Tile? Tile? Tile?


Old 08-07-07, 07:41 PM
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Tile? Tile? Tile?

OK I have two projects and many questions. The first is a leaking shower stall with a tile floor. I have no idea what type of tile but can say it's about 40 years old and splinters like glass when hit. While digging up this tile I have found sand(?) under it. What is this? Under the sand seems to be some type of board. What is this. This project is being done due to a leak that was not addressed by the previous owners. Are there good books to review on this subject? The second project is currently under a carpet. This is a concrete floor with what appears to be some type of vinyl tile. I want to put ceramic tile on this floor and was told by a friend that it would be ok since the tile is directly on concrete. Is this true? Obviously I have no knowledge of what I am getting into but thats not a first... Beer, patience and many breaks have gotten me through many similiar projects. Thanks in advanced for any info offered.
Old 08-07-07, 08:03 PM
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It's common to find "sand" under old tile like you have. Since there is sand in portland cement, it just dissintegrated over time.

As for the board, not sure, could be green board, but a pro will chime in shortly.

They have numerous tiling how-to books at big box stores that can be a good source of information.

It is recommended you rip up that old vinyl floor prior to laying tile. The thinset will adhere too the concrete better then vinyl.

You theoretically could lay the tile over the vinyl if the vinyl is well adhered and roughed up.

Hang in there, a flooring expert will be here shortly. The shower will be the toughest, but doable.
Old 08-08-07, 08:20 AM
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The mud floor you describe under the shower is probably a mix of portland cement and sand. Sometimes when these mud jobs are done the mix may not be drymixed well and you can get some sandy spots. No big deal though.

There are a couple of good books on ceramic tile. One of the better ones is "Tile Your World" by John Bridge. You'll find lots of good information there. Additionally, if you will be redoing your shower, John Bridge has a new book on kerdi membrane showers as well. Its the best way to go these days. Theres also a good tile book by Michael Byrne but its maybe a little outdated and needs some updating.

For good shower construction information check this link out. Its got some good details on shower pan construction including pictures.


As to the vinyl tile on the concrete slab, it definetly has to go. While they make thinset mortars that claim they can be used over vinyl, there are just to many other issues. For starters if you go over vinyl, you are depending on the bonding strength of the vinyl to the slab and you really dont know how good that is or how it may change with time and moisture conditions. Additionally, many vinyls are cushioned and tile will fail with movement. Tile is expensive and labor intensive so doing it right the first time will save you time, money and aggravation in the long run. You can set tile directly to a concrete slab but theres a better way. There are uncoulpling membranes like Noble CIS or Schluter Ditra that will keep minor horizontal cracking and slab movement from cracking your tile and grout. They are a little on the expensive side but great insurance for you new tile floor.

You have the right attitude for the job though. Beer patience and breaks eh.
Old 08-08-07, 03:02 PM
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Thumbs up

Thanks guys. The info is really appreciated even if I am groaning about taking up the old tile..
Old 08-08-07, 05:25 PM
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You got lots of good replys. I will say one thing however. I have seen many many showers sith the sand under them. 40 and 50 years ago it was a project to install a shower. They would put down treated plywood, then usually the hollow frame then they put in sand and leveled it, setting the shower on top of the sand. Now days they use floor leveler or concrete. The sand was the leveler. They would wet the sand to make it hard, then put down the tile. There you have it. Its time to upgrade. Have a good day.
Oh yes, take the vinyl off your concrete before tiling.

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