Kitchen Floor Tile: Layers


Could someone explain to me the layers that go into tiling a kitchen floor?
We have linoleum in the kitchen right now, under that is hardwood, and under that is the subfloor. We are going to be taking up the hardwood, planing it, and then using it in other areas of the house where we are going to be planing, sanding, and staining hardwood.
I was told by a gentleman at Home Depot about two months ago and with all the remodeling we're doing in the house I have completely forgot... I have all of the supplies though.
Is it subfloor, then 1-1/4" ply, then flex-thinset, then hardiboard/ backboard, then more thinset and then tile?
Any recommendations within these steps regarding how to properly lay it down would be very helpful too. Thanks!
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Why are you doing that? How do you know what is under the linoleum?
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I'd suggest you leave this to a pro, but they're so few and far between these days, judging by the crap layouts I see everywhere, you can probably do as good a job if you take your time. I can't make you a journeyman, but here's some tips.
You -can- just screw the cement backer board to the subfloor and fill and smooth the seams with thinset as you lay the floor, if your floor is flat enough.
The floor must be absolutely as flat as you can get it, and clean enough to eat off. You may have to fill low spots with thinset. Wet the subfloor to prevent it from sucking all the water out of the thinset and preventing it from adhering.
Don't start in the center of the room as most if not all guides will suggest. You'll probably end up with cuts at every wall that way, and not only does that look like crap, it wastes a lot of tile. Ideally, you want as few cuts as possible/practical.
Layout your tiles, dry, in a + pattern, beginning at the most prominent wall, usually, that's the entrance wall, and see where your cuts are going to fall. You want whole tiles where they're most visible and cut tiles where they're most hidden.
Depending on the size of the room, don't end up needing to cut a 1" piece, adjust the spacing across the room to fall to a whole tile. Figure this out before you put down the backerboard, and check it again once you lay the backerboard. That way you're not stomping all over the board and maybe cracking the corners and/or edges.
Once you decide on your layout, snap some lines.
Use a 3/8" notched trowel, nothing bigger, nothing smaller.
I used to keep the tile in a bucket of water, you can just wet the back with a sponge.
Set the tile into the thinset. I used to give them a few slaps with a piece of 2x4 18-24" long. Keep one end on the floor and slap with the other, not too hard. You -can- gently lay some plywood down if you need to walk on it but it's best not to. Let it set for 24 hours, minumum.
Don't grout dry tile. Wet the joints (and the whole tile, that doesn't matter) with a sponge. Make sure the joints are filled, go over them a few times from different directions.
When you remove the excess grout leave the joint as close to the surface of the tile as possible. A slight depression is ok but if you wipe out too much you'll have a hard time cleaning it for a long, long time.
If you're using rough surface tile, keep wiping the grout off the face until it's gone. Change the water often, and keep wiping, gently, making sure to not wipe grout out of the joints.
Let dry 24 hours, minimum. Do not walk on it. Final clean with a dry towel.
Good luck. -----
- gpsman
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Thanks for the replies, I appreciate it.
We are doing a lot of remodeling (redoing floors, walls, cabinets, countertops...).
We took up all the carpets upstairs and downstairs and we will be taking up all the hardwood, planing it, sanding it, using Bona Dri- Fast stain and then some Traffic on top. We decided against hardwood in the kitchen and this will work well since we will have loss after we plane the wood and then knock off the end of each plank to butt them up against eachother smoothly. We bought some PEI 5 tile for the kitchen.
My brother-in-law will be helping us (aka doing most of the work) as he just finished completely remodeling his house (moving stairs, refinishing hardwood floors, laying tile...).
I can assure you the subfloor is NOT flat as there is at least an 1" to 1-1/2" decline within the kitchen alone.
I'm not as worried about HOW to tile but what exactly are the different layers... can I put plywood over the existing subfloor, then use thinset on top of that and then hardiback over that to basically make the floor level?
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snip>

Slope is fine, level isn't important, as long as the floor is flat.

Nope. You can add as many layer as will fit, and the joists will support, but the floor isn't going to become more level, and you can't shim it. You''ll need some sort of leveling compound, and a lot of it, and skills you probably don't have. The floor can fall 5 feet in 20 out of level, it won't make any difference to the tile, as long as its flat.
If you want to rip up the sub and shim the joists, you could do that, but I'd think the entire house was similarly out of level, and consider jacking that to level and working from there, which sounds beyond your (and mine) level of expertise (pardon). -----
- gpsman
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Joisting the house is definitely out of question.
I'm seriously considering taking out the old subfloor and putting down some exterior ply instead. This way we can shim the joists; what is the best way to shim the joists? I've read that using roofing tile works very well when trying to level a room for hardwood... does that apply hear?
Still, if someone could let me know what the proper levels would be that would be great:
My take: I take up subfloor. I shim the subfloor and put down exterior grade ply. Then I apply thinset and then put down hardibacker boards. I thin apply thinset and then tile. Obviously there is more details in each step but macro-wise are these the layers?
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Beyond my level of expertise.

Yep. -----
- gpsman
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Oh, and I know what's under the linoleum because I ripped a bunch of it up (it was an ugly 70's design).
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