Author Topic: Question about bathroom floor  (Read 374 times)

BlueHouse

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Question about bathroom floor
« on: April 14, 2019, 06:01:55 PM »
I have a bathroom floor in a condo that I have already had replaced once with new tile and the tile has cracked again.  It's been at least 5 years and the crack is relatively stable (not getting bigger), but the crack occurs in straight lines and breaks ceramic tile in half.  When I had it redone the first time, I went from 4 inch tiles to 12 inch tiles.  The contractor told me that the subfloor was supposed to be plywood but was instead strandboard. 
My suspicion is that the condo's two sections (joined at a fire wall) has some sort of expansion joint and that the two sections of building run right through my bathroom.  If this theory is right, the bedroom would have the same issue, but it has hardwood flooring and isn't visible. 

In any case, I'm now preparing for sale or rent and need to fix the floor (if I sell).  I've had two estimates for floor replacement.  Home Depot says they will only lay down carpet or a floating floor because of the subfloor quick crete (this wasn't a problem for the first floor repair -- I seem to remember them using chisels to pull up the quickcrete in the kitchen, but wasn't around for the bathroom. 

Estimate #2 says he can't lay a floating floor because there are two doors in the small (<48 SF) space.  He recommends putting down a vinyl plank by glueing it directly on top of the existing tile. 

If I let him glue this down, am I making more problems down the road if it eventually has to be repaired again? 

Any suggestions?

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Question about bathroom floor
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 09:08:28 AM »
I have a bathroom floor in a condo that I have already had replaced once with new tile and the tile has cracked again.  It's been at least 5 years and the crack is relatively stable (not getting bigger), but the crack occurs in straight lines and breaks ceramic tile in half.  When I had it redone the first time, I went from 4 inch tiles to 12 inch tiles.  The contractor told me that the subfloor was supposed to be plywood but was instead strandboard. 
My suspicion is that the condo's two sections (joined at a fire wall) has some sort of expansion joint and that the two sections of building run right through my bathroom.  If this theory is right, the bedroom would have the same issue, but it has hardwood flooring and isn't visible. 

In any case, I'm now preparing for sale or rent and need to fix the floor (if I sell).  I've had two estimates for floor replacement.  Home Depot says they will only lay down carpet or a floating floor because of the subfloor quick crete (this wasn't a problem for the first floor repair -- I seem to remember them using chisels to pull up the quickcrete in the kitchen, but wasn't around for the bathroom. 

Estimate #2 says he can't lay a floating floor because there are two doors in the small (<48 SF) space.  He recommends putting down a vinyl plank by glueing it directly on top of the existing tile. 

If I let him glue this down, am I making more problems down the road if it eventually has to be repaired again? 

Any suggestions?

It is definitely a subfloor issue. The OSB vs plywood is a non-issue in my experience if done properly. Still there should be a layer between the tile and the OSB/plywood. Most folks use at least 1/4 cement board. I prefer to use an uncoupling layer (the last one I used was ditra)

The uncoupling membrane helps prevent small movements in the subfloor from being transmitted to the tiles an grout. But it will not help if there is too much deflection in the framing.

Vinyl is much more forgiving of sub-floor moment, I would think that is vinyl will not work you are looking at a structural issue. I've never seen it done over tile and, without a bunch of research, would worry that the grout line would telegraph through.

Glued vinyl is a PAIN to get up. The floor in my kitchen looks like this floor joist, 5/8 plywood, 5/8 plywood running the opposite direction, glue vinyl floor, 5mm underlayment glued vinyl floor, 3/4 hardwood. Two layers of flooring decided to leave the only vinyl and floor over it (in fact 7/16 OSB was added to level the rest of the rooms on the floor with the kitchen prior to hardwood rather than dealing with vinyl removal).

If they add a underlayment on top of the tile before adding vinyl you may end up with a small height transition.

 

J Boogie

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Re: Question about bathroom floor
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 09:46:28 AM »
What lazy contractor would put tile, especially 12" directly on a subfloor? The OSB isn't the problem, like another poster mentioned the lack of decoupling layer is the problem.

I too would find a quality contractor that is interested in pulling up the tile and laying some Schluter Ditra and putting some tile on top of that.

You're in a HCOL area. A bathroom with a vinyl floor that is 1" higher than other flooring reeks of amateur remodeling and you wouldn't want buyers to have any reason to doubt the quality.

If you're going to rent it and don't want to spend now, do nothing - maybe throw some color matched caulk or grout in the cracks so the renter thinks it's fine. I'm not sure what the best option is for hiding the appearance of cracks but an internet search could help.

If you're going to sell, do it right.

BlueHouse

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Re: Question about bathroom floor
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 10:01:57 AM »
Excellent advice guys...Thank you!  Yes, I do have to remember that I need it to look professional and not low-qual.

Papa bear

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Re: Question about bathroom floor
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2019, 08:26:18 PM »
I prefer a 3/4 subfloor and 1/2 concrete board for tile.

Is this bathroom floor, by chance, in a converted attic space?  3rd floor attics in old buildings had smaller lumber as those spaces werenít necessarily meant for living and live loads.  I donít recommend tile in this situation, vinyl is the way to go.  But you need to tear out the old tile first.


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Dicey

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Re: Question about bathroom floor
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2019, 08:36:24 PM »
I love LVP, but I share the same telegraphing concerns that @BudgetSlasher raised.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Question about bathroom floor
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2019, 05:22:19 AM »
I prefer a 3/4 subfloor and 1/2 concrete board for tile.

Is this bathroom floor, by chance, in a converted attic space?  3rd floor attics in old buildings had smaller lumber as those spaces werenít necessarily meant for living and live loads.  I donít recommend tile in this situation, vinyl is the way to go.  But you need to tear out the old tile first.


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I would not limit that statement to older buildings. My house was built in the 90's (young by the housing stock around here) and the floors are framed with 2X12, but that attic is framed in 2x8; I would have to double up the rafters to make a code-compliant joist if I ever converted the attic (or really wanted to add a floor for readily accessible storage).

Papa bear

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Re: Question about bathroom floor
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 06:52:00 AM »
Thatís true.  They werenít built for everyday living in old or new houses.

But in old houses, where there is a staircase and pine plank wood floor laid on top, it makes it much easier for you to ďconvertĒ the space to living.  I donít see that really in newer built homes. 

Iíve done it many times, but you need to be careful of materials in bathrooms.  There will be much more floor deflection.


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