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"Laticrete Strata-Mat" has anyone used this?

Posted by enduring (My Page) on
Fri, May 24, 13 at 23:43

Has anyone used the Laticrete Strata-Mat uncoupling membrane? It is similar to Ditra. I am thinking about getting this if I can find it. You can use modified thinset with this product because it allows for the moisture to evaporate, whereas Ditra does not.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: "Laticrete Strata-Mat" has anyone used this?

Haven't used it on a job, but I have some to "play with."

As you know, the idea is the same as Ditra, and the structure is similar as well.

It's less opaque than Ditra, the idea being that you can see the fleece on the back side go "dark" as the fleece embeds itself in the thinset.

It is perforated, so yes, you can use modified thinsets with it. But by being perforated, I'd venture that it's not waterproof. Not a huge disadvantage as most folk use it as an uncoupling membrane and not a waterproof membrane too.

It is wider than Ditra. Rolls of Ditra are a meter or 39.6" wide, Stratamat is 45" if I remember correctly. However, I think the rolls are about the same square footage, 323 sqft.

The price list I have shows Stratamat will be about 20% less than Ditra, about $325 a roll versus $400 a roll. After gaining market share, they may raise the price. That's for full roll pricing. Not sure how it will be proceed out for partial rolls, etc.

Enduring, you can be the Strata-mat pioneer! "To go where no Gardenwebber has gone before..." lol

Right now my next membrane job will be with Nobel's NobelDeck membrane, a roughly 220 sqft outdoor "balcony" over a covered front porch that's getting tiled. I need better weather though...less rain and warmer nights.

RE: "Laticrete Strata-Mat" has anyone used this?

Thanks Mongo. It rained all night here in central Iowa. DH can't get to the fields to finish his beans (soybeans). Corn got in very well between rainy events. Old crop corn and beans are scarce so the prices are going up, I think he said this morning, and we have some in the bin :) DH doesn't know when to sell, so I will suggest "now", to help pay for this bathroom remodel. There are so many options that are so hard to say no to. You knew there had to be a gardenweb connection, didn't you?

I have only seen the Strata-Mat in huge rolls and only on one website. Then it wasn't available till June. The local tile supply didn't have it in yet either. I need about 70sf. If I go with Ditra I can get small rolls at the big box store. Regarding the advantages of Strata-Mat, I'm also wondering if using modified thinset for the porcelain floor is important, and if I should hold out for the Strata-Mat. It is a ways off before the floor will be laid anyway, so my timing might be fine for the release of Strata-Mat.

Do people use Hydroban to cover their floor instead of Ditra? I asked the tile supply wholeseller/retailer this and he said no. I wondered why, but didn't ask because I didn't think he would be interested in exploring the topic with me. Don't they both have anti-fracture properties? Or, is the decoupling action of Ditra more than an anti-fracture function?

RE: "Laticrete Strata-Mat" has anyone used this?

There's a difference between "anti-fracture", "crack isolation", and "decoupling" when it comes to membranes and tile. Some are defined by the industry. Some are just stated by the manufacturers.

I'll toss out what may not be a perfect answer...since there really isn't a perfect definition of the three terms within the industry. But here's my "sort of" best definition:

If you have active movement in a floor, for example, a wood framed platform floor than has a little vertical flex to it, then a decoupling membrane like Ditra or Strata-mat would be a good choice.

If you tile over a concrete slab that has existing shrinkage cracks in it, A crack isolation membrane can absorb some horizontal movement if the cracks move. If there is vertical up/down movement though, all bets are off. Crack isolation membranes usually aren't "whole slab" coverage types of applications. They are just applied where the cracks are located.

Anti-fracture membranes usually are "whole slab" coverage membranes.

Now, if you tile over a slab that has movement joints cut into the slab itself, the best installation is to have the grout joint in the tile fall directly over the movement joint in the slab. Instead of hard grout, the tile joint over slab's movement joint gets filled with a soft material. It could be caulk, but it normally would be a commercially made type of soft expansion joint material.

If the tile grout lines can't be lined up right over the slab movement joint, then an anti-fracture membrane can allow the tile joint to be offset from the slab joint by a bit. Again, the anti-fracture will help with horizontal movement. But any vertical movement? You can have tiles popping off the floor.

All that written? Even though a product like Ditra isn't an official "crack isolation" or "anti-fracture" membrane, a lot of folk use it over slabs because of its waffle structure. Strata-mat will likely be used in the same way.

A lot of what I wrote is predicated on slab versus wood subfloor too. While Ditra would be used over both, the others are usually just used over slabs.

"Do people use Hydroban to cover their floor instead of Ditra?"

Not really. HB is listed as a "crack isolation" due to the fact that it can bridge gaps, and it does have a little flex to it, so it does offer some shear protection. But that protection is really just against shrinkage cracks, usually just in thinset. It won't protect much against any vertical flexing.

I do know that some folk have used up extra HB on a bathroom floor "just because". They might paint it on the cement board in front of the tub or shower to provide a bit of waterproof protection prior to tiling. I've never seen it used for true "wet room" protection. Mostly just because they have extra HB left over, so why not use it?

I have seen it used on kitchen countertop substrates, prior to tiling.

"Don't they both have anti-fracture properties? Or, is the decoupling action of Ditra more than an anti-fracture function (of Hydroban) ? "

On a floor, yes, I do think the "decoupling" nature of Ditra would provide more protection against movement than the "crack isolation" protection of Hydroban.

Example, that outdoor balcony I have coming up? I'd primarily use either Ditra of Nobeldeck even though to a certain extent Hydroban would also be appropriate. The reason? The tile will be exterior in a freeze/thaw environment. The tile will be in direct sunshine, so thermal stress is an issue.

Being thicker in structure, both Ditra and Nobeldeck would provide more shear protection than Hydroban. With it being outdoors, I also want to use a modified thinset. That pulled me to NobelDeck versus Ditra. And to top it all off, in case the project gets delayed, Ditra could suffer and degrade from UV exposure if left uncovered for too long.

Anyhow, a long-winded reply...

Good luck with bringing the crops to market! There was an interesting article in the paper this past week about GMO corn again being susceptible to rootworm, and about how the water level in the Nebraska aquafer has gone down over the past decade and how both of those issues are affecting corn (and other) crops.

RE: "Laticrete Strata-Mat" has anyone used this?

Ok Mongo, I have the wood floor situation. Since we've gone a little far afield, I will ask another question about my floor. I just posted on the JB forum, but it is an old thread that I started and forgot about, so I might not get a timely response. The title of that thread is "Questions about Shower Installation at Pocket Door Wall, Etc."

Here goes.

Here is a picture of the wood diagonals that are 3/4 thick:
 photo IMG_4290_zps95501d11.jpg

This is text I copied from my post on the JB forum:
New question about the floor and 12x24 tile plan. I would like to tile with 12x24 porcelain. I have a deflection of L / 544. The diagonal boards are pictured and are 3/4 thick, nailed to the joist. I will be using self leveling compound with warming wires over my subfloor installation. Then Ditra and tile. My concern is the type & thickness of plywood I should use as my subfloor, to go over this initial layer of wood as pictured.

My plan is for plywood laid over the diagonals, perpendicular to the joist. 1/8" expansion joints between pieces of ply. Screwed down 6" oc throughout the floor, into the diagonal pieces only, avoiding the joist. Caulking the 1/8" expansion joints before the warming wire, primer, and SLC.

1) will a single layer of 3/4 ply be enough of a layer for my 12x24 tile plan? This will total 1.5 inches of wood, over the joist, a layer of regular wood and a layer of ply.

2) does the ply need to be exterior grade?

3) there is a T&G ply that my carpenter said he was going to get, is that ok or should I nix that plan and ask for something else?

4) any other thoughts or problems seen in my plan?

5) I had planned on installing the 12x24 floor tiles myself. I wonder if I will have trouble setting the tiles flat. I have seen the leveling systems that are out there but the expense might be prohibitive. Of course I have no idea what it would cost to have a tiler install it for me. But I might go that route. Any thoughts on this would be helpful.

I slightly edited the above text. I am concerned about the DIY 12x24 tile. I had trouble getting the Ditra flat in my other bathroom.

RE: "Laticrete Strata-Mat" has anyone used this?

Red Sox won! Yes, I know you're excited about that too...

1) will a single layer of 3/4 ply be enough of a layer for my 12x24 tile plan? This will total 1.5 inches of wood, over the joist, a layer of regular wood and a layer of ply.

Yes, 3/4" ply is fine.

2) does the ply need to be exterior grade?


3) there is a T&G ply that my carpenter said he was going to get, is that ok or should I nix that plan and ask for something else?

Straight-edge is adequate.

4) any other thoughts or problems seen in my plan?

a) Fasten the ply as needed.
b) Set your RFH mats or cable as needed. Not under cabinet or tub locations, etc, just follow the installation guidelines for whatever product you use. Consider two thermostat wires, just in case your primary fails sometime down the road.
c) When ready to SLC, dam the floor to prevent SLC flow-out. It will go places you never dreamed if allowed to do so. Just like a toddler that is just starting to walk, your SLC will wander off as you stand there, slack-jawed, wondering how that ever happened.
d) I use a garden sprayer to spray the SLC primer. You don't have to, but that's what I recommend. That way it gets into the nooks and crannies of RFH mats and cables, etc.
e) Have your ducks in a row and do a walk-through of your installation prior to mixing the SLC. Once you start, there's no place to stop until you are done. Or until you are done for. Have an extra bag of SLC on hand just in case. It can always be returned.

None of the above are rules. Just guidelines. SLC is only a problem for the unprepared. If you are prepared and have thought things through, you'll wonder what all the hub-bub was about.

5) I had planned on installing the 12x24 floor tiles myself. I wonder if I will have trouble setting the tiles flat. I have seen the leveling systems that are out there but the expense might be prohibitive. Of course I have no idea what it would cost to have a tiler install it for me. But I might go that route. Any thoughts on this would be helpful.

12 by 24s can be tough, but you did a meticulous job with your slate herringbone. The big thing is the pattern. If your tiles are bowed, which long tiles can be, either use a stacked pattern or the general guideline is to limit the running bond offset to 1/3 of a tile.

You could always dry set your tiles right on the Ditra. Compare lippage. See if any tiles rock. Then refigure things if you have issues, or if all is well, mix up the thinset and start setting tile.

With larger tiles, it can help to:

1) Use the straight edge of a trowel or rubberized grout float to spread thinset and fill the Ditra waffle depressions, but scrape the Ditra ridges clear so you see orange. Let the thinset cure. Then set your tiles the next day.

2) Back-butter large tiles. Not necessarily adding a true thickness of thinset to the back of the tile, but just a veneer. "Burn it in" as we sometimes say. If the back of the tile has a grid or waffle structure, fill the waffles. And just scrape the tile clean with the flat edge of your trowel.

3) More thinset on the floor allows you to better adjust adjacent tiles to eliminate lippage. So depending on your tile, you might want to consider a larger trowel. 3/8" or 1/2" notch.

I had trouble getting the Ditra flat..."

If your SLC is flat, which it should be...and if you spread your thinset with a 1/4" notched trowel...that will result in your having a measured amount of thinset on the flat floor. You should have already dry fit your Ditra pieces. Thinset a section, then spread the thinset, then set the Ditra. Pad it in place with a grout float, or a wood float, to embed the fleece in the thinset. It should be as flat as your SLC. The only way it can be lumpy is if you displace any thinset underneath laterally (stepping on it, or using a trowel edge to smoosh (?) the thinset around under the Ditra), or by embedding some parts and not others.

With your first piece set and in place, then thinset the next section of floor, then set your next section of Ditra. And on and on.

RE: "Laticrete Strata-Mat" has anyone used this?

Well, its great to have the Red Sox win, unless they're playing the Cubs. But I am not a baseball fan so I don't even know if they are in the same league. But to honor my late DM, I always want the Cubs to win :)

1-3) good to hear about the 3/4, exterior grade, and not needing T&G.
4) I did a perfect job with the warming wires last time if I do say so myself. I used 2 probes. Primer, I think I rolled on. I had a million dams because of Stacyneil runaway SLC on her first installation. I had a perfect pour I think. It was level and flat. The key elements to my successful pour was that I had DH outside mixing, DS carrying and pouring, and I bossed them around and smoothed the SLC with my notched squeegee that I made with a window washing thing.

5) I was thinking of laying them 1/3 or 1/4 running bond fashioned. Thanks for the complement on the herringbone, its nice to hear. The tile I am planning to use is by Stone Peak. I think they are pressed and not rectified. But I am not sure. The sales person said that there are no repeats in 100 tiles. I was probably going to use 1/8 grout line or maybe 3/16. I will try the dry lay first and check for cupping.

Thanks for the "larger tile" tutorial. I will refer to that when I get to the laying. Oh I said it, I'm committed to doing this floor myself.

With the other bathroom floor I was pretty happy with the whole project. I did have some lipage, but with the more rustic look of the slate it was ok for me. And I still like it very much...BUT my Ditra was lumpy. I thought I spread it nicely. But I was not getting it to adhere to my thinset. Nothing was adhering. I pulled it up and hardly any of the thinset was coloring the fleece. So, I scrapped all the thinset up, washed off the Ditra with cold water, let it dry and tried again the next day. I may have mixed up a thinner thinset the next day, I don't remember. But I was able to get it to adhere better. I also got lumps. I may have pushed it around too much. I remember trying to push on it to spread out the lumps and thought it was ok, until the next day and saw that it was too much. I think I posted about the issue and I can try and find it for reference. To resolve the issue, I cut out the areas with a utility knife and scrapped the thinset down to the SLC as able and reapplied thinset and new patches of Ditra. It worked and all was ok. I might be better at it this time. Last time I was always getting nervous about my thinset setting up before I was done. But by the time the walls were going up I could gage the amount of powder to water very well. I mixed up just enough for about an hours worth of work, and was surprised at the precision of mixing I had attained. I brag a lot :)

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