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tile over plywood vs cement board

Making sure your plywood subfloor is properly screwed or nailed is also important. HardieBacker® cement board is made better to install better and perform better. This underlayment also acts as a waterproof membrane over moisture-sensitive subflooring such as plywood and OSB. The first thing you’ll want to do is check your plywood subfloor for any bending or deflection. When we tiled over concrete slabs, cement board, drywall (gypsum board), or similar products, we used dry-set mortar with no latex additive. Fireplace surrounds, walls, and countertops are all common areas to tile. Make sure you use long enough screws or nails to drive through the complete subfloor and make sure all the screw or nail heads are at least flush, if not below the surface. Instead of laying tile on a plywood subfloor, it’s better to lay a cement board on top of the plywood subfloor first. This will add extra strength while also helping prevent flexing. In addition to a flat surface, your subfloor must also be at least 1 ½ inch thick. If you add a second layer of plywood, locate the seams where the two sheets meet and offset them from each other. When screwing the cement board down, space them about 16 inches apart. 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. This was because anything larger was likely to develop cracks, because the substrate or underlayment beneath it often moved. The cement boards are easy to fasten with screws. If not, you know you’re in the clear. 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 … Instead, lay a glass of water on the subfloor, walk across it, and look and see if the water is moving at all. You’ll then want to insert spacers between the tiles and use a tile puck to ensure the tile is level. This product resists direct moisture, making it a top choice for installation in areas of high humidity. Get rid of the high ridges and sink the fasteners Check all plywood seams with a straightedge held … Once you have marked all these preparations off your list, the tiling process can begin. Re: Fireplace surround-plywood or Durock ( cement board ) ? Are you using snapper shear s424 to cut avoiding airborne dust? 0. gunguru. Underlayment must be set in a mortar bed Cement backer board comes in two standard thicknesses, 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch. Concrete backer board has a solid concrete core, and both sides are faced with fiberglass. Mix a batch thinset mortar, following the manufacturer's directions, using a … You can try and examine the subfloor with your eyes, but sometimes it’s hard to see a bent or deflected subfloor. These two issues can cause grout joints to pop or the tile to crack and/or … For many decades, the largest tile most people ever installed was around 8-inches. Can You Paint Over Polyurethane? 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. It may sound like a daunting task, but learning how to install cement board on a floor is possible even if you don’t have years of DIY experience. Plus, it’s inexpensive and easy to use. Necessary prep work. Sponging down prior to applying thinset to prevent board from pulling out moisture in thinset prior to setting tile. While some tiles can handle an uneven substrate, others need a very smooth surface for the best results. joist spacing for Ceramic Tile according to the Tile Institute is 16" max. Use a chalk line to create your grid. When properly installed with a coat of thinset beneath it, cement backerboard won’t flex like plywood, and won’t contribute to problems like lippage. 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. 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. 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. This can lead to cracks appearing in tiles or grout lines, and often replacement is the only solution. Using a rubber mallet can put the raised tile back down. Cement-based backer board stabilizes the … 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. This works best. Here’s the Right Way to Apply It. One of the first questions that many people before installation is whether to use plywood or cement board under tile. To install cement board on floors, cement board manufacturers mandate a 5/8-inch plywood subfloor or OSB underlayment. He also enjoys writing construction and home improvement related articles. DITRA is also noted for its ease of use when compared with materials like cement backer board. Beside cement boards, you can also use mortar, even though it’s not preferred. Tiles are often installed in wet or high humidity areas such as the kitchen, mudroom, and bathroom. 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. 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. They also require a 3/4-inch subfloor where tile size exceeds 12 inches. When you lay each piece, you’ll want to slide the tile slightly forward and back. Trex vs Veranda Decking: Which Is the Better Choice? The solution to fixing this movement with plywood is to screw it down in several areas to the subfloor. One thing that can always help an installation go more smoothly, however, is using the right underlayment. Photo: schluter.com 3. These two issues can cause grout joints to pop or the tile to crack and/or become loose. Cement board is a combo of cement and fibers that usually comes in 3×5 foot sheets. Durock: Subfloor should be minimum 5/8" exterior-grade OSB or plywood. This gives them room for expansion. Can You Have Stained Doors With Painted Trim. When using a cement backer board, you can go with whether a ½ inch thickness or a ¼ inch thickness. If you remember, tile will not adhere to wood nearly as well as it will to concrete. 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. However, before you lay your cement board, there’s a little prep work that needs to be completed first. 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. 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. It should be fastened to the subfloor using thinset, and then screwed down every 10″ square. 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. Type above and press Enter to search. This, however, creates an uneven substrate that can result in lippage, or tile corners that stick up above the rest of the floor. After the cement boards are screwed, the joints are pressed and cemented using thin-set and not the cement. Cement board over OSB gives me chills but unfortunately I do it all the time. Therefore, the plywood usually sold for this purpose may be rough, have knot holes, and other inconsistencies that can affect the final tile installation. Instead of laying tile on a plywood subfloor, it’s better to lay a cement board on top of the plywood subfloor first. Plywood is porous, and not designed for use with most of today’s latex-based thinset mortars. Use the substrate that was designed just for this use – cement backerboard. Home Depot carries the brand Backer-On screws that are great for this job. Plywood requires a thicker back buttering to even out inconsistencies, which makes the installation more time consuming. You can now lay your tile. Now, this is an area that the plywood installers will be familiar with. When you get to vertical applications, heavy tiles like slate or large format porcelain become too heavy to adhere well to plywood. Why? Cement backerboard solves both these issues. You’ll want to make sure that your plywood subfloor is screwed or nailed every 6 inches around the outside and every 8 inches everywhere else. 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. It’s a rare installation that allows for full pieces of substrate to be go down over the entire floor; most need to be cut to fit before they can be installed. Cement backerboard has a greater load capacity, so it’s possible to install any tile anywhere and get the same great results. When the tile is laid on top of a plywood subfloor, the plywood will expand over the years. Since tile can’t flex, it eventually cracked and broke. Cement backerboard is designed specifically for this use. 08-18-2015, 04:47 PM If it's a gas F/P you can use straight Drywall flush with the metal insert and then tile over both. The saw kicks up sawdust, and creates a mess to be cleaned up later, while the quick cutting of the backerboard takes less time and produces no dust. The best argument when determining whether to use plywood or cement board under tile is in the adhesive process. And when we tiled over plywood substrate, we used latex-modified mortar. Like mentioned above, tile bonds with mortar quite well. The best argument when determining whether to use plywood or cement board under tile is in the adhesive process. If we used dry-set mortar over plywood, the bond between the tile and the plywood substrate usually failed within a year. Use a thin-set adhesive. It isn’t waterproof, but absorbs moisture well and is a great support for tiles. The first thing you’ll want to do is check your plywood subfloor for any bending or deflection. for 5/8" plywood subfloor and ½" underlayment and 24" max. 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. Use a wide joint knife or putty to press the paper down firmly onto the adhesive. It’s also heavy and smells kinda icky when you cut it (just so you know ahead of time). Settle the plywood vs cement backerboard underlayment debate in favor of completing your job successfully by using cement backerboard every time. Cement backerboard is designed specifically for this use. 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. The floor isn’t the only place where tile is being installed. Plywood is porous, and not designed for use with most of today’s latex-based thinset mortars. Often, the tile will crack due to improper support. Floor joists should be spaced a maximum of 16" (40 cm) o.c. It can be done right at the site it will be installed on, and takes seconds to do. … Cement board is a mineral based product made of inorganic materials including cement, water, silica, limestone flour, and Kevlar or fiberglass. It depends on how high you want to raise your floor. The industry standard is to use 1/2-inch-thick backer board on wall tile installations, such as a tub surround. Cement board is an ideal substitute for drywall structure in the shower box. As a result, the grout lines and the tiles themselves can crack and become damaged. for ¾" plywood … In addition to this, tile can not properly adhere to wood the way it does to concrete. This will ensure your cement board is properly attached to the plywood subfloor underneath it. I am laying down Durock cement backer board over plywood – Durock instructs to trowel thinset over the plywood, then place the Durock on it. Not Staggering the Seams. If you’re wondering whether or not you can lay tile directly on a plywood subfloor, the answer is no. However, before you lay your cement board, there’s a little prep work that needs to be completed first. We ended up going with 1/4 inch thickness, but it also comes in 1/2 inch. Wonderboard: For the subfloor, securely glue and fasten minimum 5/8" (16 mm) exterior grade plywood or OSB panels (PRP-108) to the floor joists. It’s best to let the mortar sit for 24 hours before you begin the grouting process. But a number of precautions must be taken to ensure a successful installation: With no repercussions I might add ... O.C. Now that you have spread the adhesive and laid down the cement board screw the cement board down. Cement board is a very hard panel formed by cement slurry and reinforced fiberglass mesh. Press Esc to cancel. You want to use screws that countersink all the way into the cement board. These little devices can be purchased at most home improvement stores. This means you can have a 3/4 inch wood subfloor covered by 1/2 inch plywood, cement board, or approved gypsum fiber underlayment. The result of Schluter-DITRA’s performance is a tile floor with outstanding durability and resistance to cracks and moisture. Unfortunately, there many ways that a tile installation can fail from the wrong setting materials to inadequate back-buttering of large format tiles. It provides a strong base on which to install tile and stone. This in turn leads to issues like loose or missing grout, and cracked tiles. By neglecting to do this, you can cause the sheets to bend or warp. A number of different types of substrate are used for tile, including plywood. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Once the paper is down, mix your mortar and spread it with a putty or wide joint knife. Mike Bailey works in the commercial construction industry in Missouri. I think Lowe's made a similar product and Noble makes a thin membrane that also can be applied over plywood. While you can technically install most tiles on any smooth, clean substrate, using cement backerboard will give you superior results every time. Cement board is suitable as an underlayment on countertops, walls and floors. Mortar is a paste made up of a mixture of sand, water, and a binder. 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. However, I did find that the previous installer had put another sheet of 1/2 plywood over the 3/4 inch plywood subfloor. Always hold the sponge rubber float diagonal when spreading the grout. Everything You Need to Know About Exterior Siding Materials, How Allura Fiber Cement Compares to James Hardie. HardieBacker board is not designed for use over concrete. Your tile floor is now complete. 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. 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. Tile installed over wood floor systems MUST have a minimum of 1-1/4 inches of solid material beneath it. You’re now ready to grout. You get a smoother application, and better adhesion so your tile job is less likely to fail when the backerboard is made of cement. Apply the Mortar Bed. Cement backerboard is easy to cut; score it with a utility knife and snap. It’s that easy. 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. Make sure that your mortar is spread evenly. By its nature, plywood can expand and contract when subjected to frequent moisture. 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. This is the standard size for tiling. Plywood needs to be measured on site, moved to a cutting table and sawn, before being brought back. When cement boards are applied over drywall, it appears like standard cement. 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. Let your grout dry for about 45 minutes and then use a grout sponge and water to clean off the excess grout. Whether it’s made of stone, ceramic, porcelain, or glass tile enhances many different settings with its beauty and durability. 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. If the tile puck clicks when going over the tile, it means one of the tiles is too high. We took up old ceramic tile (original with a 20 year old house) and found no cement board or other underlayment material underneath. You spread it on a particular surface, and after it dries, it acts as a concrete surface. Lastly, make sure there’s a 1/16th-inch gap present between sheets. By Lee Carroll Updated December 14, 2018 Tile requires a structurally-sound, sturdy foundation, and plywood alone is unsuitable. Try to attend a schluter class if you are able, it is free, the training is hands on, they'll put you up in … That’s why it was named the most preferred brand of backer board by tile installers and contractors, according to the 2019 Tile and Stone Report conducted by ClearSeas research in partnership with the National Tile Contractors Association and TILE Magazine. This distributes the mortar evenly to the backside of the tile while also creating clean joints with absolutely no ridges. Tile tends to bond to the primer-like surface quite well. 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. The right materials make all the difference when it comes to getting tile installed right the first time. Cement backerboard is more stable than plywood in high humidity and other wet environments. Manufacturers also recommend bonding cement board to floors … This makes cement backerboard a good choice for large format tile floors, as well as for older homes that may have more uneven subfloors.

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