Ceramic Tile w/ subfloor

Hi all,
Here is a question... In my bathroom, I have those thin, stick-on style tiles on the floor. I want to replace them with ceramic tiles.
Now, I have done this in another part of my house, where I put down cement backer-board, and then the tiles.
In my bathroom, under the cheap stick-ons, there is a thick, solid ply sub-floor. If I put cement backer board on it, and then tiling, the bathroom floor will be about 1/2 inch higher than the hallway floor, making me have to trim the bottom of my door, and have a bit of a bump between the seam.
What is the best way to do this?
1. Rip up the sub-floor, and replace with cement backer 2. Do not use cement backer, and put the tiles on top of the sub-floor 3. Put the cement backer on top of the sub-floor, causing a significant raise of the floor
Any help is appreciated, Brian
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<< If I put cement backer board on it, and then tiling, the bathroom floor will be about 1/2 inch higher than the hallway floor >> << What is the best way to do this? 1. Rip up the sub-floor, and replace with cement backer 2. Do not use cement backer, and put the tiles on top of the sub-floor 3. Put the cement backer on top of the sub-floor, causing a significant raise of the floor >>
Lets add one more item: 4. Carefully analyze the reasons why you simply must have ceramic tile there. If it solves some problem, follow the best advice and do the project. If it is an ego or cosmetic thing, spend the money on something really important.
HTH
Joe
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Good point... (At first I thought your answer to be unhelpful... but...) The answer to why I must have ceramic tile? Because that is what I planned on doing since I got the house, and I have tunnel vision. :) Sheet-style Linoleum is much cheaper/easier/quicker/less tools and can look just as nice, if nice stuff is picked.
I might just do that :)
Thanks for forcing me to think about the most obvious, Brian
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Depends if you're willing to live with the bump (a reducer strip). If not and you want a truly flush floor then you need to rip out the plywood subfloor (which many have done) down to the joists. CUT the joists down half and inch (make sure it's level from the high point in the floor) with a saws all, skill or jig saw, and build the subfloor back up. More work but you might be happy in the long run. Ask yourself "Do I have plans to redo the abutting floor in the future? Any chance that it could go up 1/2 in the future?"

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Brian - We're just finishing the exact same project. We were told, by numerous sources, that you MUST use the backerboard if you are installing ceramic tile. It provides a good solid base that won't give and will help keep the tiles from cracking through use. If you don't want to deal with the bathroom floor being 1/2 inch higher, then you may be able to pull up one layer of the floor underneath and replace it with the 1/2 inch 'wonderboard' backerboard. That's what we were told. Is your bathroom above a basement? All the more reason to definitely use a backerboard.
We're opting to deal with the higher floor. We have a plush enough carpet in the hallway that the rise will not be too noticible. We haven't yet decided if we'll cut off and repaint the door or just install a new one. But no matter what you choose, you're in for a lot of work.
HTH
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On Sun, 08 Feb 2004 10:07:23 -0500, Brian Genisio

Four years ago in similar circumstances, I hired a professional tile layer who applied the tile directly on top of plywood underlay but using a high strength mortar. He said we would have no problem and so far he is right. I notice that a lot of installers around here use plywood instead of cement backer board.
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You don't necessarily need to apply backerboard but you do need to have a sufficiently thick floor with or without the backerboard I think that one and a half inch is sufficient. I have installed ceramic tiles directly on plywood and haven't had a problem. I a bathroom hardi board or backerboard is best because it is very water resistant. From time to time you might easily have water go on the floor and plywood can swell, rot and cause havoc.

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Brian:
Do you have carpet in the hallway outside the bathroom? If yes you can put in much thicker more comfortable pad to help meet the new tile floor and then have your carpet re-stretched.
You should take out the tile squares and consider using Strataflex http://www.nacproducts.com/strataflex.htm or Schluter Ditra http://www.schluter.com/english/products/2002/sectionf/ditra/601-index.h tml instead of the Hardi-backer. Watch the installation video for the Schluter product. I used the Strataflex and love the finished look. Only tip on Strataflex I can recommend is the Tavvy Tile Puck and patience when applying the mortar and tile around the seams. Its real easy to get a high or low spot in your tile around the Strataflex seams. Get these wonderful spacers for easy installation here http://www.contractorsdirect.com/cgi-bin/WebStore/index.cgi?use_frames=y es Finally these wonderful folks at http://www.johnbridge.com were by far the most informative and helpful when it came to teaching me all about tile. I highly recommend this video http://www.taunton.com/store/pages/070209.asp as it makes all the difference in the world when learning tile.
Im confident you can justify the look of tile especially if you do a diagonal pattern like I did in my kitchen. WOW! So much fire-truckn better than linoleum!!!
Darrell
There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation. -- WCF http://www.utahhousevalues.com
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Brian Genisio wrote:

Take a look for something like Rhino Board made by Custom Building Products. This is only 1/4" backer made for floors. This will at least reduce the difference between the hall and bathroom. 1/4" difference should be acceptable.
Details on these products can be found here: http://www.custombuildingproducts.com/product/Default.htm
RS
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