You are here:

Flooring and Carpeting/Elevator Sub-floor Replacement


I am on BOD of a condo association that has 8 buildings with Otis 3500 lb capacity elevators in Palm Coast Florida. The existing tile has become cracked and damaged over the past seven years. We are currently debating whether to replace the ceramic tile with a vinyl style tile or ceramic tile. There appears to be pro and cons for each.

Before any tile can be replaced, the OSB sub-floor requires replacement due to OSB deterioration due to water intrusion. The elevators are exterior but not located on weather exposed walls.

Otis Elevator Company has quotes a very high price to replace the OSB with 3/4 inch marine grade plywood. Are there independent contractors qualified to replace the sub-floor in Florida?

What are your recommendations with respect to ceramic or vinyl floor coverings?

Thank you,

Paul Hyde

Forgive my tardiness Paul...unforeseen physical malady laid me low for a week....

Having a problematic tile install in an elevator is an ongoing issue for most. When I worked at a Resort property in Florida for a few years I had several elevators to contend with for just this reason. I did everything in house and did it the old fashioned way by trial and error. As you point out there is much to consider and at its foundation is of course the sub-strate. I don't know if there are "official" qualified installers there in Florida but my guess is that there are a number of guys just like me who learned as I did just by doing. I was on staff and was in charge of "all" hard flooring areas throughout three different properties all close together, which included the elevators. I would just shut down the elevator one at a time and begin the process. Getting the old sub-flooring was not as hard the second time as it was the first and installing the plywood was of course easier as well. Employing a multi-layered plywood is key and the more layers the better. I used a 7 layer plywood which held together nicely. What I also learned was to sear away from the standard 12x12" format (or larger) and found that a "mixed" tile approach worked well and in general smaller format sizing also helped to have less incidence of cracking or chipping. I used a mixed sizing of 3", 6", 9" and 6"x12" Porcelain like a cobblestone pattern which worked well and different combinations of the same formats in the other elevators. There was more flexibility in the smaller format and once installed performed better as I could better control the installation for improved coverage for the bonding and inconsistency in the "flatness" of the sub-strate...follow me? I did employ a 12" Natural Stone in at least two of the elevators and employed a beefier sub-strate by using two layer of 5/8" plywood one on top of the other. This of course created a minor trip hazard at the door opening but solved that by simply creating a nice beveled edge that didn't catch the toe or the wheels of the rolling luggage. With anything that is moving Paul there is going to be an opportunity for something to go wrong if you are wanting a "real" tile scenario. Going to a vinyl or carpet is the easy way out and simply doesn't have the quality appearance that a Porcelain material will bring.

Flooring and Carpeting

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Perry Vellenga


Ceramic Tile/Marble. I can answer questions about floor preparation, tile selection, layout questions, performance of products, expectations of finish, compatabilities, questions about grout and epoxies, evaluating an installer, asking the right questions to check competence...more? 33 years this August 2012/ many years in commercial application from exterior finishes to Mall store fronts/ interior finishes like floor packages in stores inside Malls examples: The Limited, Lerner/NY, Lane Bryants, Bombay Co., Now involved in Residential new construction covering all types of interior finishes and designs.


I worked in an exclusive field of floorcovering called "Tenant Development" which is by invitational bid only, by way of a National bid list. These are large floor packages usually over 3500 sq. ft. of 18" x 18" Marble and Granite and many other types of Marble and sizes. They are specialty stores where the floor package can cost upwards of $50,000 for one store. I have also done "Structure" stores and J. Riggins stores, Lane Bryant,Express and Body Shop stores where wood flooring is used. Presently work for a National Flooring Company in the Residential new construction arena that covers most interior design elements..Granite Slab tops/wood flooring both job finished and prefinished ect..

My response's are published all across the Internet and picked up by multiple Interior Design sites and Industry related web sites where people have questions...

too many most of which don't count...

©2016 All rights reserved.