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Ripping up old Kitchen floor - need some advice



"Ripping up old Kitchen floor - need some advice," in the Ceramic and Stone Q&A forum, begins: "My wife and I have decided on a kitchen renovation. First we will be attacking the floor and replacing it ..."

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Old November 22, 2013, 07:47 AM   #1
coryg3232
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Ripping up old Kitchen floor - need some advice


My wife and I have decided on a kitchen renovation. First we will be attacking the floor and replacing it with new 18"x18" tile. It's about a 200 sq ft area.

First I'll give you the existing conditions:
Floor joists are 2"x10", 16 on center.
Subfloor is 3 1/2" x 1/2" tongue and groove
From subfloor up there is 1/2" or 5/8" plywood, sheet vinyl, 1/4" multiply, sheet vinyl, linoleum.

Needless to say the previous owners just continually kept going over layers instead of demoing existing materials.

Good news is, the existing stuff down to the plywood comes up extremely easy. But I have some questions regarding re-using the existing plywood. Other than glue the existing plywood looks like its in okay shape although I have not finished ripping the whole floor up. My plan is to strip everything right down to the plywood and install 1/4" hardiebacker down with a layer of modified thinset. Are there any concerns with my approach? Can I reuse this plywood subfloor, or should I tear it up and replace it? Other than a couple squeaky spots in the floor it seams very solid. I'm assuming that plywood is tacked down to the tongue and groove with some sort of adhesive because I see no nails or screws unless they are driven into the joists.

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Old November 22, 2013, 06:27 PM   #2
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coryg3232 said View Post

First I'll give you the existing conditions:
Floor joists are 2"x10", 16 on center.
Subfloor is 3 1/2" x 1/2" tongue and groove
From subfloor up there is 1/2" or 5/8" plywood, sheet vinyl, 1/4" multiply, sheet vinyl, linoleum.
First thing is that is not enough plywood for large format tile!

You need at least another 1/2", then the backerboard.

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Old November 22, 2013, 06:48 PM   #3
coryg3232
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So 1" of underlayment? Even if I am using 1/4" hardiebacker? Seems overkill. Also. That is going to put my floor nore than a 1/2" higher than it is currently

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Old November 22, 2013, 06:50 PM   #4
coryg3232
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Also...I sent away for an asbestos test today. Will have results by wednesday next week.

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Old November 23, 2013, 02:00 AM   #5
Tom Frykman
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Cory,

Calculating joist deflection is a first step in any tile installation. You already have most of the factors in your description to calculate that, and it's unlikely that you'd have a problem with deflection as you have 2X10 joists, but just to be safe - do you happen to know how many feet there are between the joist supports?

If using a cement board underpayment (CBU) like Hardibacker, I always shoot for a minimum subfloor thickness of 1-1/8" - not counting the CBU, as CBU's don't add any structural advantage. If you have 1/2" T&G planks and possibly 1/2" plywood over that, you haven't met the minimum.

(If you're concerned with the finished floor height, you might want to check into using an underlayment called Ditra instead of the CBU - it requires a lower minimum subfloor thickness. Check their requirements - it may help you out.)

What's more concerning, though, is that your plywood has no visible means of being anchored to the T&G. I would seriously look into that. Also, squeaky spots indicate movement, and ANY movement can result in cracked tile down the road.

Depending on the grade of plywood in there and whether it's glued to the T&G, I'd think hard about replacing it if this were my job.

Beyond all that, a super flat substrate is crucial to success when you're installing large format tiles - your goal is to make it like a pool table. You need to take a 10' straightedge and check the whole floor - the standard flatness recommendation is no more than a 1/8" variation over a 10' span, and no more than 1/16" over 2'. That's pretty flat. Patching or self-leveing may be required to achieve this, but you'll be happy to have it with tiles that size.

One last note - with tile that size, you'll want to back-butter a thin skim-coat layer of thinset onto the backs of the tiles with the flat side of the trowel before you set them into the combed thinset - it helps you get a proper coverage.

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Old November 23, 2013, 06:42 AM   #6
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I agree with Tom, Ditra is worth looking into. Schluter-DITRA - Schluter-Systems

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Old November 23, 2013, 03:27 PM   #7
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coryg3232 said View Post
Subfloor is 3 1/2" x 1/2" tongue and groove
From subfloor up there is 1/2" or 5/8" plywood, sheet vinyl, 1/4" multiply, sheet vinyl, linoleum.

I think I'd want to double-check that part about the 1/2" T&G. While it's possible, I can't recall ever seeing anything that thin with T&G on it. Maybe I'm just too young....

The size of the tile really has nothing to do with the deflection of the subfloor. The only catch would be if it's natural stone.

First check the joists as suggested, then check that subfloor to verify its thickness. If it is in fact 1/2", I think you're going to have to do more than just plop down another layer of 1/2" ply. It would have to be glued with a full spread and screwed with a tight schedule to sort of laminate them together. The other option is what Tom suggested, get rid of the 1/2" ply and start from there.

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Old November 24, 2013, 05:48 AM   #8
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Thought it was tonue and groove but maybe not. However i just inspected and its actually 3/4" thick. Joists are supported 6' from center beam that runs along the house. Center beam is 3 2x10s supported from basement floor with cement filled metal poles. Im going to rip up the old plywood and start fresh. What should I buy for new though? Thickbness and rating? I've already bought the 1/4" hardiebacker. Little worried about height though. Don't want to be higher than original. Good news is im stipping down an 1 1/4"s.
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Old November 24, 2013, 09:43 AM   #9
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If you don't have confidence in the existing plywood you can replace it with 1/2" plywood with face grade of a, b, or c. No d grade or sheathing.

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Old November 24, 2013, 10:21 AM   #10
Tom Frykman
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Good news is im stipping down an 1 1/4"s.
- glad this is good news, but I have no idea what it means.

Make sure that the diagonal planks, which appear to be nailed, are screwed into the joists with deck screws to tighten them down.

I always sacrifice my floor height aspirations for an optimal subfloor - the absolute minimum is 1/2" ply, but I would recommend a thicker material if possible.

If your floor height is still an issue, consider Ditra, or just put in reducers to adjacent flooring.


Last edited by Jim McClain; November 24, 2013 at 12:42 PM.
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Old November 25, 2013, 10:21 AM   #11
coryg3232
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Tom Frykman said View Post
- glad this is good news, but I have no idea what it means.
I just meant that with all the layers I'm stripping off, I've given myself 1 1/4" of floor height

Thanks for the tip about screwing down the diagonal subfloor. That is a good idea and should hopefully get rid of the squeakiness in a couple areas. Once I get the asbestos test results back tomorrow (hopefully the test is clean) I will start ripping that old plywood up so I can lay down some new 3/4 ply. I've almost got the first two layers of vinyl and luon up now. I've been cutting it into two foot sections with a circular saw. Coming up fairly fast.

Anybody ever use this before? 23/32 4 ft. x 8 ft. DryPly Sturd-I-Floor

Home Depot and Lowes sell it.

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Old November 25, 2013, 10:24 AM   #12
coryg3232
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Kman said View Post
The size of the tile really has nothing to do with the deflection of the subfloor. The only catch would be if it's natural stone.
It's 18x18 ceramic that we are putting down.


Last edited by Jim McClain; November 25, 2013 at 11:44 AM.
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Old November 25, 2013, 12:15 PM   #13
coryg3232
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One more question


Something I just thought of. I'm assuming the old 3/4" plywood underlayment is glued down to the diagonal board subfloor. If that is the case, won't I damage the subfloor when I'm ripping up the old plywood? What would be my plan B if that is what I run in to?

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Old November 25, 2013, 11:59 PM   #14
Tom Frykman
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Dimensions seem to have changed over the course of the thread and I'm a little confused as to exactly what you have there, so just to recap - the diagonal plank subfloor is actually 3/4", right? T&G or not? And the plywood is actually 3/4", T&G or not, and is it anchored to the planks with glue only?

Plywood is usually anchored to the sub with nails or screws - if it was just glued down it could prove nearly impossible to separate cleanly, and I'd be concerned with butchering the sub planks, too.

You have 1-1/4" to work with from what point - everything above the subfloor? You want to use 1/4" Hardibacker. How thick is your tile?

If you're trying to be exact with the height, keep in mind you have a thickness of thinset between the plywood and CBU, as well as thinset for the tile, in addition to the thickness of any patching or self-leveling you have to add to make the substrate flat enough to accommodate those large format 18X18's.

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Old November 26, 2013, 04:44 AM   #15
coryg3232
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The diagnal plank subfloor is 3/4", not tongue and groove. The plywood is 3/4", not sure yet if it's t&g but I doubt it. But its definitely glued to the subfloor. I cant tell Iif it is nailed as well. There's about 1/4" of glue on top and I haven't stripped the last layer of vinyl yet. Waiting for the asbestos tests to come back.

Yes 1 1/4"s from the subfloor. Don't have the tile in front of me but I think its probably 1/4". I don't need to be exact with the height. I just don't want to be much higher than the existing. Might have clearence issues with a shelf above the fridge.

I really don't want to have to replace my subfloor. So if getting that plywood up is damaging it, whats my next option?

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