If you built an addition to your space, with concrete slab, a ??

marti8aOctober 29, 2012

How did the flooring people address the joint between the two slabs? Especially if you put down a tile floor.


And here is a story you might find amusing.

I've been concerned about the crack between the two slabs, especially since we are in an area with a lot of ground movement. I've read a lot on the John Bridge forum and learned from there that that crack is going to need something special.

We've had 3 independent tile contractors and the local flooring company come out and make bids. None of them act like the joint will be any problem although one said he would put a flexible membrane over it if it would make us feel better about it but he didn't see any problem putting a tile right over the middle of the joint.

The last one was a guy I called from a business card I picked up at Floor & Decor. I picked it up because he lived in my town. I called him Friday morning and he answered the phone right away. Said he could come out that evening between 5 & 6pm, so I gave him the address. He said he knew right where it was because he had done other jobs in the neighborhood behind me.

At 6, he called and said he was late getting away from the job he was doing in North Dallas. We are south of Dallas so that means driving through Dallas at rush hour. Said he could be there by 7:30 if that wasn't too late. I said that was fine or he could do it another day if he needed to get home. So he said Saturday morning at 10am would be better.

Dh was out at the lease, and I don't sleep well when he is gone, so I slept in Saturday and just managed to drag myself out of bed at 9:45. I didn't want to be eating when he got there, so I munched on a couple of strawberries while waiting. At 11:45 I was starving and decided to go eat, so called to tell him I was leaving.

He said he was on the way, was at an intersection about 5 miles from my house, had been working a job in Ft Worth and guess I didn't give him my phone number when I gave him my address Friday morning. That kind of annoyed me because he obviously had it since he called me at 6 Friday night, AND it was a cell phone so it was in the memory.

He finally showed up at 12:45, said his GPS took him south instead of north. Remember he had said he knew where the area where I lived?

He measured the kitchen, from the back wall to the joint of the new addition (the dining room). I asked him if he was going to measure the dining room, and he said, oh, you want tile in there too? I don't know why he wouldn't think so since it is all bare concrete right now.

He opened the water heater closet at the end of kitchen and I told him we didn't take out that tile yet because we only wanted to take the water heater out once.

He said no problem, we wouldn't have to take out the water heater at all. He'd just cut out the tile in front of it and then tile up to the edge. Um no. We'll tile the whole little closet.

Here's the part you'll like. He said his fix for the entire floor would be to put self leveling concrete across the whole thing (my cabinets are already in place) since there is a dip at the end by the water heater and sink. It would raise that end about 1-1/2 inch.

I looked at him and said if he did that in the dishwasher slot, the dishwasher wouldn't fit back in there. He said no problem, he would leave the dishwasher in place on the old tile, and just raise the level in front of it.

I told him that then we wouldn't be able to get the dishwasher out when we needed to replace it. Sure you can he said. (rolling my eyes). That's about the time I stopped listening to him and just wanted him to leave.

Oh, and about the joint between the two slabs. He said once the self leveling concrete is down, we wouldn't even know the joint was there, he could put a tile right on the center of it with no problem. Out, out, out! I was screaming in my head.

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UGH. I guess you just thank your lucky stars that you knew how incredibly wrong he was and say a little prayer for the people that actually hire him.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 4:34PM
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True. What is sad I think is that not one of these take the steps to insure it will still look good in 10 years. Yes, it might look fine when they leave, or even a month later. But after that, the cracks will happen.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 5:24PM
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laura mcleod

holy moly, that is a crazy story!

Here is my experience with 2 slabs but it does deals with hardwood - we had to connect a new addition on a slab to the original house (circa 1920 so none of the floors are even remotely level) - I really wanted to avoid any sort of threshold because the transition between old and new was going to happen in the middle of a large arched doorway that was an architectural feature of the first floor.

My GC's solve was to painstakingly take up the hardwood in the dining room (which led to the new space and slab) and reinstall it raising it millimeter by millimeter over the length of the room so the old and new floors met seamlessly. We are only 2.5 years in, but it still looks perfect.

He acted like this was no big deal, but I loved it. My last flooring project was done by a flooring company (not a GC) and they plopped a huge threshold in the middle of a doorway and acted like I was lucky to get it. Needless to say, I did not use them this time around...

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 5:39PM
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I cannot say it better than localeater said it! Good on you -- knowledge is power!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 10:53PM
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We are in the middle of a home reno where we added on to a concrete slab in the kitchen, just like you. Our GC said one option was the flexible membrane under tile, although he couldn't promise we wouldn't have cracks in the future. Ultimately we decided to put a hardwood "floating floor" instead.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 2:43AM
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Marti8a - not amusing, no, yikes!

We bumped out the front of our house 5' and had a new foundation poured, then tore down the former exterior wall.

We had oak floors throughout and had our floor guy extend them; he did a great job. You can sort of see what they did with this picture:

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 6:36AM
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From the inside...

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 6:39AM
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"so I slept in Saturday and just managed to drag myself out of bed at 9:45. I didn't want to be eating when he got there, so I munched on a couple of strawberries while waiting. At 11:45 I was starving "
You sound just like me marti. It disrupts your whole schedule waiting around doesn't it ? To avoid starving I leave an egg salad sandwich in the fridge the night before.
I love the way he claimed that he didn't have your number and shows up 2hrs45min late. On top of that(and that's enough for me)he gives you all the wrong info and you know better ! Tell your DH he should be VERY VERY proud of you.(and tell him I said so)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 7:21AM
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I want to extend my back porch about 16', which would mean pouring another slab to join the original. I can't get a straight answer on whether this can be done or not -- without cracking the slate I want to put over the whole thing.

One concrete guy (not a flooring guy) said "easy!" You just drill into the existing slab, insert rebar, and pour the new. It'll never shift.

1) have you ever noticed when a sentence starts with "You jus'" it's not easy!?
2) what's this "you" stuff, anyway? Do I really look like I can "just" whip that off?
3) Mr. "Just" never did show to give me an estimate.

I can't find anyone who is even interested in estimating this, nor anyone who actually has a good idea. 16' x 12' isn't a small pad! Plus, the existing is 3-4" thick, so...

I hate it when I can't find someone to take my $$.
I'll be watching this thread. I hope you'll please post your results?


    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Thanks EATREALFOOD. Dh didn't say much when I told him.

oldbat2be, your floor looks perfect. Mine is concrete slab which seems to make a difference.

Christine, I've been doing internet searches and find pretty much the same answer everywhere, even eHow, that you can't lay a tile across that joint, there has to be a grout line over it filled with a special caulk, not grout. Called a soft joint.

The other part we are puzzling over right now is using a flexible membrane under it. I was going to use Ditra, but was told that it wasn't made for this. There are some paint on membranes, and there are some mesh membranes. And people who use the paint on type seem to do the whole room with it.

I also just saw a youtube video that says the industry standard requires a soft joint every 10 feet in a large room, or even a shower wall to prevent cracking when the house shifts. I didn't know that. Maybe that's why we had some cracks in our first tile floor.

Also, our floor isn't completely flat and the pros seem to be divided on how much is acceptable. We either have a huge low spot that is 1/8" lower than either side, or we have two high spots that are 1/8" higher. And is a 1/4" high spot enough that we have to go get another super grinder, or can you adjust it with thinset?

That's the big issue we're trying to solve right now.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:49PM
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