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wwxl Tile Floors August 10th, 2018 - 09:48:20
Fine. but how do you know if your floor meets the L/360 standard? We face this in the field all the time. but in remodeling. there`s not always a clear answer. There are published tables for calculating deflection. (including a really cool online calculator at http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/deflecto.pl ) but they assume you have full knowledge of how the floor was built. To be able to use the engineering tables. you`d need to know how far apart the joists are. the length of the unsupported span. how thick the joists are. what type of wood and in what condition the wood is in. as well as how thick the plywood is. if any. Realistically. if all of this flooring is hidden by finished ceilings below and covered over by old flooring layers above. educated guessing takes center stage. The following questions help to determine floor stiffness using common sense guidelines
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.
Does the floor feel bouncy? If so. it is. Trust your instincts. It`s not ready for tile. A well built subfloor feels very stiff underfoot. Squeaking can also be a bad sign. but it may also solvable by screwing down the planks or plywood better into the joists.
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).