Another DIY question
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Author:  nkwak [ Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Another DIY question

I have probably bitten off more than I can chew. My wife and I are in the midst of remodeling our bathrooms and are putting in ceramic tile. Fyi I live in Pittsburgh. It gets hot (90s) in the summer and cold in the winter (0s) so there are extremes. I am currently renovating an 8’x5’ full bathroom with a tub/shower, a two sink vanity and a toilet alcove. The alcove is adjacent to the tub. The rest of the bathroom (60”x59” including the vanity’s footprint) set about 1/4” lower and is particle board. I’m not sure how thick. I’ve ripped up carpeting and linoleum and leveled the subfloor (by adding 1/4” plywood over the particle board) but now I’m stuck and am not sure what the next step is.

I’m going by online how to videos from Lowe’s and Home Depot and there’s more than one method to go by:

1: modified thinset trawled on subfloor then covered with cement backer board that is screwed down every 6”
2: no thinset under backer board at all; just screw it down
3: modified thinset trawled on subfloor then covered with some type of backing paper instead of backer board.

To complicate things I attempted to lay down unmodified thinset under the backer board. The thinset was obviously the wrong stuff and it was not bonding properly so I ended up tearing it all out (and cleaning up the mess) so I’m back to the subfloor phase. I’m also working with a sprained thumb so I find myself taking days off to nurse it. This needs to get done by early December.

What should I do? Just hire somebody? I can still do the plumbing part afterward.

Author:  Diane Kauffmds [ Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Another DIY question

Just screw down your cement board to the subflooring. We used 3/4" thick board. Make sure you sink the screws in, then just use your grout to fill over and level the screws. Also use your grout to fill over any joints.

Let dry, and your good to go to tile.

Author:  Diane Kauffmds [ Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Another DIY question

There are grout additives that make grout a bit more flexible, just in case your floor vibrates. We used this stuff in the grout when we grouted the tile in the second floor bathroom, and it works. You substitute the water in your grout for this compound. 

If you're interested, here is what we used and where we found it. 


Author:  nkwak [ Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another DIY question

Thanks, Diane. The base layer of thinset seemed like overkill to me. It also added about 1/8” to the thickness of everything. I could see using it on backing paper but not on 1/4” cement board. It’s not like I’m tiling a shower stall.

Author:  nkwak [ Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another DIY question

I'm trying to get this done by this weekend but I doubt it's going to happen. I've analyzed everything 6 ways from Sunday and as usual it's killed my momentum. I rented a tile cutter and I just can't cut with it to save my life and I've basically broken 4 tiles (I only have 4 boxes of 7) so I'm taking it back and hoping that they only charge me for 2 days instead of the week I originally requested.


Author:  Diane Kauffmds [ Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another DIY question

I've had best results with a wet tile saw where water is in the well, below the cutter. It works like a tiny table saw. Harbor freight used to sell them for around $40. They're up to $57, but I've used ours, which is several years old, for cutting everything from 4" tile, to 12" marble, with no breaks. Make sure you keep plenty of water in the well.

I've made corner, and straight cuts with this saw.

It's just a 4 1/2" wet tile saw, but it does the job just fine.

Frank and I worked together. One of us took the measurements, and did the laying, while the other did the sawing. It didn't matter who did which job, we worked like an assembly line. I did most of the cutting, but I'm better at measuring around corners, so we would switch positions.

It's a cheap saw, but she does the job well.


Author:  nkwak [ Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another DIY question

I'm just about to FINALLY lay the tile:


I think we're going to be hiring somebody to do my wife's bathroom!

Author:  nkwak [ Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another DIY question

Tile laid, grout is in and the vanity is installed.


The project is about 95% done.

Author:  Diane Kauffmds [ Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another DIY question

It turned out great!

Author:  Kevin Sjostrand [ Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Another DIY question

Neil you did a great job. Looks very professional.
Now back to building that guitar!!!!

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