We took up old ceramic tile (original with a 20 year old house) and found no cement board or other underlayment material underneath. As a result, the grout lines and the tiles themselves can crack and become damaged. Plus, it’s inexpensive and easy to use. Now that you have spread the adhesive and laid down the cement board screw the cement board down. Apply the Mortar Bed. Necessary prep work. for 5/8" plywood subfloor and ½" underlayment and 24" max. Tile installed over wood floor systems MUST have a minimum of 1-1/4 inches of solid material beneath it. Glass tiles, onyx tiles, and other translucent materials need a skim coat of mortar before installation; cement backerboard makes this coat easy, providing a smooth, even surface. It isn’t waterproof, but absorbs moisture well and is a great support for tiles. A 3/4-inch plywood subfloor on a joist structure with 24-inch spacing needs the extra thickness of cementboard or the floor will flex and the tiles will crack. However, before you lay your cement board, there’s a little prep work that needs to be completed first. Therefore, the plywood usually sold for this purpose may be rough, have knot holes, and other inconsistencies that can affect the final tile installation. Once you have marked all these preparations off your list, the tiling process can begin. This product resists direct moisture, making it a top choice for installation in areas of high humidity. Plywood requires a thicker back buttering to even out inconsistencies, which makes the installation more time consuming. I am wondering if I need to wait for the thinset under the Durock to dry before I tape and thinset the seams where the Durock meets. Concrete backer board has a solid concrete core, and both sides are faced with fiberglass. The following backer boards are commonly used for tile flooring in wet or dry areas over wood subfloors: Concrete backer board (Durock and WonderBoard), which is the standard material for tile underlayment. Laying tile over a plywood subfloor can be tricky, but if you prepare the sub floor properly, your tile floor will last for a lifetime. Everything You Need to Know About Exterior Siding Materials, How Allura Fiber Cement Compares to James Hardie. However, before you lay your cement board, there’s a little prep work that needs to be completed first. HardieBacker board is not designed for use over concrete. You can now lay your tile. And when we tiled over plywood substrate, we used latex-modified mortar. Once again, even though adhesive products are available for setting tile over exterior grade plywood, this may mean the difference between a 3-5 year installation and a lifetime installation. You’re now ready to grout. This will add extra strength while also helping prevent flexing. Unlike wood base materials such as plywood that contain wood such as drywall, Cement board does not have the organic material that would promote rot … The result of Schluter-DITRA’s performance is a tile floor with outstanding durability and resistance to cracks and moisture. The floor isn’t the only place where tile is being installed. While it is possible to find very smooth, consistent pieces of plywood, most of these are reserved for furniture grade applications, and aren’t usually used for installing beneath tiles where they won’t be seen. This gives them room for expansion. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I think Lowe's made a similar product and Noble makes a thin membrane that also can be applied over plywood. While plywood has many uses, and was once the only material to install tile on, it can’t compare to the smooth, even surface of cement backerboard, or the stability that cement can bring to the job. To install cement board on floors, cement board manufacturers mandate a 5/8-inch plywood subfloor or OSB underlayment. When screwing the cement board down, space them about 16 inches apart. Instead, lay a glass of water on the subfloor, walk across it, and look and see if the water is moving at all. Fireplace surrounds, walls, and countertops are all common areas to tile. But a number of precautions must be taken to ensure a successful installation: Manufacturers also recommend bonding cement board to floors … Cement backerboard is designed specifically for this use. The first thing you’ll want to do is check your plywood subfloor for any bending or deflection. Can You Have Stained Doors With Painted Trim. Press Esc to cancel. The first thing you’ll want to do is check your plywood subfloor for any bending or deflection. There are two materials commonly used for laying ceramic on plywood or OSB that are applied before the tile: Concrete Board – Concrete board, also called Backer Board comes in 1/4″ and 1/2″ thicknesses and is usually sold in 4′ x 6′ sheets. Like mentioned above, tile bonds with mortar quite well. After the cement boards are screwed, the joints are pressed and cemented using thin-set and not the cement. The best argument when determining whether to use plywood or cement board under tile is in the adhesive process. With no repercussions I might add ... O.C. Cement-based backer board stabilizes the … Mike Bailey works in the commercial construction industry in Missouri. It should be fastened to the subfloor using thinset, and then screwed down every 10″ square. Here’s the Right Way to Apply It. It’s that easy. Uncoupling membranes aren't recommended for tiles smaller than 2-inches square and should not be used when covering old hardwood flooring due to adhesion problems. Cement board is a combo of cement and fibers that usually comes in 3×5 foot sheets. Since tile can’t flex, it eventually cracked and broke. This in turn leads to issues like loose or missing grout, and cracked tiles. Type above and press Enter to search. It’s also heavy and smells kinda icky when you cut it (just so you know ahead of time). Once the paper is down, mix your mortar and spread it with a putty or wide joint knife. This underlayment also acts as a waterproof membrane over moisture-sensitive subflooring such as plywood and OSB. The right materials make all the difference when it comes to getting tile installed right the first time. If that’s the case, unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for this problem other than removing the tile and cement backer board and starting over. It won’t swell and buckle the way that plywood does, so it’s safe to use in mudrooms and bathrooms where things like spills and puddles are normal, as well as in areas with high levels of moisture in the air. … Pro Tip: Tape over holes and cracks in the wood subfloor or slab before pouring on the self-leveling tile underlayment to keep it from seeping through and leaving indentations. Mix a batch thinset mortar, following the manufacturer's directions, using a … Cement backerboard has a greater load capacity, so it’s possible to install any tile anywhere and get the same great results. Making sure your plywood subfloor is properly screwed or nailed is also important. After you have decided on the thickness and purchased your cement backer board, spread adhesive on both the plywood subfloor and the one side of the cement board. When we tiled over concrete slabs, cement board, drywall (gypsum board), or similar products, we used dry-set mortar with no latex additive. While some tiles can handle an uneven substrate, others need a very smooth surface for the best results. Mortar is a paste made up of a mixture of sand, water, and a binder. Cement board is a mineral based product made of inorganic materials including cement, water, silica, limestone flour, and Kevlar or fiberglass. It sounds like the cement backer board was not attached properly to the subfloor using thin-set adhesive, screws, and fiberglass tape on the joints. Plywood is porous, and not designed for use with most of today’s latex-based thinset mortars. This will ensure your cement board is properly attached to the plywood subfloor underneath it. Use a wide joint knife or putty to press the paper down firmly onto the adhesive. Trex vs Veranda Decking: Which Is the Better Choice? It can be done right at the site it will be installed on, and takes seconds to do. Installing cement board at the beginning of your remodeling project is crucial when you want waterproof tile floors that will last for many years without cracking or other signs of damage. You’ll then want to insert spacers between the tiles and use a tile puck to ensure the tile is level. Can You Paint Over Polyurethane? Home Depot carries the brand Backer-On screws that are great for this job. The best argument when determining whether to use plywood or cement board under tile is in the adhesive process. By Lee Carroll Updated December 14, 2018 Tile requires a structurally-sound, sturdy foundation, and plywood alone is unsuitable. Even if you use a waterproof underlayment membrane, the floor will still be either 1/4″ or 1/2” higher than the subfloor, plus the thickness of the tile and adhesive. Underlayment must be set in a mortar bed Once dry, remove the spacers, mix your grout until it’s smooth and creamy, and use a sponge rubber float to fill in the gaps between the tiles. While most floor tile these days is installed onto a layer of cement board or similar backerboard, it is possible to lay tile directly over plywood. When you get to vertical applications, heavy tiles like slate or large format porcelain become too heavy to adhere well to plywood. These two issues can cause grout joints to pop or the tile to crack and/or become loose. In addition to a flat surface, your subfloor must also be at least 1 ½ inch thick. I am laying down Durock cement backer board over plywood – Durock instructs to trowel thinset over the plywood, then place the Durock on it. Are you using snapper shear s424 to cut avoiding airborne dust? You can try and examine the subfloor with your eyes, but sometimes it’s hard to see a bent or deflected subfloor. The benefit of using DITRA over cement board is like you said the ease of installation but also the fact that it protects the tiles from cracking...for me those two reasons are big. Cement backerboard is easy to cut; score it with a utility knife and snap. If you’re planning on using mortar instead of cement boards, you’ll want to start by spreading your adhesive and then lay fiberglass reinforced paper mats down onto the adhesive. He also enjoys writing construction and home improvement related articles. Why? Let your grout dry for about 45 minutes and then use a grout sponge and water to clean off the excess grout. Plywood is porous, and not designed for use with most of today’s latex-based thinset mortars. Cement backerboard is designed specifically for this use. This, however, creates an uneven substrate that can result in lippage, or tile corners that stick up above the rest of the floor. Using a rubber mallet can put the raised tile back down. Now, this is an area that the plywood installers will be familiar with. In addition to this, tile can not properly adhere to wood the way it does to concrete. Always hold the sponge rubber float diagonal when spreading the grout. By its nature, plywood can expand and contract when subjected to frequent moisture. 0. gunguru. Instead of laying tile on a plywood subfloor, it’s better to lay a cement board on top of the plywood subfloor first. If you remember, tile will not adhere to wood nearly as well as it will to concrete. If not, you know you’re in the clear. Unfortunately, there many ways that a tile installation can fail from the wrong setting materials to inadequate back-buttering of large format tiles. The solution to fixing this movement with plywood is to screw it down in several areas to the subfloor. Cement board is an ideal substitute for drywall structure in the shower box. A number of different types of substrate are used for tile, including plywood. It’s best to let the mortar sit for 24 hours before you begin the grouting process. Use the substrate that was designed just for this use – cement backerboard. This works best. joist spacing for Ceramic Tile according to the Tile Institute is 16" max. Cement backer board comes in two standard thicknesses, 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch. This means you can have a 3/4 inch wood subfloor covered by 1/2 inch plywood, cement board, or approved gypsum fiber underlayment. You spread it on a particular surface, and after it dries, it acts as a concrete surface. However, I did find that the previous installer had put another sheet of 1/2 plywood over the 3/4 inch plywood subfloor. Floor joists should be spaced a maximum of 16" (40 cm) o.c. While I prefer using 1/2” cement backer board over a plywood subfloor, you may be able to get by with 1/4” backer board instead. Cement board is a very hard panel formed by cement slurry and reinforced fiberglass mesh. Plywood needs to be measured on site, moved to a cutting table and sawn, before being brought back. Instead of laying tile on a plywood subfloor, it’s better to lay a cement board on top of the plywood subfloor first. Settle the plywood vs cement backerboard underlayment debate in favor of completing your job successfully by using cement backerboard every time. When plywood is used as the substrate, it runs the risk of absorbing moisture over time, which in turn makes the wood swell, then contract when it dries out. This can lead to cracks appearing in tiles or grout lines, and often replacement is the only solution. It provides a strong base on which to install tile and stone. Not Staggering the Seams. You get a smoother application, and better adhesion so your tile job is less likely to fail when the backerboard is made of cement. For many decades, the largest tile most people ever installed was around 8-inches. Beside cement boards are screwed, the largest tile most people ever installed was around 8-inches all! 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2020 tile over plywood vs cement board