Bathroom tiling for noobs


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Old 10-13-05, 02:44 PM
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Bathroom tiling for noobs

My wife and I are looking to tile the 1/2 bath on the second floor of our townhome with marble tile sometime this winter. I am looking at planning out some things at this point, so I may not have all of the information needed for you guys to answer my questions. The bathroom is about 4' wide by 8' long (just wider than a toilet). The floor joists underneath (I presume, given the layout) most likely run perpendicular to the long dimension and are probably every 16" o.c. I don't really know for sure the joist spacing or subfloor since the ceiling under the bathroom is finished (1st floor ceiling). The bathroom currently has vinyl flooring, probably glued to the subfloor, but I haven't pulled it up yet (and probably won't for another coulpe of months when I can get to the project). Tile size will most likely be 12" x 12" marble. My questions are:

1.) What kind of prep should I do before laying the tile? We did tile in our entry hall, but that was concrete floor, so it was thin-set and lay tile. Can I use Ditra over the existing vinyl floor (per their website) without knowing the make-up of the subfloor?

2.) Given that I don't (and don't have an easy way of determining) the make-up of the subfloor, is it even feasible to consider marble tile for this application?

3.) How do you get the tile under the toilet and then set the toilet without cracking the marble? I don't relish having to pull the toilet out, but if I have to then I will. Also have a pedestal sink to tile under (about 6" dia. at base).

4.) We will also most likely do white marble in our 4th floor master bath. I would assume same construction for the existing floor, just more floor space (but not a whole lot more, it is a fairly compact bath with separate shower and garden tub). Anything special to consider upstairs that would be different than the 1/2 bath?

Sorry for the long post, but I want to get it right and not have to redo it later.

Thanks,
Neil
 
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Old 10-13-05, 05:02 PM
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1. Remove the vinyl and any 1/4" underlayment that might be there.

2. Do you have a heat register on the floor, if not, drill a hole in the subfloor after you remove the vinyl and underlayment if one is there, now take a hanger or stiff wire and place it in the hole till it hits the drywall ceiling below, this will tell you the joist size, now look at the subfloor screws or nails to determine the spacing and which direction they go, then if possible, find out the unsupported span of them, this is important to know for stone, now take that wire and put a small hook on the end, place it in the hole and try and grab the bottom of the subfloor that is ther now to determine how thick it is and let us know what it is.

3. Always remove toilets and pedestal sinks before tiling, install the substrate up to the flange and tile up to it also, they make thicker wax rings or extenders if needed for resetting the toilet.

4. Same deal.

Without knowing the strength of the floor, I would look at Ceramic instead, stone needs almost twice the strength and you get that strength from the joist system, not by adding more plywood to the floor.
 
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Old 10-13-05, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Tileman
1. Remove the vinyl and any 1/4" underlayment that might be there.

2. Do you have a heat register on the floor, if not, drill a hole in the subfloor after you remove the vinyl and underlayment if one is there, now take a hanger or stiff wire and place it in the hole till it hits the drywall ceiling below, this will tell you the joist size, now look at the subfloor screws or nails to determine the spacing and which direction they go, then if possible, find out the unsupported span of them, this is important to know for stone, now take that wire and put a small hook on the end, place it in the hole and try and grab the bottom of the subfloor that is ther now to determine how thick it is and let us know what it is.

3. Always remove toilets and pedestal sinks before tiling, install the substrate up to the flange and tile up to it also, they make thicker wax rings or extenders if needed for resetting the toilet.

4. Same deal.

Without knowing the strength of the floor, I would look at Ceramic instead, stone needs almost twice the strength and you get that strength from the joist system, not by adding more plywood to the floor.

Tileman,
Thanks for the reply. No heat register in the floor. I do have a couple of questions though based on your reply.

1. Assuming I go with ceramic tile, do I still need to determine the joist size and subfloor thickness? I am actually kind of suprised that this small bathroom (32 sf) would present a large load. I know marble is heavy (we did marble on the first floor), but it probably wouldn't weigh more than my couch, which is one the same floor. I guess I should tell the wife we need to think twice about the granite countertops in the kitchen!!

2. If I go with the ceramic tile, do I still need to rip up the vinyl flooring? The Ditra website states it can be used over existing vinyl floor.

3. I am pretty sure the unsupported span is 16 feet since that is the width of my townhouse. Given the floor layout, there may be a supporting wall under the bathroom area but I don't know if it is really load bearing.

Thanks again for the tips. Hopefully this winter I can do this little project.
 
 

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