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ceramic tile questions

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by flyingcow, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Going to redo the tile in our kitchen. What do i look for when buying tile? The more you pay the better the tile? Just curious if anyone has experience with kitchen tile.

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  2. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    We've had ceramic tile in many rooms in three houses now.
    Our experience with ceramic tile in the kitchen is that we'll never do it again.
    No matter what quality you put down or how well you put it down one errant dropped pot lid or glass mixing bowl can crack the tile.
    If you do go with ceramic in the kitchen it helps to buy spare tiles for replacement later and I would go with thicker, better quality tile.
  3. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Yes we plan on buying extra. Didn't have problems with dropping things, tiles seemed to hold up pretty good. But the original builder didn't do the subfloor properly, the tiles cracked on the seems of the subfloor. Going to be a major redo.
  4. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    thanks BTW
  5. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Ouch. Pulling up ceramic tile and what's below it isn't much fun.
    A friend and I tiled his bath a few years back and we used the Schluter-Ditra uncoupling membrane product. It has held up very well. It supposedly prevents transmission of cracks from the sub-floor to the tile.
    Adios Pantalones likes this.
  6. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    thanks for the info
  7. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    An excellent system BTW, decoupling membranes (good ones) should be a code requirement.
    Swedishchef likes this.
  8. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Personally: my bathroom has Schluter-Ditra and my kitchen doesn't. It just has 3/8th plywood on top of 1/2 inch. The 3/8 is screwed every 4 inches. I do not yet have a crack in any tiles or chips for that matter (I also have 2 young boys who are in the phase of driving every car/toys off of the island and letting it smash into the floor).

    I paid $6/sq foot for the kitchen tile, $3/sq ft for the ones in the bathroom and the same price for the entrance. I don't think there is a HUGE difference in quality. However some tiles that I have seen chip feel more brittle to the touch whereas the ones that are fine feel more solid. I think like anything else in the home renovation market there are different grades and a fine line between expensive taste and waste of money.

    That's my 2 cents.
    flyingcow likes this.
  9. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    I have laid a lot of tile in this house. In the basement, I put down 450 sq ft of tile. since it was such a big area, we needed to find something reasonable. Found some decent looking beige tile at Lowes for 70 cents per sq ft. Never had any problems with that tile at all. Winter before last, I remodeled the basement bathroom and had to pull up some of the tiles where I tore down the walls from the old bathroom. When you take a hammer and chisel to tile, you get a good idea of it's durability and this tile was some tough stuff.
    I laid about 150 sq ft of some fairly expensive tile in the sunroom (don't remember the price) and it didn't seem any better than the basement tile, although when the furnace was being installed, the HVAC guys chipped some bull nose tiles on the step and I had to replace them.
    Last winter, renovated the upstairs bathroom and tiled the entire shower walls and floor with some expensive stuff that the wife picked out. Bathrooms don't take much of a beating, so I can't say anything about the quality of that tile.

    What I've learned from the tile that I've laid isn't the quality of the tile, but the solidity of the base and the coverage of thinset mortar. If my base is rigid and solid, I know those tile are fixed and not going anywhere. If I have good mortar coverage, I think that I have less chance of getting a chipped tile.
    flyingcow likes this.
  10. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    bsruther, with your experience i think you should come on up. I got cash for your time:). But of course it's -6f and we're expecting 14 to 18 inches of snow tomorrow. :p

    Thanks for the input guys. I looked at that Schluter-Ditra stuff today, I liked the idea of it.
  11. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the invite, but I don't much get out of my comfort zone. Just got back from visiting son and DIL in Michigan and it was pretty traumatizing for me.

    And we have more snow than them.
    flyingcow likes this.
  12. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    First- I'm sure it's been said- a tile is only as good as the underlayment/substrate!! A tile that sits flat on cement board will take a ton of abuse. The slightest dip/seam/unevenness under a good tile makes it incredibly vulnerable. The last owner of my house didn't know that when they put in the kitchen floor. (Oh- and bang up job putting a white floor in the kitchen of a house with an unpaved driveway, jackwagons)

    I might start making 1/2" thick tiles for hearths. I will have to charge a lot, but you will need a serious hammer to get through one.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013

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