Iím going to ceramic tile a second floor
bedroom. My understanding is that I need to put down a concrete backerboard
first. Can I just screw the ceramic tile backerboard down directly to the
subfloor? If so, what sort of spacing should I do?
Yes, you should install 1/4" or 1/2" ceramic
tile backerboard over the subfloor first IF there is a reasonable amount of foot
traffic expected and the subfloor is questionable in terms of its rigidity. The
subfloor should be at a minimum constructed out of 3/4" tongue and groove
plywood installed over 16" on center (maximum) floor joists.
If the subfloor is warped, or is
observed to have some flexing when you walk on it, then you should
install another 1/2" of exterior grade plywood over it. You should secure this
layer of exterior plywood with screws every 6 inches on-center. Make sure you
use screws that are not longer than the total thickness of the two subfloor
Once you are sure your subfloor is
structurally adequate you should then install 1/4" or 1/2" thick cementitious
ceramic tile backerboard over it. The backerboard should be installed to the
subfloor using a non-modified thinset mortar and 1.25" screws or nails spaced on
6" centers. Use a 1/4" x 1/4" trowel for applying the thinset mortar.
Note that the thinset mortar is
not used as a backerboard fastening agent. Instead, it is used to fill voids
between the backboard and the subfloor to eliminate any flexing between the two
When installing the backerboard,
space the boards 1/8" apart from one another. Fill the gaps with thinset mortar,
as this will help to bridge any ridges between panels. Also, apply fiberglass
tape into the mortar over the seams. Trowel a skim coat of mortar over the tape
and smooth it out with a flat trowel.
Once the thinset mortar has set up, you are ready to install the ceramic tile.
If you still have concerns on whether
or not you should use a backerboard, check directly with the ceramic floor tile
manufacturer, and not the local tile reseller. The ceramic floor tile
manufacturer will know best about the appropriate subfloor preparation, and will
more than likely give you the most accurate answer for your specific ceramic
For information on
ceramic tile and installing a shower pan membrane liner, see the
Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook
from HomeAdditionPlus.com. The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly
teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner
correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the
pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner.
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