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Thread: freeze effect on various floor coverings?

  1. #1
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    Default freeze effect on various floor coverings?

    in a couple of years we are hoping to build a home we'll live in from April to November

    realistically as the years go by that time frame may shrink tp June to September

    hoping to keep it simple and perhaps even totally "off the grid" solar/battery power, generator backup, wood heat

    one thing we like in our current home is the tile floor areas, easy to maintain, looks good, almost bombproof to things like water and dog toe nails

    but I'm wondering, what will happen to a tiled floor (we would probably go with BIG tile like 24x24) when the sub floor expands and contracts due to being left totally unheated when we pull pitch in the winter?

    anyone have experience with a tiled floor they allow to freeze up when unoccupied?

  2. #2
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Wood does not expand and contract in response to temperature, only moisture changes. Put down 3/4" ply T&G subfloor, and tile backer board over that. You'll be golden.
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

  3. #3
    RMK
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    Cool The downside of Tile

    I have some tile floor, and I really wish I didn't. The stuff is COLD. Once it's heated up, it's fine, but depending on the starting point, that can take a while.

    There are so many alternate types of flooring out there now, I'm not sure I would use tile in cold weather application. You can get vinyl flooring that looks just like tile, yet is warmer, softer, and cheaper.

    When you drop something glass on tile, it usually breaks. I admit I liked the look when I installed it years ago, but eventually you run in to issues with grout.

    I would go to a flooring store and seriously explore alternate options prior to investing in floor tile for an "off the grid" abode.

  4. #4

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    We installed Pergo laminate in our cabin years ago and over the years have either let it freeze all winter or gone through periodic freeze / heat cycles with no adverse effects. We have had plenty of dog nails and ground sand and gravel into it with no ill effects.

    Our neighbor put down large tile (and small tile behind her wood stove) and it is still fine after several years of mostly letting it sit unheated in the winter.

    If using laminate, leave plenty of room for expansion around the edges and if I was laying tile, I would use a latex additive in the grout.

  5. #5
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    The biggest issue with tile in a remote area is dealing the flexing and heaving of a building that does not have a really solid foundation. If you are going to be building in an area that you can get a proper foundation, you shouldn't have any issues.

    My tile I used in my entry way is rated for freeze thaw and I know when it hits -40F that temp in that area regularly drops below freezing at the floor. No issues at all with my tile. I don't think I'd ever go over 13" x 13" tiles, though.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottago View Post
    in a couple of years we are hoping to build a home we'll live in from April to November

    realistically as the years go by that time frame may shrink tp June to September

    hoping to keep it simple and perhaps even totally "off the grid" solar/battery power, generator backup, wood heat

    one thing we like in our current home is the tile floor areas, easy to maintain, looks good, almost bombproof to things like water and dog toe nails

    but I'm wondering, what will happen to a tiled floor (we would probably go with BIG tile like 24x24) when the sub floor expands and contracts due to being left totally unheated when we pull pitch in the winter?

    anyone have experience with a tiled floor they allow to freeze up when unoccupied?
    As Cdubbin pointed out - it is the moisture content of wood that can cause the biggest issues. Wood being hydroscopic" it will acclimate with its ambient relative humidity. If you do not plan on maintaining the conditioned space - care will need to be taken regarding the foundation’s design program and sub-floor assembly. (As AKDoug pointed out). If you plan on using tile with a conventional joist - sheathing and tile substrate method I would engineer is deflection to within a tolerance acceptable for the tile application.

    I am not familiar with the freeze thaw or constant freeze soil situations in Alaska therefore can not comment on what foundation systems may be of an option. In the lower 48 I have constructed structures where the end users design programming was based on durability and simplicity. Using a shallow wall foundation method in which the Monolithic edge and integral floor (poured as one) is concrete and left exposed with out any additional flooring (dyed color as an option). This makes for a simple floor system that one could use for a cabin). This shallow wall foundation type may not be an option in Alaska due to the freeze (constant-thaw) status of the soils?

    One other thing - you would do well to check into any jurisdictional/code covenants constrains prior to design or build.

    Good Luck,
    Montana

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    Member atvalaska's Avatar
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    Post 3/4 tounge and grove osb, yea thats what i said...

    sand it some,clean it off good, and ..5 ... or more layers of oil finish, it well look hom'e,lots of character/grains and shine like a new dime & easy to clean.
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atvalaska View Post
    sand it some,clean it off good, and ..5 ... or more layers of oil finish, it well look hom'e,lots of character/grains and shine like a new dime & easy to clean.
    That is what I am thinking for the first few years at least. Fill in the gaps. Sand with a floor sander. One coat of gray paint, then have the daughter paint rocks/patterns with 2-3 colors off the mis-mixed shelf, then a couple coats of clear to seal it all in.

    Upstairs, I will have some area rugs or something a bit warmer.

  9. #9
    Member atvalaska's Avatar
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    Default Fill in the gaps... a no no

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    That is what I am thinking for the first few years at least. Fill in the gaps. Sand with a floor sander. One coat of gray paint, then have the daughter paint rocks/patterns with 2-3 colors off the mis-mixed shelf, then a couple coats of clear to seal it all in.

    Upstairs, I will have some area rugs or something a bit warmer.
    it will need to expand & contract...just pour on the oil roll it around..and go away..and keep on doing it till u get the look...the oil will fill in most of the crack and all the srew heads...sand coat sand coat..like a gun stock...only easyer...
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

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