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Ceramic tile install in a concrete basement

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  • Sep 6th, 2007 12:27 am
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Deal Addict
Aug 24, 2002
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Ceramic tile install in a concrete basement

I'm going to be laying some tile in a concrete below grade basement.

The concrete slab was done 2 years ago and is fair stable, though some hairline cracks have formed.

What's a reasonable process to use?

I'm thinking Delta FL (my Home Depot doesn't seem to sell Ditra by the foot any more) mortared direct to the slab, then tile on top of the Delta.

Based on previous threads I was going to use the modified thinset below the Ditra and then unmodified on top.

Near one corner of the basement the slab does seem to be sloping downward. Will the Delta FL or Ditra help with that or is there something else I should be doing?
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[OP]
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Aug 24, 2002
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Oops, another question - what about vapor barrier? I have put the standard vapor barrier plastic below the cabinets already, but should I have it elsewhere too?
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Nov 18, 2005
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Kitchener
unmodified thinset first directly on concrete, ditra, then unmodified thinset to stick your tiles to the ditra. If you put the ditra on a wood floor then you use modified thinset

you can build the sloping area up with self leveling concrete

I usually find ditra cheaper at tile stores than Home Depot, especially if you buy everything from them... and the people who work there can offer you some great installation advice
Deal Addict
Jan 11, 2007
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Brampton
I used regular thinset right on the concrete 2 years ago and everything has held up nicely. From what I've seen, people do this all the time and ditra might be a waste of money. If I were to do anything differently, I'd put in that heated flooring first for more comfort, otherwise plain old thinset has worked well.
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Aug 22, 2003
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Niagara Falls
When we redid our oldest son's bathroom 2 years ago we also choose to lay the tile directly on the concrete. We didn't want to deal with the height difference issues if we used Ditra. There is absolutely nothing wrong with laying the tile directly on concrete, it's done all the time. Hubby just finished up over 1200 sq feet of ceramic on concrete. He's doing another 100 odd sq today. For the slope issue you can take care of it with the thinset...
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Jun 8, 2003
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Scarborough
Would ceramic tile is too cold to walk on for the basement? We are thinking about replacing our 10 years old carpets in our basement. Laminated flooring + sub-floors is probably our choice.
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Aug 22, 2003
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Niagara Falls
Our son's bathroom floor is not cold at all. His bathroom is not on an outside wall and there is a heat vent in the room...
[OP]
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Aug 24, 2002
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Oh boy... I'm confused now.

I went to Rona because HD is not selling Ditra by the foot now, but Rona has this "Protegga" that looks similar.

I have a basement bathroom on concrete where I'm installing heating mats.

So I have a couple considerations:
- keeping moisture from coming up through the concrete slab into the tiles
- having an insulation layer between the electric wire and the concrete slab

The Rona flooring team leader told me this is the proper sequence:
- use "Tile Adhesive" on the bare concrete floor with small V-notch trowel
- stick the Protegga (Ditra substitute) down into the tile adhesive
- use modified mortar on top of the Protegga and embed the electric wires in it, let it dry
- finally, lay the tiles using modified mortar
- he said all of the mortar/thinset Rona sells is modified, there is no 'unmodified' product that they sell


But some of this advice contradicts what people are saying here and what's in the Ditra handbook.

Ditra book seems to say put the wires BELOW the Ditra (which seems to defeat the purpose of having an insulating layer?)

Ditra book also says to use unmodified both above and below the Ditra, but that's not what experts here on the board say.

What to do?
[OP]
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Aug 24, 2002
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Drthorne wrote:
Aug 29th, 2007 4:13 pm
I usually find ditra cheaper at tile stores than Home Depot, especially if you buy everything from them... and the people who work there can offer you some great installation advice
I wish. There's a construction boom right now and I tried every place in town with no success. That's partly why I'm learning how to do this myself.
Deal Addict
May 20, 2003
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A bit off topic and I know it doesn't help the OP because he's probably not close to the border. But if anyone is close to the US, buy your Ditra down there. $150/roll at HD in Canada; $70 for the same roll down there. It doesn't sell very well down there because nobody knows what it is. Ditra sells well up here because Mike Holmes uses it and they take advantage of that by jacking up the price. I think the stuff is made in Canada too.
[OP]
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WalnutCrunch wrote:
Sep 4th, 2007 11:44 am
A bit off topic and I know it doesn't help the OP because he's probably not close to the border. But if anyone is close to the US, buy your Ditra down there. $150/roll at HD in Canada; $70 for the same roll down there. It doesn't sell very well down there because nobody knows what it is. Ditra sells well up here because Mike Holmes uses it and they take advantage of that by jacking up the price. I think the stuff is made in Canada too.
Yes, as much as I want to support them, they are really gouging on that stuff. Also, they don't seem to have trained the Home Depot staff in it's use or benefit whatsoever. That is a big sales channel, if they just put a little time into education they could move more volume and maybe reduce the gouge factor.
Member
Mar 17, 2004
410 posts
12 upvotes
Do your self a favour....ask your questions here....

http://www.johnbridge.com/

DO NOT listen to the "experts" at Rona or HD. Attending 1 to 2 hour seminar or reading the training brochurs on installing Ditra does not make them experts. The guys at JB are mostly installers, engineers, contractors and experienced DIY's. Friendly helpful bunch of guys.
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