How to Properly Install Floor Tile on Wooden Subfloor

How to Properly Install Floor Tile on Wooden Subfloor

Installing tile over a wooden subfloor is simpler today than it was when some time back. The old-fashioned mud technique of floating thick mortar beds in preparation for tile has provided a way of using cement backer planks over plywood subfloors. Cement boards are inexpensive, going for an average of $10 or less for a half-inch thick, simple to install, and adequate for many installations.  

Many manufacturers offer clear installation guidelines with cement backer planks, even though there are some other important aspects that one needs to know for a highly durable installation. For instance, one would prefer to remove old flooring material to check the subfloor for any possible damages caused by water. Consistent seepage of water along the edge of a shower or bathtub may bring about the rot that calls for repair and refinishing. 

If everything is in good condition, use a notched trowel in applying a thin-set adhesive to the plywood. After that, set the backer board on it while it is still wet, and screw in corrosion-resistant screws that are designed for countersinking into a backer board through the plywood. This is done at intervals recommended in backer board guidelines to make sure there is a firm foundation for the tile. Set the heads of every screw and existing nails slightly underneath the wood surface, and then use a lightweight gypsum-leveling element to level and fill voids or low spots. If you undertake this type of care with the preparation work, the finished tile will not crack over time. 

Next, cut the cement backer board and screw it down with corrosion resistant screws. Stick every joint in the backer board then apply thin-set adhesives to all the joints. 

Finally, establish the location of the tile and apply a coat of thin-set to the said backer board, after that you can lay the tile. After tiles have been set, apply grout to joints between tiles, wiping off any excess components with a damp sponge or rag. 

Manufacturers specify all the proper mortar, tile adhesive, fasteners and joint tape. However, do not use drywall screws as they may corrode. The other evident mistake is grout wedged in between the tub and the last row of tiles, doorsill or cabinets. Grout in these transitional spaces would crack as the floor contracts and expands. Such areas should get silicone caulk or a bead of acrylic instead for the joint to remain flexible. 

Many homeowners often ask if it is possible to install new tiles over an existing tile subfloor. This is not a favorable way of installing tile, though it can be done if the existing subfloor and tile are in excellent condition. Additionally, the old tile should be thoroughly scuffed and cleaned up using sandpaper to give room for the new mortar to grip well. The blend of freshly applied mortar and tile would raise the level of the flooring by at least three-eighths inch. Trimming the base of the bathroom door and rebuilding the doorsill often hides the fact there are two coats of tile rather than one. 

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