Wood Sub Floors | Ceramic Tile and Wood Sub Floors

Ceramic Tile and Wood Sub Floors


Filed Under Ceramic Tile

There are special considerations that must be taken into account when installing ceramic tile on wood sub floors. If you take these issues seriously and deal with them before your installation, your ceramic tile floor will last for years but if you do not, it will almost certainly fail.

Even the most sturdy wood sub floors have a certain amount of springiness or give. This flexibility is not a problem with hardwood or carpet floor coverings but can cause serious problems with ceramic tile. For this reason you must take special steps to stiffen your wood sub floor for the ceramic tile installation.

Once you have removed the original flooring you need to determine what type of wood sub floor material you are dealing with. If you find you have a particle board sub floor it is highly recommended that you replace the entire sub floor with tongue-and-groove plywood. This will give you a much more stable and durable wood sub floor for your ceramic tile installation.

When installing ceramic tile it is very important to make sure your wood sub floor is leveled as much as possible. The ceramic tile is brittle and does not have the flexibility necessary to shape to the contours of an unleveled floor. After you have eliminated as much movement as possible and leveled the wood sub floor you can move on to the next step.

The next step in preparing your wood sub floors for ceramic tile installation is to install a backer board or concrete board over the wood sub floor. We also recommend installing a layer of 30# felt between the wood sub floor and the concrete board. This acts as a vapor and sound barrier and seems to help the tile not seem as cold.

The concrete board comes in 3’ x 5’ sheets and is available in various thickness, choose the thickness that will raise your ceramic tile the proper amount off of your wood sub floor to meet any adjacent flooring. The concrete board is a must for ceramic tile installations on wood sub floors so if your tile must be taller than the adjoining flooring, you must make ramped thresholds or transitions at the joints.

When installing the concrete board over the wood sub floor it is necessary to put a deck screw every six inches to eliminate any chance of movement in the ceramic tile. If you follow these directions and are certain to eliminate the movement of your wood sub floors your ceramic tile installation will have most of the potential problems taken care of.

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