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Substantial Clarification for Design of Wood Floors Supporting Ceramic Tile

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In the past, many engineers/architects were faced with the question--what are the appropriate design criteria for wood-floor framing systems supporting ceramic tile? For over a decade, the primary reference documents for the selection and installation of ceramic tile on wood joist floors (2006 TCA HANDBOOK for Ceramic Tile Installation) stated the following under Requirements:

• design floor areas over which tile is to be applied to have a deflection not greater than 1/360 of the span when measured under a 300 lb. concentrated load (See ASTM C627).

This specification related to a 4'x4' laboratory test specimen with 2"x2" (nominal) simulated joists bearing solidly on a concrete pad. The above specification had no rational translation for the joist system designer. The issue has been resolved by new language added to tile industry standard ANSI
A108.01 and the 2007 TCA Handbook


An article on the industry changes that clearly define deflection requirements for wood joist systems, including the role of all parties involved in wood constructions supporting ceramic tile, was published in the Building Safety Journal of the ICC (December 2007). The article is posted (with permission) at

Comments and discussion are welcome.


Thanks, Frank

Frank Woeste, Ph.D., P.E.

Professor Emeritus

Virginia Tech University