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Installing Tile Directly To Wood Surfaces

Chip board, cushioned vinyl flooring, particle boards of any type, luan plywood, OSB (Oriented Strand Board), tongue & groove planking, and hardwood floors are unsuitable substrates to directly install ceramic tile over.

Although it can be done successfully, many experts believe that ceramic tile installed directly to plywood surfaces should be avoided whenever possible. Plywood has a smooth surface and tends to swell, warp, and delaminate when it is exposed to moisture. Install at your own risk.

Subfloor construction should consist of a double layered, 1-1/8″ thick, exterior grade plywood installed over floor joists spaced a maximum of 16″ on center. Face grains of first plywood layer should be installed perpendicular to joists for maximum stiffness and staggered with an 1/8″ wide gap between each sheet. Install plywood panel edges 1/4″ away from restraining surfaces, including perimeter walls, cabinetry, and door jambs. These are expansion gaps and should not be bridged with setting material. In addition, subfloor deflection should not exceed L/360 of span.

To prevent moisture from damaging the plywood substrate we recommend that a waterproofing membrane be installed per the manufacturers instructions over all plywood surfaces to be tiled.

Install ceramic tile using a latex modified thinset mortar approved for use over plywood substrates.

Installing Tile Over Vinyl Or Linoleum Floor Coverings

Installing ceramic tile directly to vinyl or linoleum surfaces should be avoided whenever possible. Install at your own risk.

If you are concerned that your vinyl or linoleum flooring may contain asbestos fibers we recommend that you have it tested before attempting to remove it. For more information on asbestos, please refer to Asbestos In Your Home provided by the EPA.

In any case, vinyl or linoleum flooring must be a non-cushioned type and securely attached to the subfloor. Subfloor construction should consist of double layered, 1-1/8″ thick, exterior grade plywood installed over floor joists spaced a maximum of 16″ on center. The maximum allowable concentrated deflection of the subfloor may not exceed L/360 of the span.

If the floor covering does not contain asbestos fibers we recommend that the surface be scarified or sanded to provide a rougher surface for the thinset mortar to bond to.

Install ceramic tile using a latex modified thinset mortar approved by the manufacturer for installation over vinyl and linoleum surfaces.

Installing Tile Over Ceramic Tile Backerboards

Cement ceramic tile backerboards may also be installed over plywood subfloors and should be secured using 1-1/4″ corrosion resistant roofing nails or 1-1/4″ ribbed wafer head screws in combination with a thinset mortar bed. Screws or nails should be installed every 6″ to 8″ on center. Subfloor deflection should not exceed L/360 of span. Ceramic tile backerboards will add to the height of your new floor and may require height reducing thresholds or transition strips where tile meets carpet, vinyl, etc. Doors may also need to be trimmed. Refer to the backerboard manufacturer for specific product recommendations and limitations.

To prevent moisture from damaging the plywood subfloor we recommend that a waterproofing membrane be applied per the manufacturers instructions over all ceramic tile backerboard surfaces installed in wet areas, including shower and tub wall facings.

Installing Tile Directly To Concrete Slabs

Paint, cutback adhesives, gypsum based fillers or levelers, sealers, or chemically treated cement substrates are unsuitable surfaces to install ceramic tile over and should be removed by non-chemical methods whenever possible.

Concrete substrates must be thoroughly cleaned prior to the installation of tile. To remove dust, mop cement slab using clean water only and allow to dry completely. Very smooth concrete may be roughened up or etched using an acid based solution designed for this purpose.

Make sure to fill in and float off any dips, humps, or waves on the concrete foundation using a portland cement based floor leveler. For dips, this product may be used to fill the cavity and screed off using a level or straight edge. For humps, apply the floor leveler around the base of the protrusion. Then, using the top of the hump as a guide, screed the floor around the base of the hump in a circular motion. This will help to lessen the impact the protrusion will have on your finished floor.

Most Portland cement based floor levelers need to cure for at least 24 hours before the tile can be installed.

Ceramic floor tile an elegant and stylish flooring material whose true origins remain unknown. Ceramic floor tile can come in virtually any color and is so tough and durable, it could actually last as long as your home. Ceramic floor tile can be installed in most any room however they are most commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms.

Ceramics, similar to today’s version of ceramic floor tile, has been found on the banks of the Nile River in Egypt. Ceramic floor tile is currently the oldest form of flooring material known to man, aside from dirt and bear skins. Speaking of dirt, creating ceramic floor tile is simply a combination of different clays that have been mixed with water, designed, shaped and then fired in special kilns. You could basically consider ceramic floor tile nothing more than flame broiled mud.

Benefits of Ceramic Floor Tile

Ceramic floor tile has many benefits. Some benefits of ceramic-floor-tile are: versatility, variety, durability and ease of maintenance.

Versatility – Ceramic Floor tile can be installed on both floors and walls as well as inside and out

Variety – Ceramic floor tile can comes in all shapes sizes and colors. Ceramic floor tile can also come glazed or unglazed. With glazed ceramic floor tile you can have virtually you have the option of all the color choices and designs. With unglazed ceramic floor tile you’ll have a more durable and slip resistant floor.

Durability – Ceramic floor tile, properly installed with tile subfloor, may actually out last your home. Ceramic floor tile is a tough floor that wont fade or become easily damage if properly taken care of. In addition, using tile subfloor will provide the necessary drainage and moisture protection your ceramic-floor-tile will need.

Maintenance – Ceramic floor tile are very easy to maintain. Cleaning ceramic floor tile is as simple as sweeping or vacuuming. When mopping ceramic floor tile remember to not use excessive amounts of water. Using a damp mop on ceramic floor tile is the best choice.

Dos & Don’ts of Ceramic Floor Tile

When you install ceramic floor tile there are a few basic dos and don’t to remember:

  • Do clean your ceramic floor tile with a damp sponge or mop
  • Do ensure the cleaner you use on your ceramic floor tile is non-acidic and non-alkaline
  • Do use cleaners made specifically for ceramic floor tile
  • Do use a subfloor
  • Don’t use soap on your ceramic floor tile as it can leave a film and bring on mold and mildew growth
  • Don’t use ammonia based cleaners or vinegar and water on ceramic floor tile as they may dull the shine
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaning pads on your ceramic floor tile