tile over plywood vs 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. By neglecting to do this, you can cause the sheets to bend or warp. Plywood requires a thicker back buttering to even out inconsistencies, which makes the installation more time consuming. Why? Durock: Subfloor should be minimum 5/8" exterior-grade OSB or plywood. 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. Home Depot carries the brand Backer-On screws that are great for this job. for ¾" plywood … for 5/8" plywood subfloor and ½" underlayment and 24" max. 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. In addition to this, tile can not properly adhere to wood the way it does to concrete. You can now lay your tile. This was because anything larger was likely to develop cracks, because the substrate or underlayment beneath it often moved. Can You Paint Over Polyurethane? Mike Bailey works in the commercial construction industry in Missouri. 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. However, I did find that the previous installer had put another sheet of 1/2 plywood over the 3/4 inch plywood subfloor. You can try and examine the subfloor with your eyes, but sometimes it’s hard to see a bent or deflected subfloor. 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. Type above and press Enter to search. When you lay each piece, you’ll want to slide the tile slightly forward and back. The first thing you’ll want to do is check your plywood subfloor for any bending or deflection. Plywood is porous, and not designed for use with most of today’s latex-based thinset mortars. You spread it on a particular surface, and after it dries, it acts as a concrete surface. This makes cement backerboard a good choice for large format tile floors, as well as for older homes that may have more uneven subfloors. One thing that can always help an installation go more smoothly, however, is using the right underlayment. In addition to a flat surface, your subfloor must also be at least 1 ½ inch thick. This distributes the mortar evenly to the backside of the tile while also creating clean joints with absolutely no ridges. Cement backerboard is easy to cut; score it with a utility knife and snap. Apply the Mortar Bed. Instead of laying tile on a plywood subfloor, it’s better to lay a cement board on top of the plywood subfloor first. It’s that easy. It should be fastened to the subfloor using thinset, and then screwed down every 10″ square. I am laying down Durock cement backer board over plywood – Durock instructs to trowel thinset over the plywood, then place the Durock on it. Fireplace surrounds, walls, and countertops are all common areas to tile. Cement board is suitable as an underlayment on countertops, walls and floors. It’s also heavy and smells kinda icky when you cut it (just so you know ahead of time). Make sure that your mortar is spread evenly. If we used dry-set mortar over plywood, the bond between the tile and the plywood substrate usually failed within a year. Cement backer board comes in two standard thicknesses, 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch. joist spacing for Ceramic Tile according to the Tile Institute is 16" max. While some tiles can handle an uneven substrate, others need a very smooth surface for the best results. Cement board is a very hard panel formed by cement slurry and reinforced fiberglass mesh. When the tile is laid on top of a plywood subfloor, the plywood will expand over the years. HardieBacker® cement board is made better to install better and perform better. Cement board is an ideal substitute for drywall structure in the shower box. Instead of laying tile on a plywood subfloor, it’s better to lay a cement board on top of the plywood subfloor first. 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. 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. While you can technically install most tiles on any smooth, clean substrate, using cement backerboard will give you superior results every time. This in turn leads to issues like loose or missing grout, and cracked tiles. Use the substrate that was designed just for this use – cement backerboard. Necessary prep work. By its nature, plywood can expand and contract when subjected to frequent moisture. 0. gunguru. 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. It depends on how high you want to raise your floor. Use a wide joint knife or putty to press the paper down firmly onto the adhesive. Since tile can’t flex, it eventually cracked and broke. … Are you using snapper shear s424 to cut avoiding airborne dust? 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. The industry standard is to use 1/2-inch-thick backer board on wall tile installations, such as a tub surround. We ended up going with 1/4 inch thickness, but it also comes in 1/2 inch. He also enjoys writing construction and home improvement related articles. This, however, creates an uneven substrate that can result in lippage, or tile corners that stick up above the rest of the floor. Get rid of the high ridges and sink the fasteners Check all plywood seams with a straightedge held … We took up old ceramic tile (original with a 20 year old house) and found no cement board or other underlayment material underneath. 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 is the standard size for tiling. The first thing you’ll want to do is check your plywood subfloor for any bending or deflection. 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. Plywood is porous, and not designed for use with most of today’s latex-based thinset mortars. I think Lowe's made a similar product and Noble makes a thin membrane that also can be applied over plywood. Concrete backer board has a solid concrete core, and both sides are faced with fiberglass. 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. You want to use screws that countersink all the way into the cement board. Making sure your plywood subfloor is properly screwed or nailed is also important. Plywood needs to be measured on site, moved to a cutting table and sawn, before being brought back. They also require a 3/4-inch subfloor where tile size exceeds 12 inches. 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. 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. 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. 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 … 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. Unfortunately, there many ways that a tile installation can fail from the wrong setting materials to inadequate back-buttering of large format tiles. 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. Sponging down prior to applying thinset to prevent board from pulling out moisture in thinset prior to setting tile. If not, you know you’re in the clear. Cement board over OSB gives me chills but unfortunately I do it all the time. Cement board is a combo of cement and fibers that usually comes in 3×5 foot sheets. Cement-based backer board stabilizes the … After the cement boards are screwed, the joints are pressed and cemented using thin-set and not the cement. However, before you lay your cement board, there’s a little prep work that needs to be completed first. It’s best to let the mortar sit for 24 hours before you begin the grouting process. The right materials make all the difference when it comes to getting tile installed right the first time. Photo: schluter.com 3. 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. Like mentioned above, tile bonds with mortar quite well. 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. Mortar is a paste made up of a mixture of sand, water, and a binder. , heavy tiles like slate or large format porcelain become too heavy to adhere well to plywood when cement,... A second layer of plywood, locate the seams where the two sheets meet and offset them each. It can be applied over plywood or warp devices can be purchased at most improvement. Solid material beneath it best results and moisture subfloor is properly screwed or nailed is important! Previous installer had put another sheet of 1/2 plywood over the 3/4 inch,... 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