Tiling hallway to 3/4 hardwood floor

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Old 10-11-08, 02:20 PM
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Tiling hallway to 3/4 hardwood floor

Hello all,

Well, as the outside temperature starts dropping here in the Pacific Northwest, my indoor projects start taking precedence.

I have a entryway project that I've been planning since the summer, and now that I am focusing on that, I have some questions.

Here's what I have:

--23/32" of OSB/plywood subfloor
--3/4" to work with, as the entryway abuts an oak floor, and I want to match height to minimize any kind of transition
--Floor structure: 2x10s at 16" oc, with 13' spans
--I have 3/8" porcelain tiles (8x8)

So, my question is this:

Given that I have 3/4" to work with, and my tiles are 3/8", I only have 3/8" for thinset and backer.

What options do I have for properly backing and setting these tiles?


A "proper" install with 1/4" hardiebacker suggests 1/8" of subfloor thinset (1/4" troweled application; 1/8" compressed). This yields 3/8", so no room for the tile thinset application (remember that I only have 3/4" to work with and the tiles are 3/8" thick).

I could go with 1/4" hardiebacker with no subfloor thinset. Not optimal.
I could go with thinset + Ditra, but it seems to me that just Ditra on a subfloor might not be a great solution either.

Please advise.

Thanks. Rich
 
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Old 10-11-08, 04:40 PM
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I could go with thinset + Ditra, but it seems to me that just Ditra on a subfloor might not be a great solution either.
Say wha...? Ditra is excellent for installation over wooden subfloor.

We all would love to have a smooth transition to another floor, but that rarely happens. A good transition piece would make this transition almost unnoticeable.

Backerboard or Ditra will work perfectly. You will save alot of time and less backpain with the Ditra, but it's more expensive.
 
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Old 10-11-08, 06:33 PM
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@HotinOKC,

Thanks for the quick response.

After exploring my options, I'm leaning towards Ditra (the area is about 100 sq. ft. so it'll be pricey, but not a show-stopper).

Ditra installation suggests a 3/16" v-trowel for the subfloor thinset application. I'm wondering, since I need to make up a little height, would it be reasonable to lay down a subfloor thinset of 1/4" (compressed to 1/8") using a 1/4" trowel instead?

Or... am I asking for troubles. Never used Ditra before, so I'm definitely out of my element here.

Thanks.
 
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Old 10-11-08, 07:49 PM
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Use the V notch trowel like Ditra recommends. You could put a little extra thinset under the tiles if you are really concerned.

Ditra prices went up about a year ago. I think they make the stuff from petroleum, so that would explain it. It used to be around $55 for a 54 sqft roll, now it's more like $81 or so. Good stuff though.

Remember to use a powdered thinset, do not use anything in a bucket. You should be using a modified thinset under and over the Ditra. Versabond from HD is good, or a Mapai type product from Lowes.

Ditra is a breeze to install. Just follow the instructions.
 
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Old 10-11-08, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by HotinOKC View Post
Remember to use a powdered thinset, do not use anything in a bucket. You should be using a modified thinset under and over the Ditra. Versabond from HD is good, or a Mapai type product from Lowes.
Just a quick note. Historically, I use unmodified thinset (powdered stuff), so I'm pretty familiar with the stuff.

According to the Ditra site (http://www.schluter.com/5891.aspx), they recommend unmodified--not modified--thinset as well.

Do you have any personal experience that suggests that modified thinset performs better in a Ditra install?
 
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Old 10-11-08, 08:21 PM
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You use unmodified over concrete and MODIFIED over wooden subfloor. Schluter recommends using unmodified to set the tile, BUT, the only unmodified HD sells (CustomeBlend) is horrible. Using modified to set the tiles will not harm or change the installation, it just takes a bit longer for modified to dry. Schluter won't warranty the product if you use modified, but I've never seen a Schluter system fail regardless.

It's your call, but you would be fine to use Versabond.
 
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Old 10-13-08, 11:41 AM
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--23/32" of OSB/plywood subfloor
OSB or plywood, which one is it. This is not 2 layers right?

It wont be easy to get the tile to the exact same height as the existing hardwood. Some height difference should be expected. I think you will get closer with the cement board myself. 1/4" notch trowel under 1/4" cement board, the thinset will compress to less than 1/8". Additonally, for 8x8 tile, you can probably get away with 1/4" notch to set the tile as well. Trying to add "extra" thinset over ditra to get upto a certain height will not be easy and will likely result in some tiles sinking as the thinset cures. This method will usually result in unacceptable lippage for a diy'er.
 
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Old 10-13-08, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by HeresJohnny View Post
1/4" notch trowel under 1/4" cement board, the thinset will compress to less than 1/8".
Thanks for the response.

My first "test" using a small piece of hardi and thinset gave me a 3/8" profile (hence my comment of a 1/8" thinset thickness).

However, from speaking with others in the industry (and on other forum boards), the conclusion is that it's very possible that my thinset mix was too thick. I've done multiple installs on concrete (unmodified thinset), but never on wood. And, it turns out, one of the differences is the amount of wicking from the thinset into the wood that can occur.

So, I'm going to perform another test with a more "thinned" thinset batch and aim for a @5/16" profile (thinset + backer).

As for using a 1/4" trowel for setting tiles, I've been advised against this. Consensus seems to suggest that for an 8" (or larger) tile, a 3/8" trowel is required. Have you personally had luck setting larger tiles with a 1/4" trowel?

Also, good point on lippage.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 10-13-08, 12:18 PM
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So, I'm going to perform another test with a more "thinned" thinset batch and aim for a @5/16" profile (thinset + backer).
No need for "thinned". The thinset should hold the ridges. Did you screw the cbu to the plywood in your test.

As for using a 1/4" trowel for setting tiles, I've been advised against this. Consensus seems to suggest that for an 8" (or larger) tile, a 3/8" trowel is required. Have you personally had luck setting larger tiles with a 1/4" trowel?
For 12x12, Id say you probably need the 1/4"x3/8" trowel. You will probably be able to get away with 1/4" for 8x8. What do the backs of those tile look like? You can try the smaller trowel first and see if you are getting good coverage. Set a few tiles and remove them to verify that you are getting close to 100% coverage.
 
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Old 10-13-08, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by HeresJohnny View Post
Did you screw the cbu to the plywood in your test.

For 12x12, Id say you probably need the 1/4"x3/8" trowel. You will probably be able to get away with 1/4" for 8x8. What do the backs of those tile look like? You can try the smaller trowel first and see if you are getting good coverage. Set a few tiles and remove them to verify that you are getting close to 100% coverage.
Definitely secured the backer with screws, 8" o.c. Those costly specialty screws even.

Good idea to set and the check the back of the tile for coverage. As for the tile backs themselves, they have rather shallow diagonal grooves in them. I was considering a backbutter (or the technique of a backbutter, but using the flat of the trowel instead... I forget the term) to help guarantee the proper set.

Thanks.
 
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Old 10-13-08, 02:31 PM
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backbutter, but using the flat of the trowel instead... I forget the term) to help guarantee the proper set
backbutter is the term. Yes it certainly wont hurt.
 
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