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ggpk Tile Floors July 25th, 2018 - 08:14:09
Is there an unfinished ceiling below to look up and measure the distance between joists and the condition of the wood below and how long the unsupported span is? A few minutes in the basement with a flashlight and tape measure can let you know if you have a winner (thick and deep joists. spaced closely together. in good condition. with a narrow span). or a loser (thin and shallow joists. irregularly spaced or spaced far apart. in bad condition. with a long span).
There are formulas used in the industry to determine if the subfloor has excessive `deflection` [bounciness. lack of rigidity]. The most cited one is the Tile Council of North America standard for deflection. which is stated as L/360 as a minimum. before tile underlayment is installed. L/360 means that the floor should not bend under weight more than the length (expressed in inches) of the unsupported span divided by 360. For example. if the span between supports runs for 20 feet then the deflection should not be more than 2/3" between the center and the end. L=20 x 12" = 240". L/360 = 240"/360 or 2/3". So 2/3" is the maximum amount of movement the center of the span should be allowed to move.
What condition does the wood appear to be in? Even if the amount of wood support seems adequate according to the tables. if it appears to have been water damaged. if sections of it look moldy or corroded due to rot or decay. it`s not doing its job. Options include replacing or reinforcing it. but not just ignoring it. Also. has it been cut into in various spots. such as a plumber cutting sections of the joists for positioning pipes? All of these problems can make the wood less effective.
For tile to be successful. it needs rigid support. with very little tolerance for movement. The more rigid the substrate. the better chance the tile has of remaining crack free throughout its life. Most problems with tile floors over wood come from excessive `bounciness` of the substrate. Carpet can handle some bending. vinyl tile can flex and bend a bit. hardwood floors can bend a little too. but if tile or stone is subjected to forces that push in 2 different directions at once. it doesn`t know how to bend. Instead. it cracks. first in the grout and then in the body of the tile. Consumers who have just paid thousands of dollars for a tile floor do not find these cracks appealing. to say the least.