To use ceramic tile or not

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Old 07-08-07, 11:29 PM
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Red face To use ceramic tile or not

I live in a three-story condo and am still gathering information about whether the flooring is suitable for ceramic tile. I've talked with the manager and it appears that there's just subflooring supported by 4" by 12" beams. On top of that is what appears to be a pressboard, which I've decided to rip up and replace with plywood, but leave the carpet intact in the living room and bedroom.

The support beams are spaced 5 1/2 feet apart and the ceiling looks like tongue and grove. (which demonstrates what my floor would be) How would I know whether this is sturdy enough for tile without building it up so much it will be higher than the carpet?

The pressboard is 3/4 inch, so does replacing that with 23/32 plywood take care of the problem? I'd be thinset some wonderboard over that, then mortar and tile.
 
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Old 07-09-07, 08:18 AM
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Welcome to the Forums!

We will wait for a pro to answer, but I can ask you this:

Can you walk across the current floor without it flexing? 5' 1/2" joist spacing is pretty significant, but then again, those are some large joists you have.

It's recommended on a floor with 16" joists spacing that there be at least 1"-1/8" subfloor.

You may need more but a deflection calculation needs to be done.

If you don't get a response in here within a resonable time, you maybe able to have a flooring store come give you a FREE estimate and at the same time, they should be able to tell you if the existing floor is sturdy enough.
 
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Old 07-09-07, 04:21 PM
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I am sure there is more to your floor then you think. I think the 4 x 12 beams are holding up your floor joists. They are either 16" or 24" OC. Then I think the t&g is laid then probably your particle board. That is just my thought. As a rule floors are designed for 40psi which will hold up just about anything. The condo assn. should have a set of building plans that you can look at and make sure. The local planning and permit dept would have a set also. Good Luck
 
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Old 07-09-07, 08:55 PM
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Red face The pressboard...

I've found that the boards on top of the beams are three inches thick. There really isn't any give when we walk on them, but there's no gaps between floors...we cannot put in recessed lighting for this reason unless a false ceiling is installed.

So, that leaves the gray colored pressboard as my problem...I hate to rip it up. I can hear the chorus already though. Putting plywood on top presents another problem, because the carpet is staying in place. So I'm asking what my options are...if any...besides these two.
 
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Old 07-10-07, 07:06 AM
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A) I tell my customers I'll lay it in a snow bank if they want, I just won't guarantee it'll stay there. Your options are, you can do anything you please, it's your place. Just be prepared to deal with the consequences. Tile is extremely offended by any flex in the surface it's adhered to. "Give" insinuates easily observable movement. "Flex" is not so easily detectable but will render all your hard work useless. The purpose of the framing requirements for tile floors is to eliminate any flex. I'd strongly suggest doing whatever need be done to determine if there's any flex in the floor. The rules are there for a reason and, if that reason is satisfied with what you have, it'll work. If not, frame in between the beams, put in a false ceiling, and hang your lights.

B) What do you mean by "chorus"? Many of the folks on this site are professionals with years of experience in their respective fields and give of their time, knowledge, and experience freely for the benefit of those with little or no knowledge or experience in said field. Their songs are sung to help keep folks, such as yourself, out of trouble and smooth their road. I certainly hope I've misunderstood here, but "chorus" sounds a bit disrespectful of their valuable input.
 
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Old 07-10-07, 10:25 AM
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No offense meant

Thank you for your answer. It seems that all pressboard is out of the question, which is the verification I was looking for. I'm just as green as they come, so forgive me.

The difference between give and flex helped too. Since the thickness of the wood on top of the joists is 3 inches, does that put the question to rest? I fear my job is too small for a flooring company to come and give me an estimate, and the construction boom around here means they've got their pick of jobs. I'm looking at doing a small 5 x 3 1/2 foot entryway area at first, so that is why diy is appealing.
 
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Old 07-10-07, 11:47 AM
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Understandable. Getting someone to do a small job in an area with a glut of work is very difficult. Look at it this way, imagine the satisfaction of looking at a good looking, well installed project every day, knowing it was your two hands that accomplished it. Mmmmm.... only thing better is a good strawberry rhubarb pie.

One simple test you can do is to stand in the middle of the floor in question and sort of bounce, assuming you have enough weight to cause an effect. Observe what it feels like and whether or not you hear things rattle, such as the toilet lid, the contents of the medicine cabinet, the stuff on the counter top, and so on. Do the same thing on the sidewalk or some very solid surface and note the difference. If the floor is moving too much, things will rattle and the floor will feel spongy compared to the more solid surface. I have misgivings as to the span you have between the beams, regardless the thickness of the planks, but only you can be the final judge of that. I'll tell you an experience I once had to illustrate the suggestion I'll make next. I had a guy call me and tell me he had been given my name as a carpet installer. He had purchased carpet from a friend of his from out of state who was going to install it for him in exchange for a ski pass at a ski area near there. His friend had instructed him to get an installer to measure it for him so they knew how much material to get. He offered to pay me for my time to do this. I was duly impressed. Most folks will have someone come out and give them an estimate, get the yardage information they need from the estimate, tell the estimator they changed their mind, and use that information, thereby wasting the estimator's time and cheating them of just compensation for said time. This guy didn't do that. He was perfectly willing to pay me for my time. Consequently, his friend not only got yardage figures, but a detailed diagram of the rooms, how I'd laid the job out, where the seams were, what the cut offs and fills were, and how I had planned to deal with them. Point is, have a tile guy in your area, who has a very good reputation, look at the problem and advise you on how to proceed. If I don't have time to actually put someone on my schedule, I'm almost always up for just giving an opinion on the way to or from a job. Pay him for his time and I think you'll be glad you did. Then you can proceed from there with some level of confidence.
 
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