tiling a sunroom floor

suzan30March 8, 2011

I'd like to tile my sunroom floor. It is unheated and I live in Chicago, but I've monitored the temperature over the course of this winter and it doesn't seem to get below freezing. I still plan to use porcelain. I have a couple of questions that I would appreciate advice on:

1. Previously there was carpet with a pad underneath. I ripped it up and there are no cracks in the concrete, but it is scored. Do those lines need to be filled in? If so, what is the proper material?

2. There is a spot where the glue of the pad did not come up very well. Will that pose a problem for adhesion? If so, what kind of product can I use to get it up?

3. The sunroom is 10 x15. I was thinking of using 16 inch tile because it would mean fewer grout lines. Would the big tile look ok in the small space? What is the smallest grout line width I can use with this size tile?

My father and I did a tile floor together some years ago, but I am planning on tackling his on my own. So I'd really appreciate advice from tile experts out there.

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I'm not sure how "scored" your talking about. You want the floor to be FLAT! thats what matters most. Thinset as you lay the tiles will fill in small grooves.

I would definitely take up the glue. Perhaps Mineral spirits, Lacquer thinner or Acetone.

Bigger tile look great in a small space. Makes the room look bigger. Small tile can be to busy. Thickness of tile and size determine grout joint but I think you could get by with a 1/4" joint using a polymer fortified sanded grout.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 8:53PM
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Thank you! By scored, I mean that there are grooves dividing the floor into large squares, perhaps to allow for expansion. Do those need to be filled in?

And one more question, there is a slight downward incline on the floor towards the outside door away from the house. I think this was to make sure that water would not enter the house in the case of a heavy rain. Is that ok?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 10:01PM
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The slope is fine and you want to maintain it.

The "grooves" you describe that divide the floor into large squares are there to ensure that if/when there is cracking, it will occur in those locations. You have to honor those lines, meaning, when you lay your tile, those line should fall between tiles at grout lines. Those places would then not be filled with grout, but rather with a matching caulk to that as the concrete shifts and cracks at those lines, your tile will not be damaged. You will have to carefully plan your install to take this into account.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 11:02AM
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Alice--thanks for the help. Just to confirm--the groove lines should match up with my grout lines? If so, is it possible to buy colored calk to match the grout. I was planning on using a fairly dark grout since this floor tends to get a lot of use as we go outside to the backyard.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 11:36AM
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Yes, you can purchase sanded caulk to match your grout.

If it is impossible to match grout lines with the control joints (grooves), you can place an isolation membrane over the joints and then caulk on both sides of the tile that spans the joint. However, this will only account for side-to-side movement in the concrete. Vertical movement will still break your tile.

The John Bridge tile forum has lots of pros that are willing to help if you would like answers from the experts.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 1:57PM
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OK, thanks. The concrete is about 20 years old and I can't see any sign of cracking. Does this mean it is stable, or is cracking still a possibility?

I am wondering now whether acid stain might be the way to go? Is that a DIY project?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 3:02PM
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There are some great epoxy paints out there where you could get a good look. As for the grooves, Any slab could crack, all the grooves do is direct the cracks in a straight line. If there are no cracks after 20 years it probably won't. The question is, would you have layed tile if there were no grooves or cracks. I would put tile and not worry about it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 8:15AM
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Whatever material you select for the surface of your sunroom floors, one of the most important decisions may lie deeper. Opting for flooring with radiant heating may help to make your sunroom into an enjoyable room all year long. Radiant floor heating comes in several setups.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 10:02PM
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