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Bricks and Brass • View topic - Tiling onto an earth floor

Tiling onto an earth floor

Forum for discussing period houses.

Tiling onto an earth floor

Postby Debs » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:33 pm

We have a chequerboard of red and black dust pressed tiles (like a quarry tile) laid directly on earth in our breakfast room. They are so cracked and damaged that we want to replace them with modern equivalents and have been told we need to put in a damp-proof membrane and layer of concrete.

Is this really necessary? We've never had an issue with damp in this room. Is there no way of evening out the earth and tiling directly onto it again – or am I just likely to get more cracked tiles? The adjacent hall floor is Minton tiles on earth and I have no desire to take this up as it is perfect – could I cause a knock-on damp problem here if I damp proof the room next door?

The reason for my concern is that since we had a brick injected DPC, the bricks below the DPC in the pantry have crumbled. I’m worried I could be creating future problems – and the house has enough of those already!

Any ideas?
Thanks, Debs
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Re: Tiling onto an earth floor

Postby Simon TL » Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:52 am

Debs

I hope you will get someone else chipping in but lots of people are on holiday!

I think your spalling brick problem is a clue to the view you are already coming too! Your floor and walls need to allow evaporation so sealing the floor will worsen your wall problem. And could cause problems next door.

I would do some looking for modern equivalents. Maw and Co do a geometric dust pressed tile. Craven Dunhill (http://www.cravendunnill-jackfield.co.uk/geo.html) also. I would contact both and ask for advice on laying them on earth. A compromise might be a lime mortar screed.

Let us know what they recommend. Some photos to contact@ would be great!
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Re: Tiling onto an earth floor

Postby tim smedley » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:25 pm

Hi Debs

I echo everything Simon has said and can't stress enough the need to keep old and new building methods apart.

You will see from my posts a common theme is that the builder of your house, which has survived all these years, used methods of the day that complimented each other. As soon as you start adding new style methods and modern plasters and damp proof membranes you upset his original plan and so unless you deliberately compensate in some way you will start to have a host of new problems. A common complaint you hear of is people who have put lino on top of tiles like yours and then wonder why they have new damp patches in other rooms!

Best advice is to invest time in speaking with the tile manufacturers on their technical help desk - you won't be the first to have asked I am sure!

Good luck and don’t forget to update the question with your findings so that anyone else searching in the future gets pointed in the right direction.

Tim
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Re: Tiling onto an earth floor

Postby Debs » Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:34 pm

Thanks Simon. The Craven Dunhill lead is a particularly good one – as I hadn’t realised they are local to us. They have produced technical information sheets relating to different surfaces you can tile onto, which are now in the post to me. I’m obviously not the first person to have asked!

Tim, you’re definitely right about keeping old and new methods separate. We felt a bit railroaded into having a chemical injected DPC as it seemed to be the accepted practice. With hindsight there were other avenues we should have explored. I think I need to start questioning the accepted wisdom a bit more and as you suggest, gleaning what I can from manufacturers and others.

Thank you both,
Debs
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