My floor "gives" too much for ceramic tile installation
lindacooper2
January 25, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We have purchased tile for 3 rooms that open into our family room. When the installer got to the bathroom, he said the floor has a little "give" to it. There is not enough support under the floor and it can't be corrected. They have already laid the cement board and can't put anything on top of that because it will change the level. There will be a new wood floor buttting up to that. My question is this. Is there any type of grout out there that we could use that can withstand a little give in the floor? Our installer suggested putting vinyl flooring, but we really want the ceramic tile in all 3 rooms. Is there anything we can do???
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PRO
Ironwood Builders
Talk to your tile setter about using an isolation membrane. Schluetter makes a product that is mortared down, the thinset tiled over. It will add about 1/4" to the overall height of the install....but we have used it going over a slim slat hardwood floor....wit no call backs. Also consider changing the tile to a smaller format. Hairline cracks in grout are not great, but they are better than cracks through the body of a large tile.
January 25, 2013 at 4:39am   
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lindacooper2
thanks. I forwarded this to our tile setter. We have a large 16 X 16 tile. There was a 12 X 12 ceramic tile previously in that bathroom. The tile did not crack but the grout was all cracked.
January 25, 2013 at 5:09am   
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www.newjerseyaccents.com
It seems to me you are just going to make matters worse by not correcting the basic problem. There has to be a way to add support to the floor. Is there water damage? The larger the tile you use, the greater the chance of it cracking.
January 25, 2013 at 5:20am   
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Ironwood Builders
Make sure all your thinset and grout are latex modified!
January 25, 2013 at 5:30am   
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lindacooper2
The previous owner added this room to the house. The contractor cut the floor joist to install the heating duct. We have been able to pull up the floor in the other areas and add support. But this one area is directly over the furnace and there is no room for support. The only way to add support is to add another board on top. But that makes a "step up" into the bathrooom. No good. The give is slight. There was ceramic tile there before we took it up to replace it. It was down for 26 years and the tiles never cracked, but the grout did. My husband and I are both about 165 lb and there is no give when we walk on the floor. But our installer is 275 and it gives when he walks on the floor. We could have heavier guests. I guess I am just trying to decide whether to go with the ceramic tile again or if I should just buy vinyl.
January 25, 2013 at 5:32am   
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Ironwood Builders
When I talked about a smaller tile, I meant a much smaller tile! Consider a border in 6X12 to match up to your other tile, then do a "rug" of mosaic tile...maybe to match the shower floor. We've had beautiful results with a basket weave!
January 25, 2013 at 5:33am   
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lindacooper2
I just spoke with our tile company. They suggested an additive called 425. They said this will make the grout a little more flexible and less likely to crack. You add 2 qt to each 250 lb. bag of grout. I think we are going to take a chance and try this solution. What do you think?
January 25, 2013 at 6:20am   
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Ironwood Builders
Not familiar with 425. But additives that are engineered to do this should help. I still recommend the isolation membrane. Use a piece of slab at the threshold and bevel its edge to create a reducer. And is that a typo? You shouldn't need 250 lbs. of grout!
January 25, 2013 at 6:27am   
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lindacooper2
yeah, maybe so...25lb, maybe?? The floor is solid at the doorway. Where it gives a little is at the back of the room by the shower and toilet
January 25, 2013 at 6:29am   
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Twisted Minds Custom Designs
If at all possible in the basement can you access the exisitng floor joists, if so they may just be undersized or improperly spaced, they should be at least a 2x8 and 16" on center, if the spacing is right but the joist is underssized, you could sister a 2x8 or larger to exisiting joist with adhesive and mechanical fastening to beef up floor. The tile installed should have noticed the problem before installing your tile backer board. The Sclutter Ditra membrane will help with tile to floor movement, I use it on my jobs, but if the subfloor is not an accepted 3/4" and joist spacing and sizing are not to code, it will not guarantee you won't develop cracks. Hope this helps.
January 25, 2013 at 8:07am   
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
I agree with Ironwood, good advice IMO. The Schluter isolation membrane would be a good option. It would also be nice to use the border of standard size tiles and a "rug" of mosaics in the center to lessen the risk of cracking.
January 25, 2013 at 8:11am   
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lindacooper2
We are also checking into using an Adura tile (Mannington product). It has a click/lock feature that keeps it tight and you don't have to use grout. As to the floor joists, they just cut one out completely to run the heat duct. So, there is 32 in of unsupported flooring. We got back as far as possible to shore it up, but there is no room to get into the space directly over the furnace.
January 25, 2013 at 8:27am   
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Ironwood Builders
So in rereading, the HVAC contractor did a no-no and severed a joist, leaving no room to support the span? Try to get some screw type lally columns on either side of the cut joist in the basement. Tighten them up and see if it helps with the bounce. Cantilever off the column should do something for it. If it works, a more permanent footing should be poured to support the columns. Cut a 12X12 hole in the concrete floor (assuming there is concrete down there) and dig out a 12" deep hole. Fill it with fresh concrete and let is set up. install the lally columns again, then use 1/2" diameter Titen concrete screws from Simpson to hold the lally column to the concrete. Bolt the top of the lally to the joist. If that won't fit, will a 4X6 go across the last couple of joists? Then you are into 4 lally columns. Still use the isolation membrane and all previously discussed products!
January 25, 2013 at 8:30am   
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Cancork Floor Inc.
A cork glue down tile in the bathroom would have all the give you need without having to worry about cracking. Using a water based contact adhesive, you can glue down the cork tiles DIRECTLY to the backer board to produce a seamless, marble-like finish.

I also have stone-cork glue down tiles - they are thin layers of slate or mica over top a thin layer of cork. They are quite flexible...you have to see them to believe them. And they are installed in the same manner as a cork glue down floor!

iCork Floor LLC has 9 different types of cork glue down tiles. Cancork Floor Inc has 13 different glue down tiles.
www.icorkfloor.com
www.corkfloorsales.com

The install is a "contact cement" application. Tile installers (with a bit of patience) are well suited to this type of install. They have to be aware that the cork tile seams MUST BE TIGHT against one another because there is NO GROUT to help correct small install Oopsas.

This might just be the answer to this question. Cork is famous for it's flexibility. And the tiles should NOT add more than 1/8th inch height to your floor.
January 25, 2013 at 8:35am   
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lindacooper2
Wow! Okay. I don't totally understand all of that but will show it to my husband. And, I will take a photo from below.
January 25, 2013 at 8:36am   
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PRO
Twisted Minds Custom Designs
I know it sounds like a hassle, but could you get a qualified HVAC technician to come in, remove exisiting run, drop it down below floor joist level, and replace the missing joist. It might not bother you now to have it this way, but in the future, if you try to sell, a experienced home inspector will notice and it will directly effect marketability.
January 25, 2013 at 8:36am   
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lindacooper2
Thank you everyone. You have been a big help. Now I have some options.
January 25, 2013 at 3:55pm   
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