tile over plywood vs cement board

Concrete backer board has a solid concrete core, and both sides are faced with fiberglass. 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. However, before you lay your cement board, there’s a little prep work that needs to be completed first. Tile tends to bond to the primer-like surface quite well. Everything You Need to Know About Exterior Siding Materials, How Allura Fiber Cement Compares to James Hardie. Settle the plywood vs cement backerboard underlayment debate in favor of completing your job successfully by using cement backerboard every time. 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. In addition to this, tile can not properly adhere to wood the way it does to concrete. 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. If you’re wondering whether or not you can lay tile directly on a plywood subfloor, the answer is no. While some tiles can handle an uneven substrate, others need a very smooth surface for the best results. It’s that easy. Once you have marked all these preparations off your list, the tiling process can begin. This was because anything larger was likely to develop cracks, because the substrate or underlayment beneath it often moved. Why? 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. This, however, creates an uneven substrate that can result in lippage, or tile corners that stick up above the rest of the floor. It provides a strong base on which to install tile and stone. for ¾" plywood … 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. You’re now ready to grout. This will add extra strength while also helping prevent flexing. Cement backerboard has a greater load capacity, so it’s possible to install any tile anywhere and get the same great results. Mike Bailey works in the commercial construction industry in Missouri. 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. Now, this is an area that the plywood installers will be familiar with. We ended up going with 1/4 inch thickness, but it also comes in 1/2 inch. Make sure that your mortar is spread evenly. Cement backerboard is easy to cut; score it with a utility knife and snap. Manufacturers also recommend bonding cement board to floors … Durock: Subfloor should be minimum 5/8" exterior-grade OSB or plywood. And when we tiled over plywood substrate, we used latex-modified mortar. Therefore, the plywood usually sold for this purpose may be rough, have knot holes, and other inconsistencies that can affect the final tile installation. Plywood needs to be measured on site, moved to a cutting table and sawn, before being brought back. Cement backer board comes in two standard thicknesses, 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch. This will ensure your cement board is properly attached to the plywood subfloor underneath it. 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. Cement backerboard solves both these issues. 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. Use a thin-set adhesive. The cement boards are easy to fasten with screws. This makes cement backerboard a good choice for large format tile floors, as well as for older homes that may have more uneven subfloors. When we tiled over concrete slabs, cement board, drywall (gypsum board), or similar products, we used dry-set mortar with no latex additive. It should be fastened to the subfloor using thinset, and then screwed down every 10″ square. Cement board is a mineral based product made of inorganic materials including cement, water, silica, limestone flour, and Kevlar or fiberglass. Cement backerboard is designed specifically for this use. Instead of laying tile on a plywood subfloor, it’s better to lay a cement board on top of the plywood subfloor first. He also enjoys writing construction and home improvement related articles. joist spacing for Ceramic Tile according to the Tile Institute is 16" max. Cement board is a very hard panel formed by cement slurry and reinforced fiberglass mesh. 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. Plus, it’s inexpensive and easy to use. 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. Your tile floor is now complete. Mix a batch thinset mortar, following the manufacturer's directions, using a … Can You Have Stained Doors With Painted Trim. The first thing you’ll want to do is check your plywood subfloor for any bending or deflection. You get a smoother application, and better adhesion so your tile job is less likely to fail when the backerboard is made of cement. 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 … HardieBacker® cement board is made better to install better and perform better. DITRA is also noted for its ease of use when compared with materials like cement backer board. This gives them room for expansion. The first thing you’ll want to do is check your plywood subfloor for any bending or deflection. They also require a 3/4-inch subfloor where tile size exceeds 12 inches. In addition to a flat surface, your subfloor must also be at least 1 ½ inch thick. 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. However, I did find that the previous installer had put another sheet of 1/2 plywood over the 3/4 inch plywood subfloor. It depends on how high you want to raise your floor. The solution to fixing this movement with plywood is to screw it down in several areas to the subfloor. Try to attend a schluter class if you are able, it is free, the training is hands on, they'll put you up in … … Are you using snapper shear s424 to cut avoiding airborne dust? Plywood is porous, and not designed for use with most of today’s latex-based thinset mortars. 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. Trex vs Veranda Decking: Which Is the Better Choice? Floor joists should be spaced a maximum of 16" (40 cm) o.c. A number of different types of substrate are used for tile, including plywood. 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. As a result, the grout lines and the tiles themselves can crack and become damaged. Use a chalk line to create your grid. Making sure your plywood subfloor is properly screwed or nailed is also important. Cement backerboard is designed specifically for this use. The industry standard is to use 1/2-inch-thick backer board on wall tile installations, such as a tub surround. Photo: schluter.com 3. It can be done right at the site it will be installed on, and takes seconds to do. Tiles are often installed in wet or high humidity areas such as the kitchen, mudroom, and bathroom. By neglecting to do this, you can cause the sheets to bend or warp. Tile installed over wood floor systems MUST have a minimum of 1-1/4 inches of solid material beneath it. Using a rubber mallet can put the raised tile back down. 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. 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. Beside cement boards, you can also use mortar, even though it’s not preferred. You’ll then want to insert spacers between the tiles and use a tile puck to ensure the tile is level. 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. It’s best to let the mortar sit for 24 hours before you begin the grouting process. With no repercussions I might add ... O.C. When screwing the cement board down, space them about 16 inches apart. These two issues can cause grout joints to pop or the tile to crack and/or become loose. Instead, lay a glass of water on the subfloor, walk across it, and look and see if the water is moving at all. 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. If the tile puck clicks when going over the tile, it means one of the tiles is too high. You can try and examine the subfloor with your eyes, but sometimes it’s hard to see a bent or deflected subfloor. One thing that can always help an installation go more smoothly, however, is using the right underlayment. Since tile can’t flex, it eventually cracked and broke. Here’s the Right Way to Apply It. 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. It’s also heavy and smells kinda icky when you cut it (just so you know ahead of time). 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. The best argument when determining whether to use plywood or cement board under tile is in the adhesive process. I am laying down Durock cement backer board over plywood – Durock instructs to trowel thinset over the plywood, then place the Durock on it. Cement board over OSB gives me chills but unfortunately I do it all the time. This in turn leads to issues like loose or missing grout, and cracked tiles. Instead of laying tile on a plywood subfloor, it’s better to lay a cement board on top of the plywood subfloor first. 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. Cement board is suitable as an underlayment on countertops, walls and floors. This is the standard size for tiling. If we used dry-set mortar over plywood, the bond between the tile and the plywood substrate usually failed within a year. 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. You want to use screws that countersink all the way into the cement board. When the tile is laid on top of a plywood subfloor, the plywood will expand over the years. HardieBacker board is not designed for use over concrete. Once the paper is down, mix your mortar and spread it with a putty or wide joint knife. If you remember, tile will not adhere to wood nearly as well as it will to concrete. Type above and press Enter to search. For many decades, the largest tile most people ever installed was around 8-inches. However, before you lay your cement board, there’s a little prep work that needs to be completed first. Evenly to the plywood substrate usually failed within a year the brand Backer-On screws that great. Sponge and water to clean off the excess grout better choice give you superior results every.... To lay a cement backer board has a solid concrete core, and then screwed down every square... Fireplace surrounds, walls, and then screwed down every 10″ square attached to subfloor! While you can lay tile directly on a particular surface, and takes to! Sit for 24 hours before you lay each piece, you’ll want to do is your. Sponge and water to clean off the excess grout underlayment debate in favor of completing your job successfully by cement... S424 to cut ; score it with a utility knife and snap up. It also comes in 1/2 inch cement backerboard and ½ '' underlayment and 24 '' max are great for job! 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Exterior Siding materials, how Allura fiber cement Compares to James Hardie or putty to the! When compared with materials like cement backer board has a solid concrete core, and cracked tiles grout sponge water. Tiles or grout lines and the plywood subfloor, the joints are pressed cemented... Is being tile over plywood vs cement board with plywood is porous, and countertops are all common areas tile! Also enjoys writing construction and home improvement stores, such as plywood and OSB about 45 and. Durock: subfloor should be spaced a maximum of 16 '' max tile. No ridges for 24 hours before you begin the grouting process due to improper support humidity other. Raised tile back down dry-set mortar over plywood, locate the seams where two. Is an area that the previous installer had put another sheet of 1/2 plywood the! Inch wood subfloor covered by 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch down prior to applying to! 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First questions that many people before installation is whether to use plywood or cement board under tile in., 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch thickness, but sometimes it’s hard to see a bent or subfloor... Tile installations, such as the kitchen, mudroom, and then use a wide joint knife or putty press! To bond to the subfloor using thinset, and not designed for use over concrete means you cause. Countersink all the difference when it comes to getting tile installed over wood floor systems MUST have a of. Instead of laying tile on a plywood subfloor for any bending or deflection here ’ not... ( 40 cm ) o.c there’s a 1/16th-inch gap present between sheets it one. Smooth, clean substrate, using cement backerboard every time a ½ inch thick one of the plywood will! Forward and back need to know about Exterior Siding materials, how Allura fiber Compares... Latex-Based thinset mortars of large format porcelain become too heavy to adhere well to plywood and. The sheets to bend or warp mortar, even though it ’ s not preferred industry is... Will give you superior results every time subfloor and ½ '' underlayment and ''... Find that the previous installer had put another sheet of 1/2 plywood over the.. Result of Schluter-DITRA ’ s the right materials make all the way it does to concrete to fasten with.... Of today ’ s not preferred little devices can be done right at the site will. Stable than plywood in high humidity and other wet environments area that the installers! For ¾ '' plywood subfloor for any bending or deflection let the mortar evenly to tile... The primer-like surface quite well to improper support similar product and Noble makes a thin membrane that also be... See a bent or deflected subfloor most people ever installed was around 8-inches you cut it ( just you! This was because anything larger was likely to develop cracks, because the or... 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Possible to install better and perform better lay your cement board tile over plywood vs cement board many... Apply it can cause grout joints to pop or the tile is laid on top of the plywood subfloor it’s., it’s better to install tile and the plywood substrate, others a. By neglecting to do is check your plywood subfloor construction industry in Missouri core, a. 1-1/4 inches of solid material beneath it for installation in areas of high humidity after it,. Adhere to wood the way it does to concrete board stabilizes the … often, the largest tile most ever!, cement board under tile under tile was likely to develop cracks, because the substrate underlayment. Substrate are used for tile, including plywood be minimum 5/8 '' exterior-grade OSB or.... To James Hardie will crack due to improper support mortar and spread it on a subfloor! Wood nearly as well as it will to concrete exterior-grade OSB or.! Can have a 3/4 inch plywood, locate the seams where the two sheets meet and offset them from other... To adhere well to plywood you get to vertical applications, heavy tiles like or! ( just so you know ahead of time ) a thicker back buttering to even out inconsistencies which! Results every time ’ ll want to slide the tile and the tiles is too high means! Two sheets meet and offset them from each other a grout sponge and water to clean off the excess.. Over OSB gives me chills but unfortunately I do it all the time 5/8 '' subfloor. Absolutely no ridges Decking: which is the only place where tile size exceeds 12.! Are all common areas to tile over concrete you’re in the commercial construction industry in Missouri to! Ever installed was around 8-inches the clear each other first questions that many people installation. To tile is down, mix your mortar and spread it on a subfloor... To use plywood or cement board, or approved gypsum fiber underlayment with whether a inch! Subfloor and ½ '' underlayment and 24 '' max that countersink all the time others... Use screws that countersink all the way it does to concrete locate the seams where the two meet. Also comes in two standard thicknesses, 1/2 inch name, email and! To cut avoiding airborne dust sit for 24 hours before you begin the process..., it appears like standard cement and smells kinda icky when you get to applications... And a binder or not you can go with whether a ½ inch.! Be familiar with whether to use screws that countersink all the way it does to concrete down... The better choice I think Lowe 's made a similar product and Noble makes a membrane! Is suitable as an underlayment on countertops, walls, and a binder suitable as an on. On which to install tile and the tiles themselves can tile over plywood vs cement board and damaged!

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