Cermic tile direction?

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Macman, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Macman

    Macman New Member

    Messages:
    102
    My brother is getting ready to lay ceramic floor tile (17 inch) in our kitchen. He has the expertise, so the only question that has really come up is whether to lay them in a "standard" direction, parallel to the walls, or to lay them at 45 degrees. This is an old house, old kitchen. The walls are not parallel, and it's an oddly shaped room due to a breakfast nook that was added, and a half bath that uses some of the kitchen space. No matter how it's done, the partial tiles at the edges will vary in size from one side to the other. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I think there may actually be a couple or more inches of difference over the length of the kitchen.

    My brother suggests laying them on the angle. Because he says it breaks up the pattern to the eye, making it less obvious that things aren't square. I tend to think that he's right, but before we commit to anything I wanted to run this by the good folks here. Any comments are appreciated.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,348
    Location:
    New England
    I concur, but it is harder to lay out that way, especially if going around corners. You'll get a lot of input at www.johnbridge.com where they specialize on tiling. Before laying tile, you may want to verify the joist and subflooring are up to the task. They have a deflection calculator and good industry guidelines from structural engineers and references available there as well. If you haven't checked them out, you may wish to.

    Large format tile requires a very flat surface (level is nice but flat is essential) to produce a good output without huge extra skill and time inputs, especially if you are leaning towards small grout lines (which will only work if the tile are very consistent in size and thickness, flat, and square). Some tile are very consistent, some are quite flexible from their stated sizes and can vary from box to box and from tile to tile within the same box.
  3. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    It's really up to you decide what will look best to your eye. That said, running tile on the diagonal will hide a lot of "irregularities". Running bond is another pattern that works well to hide problems. You might want to dry fit a few rows to see which pattern you like best.

    I'll take you at your word that he has the expertise neccessary to handle the installation!


    -Sam
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2008
  4. Macman

    Macman New Member

    Messages:
    102
    Actually, the prep work is all done. The joists are oak, native timber. Harder than nails (or screws, actually). I don't think there should be an issue there. My brother took all floor up to the joists, leveled, and then put down 3/4 ply and concrete board. I can appreciate what you're saying. I figure there will be just short of 1000 lbs of tiles on that floor.

    I think the idea of laying several rows of tiles out first is a good one. We'll probably do exactly that. It should be pretty straightforward, and should give an idea of what it would look like. I just thought that there might be hidden issues with laying on the angle that hadn't been addressed.

    Thanks.
  5. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Sounds like you're ready to go! One thing you might want to consider, seeing as how you're in an old house, is using an uncoupling membrane like Ditra. It really helps prevent "spider" cracks; particularly in older houses. In my neighborhood, all the houses are 60+ years old. Use Ditra - no cracks; don't use Ditra - you get cracks. If you want to learn more about Ditra, drop by the John Bridge forum that Jadnashua recommended.

    Good luck and have fun with your project!

    -Sam
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,348
    Location:
    New England
    Just to spot check...when you installed the cbu, did you put thinset down first and did you or are you planning on using the special reinforcement tape on the seams? Skipping these two steps is opening yourself up for failure. It's easier to tape the seams as you tile, otherwise, you can end up with speed bumps - those are really nasty with big tile.
  7. Macman

    Macman New Member

    Messages:
    102
    Yes, he thinset the concrete board to the plywood and then also screwed it to the plywood, but he did the taping up front. It's his opinion that when he puts the polymer reinforced goop (Versa-something? Sorry, not my field) that the "speed bumps" won't be an issue. Thanks for the interest and concern. Your comments are well taken.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
  8. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Versabond - it's good stuff. Sounds like your brother knows what he's doing! :D

    -Sam
  9. Macman

    Macman New Member

    Messages:
    102
    Yeah, I sprung for the highest of the three grades available. The difference was only about $30 on the job, and I figured in 20 or 30 years it wouldn't make a hoot bit of difference that I spent the extra little bit, but it might make the difference in being a really good installation. At least that's the theory. :)
  10. GregO

    GregO Member

    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    Virginia
    whoa

    What about your floor joist size, span, and spacing? I'd run your figures through the "deflecto" on the JohnBridge forum - personally, I would not run any tile size, especially large format on only 1 layer of plywood (even 3/4"). I'd add another layer of plywood. Regardless, at a minimum, I'd absolutely use Ditra underlayment if your framing specs out ok otherwise; concrete board is a good material, but it's not enough. Any flex in that floor can telegraph through to the grout and even the tile. Do it right; do it once. Good Luck. Greg

    After rereading all of it, if all the CBU is down, you can still use Ditra atop of that. I'd recommend at least looking into it and the deflecto to cover all bases...


    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  11. Macman

    Macman New Member

    Messages:
    102
    My brother had a lengthy conversation with a representative of Schluter. Not only did they talk about Ditra, but talked in depth about the whole project, and how and why things were done the way they were. Bottom line is that the rep said that what my brother has done is solid, and should be no problem with either 13 or 17 inch tiles. He also said that given the prep work, Ditra is not necessary. While I do appreciate all input, we're convinced that he has done his homework and that we are ready to proceed.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,348
    Location:
    New England
    NOrmally, you'd only use one or the other - Ditra or cbu. There are possible reasons why both might be useful, but it is fairly rare. Personally, I think Ditra is a better choice than cbu, but that is a personal matter. Many reliable installs have been made with both.

    For those wondering about what we're talking about, check out the video at www.schluter.com on Ditra, and how it works.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,298
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    tile

    You will normally have a lot more waste laying it diagonal.
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,737
    Location:
    Central Florida
    That wasn't my experience at all. We just finished an 1800 sq ft project (started 4 1/2 years ago) laying 16" tile on the 45 diagonal. All seams lined up throughout the house starting with one master tile. The tile place sold us enough tile to allow for 15% waste. I never threw any scrap away until the bitter end, and we've got 220 sq ft left over -- my waste was 2.8%. I'm sure that if I'd hired a pro, it would've been much closer to 15% -- I've seen those guys work :eek: -- if you're paying for the tile yourself, you throw a lot less on the scrap pile.
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