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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need a little advice from the floor experts. My house is a pier and beam set up, the floors now have carpet and the wife would like to change it to tile. My question are, 1. Can you tile a pier and beam floor? 2. If you can what about movement of the floor , will the tile crack ?3. Any certain type of tile to use or to stay away from?Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Not familiar with your specific floor or the amount of movement you are describing, but if it is built correctly and sound, there should be no reason you can not tile it. I am assuming the floor has no significant bounce or flex. If it is built to the standards that i am familiar with you should be able to do a mud job and use any tile you want. GMOD
 

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do you currently have heaving problems at the beams?

follow recommended subfloor recommendations and use Schluter-Ditra. is you are adding a layer of 1/2" ply, don't use the cheap stuff, nail properly and stagger the sheathing-I would consider that not only good recommended practice but insurance from movement of the structure.
 

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Is this what you're talking about?


What size are the joists?
What are their spacing?
What is the longest unsupported span of the joists in the room you want to tile?
What do you have for a subfloor (underlayment in this pic)?
 

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TOH had a series a year or two ago building homes in the New Orleans area after Katrina. The houses IIRC were built on piers and the posts were installed using pile drivers deep into the ground-I don't recall the depth but it was deep. Another one of there series was somewhere in south Texas, San Antonio maybe; that pier and post remodeling project had to be leveled as it was more in line with the picture Angus posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Is this what you're talking about?


What size are the joists?
What are their spacing?
What is the longest unsupported span of the joists in the room you want to tile?
What do you have for a subfloor (underlayment in this pic)?
2 layers of plywood

Thanks for all the responses, I will have to get the answers to the other questions, I built this house about 15 years ago and can not remember.
 

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Yes - it can be done....

Firstly, there is nothing that precludes using ceramic over a pier framing system.

The key to this is to understand what the allowable deflection is of this floor system. The deflection at the appropriate live nd dead loads is to test the floor to see how far it deflects. The Ceramic Tile Institute of American (CTIOA) indicates that the floor should deflect no more than L/360.

You will need to test the floor for these loads to measure the deflection and then reinforce the floor - even adding beams underneath if necessary - to limit the deflection of the floor.

Its not the style that precludes Ceramic Tile - it is the capacity of the current system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, I have the answers to the questions (my wife is sure hoping for a yes on this:thumbsup:)


Is this what you're talking about?


What size are the joists?
2x6
What are their spacing?
16" on center
What is the longest unsupported span of the joists in the room you want to tile?
Beams are 8ft on center
What do you have for a subfloor (underlayment in this pic)?
2 layers of plywood
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The key to this is to understand what the allowable deflection is of this floor system. The deflection at the appropriate live nd dead loads is to test the floor to see how far it deflects. The Ceramic Tile Institute of American (CTIOA) indicates that the floor should deflect no more than L/360.
Ok, I am just a dumb ole sparky, what did you just say in English?:whistling
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Not familiar with your specific floor or the amount of movement you are describing, but if it is built correctly and sound, there should be no reason you can not tile it. I am assuming the floor has no significant bounce or flex. If it is built to the standards that i am familiar with you should be able to do a mud job and use any tile you want. GMOD
The floor has no bounce or flex, but when weather changes I do have a couple doors that stick.
 

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Ok, I have the answers to the questions (my wife is sure hoping for a yes on this:thumbsup:)
Seems to be pretty good. Do you know what the 2 layers of ply are each?

Assuming the joists are in good condition and are SYP, your deflection is in the vicinity of L/420 which acceptable to CERAMIC tile over (not stone).

My suggestion would be to use Ditra as an underlayment and tile with ceramic or porcelain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
do you currently have heaving problems at the beams?
Only problem I have is a couple doors stick when weather changes

I have talked to one guy and he tells me to use hardy backer board and to use flex bond mix. This sound correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Seems to be pretty good. Do you know what the 2 layers of ply are each?

5/8" and 1/2"

My suggestion would be to use Ditra as an underlayment and tile with ceramic or porcelain.
I will have to research what Ditra is and we plan on going Porcelain tile
Thanks for the quick response:thumbup:
 

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The floor has no bounce or flex, but when weather changes I do have a couple doors that stick.
I would not trust a 'feel' to determine deflection when it counts. the sticking doors may have more to do w/ higher humidity levels-do they stick when the humidity rises (i.e. rainy/monsoon season)?
 

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Yeah 72Chevy's got it. The doors and floor aren't related. The doors are just swelling due to moisture/humidity rising, and rubbing the jambs.

Nothing a power planer can't fix in a jiffy though. :thumbsup:
 

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Tile on Pier and Beam

Okay lets get down to the specifics now. To decide what if anything needs to be added to your structure you need to have a flooring contractor coe in and test the deflection of your floor.

This can be done several ways but the best and most accurate is to use a laser and targets and point load your floor in the center of the room with 300 pounds of load.

I have a link to the procedure - you need a professional to do this. The doors sticking in different weather certainly say that there is deflection.

I cant send you a link just yet so send me an email at [email protected] and I shall email you the link.


Once you test the deflection based upon the point loading you have to take the clear span in inches and divide it by 360 and by 480 which is recommended in this article. By doing so you will know how much your floor will deflect after all of the load is added to it.

What usually happens is that someone takes it for granted that the floor does not deflect but you have to take the total weight that you are adding to your floor to know for certain. You can add the weight of the tile, an island (if you want one) the backer board, the adhesive, the grout all of this and that will give you a weight that divided by the square footage will give you a weight or load per square foot.

The worst case scenario is that you may have to add some additional piers and beams under the floor to handle the additional load.

The mistake that is make is that it is taken for granted that no reinforcement is needed and an island cabinet is added a bunch of people are over at Xmas for a party or something and all of a sudden you have cracks in your tile and grout because the floor has over deflected.

Be very careful here. I am guessing that you will have to reinforce the floor. I have not found one yet that i have not had to do this on. I usually add piers perpendicular to the current joists - usually a 4x4 16" on center to be certain. And yes its a pain in the butt but its the only way to know for certain. You might be able to use lesser spacing like 24" on center depending upon how far your floor deflects. Do not make the mistake of thinking that backer board is enough. You can add structural integrity (stiffness) by adding additional plywood - versus backer board which is no where as stiff as plywood - but you have to check to see that it will be enough.

Don;t make the mistake of being penny wise and pound foolish.

And yes, you could get a fairly equivalent alternative look from a vinyl floor that is meant to look like ceramic but without the additional weight.

I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for everyones input, now I just need to get-r-done
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
One more question, On a tile floor how much weight can you roll across it with out the tile cracking or breaking? ( I have a VERY heavy and VERY old piano)
 
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