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Ceramic Tile On Established Concrete Pad (zero cracks) - Uncoupling Required?

Ceramic Tile On Established Concrete Pad (zero cracks) - Uncoupling Required?

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Old 01-27-15, 04:05 PM
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Ceramic Tile On Established Concrete Pad (zero cracks) - Uncoupling Required?

As I ponder a small DIY tile job and get ready to hire a pro for a big one, I'm getting mixed signals on whether or not an uncoupling layer is necessary. I'm in Las Vegas, NV, where my house and everything pretty much is built on a concrete slab. Mine was poured in 2000, and has no cracks. The approximate 420 s.f. area was originally carpeted, then had laminate. Now it's time for ceramic tile. Another 450 s.f. or so of the ground floor has ceramic tile that is 15 years old and there are no cracks. I expect the builder just used Thinset over slab, but I'm not positive. My only other tile DIY was in another house, where I laid a kitchen in Saultio tile direct on the slab. Similar situation, but I'm not there 15 years later to know if the slab or the tile moved. It certainly was fine for the additional three years I lived there.

Do I need a uncoupling layer? If so, what are the options aside from something expensive like Ditra? I'm using Ditra upstairs in a bathroom with OSB subfloor, but the area is small and the investment makes a lot of sense as the tile is more expensive too.
 
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Old 01-27-15, 04:42 PM
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Others may disagree, but I don't see a need in an uncoupling layer on established concrete as you describe. 420 sf is a large area, so you don't have control joints, right?
 
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Old 01-27-15, 05:17 PM
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Pristine slab, no cracks, no signs of movement...Go forth an tile my good man (or woman). You also have the benefit of a previously tiled area that has shown no signs of issues. I would move ahead with the install.
 
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Old 01-27-15, 07:01 PM
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It's a living room/dining room with small pony walls (18" protrusion, 14" thick) topped with a pillar on each side at the halfway point, distinguishing the division. Otherwise one big slab with no control joints.
 
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Old 01-27-15, 07:29 PM
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Thinset the tile directly on the concrete.
 
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Old 01-27-15, 07:30 PM
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Although Ditra would be insurance just in case, I also think you would be fine to go over this slab. Why not use one of the high-end modified thinsets that claim crack prevention. Custom's Flexbond and Megaflex come to mind. Both should be available from your local orange-vest big box or a real tile store near you.

Be sure to leave the proper gaps at the perimeter and all other vertical objects. Leave a gap where this tile blends to other tiled areas too. You also need expansion joints every 20-24 ft. in the field, much closer if the floor gets direct sun much of the day.

Have you decided on a specific tile yet?

Jaz
 
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Old 01-28-15, 07:53 AM
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Thanks for the input everyone. Jazz, I hadn't thought about expansion, so I'll search around the forum to see how it's done. The room is basically 33' x 13' with some variation due to a window pop-put and the landing area. Not sure it makes any difference, but I will be placing a pool table on the tile.

And no, I haven't selected tile yet. That's the hardest part, since I don't have an artistic bone in my body! We've been looking at model homes to see what's current and what we like. Need to visit some design centers too. Always open to tips in the tile selection process.

As I mentioned, this will be a pro job because I know my skill level is not up to such a large room, and I have competing projects elsewhere in the house. As I seek estimates, it will be good to know the best practices in order to make sure each tradesman has the same factors in bid. I appreciate all the advice that will help me make informed decisions.
 
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