Laying a Ceramic Tile Floor
Tiling Over a Subfloor
I am putting a ceramic tile floor down in our bathroom. I will be installing cement tileboard before I put down the tile. Some say thinset should go under this board and others say it is not necessary. The subfloor is a solid, level plywood floor that was under wall-to-wall carpet.
JD from Centerville, OH
I can't imagine why you would put thinset under the tile board. You can, if you wish, use construction adhesive (caulking-tube type) to give it a more secure hold onto the plywood. Though thinset is an adhesive, its adhesion to plywood is questionable, witnessed by me literally hundreds of times in loose tiles and sometimes entirely loose floors! Plywood's absorbency can cause thinset to dry too quickly.
In all honesty, if your floor is strong and solid, you can do away with the tileboard (which is difficult to work with) and use 1/2" plywood instead, screwed and glued to the old floor. The rule of thumb is 1 1/4" of solid floor under tile. Thus a 3/4" subfloor with a 1/2" AC plywood (not lauan because mastic doesn't always take to it) over it is plenty strong. Of course, the seams between the new floor must be staggered over the old seams.
Instead of using thinset, I recommend using either a mastic or Laticrete "Quick Trowel," which is a pre-mixed, sand-fortified mastic that is so much like thinset it fools people!
As you can gather, I am not a fan of thinset for do-it-yourselfers. It's too easy to mix it incorrectly or let it get too old in the bucket. Even the pros mess up with thinset, which can literally turn back to sand if not used properly! It is almost impossible to mess up a tile job with premixed adhesive.
Have a small home repair question for THE NATURAL HANDYMAN? Just click here www.naturalhandyman.com/aitikia
For more home repair information, visit NH's growing list of original home repair articles and quality links www.naturalhandyman.com
If this information has been valuable to you, please consider making a small donation to support NH's free service to the home repair community! For more information, please visit our "Friends" page www.naturalhandyman.com/friends
The Natural Handyman Site Directory
- Home Repair Articles www.naturalhandyman.com/iip
- Home Repair Links Library www.naturalhandyman.com/linkslibrary
- NH's Bookshop www.naturalhandyman.com/bookshop
- Find a handyman at www.naturalhandyman.com/network
- Win unique home repair gifts and prizes at www.naturalhandyman.com/contest
Please read the important copyright and disclaimer information is located at www.naturalhandyman.com/copyright
Also in Home
- 10 ways to cut the cost of cleaning
- Natural homemade laundry soap
- How to buy a Christmas tree
- Preparing for a snow storm
- How to reduce heating bills
- Corian countertop repair
- 6 reasons you shouldn't overimprove your home
- 5 simple and affordable luxuries for your home
- 7 green ways to save money on laundry
- 6 ways to organize your home in the new year
- 6 ways to save on home heating
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Mortgage refinance break-even calculator
- How much money can I borrow for a mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?