Best way to deal with potential floor height differences

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Old 01-13-13, 10:44 AM
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Best way to deal with potential floor height differences

I had asked this question in a different thread but I think the question got kind of buried so I'll ask it separately. I am going to replace a linoleum bathroom floor with ceramic tile. This bathroom will meet a wooden hallway floor. The 2 floors are currently at the same height. I see the installation of a hardibacker and tile floor to create a least a 1/2"+ difference in height between the 2 floors. I know there are some thresholds made to handle the transition but I also know that since I haven't started with the hardibacker yet, I could remove some underlayment first and almost eliminate the potential height difference. Opinions on which way to go? I currently have lino over 5/8" plywood over a 1/2" plywood subflooring.

I see my options as....

#1 Remove lino and install hardibacker and ceramic tile over existing underlayment and subfloor and deal with the height difference with a threshold.

#2 Remove 5/8" underlayment and proceed with hardibacker and ceramic tile which would provide with very little floor height difference if any. Not sure though that the 1/2" plywood subflooring is sufficient for underneath the tile install.

#3 Something else that you guys suggest that I hadn't considered??

Also, I don't know if either the 5/8" or 1/2" plywood is "EG" plywood.

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-13-13, 11:06 AM
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As discussed in the other thread, you can remove the linoleum and it will give you 1/8". You cannot remove any subflooring, as you are at a minimum presently. Your best bet is to lay in your 1/4" cbu or Ditra and your tile, making the transition with a threshold.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 12:52 PM
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Thanks Chandler. Well, as predicted, the lino was glued like it was never supposed to be pulled up again. So......I have decided to tear out the 5/8" underlayment which will get rid of the lino. Part of my decision was based on previous comments about the underlayment needing to be "EG" plywood and also the majority of the commenters stating that the lino should really come out. When I pulled out the 1st piece of 5/8" by the door, I removed the threshold and saw that actually the hallway flooring was about a 1/8-3/16" high. Would 1/2" EG plywood be good to replace the 5/8" since I am a little high on the hallway side and that would lessen the difference when I finally get the tile in or should I just replace it with 5/8" EG plywood? Sorry for all the questions...I appreciate everybody's feedback.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 02:38 PM
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The most important part of the job is to make sure that you have adequate support for the tile. Get that right and everything else is gravy. I would not lay tile over 2 sheets of 1/2" plywood if that's what you are proposing. Whenever I have tiled a floor it's always been with 3/4" over 1/2". One of the tile pros might have a better answer.

I also never sweat any transition under 1/2". There are a lot of ways to deal with the difference. I usually just make my own threshold to accomodate the difference.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 05:53 PM
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Thanks Wayne. Appreciate the feedback.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 05:43 PM
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try2diy

Are you sure your subfloor is only 1/2" plywood. That is unusual and not something I ever see in my area. Standards require that a subfloor for ceramic tile be a minimum of 5/8" eg plywood. If you do have 1/2", you need to install minimum 5/8" eg plywood over what you have. If you have concerns about keeping the transition to other rooms to a minimum you can use ditra instead of 1/4 cement board. Ditra installed will add 1/8" in height to the floor. Ditra also does a better job of isolating the tile from the movement of the framed floor.
 
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Old 01-15-13, 08:09 AM
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Here's Johnny,

In my area 1/2" plywood is the most common subfloor when laid on 16" OC dimensional lumber joists. It's the minimum allowed by code and that's probably why it's the most common.
 
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Old 01-15-13, 10:25 AM
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Wayne interesting. In my area I see 5/8" or 3/4". In older homes I see plank flooring. But don't see 1/2" subfloors hear. TCNA requires minimum 5/8" subfloor for ceramic tile.
 
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Old 01-15-13, 11:39 AM
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Just a point of interest, we lay nothing but 3/4 (23/32) Advantech or equivalent for subflooring. I have never let 1/2" subflooring be a part of construction although it may be OK. Just don't like the feel of it.
 
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Old 01-16-13, 07:11 AM
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Yeah I was a little surprised but then not too surprised given what I've seen already with this builder. I'm half tempted to pull it up as well and just replace with 3/4 Advantech. If I did that, would I still need an underlayment below the hardibacker or could I hardiback right over top of the 3/4 Advantech?
 
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Old 01-16-13, 07:27 AM
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You could do that. You would have to cut the existing subfloor right to the walls. Then you would have to install blocking between the joists to support all the cut edges of the new plywood. Yes you can then install the 1/4" cement board over the 3/4" plywood subfloor.

Its not uncommon that ceramic tile floors are higher than the floors they transition to. There are ways to make the transitions look good against carpet, vinyl and wood. 1/2" height difference is really not a big deal and can easily be dealt with.
 
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Old 01-16-13, 08:07 AM
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When I started this, I had the linoleum over top of 5/8" which was overtop of the 1/2 subfloor. That was 1/8" low to the wood floor in the hallway. If I go with just the 3/4" that will lessen my transition diff to the hallway after I get the hardibacker and tile down.....which would be good. I think that's going to be my plan, guys. Rip out the rest of the thin subflooring and replace with 3/4 Advantech. I know I will also have to deal with the toilet flange but I'll post a question on that if I am unsure.

Thanks everybody!
 
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Old 01-16-13, 08:17 AM
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If you add 5/8" plywood to what you have now, then ditra you will still be a little below the wood floor. Thinset and tile will probably put you about 3/8" above the wood floor. Thats really not a big deal, but still your house and your call.
 
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Old 01-16-13, 08:41 AM
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I spoke too soon. I just looked at the bathroom again and realized I really would have to cut out the subfloor so I am going to pass on that as much as I wanted to get that 3/4" Advantech down. I'll put 5/8" down and see if I can get that in EG. I already have the 1/4" hardibacker waiting to go so I will stick with that as well. Difference between the 1/4" Hardi and the Ditra would be about an 1/8", Johnny?
 
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Old 01-16-13, 10:22 AM
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Ditra installed will be 1/8" in height. 1/4" cement board installed will be 5/16" to 3/8" in height. Don't forget that you have to bed the cement board in thinset when you are installing it. That'll add some height. While you install ditra with thinset, it really doesn't add any height to the ditra. It's a looser mix that embeds into the fabric backing of the ditra.

While ditra may seem expense, its a better product. Additionally, its easier to cut, weighs next to nothing and is easy to install. It'll save you time, save on floor height and will provide better uncoupling protection.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 09:33 AM
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Well the linoleum is gone

Ripped up the 5/8" plywood that had the lino on it and have started to put back down 5/8" plywood as the base for the thinset and Hardibacker. I am nailing down that plywood and will be screwing down the hardibacker. Somebody suggested I might want to add a bunch of screws to the 5/8" plywood as a better hold down since I plan to tile over it. I hesitate to do that as I know if I ever had to pull up that 5/8" again, it would make for a rough job.

Thoughts on whether to nail or screw plywood underlayment prior to a ceramic tile job?
 
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Old 01-26-13, 07:18 AM
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Transitions?

Laying 1/4" ceramic tile over 1/4" backer board. I have a 1/2" transition piece to go from the tile surface down to a hardwood floor. Can the transition be placed under the edge of the backer board to be able to finish the edge flush with the hardwood floor? Or will i need to mortar the transition piece to the top of the backer board? If so, how do i deal with the 1/4" of exposed board undrneath the tile/transition?
 
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Old 01-26-13, 09:57 AM
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Rather than hijacking this thread, let's stay with your original thread starter, and welcome to the forums: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/fl...ansitions.html
 
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