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Thread: What is the smallest tile that can be installed over Strata Mat by Laticrete?

  1. #1
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default What is the smallest tile that can be installed over Strata Mat by Laticrete?

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    Default Pros and Cons of Strata Mat

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    Default Tile Limitations for Strata Mat:

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Hair Line Cracks in Screed Coat over Strata Mat

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Installing 3/4" mosaic tile over Strata Mat

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    FWIW, the reason there's a tile size minimum on this type of membrane is that the raised portion of the grid does not have mortar under it...IOW, it is a VOID. Tile hates voids (a bigger tile will be supported by enough columns of thinset to keep it from potentially tipping with a point load), and IMHO, the combination of multiple layers of thinset, mesh, etc. on top of the mat does not negate the fact that a small tile will end up over a void, and while a point load in a bathroom is unlikely to crack a tile, it is against all that the manufacturer calls for. Throw in a good sized lady in spike high heels, and your results may differ.

    On these mats, any required leveling must be done BEFORE the mat is installed. Thinset mortar is not designed for floor leveling. Thinset mortar makes a great bond to tile when done right. Per the installation instructions (page 21) http://www.laticrete.com/Portals/0/d...s/DS-010.5.pdf , all leveling must be performed BEFORE installation of the mat.

    So, with the multiple diversions from the manufacturer's instructions, while this floor might last, all warranty would be in question...best to do it the way the manufacturer calls for. Is this John's idea of perfect?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Default Small Tile Installations over Strata Mat

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    When something is done that goes against the published manufacturer's instructions, without providing backup, most people would assume there are problems. Had you provided the exception to published instructions from the manufacturer as part of the education, it would have a lot more useful, and less confrontational. Most people seeing this, without that, would not know the details to make it work, and would be lead to an installation that would be much more likely to fail.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default 2"x2" tile size restriction over Strata Mat

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I've thought about this, and I think this thread does not belong in a DIY'er forum. IHMO, to achieve a good install with tile smaller than 2x2" over a mat like this requires more skill than a typical DIY'er and some pros to be able to get first, a consistent, level screed the proper depth over the top of the mat, and if it isn't, get the small format tile set so that they are acceptably flat. Yes, there are ways to do this, but most people won't take the time to accomplish it properly. Plus, many DIY'ers do not read, and when they do, they do not always understand the instructions or the ramifications. And, they may then make assumptions, and create a bad situation. The manufacturer's goal is a reliable installation for the target user. Both of the mats in question are marketed for DIY'er and pro...my vote, leave the exception to the pro.

    Without the specific instructions from the manufacturer you posted...someone just skimming the thread or the title could easily be lead to an improper conclusion and not generate a reliable project.
    Last edited by jadnashua; 12-30-2013 at 04:24 PM.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Shallow End Conversations on Strata Mat - Views from the Deep End

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Again, John twists words.

    Pick a product designed for the intended purpose, and install it per the manufacturer's instructions. Using recommendation from one company to apply to a similar product is a personal decision, and does not mean there are characteristics of the two materials that allow the same techniques to work.

    I never said the floor shouldn't be level. I did say, and the manufacturers of both Ditra and StrataMat say to level the floor BEFORE installation of the membrane...John chose not to do that. He chose to not follow the instructions of the manufacturer on the tile size installation. He performed a screed layer of thinset that would be VERY difficult for a DIY'er to perform. Any tile is MUCH harder to get to lay flat when the substrate is not flat. Anyone who knows tile, they want a flat surface, level may or may not be required, but is often nice.

    So, we have a situation that the material was not installed per the manufacturer's specs, leveled over it rather than before installation, and then a layer of setting materials applied over the top that is beyond the scope of the average DIY'er, and some pros. No discussion on the type of materials required to get the surface flat at the required depth...normal thinset should not be used - many thinsets cannot be installed as thick as were used here.

    I stand by my recommendation, that this thread is not a good idea for a DIY'er forum...StrataMat is not designed for tiles smaller than 2x2, and the manufacturer will not warranty it when they are used. It may stand up well when installed in that manner with the technique described, but the average person will not be able to duplicate it. It does not belong in a DIY'er forum. The goal here, IMHO, is to guide people into both a method of installation that they can perform AND will meet all of the manufacturer's instructions to maintain their warranty.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default From Ice makers to Building Barrier Free Showers - Jim Knows Best.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    And, I'll repeat, the average person will not be able to replicate this install. ANd, John still doesn't understand my comment on the requirement for flat or level...tile wants a flat surface (and, while level isn't required for tile, it is nice for the room - things tend to fit better!)...the average person will have trouble doing that over StrataMat and keying it in properly to the pockets. The reason both Schluter and Laticrete say to level the floor before the installation of their mats is for that reason...it is much harder.

    Throw all the darts you want...you are wrong, but do not want to admit it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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