I have ripped up the vinyl tile in my kitchen, cleaned to the bare
concrete, set and installed base cabinets and just about ready to
tile. As I have been inspecting the floor I have found the floor has
some "wavey" areas where over a 3 or 4 foot distance, there might be
an 1/8" or so dip. Nothing dramatic but just seems to have slight
waves to some areas. I have never done tiling before and in reading
have seen things about the smaller the tile the more tolerant of
level, and I know the base materials for the tile can take up some
slight differences, but my question is, how level does a floor need to
be to tile?
I have also read about self leveling floor materials and even picked
up some Quickrete topping that states on the bag for flooor leveling,
but this seems like a lot of work and not sure how level I can get it
(and sure don't want to screw the floor up since it's very smooth and
clean right now). Don't have a clue how to do the leveling except
maybe mix a fairly thin concrete mix and let it flow and level itself
but can't find instructions on this.
Any help from any tiling experts?
Read any instructions that come with the materials. They sometimes tell
you the allowable variation.
For 1/8", don't worry about it. You can put a little extra thinset
under the tiles that go in the low spots.
Haven't purchased the tile or thinset yet so wasn't sure.
Was thinking that as trying to pour concrete leveler then that would
probably require a lot of work. Was being told that it had to be
almost exactly level as tile sitting over a low spot might crack. But
I thought the tile isn't sitting on the concrete, it's sitting on the
thinset. so if the thinset could support it being a little thicker
then there shouldn't be a problem.
Buy your tile from a tile store. It might cost a little more, but
you'll get it back in support.
The problem comes when there's a void under the tile. Spread the
thinset well on the floor and butter the back of the tile. That'll give
you better coverage.
Was shopping at the same place I got my cabinets. They're an outlet
that sells mainly to contractors but they also sell to walk-ins.
Will the thinset list what the thickest it should be supplied? And
what about tile size? Was looking at 12x12 but with the floor was
maybe thinking smaller to avoid more issues with level (if that is an
issue to start with).
That should be fine. Pick the brains of the people who work there.
The thinset will list the type of trowel to be used, probably a
1/4 x 1/4 x 1/4. That will leave ridges of thinset 1/4" wide, 1/4"
high, and 1/4" apart. When you squish it down, the tile will be around
1/8" off the floor. If you also butter the back of the tile, the
thinset will be a little thicker.
The goal is to get the four edges of each tile even with the edges of
the adjacent tile. (You don't want a tripping hazard.) That will get
you reasonably close to level for most jobs. If you're really
persnickety, you can put a straightedge over several tiles and adjust
accordingly. This is pretty much the *only* way to get it level when
you have *large* variances.
I like a polymer-modified thinset. Ask the guy at the store which one
is best for you.
Have you purchased your tile, thinset and grout, or know what you will
be buying? Most mfgs.
have loads of info on their websites. Talk to the tile store personnel
(a very good reason for
not shopping at the big box store). We purchased tile before we hired a
because it was THE tile and we didn't want to consider any others. We
have 20" tile, porcellain,
on a slab floor. Took up the carpet before we ordered it because we
wanted to be sure we
would not be dealing with any cracks or other problems.
Before we hired the contractor we searched around for something to use
between the tile
and adjoining terazzo floors which we expected to be a tad higher.
Didn't find anything, so
the tile guy suggested just putting tile against the terazzo and using
just a little thinset to
raise one side of the tile to meet the surface of the terazzo level.
Scared me! The difference
would be about 1/8" to 1/4". As it turned out, the tile is sloped so
gradually I can't see it.
Contractor was extremely good, and solved some other tricky issues for
us with great
We seriously considered tiling ourselves, but glad we did not. The
problems that I recall
reading about most often are haze that isn't removed right away and
hardens. Grout batches
that turn out to be of different colors. Be sure you like the design
layout you plan and have
plenty to allow for waste.
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