Tile Underlayment Positioning

Positioning Underlayment to Prevent Tile & Grout Cracks by Frank Woeste, P.E. and Peter A. Nielsen

The 2003–2004 Tile Council of America’s (TCA) Handbook for Ceramic Tile Installation contains numerous details for a double layer wood floor system supporting ceramic tile. The thicknesses of the subfloor and tile underlayment are given in each case. Specific guidance on where to butt the underlayment end joints is not given for any detail. For example, for F142-03, the TCA Handbook states, “offset end and edge joints of the underlayment panels by at least two inches from the joints of subfloor panels; they should not coincide with framing below.” It further states, “underlayment fasteners should not penetrate joists below.” In the case of F150-03, the offsetting is not mentioned, but it does state, “underlayment fasteners should not penetrate joists below.” The same holds true for F155; however, it also states, “face grain of plywood should run perpendicular to trusses, I-joists, or sawn lumber for maximum stiffness.”

The purpose of this article is to propose specific guidelines (more…)

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Cement Boards Over a Slab

Using Cement Boards Over Concrete Slab Construction

It seems that ceramic tile installation has an abundance of myths that pop up all too frequently regarding Do-It-Yourselfers on “help forums” and DIY websites. So-called tile experts offer advice and opinions based on, well… I’m not sure what some of the comments are based on or where some people get their (mis)information to tell you the truth. I want to address the subject of installing cement board products over a concrete substrate.

It is imagined by some that products like Durock, Hardibacker and others can be used to fix imperfections in the surface of concrete or to override a previously painted or sealed concrete surface. Installing tile over painted or sealed surfaces is usually not good practice. (more…)

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Ceramic & Stone Tile Underlayments

Of the entire inventory of floor covering products on today’s market, ceramic and stone tiles probably lend themselves more to do-it-yourself home improvement projects than almost any other flooring product but there are rules and special underlayments required to insure a proper and lasting installation.


Tile in its elementary form is easy to install. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it, however if you research installing ceramic tile you will find that the techniques are many and there are in fact absolute rules that should be followed to insure a suitable return on your investment. (more…)

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Concrete Control Joints & Cracks

The Behavior of Concrete Slabs With Control Joints and Cracks
by A. Kester

A lot of architects, contractors, and even engineers, do not have a good understanding on the behavior of concrete slabs-on-ground (SOG). I am just one structural engineer and these are my thoughts based on my research and experience. I have worked with concrete slab construction my entire career, and have done a lot of investigations of cracks and settlement damage to SOG, and have a pretty good general understanding of them. This is a review of the subject and I hope it helps people in the flooring industry in dealing with different types of slabs with control joints and cracks. (more…)

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Computer Security for The Floor Pro

Computer Security for Flooring Pros
by Nick Arrera

There’s More To Flooring Than Just Floors

Part of being a floorcovering professional is the office work. Every one of you reading this obviously has a computer and odds are 99% of you use it for work: invoicing and bookkeeping, compiling price lists, writing business correspondence and research on the Internet. Some of you feel you are adequately protected from the dangers of hackers and viruses. A few of you do not concern yourselves with such matters. Only when there’s trouble do you wonder what happened. Here is a short course on computer security that can help protect you, your computer and your business data from theft or damage. (more…)

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FLOORING: An Industry In Crisis

In The Beginning…

The snake eats itselfThroughout history various industries have encountered crisis for one reason or another. It is as inexorable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, and was generally considered a byproduct of business brought about by its cyclical nature. However, history provides no better example of self-inflicted crisis than the floor covering industry. The snake eats itself.

In order to understand how the flooring industry has arrived at its current state one must examine the cause and affect factors that brought it to this point, so let’s go back to the beginning relative to this point. (more…)

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Tile Over Vinyl Flooring

Ceramic & Stone Tile Over Vinyl Flooring
A Raging and On-going Controversy in the Flooring Community

In The Old Days…

Back in the early days of the first home improvement Advice Forums for Do-It-Yourselfers on the Internet, less than a decade ago, it didn’t take long to find out that if you were to choose a subject such as this (ceramic or stone tile over vinyl) and rub two tile installers together you could in no-time create fire. If not a raging flaming beast of a fire then at least plenty of smoke. This type of fire and smoke is hard to extinguish because in the minds of some long-time installers, for them to follow this advice would mean changing everything they had been taught by their mentors and fathers and grandfathers and godfathers. For some, these methods mean change and we all know how humans resist change. So, for this reason, this is not directed at any of the long-time professional installers in the flooring community. No sir, instead it is directed toward the Do-It-Yourselfer that is seeking sound advice from an experienced installer that has (trust me) “been there, done that”. You will find this ongoing argument everywhere on the help forums that you go to seek advice. (more…)

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Customer Relations for the Flooring Inspector

dollarsWe are all consumers and we all encounter products or services that do not meet our expectations. The consumer having a problem with their floor covering is no different from me or you. The flooring they paid good money for is not living up to their expectations.

When I first became involved in complaint handling, I thought I would see a lot of people trying to get something for nothing. The complete opposite has proven to be the case. In all the years I have been doing inspections less than a handful have met that ulterior motive. The overwhelming majority of unhappy consumers just want what they paid for. (more…)

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Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Flooring Options

A Glance at Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Flooring Options
by Marcy Tate

Eco-friendly and sustainable flooring is growing in popularity. Alternatives to conventional flooring are vast and easily accessible. There are eco-friendly underlayment and sealer options, too. Most eco-friendly flooring options cost about 20% more than conventional flooring types. But the growing increase of requests for eco-friendly flooring has proved that many homeowners are willing to pay extra for the great benefits. (more…)

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Hand-Scraped Hickory Steps

Custom Made, Hand-Scraped Hickory Steps A customer I previously made a fireplace mantle for ask me if there were stair treads to match his hand scraped Hickory hardwood flooring. I knew I could make hickory steps but wasn't sure if I could get the hand scraped look. Festool and Makita have planer blades for hand…

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