Subfloor is 2 layers now - possible to remove top layer?

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Old 04-06-09, 04:52 PM
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Subfloor is 2 layers now - possible to remove top layer?

Our house was built in 1970 and has hardwood everywhere on the main floor except the kitchen, which has linoleum. We are going to remodel the kitchen and I want to tear out the linoleum and install either ceramic tile or Duraceramic tile.

By removing a cold air return vent in the dining room wall, I was able to see a cross section of the kitchen floor. It has 2 layers of plywood totaling 1.25", then a .25" layer of luon, then the original linoleum and then a newer layer of linoleum on top of that. I will definitely remove the 2 layers of linoleum and the luon, but I'm wondering if it would be possible to remove the top layer of plywood subflooring in order to gain 0.25 - 0.5" inches of height in the kitchen (it's only 90.5" tall walls). Currently the kitchen floor is a little higher than the dining room and hallway, which are both hardwood.

According to the Duraceramic install instructions, for a wood subfloor it needs to be:
  • [*]
  • [*]

It also says:

Wood subfloors must be structurally sound and free of movement with at least 18 of well-ventilated air space below. Single layer floors and stripwood floors must be covered with a 1/4 or heavier underlayment to achieve a total subfloor thickness of 1. Position underlayment joints so they offset the joints in the tile by at least 3. Sand underlayment joints level and fill gaps wider than 1/32 with the recommended patching compound.

So with my current subfloor being 1.25" thick, and then adding 0.25" luon and then the Duraceramic tile, my new finished floor height might be higher than my current floor, which may pose a problem installing our 90" pantry cabinet.

So I guess my main question is, based on the year it was built, how feasible is it to be able to remove the top layer of the plywood subfloor? Would it likely just be nailed down? Or would it be nailed and glued? Or screwed?

If I could get it off, then I would probably need more than just 0.25" thick luon to meet the 1" total thickness required. Do they make luon in 0.375" or 0.5" thickness?

Just trying to figure this all out. Thanks.

Mark
 
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Old 04-06-09, 05:12 PM
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Hello Mark!

Normally, I would say do not worry about the height of the floor, but seeing you have a lower ceiling, I can understand your dilemma.

You really won't know how the two ply's are joined, i.e. nailed/glue, or just nailed, until you get to work. I'de suggest just ripping up all that vinyl and luan and install your new floor over that.

Just set your saw to the depth of the vinyl/luan and cut it into manageable sections.
 
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Old 04-06-09, 06:08 PM
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I'll have to cut the vinyl and luan out with a saw? I thought I'd be able to pry it up with a long handled scrapper. Would that not work?

Mark
 
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Old 04-06-09, 07:10 PM
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Hi Mark2,

You can pry the luan with vinyl still attached, but might be easier if you cut it first.

You said you wanted either ceramic or duraceramic. Have you decided which yet? There is a big difference in quality between the two.

Jaz
 
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Old 04-07-09, 06:22 PM
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Leaning towards Duraceramic since it's warmer to the touch (no budget to install heating coils under ceramic) and also softer under foot, which would also help to keep things from breaking if dropped on it.

Wouldn't the total thickness of a ceramic floor being thicker than the Duraceramic?

Are there some other man made tiles like Duraceramic I should consider? Is Duraceramic really bad?
 
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Old 04-07-09, 07:49 PM
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Ok, DuraCeramic can look pretty nice. Do you know anyone that has lived with it for 5 years or longer? Neither product produce heat, so they are always at the same temp. However you are right that the softer imitation product will likely "feel" warmer because it does not conduct good heat transfer. Why would you need heat wires under real tile? The world has lived without them for thousands of years, maybe sock or slippers?

Q. "Wouldn't the total thickness of a ceramic floor being thicker than the Duraceramic?"

A. It probably should be, but not necessarily. Both require about the same subfloor system and sheet thickness, I believe. You can install real tile over a 1/4" cement backer, or save 1/8" with Ditra membrane, then the tiles. So after the subfloor figure from 1/2" to 5/8" thickness. Sure beats the old "mud" method which raised a floor 1 1/4-1 3/4" or more.

The comment about items not breaking over Dura is kinda funny. Maybe you got that from a salesperson? I think the difference is whether the item breaks into 10 or into 20 pieces. In any ase, NOT a valid reason to select one of the other.

The fact that ceramic is hard IS why it is best. Soft floors wear out sooner, are more easily damaged, require more maintenance, AND unlike ceramic or natural stone floors Dura does NOT add value to your home.

One more bit of info. In a "Life Cycle Cost Comparison", 17 types of floor coverings were compared to find the cost "per sq. ft. per year". The results are interesting;

The real cheap VCT tiles were actually the MOST expensive to own @ $1.83. Sheet vinyl @ $1.39. Laminate @ $0.71. Marble @ $0.61. Natural Hardwood @ $0.42. Glazed Porcelain @ $0.35 and Glazed Ceramic @ $0.32 per sq. ft. per year of life.

So the cheapest to buy initially (VCT) is the MOST expensive to own. The most expensive initially (marble) is on the lower end of the scale at .61 cents to own, and the cheapest to own is Ceramic tiles. And ceramic tiles add value to your home.

Jaz
 
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Old 04-08-09, 07:47 AM
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What I meant by Duraceramic being warmer to the touch than ceramic is the store had a display with each tile side by side just sitting there in the store's ambiant temperature and the Dura was much warmer to the touch than the ceramic. We have ceramic in our bathroom from previous owner's remodel so we know how cold it can be.

What is VCT stand for?

We are not opposed to ceramic/porcelain, and in fact that may be the way we end up going since we're not 100% happy with any of the Dura colors. My main concern is again the thickness of the finished ceramic floor since I don't have much room to play with as my current walls are 90.5" tall and I need to be able to get a 90" cabinet in there.
 
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Old 04-10-09, 06:19 PM
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VCT is Vinyl Composition Tile. It's the grade of tile you wouldn't want to install in a nice kitchen.

Years ago a similar type of tile was VAT, Vinyl Asbestos Tile. That was the "builder basic" some builder used in kitchens, but was mostly used in basements cuz it was so cheap.

Don't know what to say about your low ceiling. Pretty sure it was the same height before the cabinets were ordered.

Jaz
 
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Old 04-15-09, 06:07 PM
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JazMan (and others),

What do you think of Armstrong's StrataMax vinyl sheet flooring?

StrataMax Hi-Performance Vinyl Sheet Flooring

We found a couple patterns in the "best" category that we like. 85mils thick and a 20 year residential warranty. Would you recommend this over Duraceramic?

We built our last house in 2001 and we upraded its vinyl flooring to the best that Armstrong had at that time, and when we moved out in 2008 it looked as good as the day we moved in.
 
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Old 04-15-09, 09:17 PM
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I don't do nor recommend vinyl or even laminates. There are two types of flooring I like, ceramic, to include natural stone tiles, and real hardwood. Both of these floors add value to a home.

There is nothing wrong with sheet vinyl floors. I just like the real thing.

Jaz
 
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Old 04-18-09, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
ceramic, to include natural stone tiles,
Do Ceramic end up being slippery in the kitchen? Or is that not a problem with higher end tiles? My limited experience with floor tiles is that they are very very slippery when wet. (The ones I used were only middle of the road tiles, not very high end)

I love my slate floor, it is never slippery and looks great, it was installed when the house was built 45 years ago. I had to aggressively clean off old sealers / waxes, and clean up the grout, but it is in excellent condition. If natural stone, slate is an option, I think it is a good one.

Jamie
 
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Old 04-18-09, 03:46 PM
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Ceramic tile floors can be as slip resistant as you chose. If you select a smooth surface it'll be slippery when wet, especially if it's a little greasy too.

Fact is that smooth ceramic actually is often less slippery then even a textured vinyl floor. I had that combination in the kitchen/floyer areas untill we got rid of the evil vinyl many years ago. The smooth ceramic in the foyer is still looking like new (almost) after 33 years. The kitchen floor has slight wavy texture, but smooth and you couldn't try to slip if you wanted.

Jaz
 
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Old 04-19-09, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
You can install real tile over a 1/4" cement backer, or save 1/8" with Ditra membrane, then the tiles. So after the subfloor figure from 1/2" to 5/8" thickness. Sure beats the old "mud" method which raised a floor 1 1/4-1 3/4" or more.

Hi again,

I was just reading through this thread again, and saw the above comments from you which are helpful. I am concerned about height, as I don't want my transitions to my other rooms to really off.

This might be something that could be helpful to the OP as well; As you mentioned the 1/8" Ditra is a height saving option, but I am wondering if the Portland self leveling underlayments are a viable option as well? Such as Mapei - Ultraplan 1Plus. Would a coat of 1/8" of a product like ultraplan lead to a superior substrate for laying down times since it is self leveling and should give you a very true surface?

Jamie
P.S. This maybe out of your area of expertise, I'd love to do a stained concrete floor, but am not positive it can be done with a total height of 3/4" or less over the sub. I was looking at Mapei Ultra Top, but am not positive it would work properly at that dept over t&g sturdi-floor.
 
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Old 04-19-09, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
Ceramic tile floors can be as slip resistant as you chose. If you select a smooth surface it'll be slippery when wet, especially if it's a little greasy too.

Fact is that smooth ceramic actually is often less slippery then even a textured vinyl floor. I had that combination in the kitchen/floyer areas untill we got rid of the evil vinyl many years ago. The smooth ceramic in the foyer is still looking like new (almost) after 33 years. The kitchen floor has slight wavy texture, but smooth and you couldn't try to slip if you wanted.

Jaz
I must have simply gotten a tile that was not slip resistant at all, so I will be very cautious in the future to check that out before I purchase. In one room is Konecto Prestige which has very good slip resistance to it (nice product, but not nearly as tough as some of the old inlaids), then you walk into the room with the tile, and even with slightly wet shoes, the words death trap are fitting.

Are there any good options with natural stone that are still around 1/4"? I love my slate, but it is set in a full thickness cement bed (2"-3"). That just isn't an option for the kitchen.

The neat thing about the slate is that it feels smooth, but is highly slip resistant, I removed all coatings and sealers from it, and it is still very slip resistant. Seems like it would be the perfect kind of product for a kitchen, though unsealed, it does not clean as easily as one would hope.

Thanks

Jamie
 
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