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Charles
Charles, Engineering Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
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Experience:  20+ years in most phases of construction
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I am replacing a ceramic tile kitchen floor approx. 12 x 11.

Resolved Question:

I am replacing a ceramic tile kitchen floor approx. 12 x 11. There are a few randon cracked tiles. I have had three estimates from well recommended tile installers each who proposes a different method of installation of the new tiles.

1. Remove all the existing tiles

2. Install 1/4" hardiboard or similar product. Lay new tiles with thinset and then grout.
or
3. Install 1/8" cement board and overlay with a product called Dutile, then thinset and grout.

or
4. Put a thicker layer (1/2"?) of thinset and place the tiles on the thinset (no other layers of materials) and grout.

Which do you think is the best method?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Charles replied 3 years ago.

Charles :

Hello, and thanks for your question! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am happy to assist you today!!

Charles :

raised floor?What is the sub-floor made of? Are the tiles going on a concrete slab or being installed over a

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Expert:  Charles replied 3 years ago.

Hi, Looks like you got a little ahead of me, lol

 

Is the house on a concrete slab or a raised foundation?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Raised foundation, on plywood subfloor maybe with a luan overlay on the plywood but I am not sure about that.
Expert:  Charles replied 3 years ago.

In that situation, I would go with the 1/4" Hardi-board.

This will distribute the weight of the tile and prevent cracks from happening.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What do you think about the Dutile stuff?
Expert:  Charles replied 3 years ago.

Dutile? or do you Daltile?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I think I mean Durock. Sorry. It is some kind of flexible membrane.
Expert:  Charles replied 3 years ago.

ok, lol, I never heard of a product called Dutile and thought and was thinking I missed a new product, lol

I only use Drarock in wet locations like bathrooms. Its actually cement board and not flexible, but because its a cement product it works well in wet locations. You can use it in the kitchen but the extra cost is not really needed. I would use the Hardi board.

 

And make sure they seal the grout to keep the grout from staining.

 

I hope this helps answer your question, Feel free to ask me additional questions about your tile job. I am happy to assist you.

 

Thanks again,

Charles

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you. One last question. The tile store says the new grouts do not need sealing. One other person said if it is sealed it has to be redone each year. It is very difficult for a layman to know what is best when there are so many conflicting viewpoints.
Expert:  Charles replied 3 years ago.

It really depends on the location and how much foot traffic the floor gets. Wet locations like bathrooms I say seal it every 1-2 years. If you don't have allot of people in your family then the foot traffic will be less and that means that the wear on the flooring and grout is less so it will last longer.

There are some grouts that you don't "need" to seal but I still do just as a habbit unless the manufacturer of that grout says not to.

 

Thanks again,

Charles

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sorry to continue with this thread, but I am still uncertain what to do. The two methods being proposed are using durock and ditra. My understanding is that durock is a cement board product while ditra is a membrane type. The underfloor is wood of some kind. Also, is there a differnce between durock and hardiboard?

Thank you.
Expert:  Charles replied 3 years ago.

Hello again,

Dura-rock is a cement board used in wet locations and the hardiboard is a compressed fiber board. In the bathroom, I would use the Dura-rock.

While both are very good products, I found that the cement board just works better in the wet locations.

In locations such as kitchen floors the hardiboard is fine and you should be happy with the results.

I use liners in areas where we have earthquakes or allot of ground movement and the tile is going over concrete. This way if the concrete cracks the crack will not be as likely to transfer up into the tiles.

In your situation, I would just stay with the hardiboard. As long as your subfloor is good and strong you should be ok, but if the subfloor moves at all then you will want to beef up the subfloor so it has none flex at all. If it does flex then your tile WILL crack over time. The subfloor should be a minimum of 3/4"

 

I hope this helps, Thanks again and I look forward to your reply,

 

Charles

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks Charles. The existing floor has 4 cracked tiles (thin cracks) over a 14 year period. Three of the 4 are in one general area. I am in Massachusetts and we seldom have earthquakes - at least none of any serious magnitude. I believe the sub-floor is plywood with a possible luan overlay. It was a long time ago so I don't really remember. It seems that until the old tile is removed and the condition of the sub-floor is known, one doesn't really know which is the best product to use. The dilemma is that each contractor recommends a different approach with different prices so it is difficult to decide which one to hire. I really appreciate your advice.
Expert:  Charles replied 3 years ago.

Hello again,

Well the hairline cracks that you describe, located close to each other then you will probably find that you have a weak spot in the subfloor. Unless its a serious problem you can solve those most times by adding a support under the house in that are. Its a cheap easy and permanent repair.

How old is your home?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Built in 1960.
Expert:  Charles replied 3 years ago.
Hi,
Well the house is over 50yrs old now so it could probably use a good checking out in the crawl space. If you make sure the floor joist and subfloor are good then you won't have the cracking issue again. What we usually find is that a joist has sagged or a footing has settled. Both are easy fixs at minimal costs most of the time.

I hope this info helps.
Let me know how everything goes, and I'm here if you need help or advice with it.

Thanks again,
Charles
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
There is a full basement under the kitchen. We will check the joists, etc. but I don't really think there will be visible defects. More likely a slight movement of the sub-floor over time. But the question remains, which is the better product to use - cement board or ditra - when the full extent of the problem won't be known until the old tile is removed - to be on the safe side.
Expert:  Charles replied 3 years ago.
Use the cement board. With the tiles already cracking you will want the added strength from the cement board
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