floor material for bouncey subfloor?

nancitaApril 9, 2012

Hi all,

Our 1880 second floor has some bounce in parts of it. We are concerned in the bathrooms in particular, thinking tile might easily crack. Is ther any preparation to avoid this or is it better to go with say, linoeum or other material?


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First off, I'd cross post this over in the Flooring Forum. There are some flooring professionals who regularly answer over there, and they helped me a lot in my kitchen remodel. Just be sure and mention that there's a cross-post going in bathrooms too; you could even add the link.

Are you planning on removing the current floor? You may need to get in there and see what's underneath. If your home is from 1880 you could have several layers of flooring going. Who knows what people did?

I do know that in my standard 70s home, several rooms in our upstairs have more creaking than you'd think. And we just ripped out our bathroom floor last week and discovered that the subfloor was not properly screwed down. Husband took care of that and there are now NO creaks. Not sure you have the same issue but just one example of many.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 2:43AM
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If the bounce is in the joists, that's tough to remedy unless you have access to the joists.

If the bounce is from flexing of the flooring between the joists, that can be remedied a bit by adding thickness to the subfloor.

If you are familiar with deflection issues, you typically want better than L/360 for ceramic tile and better than L/720 for natural stone tile.

Some membranes (like Ditra) do offer a bit of protection from floor movement. To a certain extent they are uncoupling or isolation membranes, where they uncouple or isolate subfloor movement from the tile, protecting the tile bond. But if the movement is known and significant, it's best to stiffen the floor or simply move away from tile.

Isolation membranes are better thought of as protective measures against potential occasional movement rather than band-aids to cure a known ill.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 11:07AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Removing the old flooring and inspecting the joists from above means that you are likely to be able to sister or cross brace them and then redo the subfloor to be stiffer. Then you can do any floor that you want, although I'd avoid natural tone or large format tile unless you were really able to complete reingineer the whole section of the joists from supporting wall to supporting wall.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 3:28PM
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