back further on your subfloor so you can attach the new plywood to these framing members or possibly add some 2xs to the floor framing to attach the new plywood to.

If there is a crawlspace below the floor, then there will be insulation with usually just the kraft paper facing on the insulation for a vapor barrier. A MH would have a heavy plastic type wrap under the whole MH.
 
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Old 09-14-10, 01:48 PM
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A 25 or 30 year old mobile home will have particle board subfloor. Probably 3/4 inch. It is usually rotten around entrances and under windows. I have worked on many of them.
 
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Old 09-17-10, 03:21 PM
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Our M. home is 28 yrs old and has plywood floors. The wood is larger than 8x4. I painted over the cat and dog smells with house indoor and outdoor paint. I dumped it and spread it with a sponge mop. Smells sealed away. re-carpeted and all smells wonderful. Now I want to remove a 3x3 area of carpet by the front door and put down tile. I will not be able to lift the door jam or cut the door shorter. I want to add over the plywood just the tile. No backer/cement board, because it will be too high for the door to close. Home improvement stores all tell me this will make the tiles break over time as the plywood will flex. True ?????? My other choice is laminate wood or self-stick linoleum ????? Won't they crack over times also in such a small area????

Thanks in advance Katz
 
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Old 09-17-10, 03:34 PM
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Laminate and self-stick tile will flex some without breaking, ceramic won't.
 
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Old 09-17-10, 04:12 PM
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Is that small entry area spongy, or does it feel pretty solid? You should have someone who is rather heavy stand there and rapidly flex their knees (it causes one to push down/exert more weight, without jumping), while you see if the floor flexes.
 
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Old 09-17-10, 05:05 PM
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Bone dry, never wet, door has an inclosed porch. Very solid flooring. I've been searching for a product all afternoon and ran across this:
The Schluter®-DITRA
Anyone know about it? One place sells it by the ft for $5.92 x under 15 ft or Home Depot a whole roll for under $85. (54 sq ft) Sounds like I can use it instead of backer board. Floor is level. Just put down with some special thin 'mud' and then add more special 'mud' and lay tile???????
Katz
 
 

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