Re-tileing and reusing the underlayment

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Old 03-12-08, 11:05 AM
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Re-tileing and reusing the underlayment

You guys have helped me in the past so I thought you might be able to help a friend of mine... below is a question that he sent to me. I have always started my tile on a new base, so I am I hesitant to answer him because I don't have the experience. My initial thought is he is probably ok... but I wanted to hear what you experts think?

Thanks,

Steve

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I removed the tile from my kitchen floor last evening and have a question regarding preparing for the surface for the new tile. Under the tile just removed is 3/8" plywood nailed on top of the plywood sub floor. If I can get this surface relatively clean/free of thin set or whatever was used to set the old tile, is there any reason why I cannot use this surface to set my new tile? In an ideal situation, I know that a backer or cement board is best, but I cannot seam to readily find cement board in 3/8" thickness (only 5/16"), and although the tile to be set is the same thickness as the tile removed, I have a depth issue in matching to two doorway openings into a dining room to hardwood. Not to mention of course all the work in removing the plywood and cost and time associated with installing cement board.
 
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Old 03-12-08, 01:46 PM
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Steve

The short and sweet answer is yes he could get away with doing what he wants. Setting tile over plywood is really not the way to go although it certainly can be and is sometimes done. To expect to match up perfectly with height transitions to other flooring types and other rooms is not always possible, and there are a lot of different height transition solutions.

You might suggest to your friend that if he is able to clean up the floor down to the bare plywood that he can install an isolation membrane like ditra that will only add 1/8" in height or Noble cis that will add even less in height to the floor. That should put him pretty close to where he wants to be.

OK, you knew I couldn't just answer a question without asking one. So why is he replacing the tile. Was there a failure or is this just a change of scenery?
 
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Old 03-12-08, 07:33 PM
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Thanks for the info HJ... I'll pass it along.

Most times the right answer is not the easiest.

As far as I know, he's (or more likely his wife is) just looking for a change. They bought the house from one of their parents 10 or 15 years ago and I believe its the tile they inherited.

This guy is a pretty big DIY'er... I'm going to have to get him signed up on this web site so he can do his own talking.

Thanks again,

Steve
 
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Old 03-13-08, 07:06 AM
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Steve

You can also let him know that if he wants to set tile direct to plywood that a minimum 5/8" plywood subfloor and then another 5/8" plywood underlayment is required. You said he has 3/8" plywood underlayment so tecnically, he is not where he needs to be. Its hard to tell someone that he shouldnt do what has been done before and survived, as apparantly his floor has.
 
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