Flooring and Carpeting/Sunroom flooring

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QUESTION: Hi Perry,

Getting ready to remodel 15 year old sunroom.  Floor currently covered with wall to wall carpet.  Have decided not to use carpet in remodel.  Would like to use ceramic tile if serviceable in this area.  We live in north Georgia where outside temp reaches 95 in summer and as low as 10 in winter.  When & as needed we can heat 200 sq ft in winter & ac in summer...remainder of time room reaches outside temp.  Are there any issues we need to be aware of if we use grouted tile in this area...will normal expansion cause grout to crack along grout lines??
Are there any other materials such as vinyl plank, laminated hardwood, etc, that work better for us in this area.

Regards,
Ernest

ANSWER: Thank you for your question Ernest,

   I am quite familiar with North Georgia having spent a fair amount of time in the area myself back in the day. Converting to tile from a carpet scenario is a no brainer. After removing the carpet a close inspection of the condition of the slab is the first step. If there are no stress cracks due to tree roots, collapsed footers, central voids beneath the slab then proceeding with a tile install is straightforward and simple. Now if inspection reveals multiple (or one significant) crack or break in the slab then it would be my recommendation to employ a "uncoupling membrane" to isolate the fractured slab from the new tile install. There are now multiple manufactures who provide this sort of material and all for the same reason. The material I use most is Ditra made by a Company called Schleuter and can be purchased in most Tile Supply Stores or at Home Depot. The material is a fleece lined impression stamped plastic matt that is installed over a skimmed and combed layer of thinset. Then the plastic is rolled out and rolled into the adhesive and then you can either install over it right away or you can let set over night and begin the next day. Of course if there is any old carpet glue this will need to be scraped off and the slab cleaned with a solvent like Mineral Spirits to get off the maximum amount of old adhesive. The thinset should be a latex modified one to install the Ditra and afterwards a standard thinset can be used to install the tile. This membrane will compensate for any movement in the slab and or the minimal expansion and contraction of the material. As with any contained space like this sunroom you should also allow a 1/8" gap at the perimeter of the install that can easily be color caulked which won't crack and keep dirt and debris out of the space. I am not a fan of vinyl plank primarily because it is a highly reactive material to temperature changes both cold and hot, not good in a sunroom, laminate or laminated hardwood can also be susceptible to temperature changes and are typically a "floating floor" in an application over a slab, so not good at all for what you currently have. So Tile is my choice of the day and all that I have laid our above for you. I hope this helps you with your project Ernest, feel free to return anytime...

Perry V.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: From your response I realize I left out one very important detail.  The sun porch is located off our second floor den and is an all wood structure with floor of standard 2x10's  on 16" centers and decked with 5/8" plywood. The porch is open underneath..  No concrete floor involved.in construction.  Does this detail change your floor covering decisions in any way?

Regards,
Ernest

Answer
Sorry so slow Ernest still laid up...

    Even with the elevated room space the process I recommended remains the same. So long as the overall support structure is compatible with the considerable gain in dead load ie: the tile/grout/thinset combined....follow me? With a single layer of 5/8" I would also recommend that you employ another layer of at least 1/2" laid crossways to the primary layer. This will reduce the deflection that you are bound to have with just a single layer. Everything builds off of the foundation so as long as you add the plywood (even a 3/4" layer would be better) you should be fine. Ok Ernest I hope this helps you with your project feel free to return anytime...

Perry  

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Perry Vellenga

Expertise

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.

Experience

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..

Publications
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...

Education/Credentials
too many most of which don't count...

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