We are going to install ceramic tile in our kitchen as well as replacing
cabinets and sink. We have removed everything down to the plywood subfloor
and am in the process of removing all the much-dreaded tar-like black
Here's a few questions for the expert:
1. Do we use Wonderboard or Hardibacker as underlayment?
2. What is the preferred thickness of the underlayment? 1/2 or 1/4 inch?
3. Which one is easier to install?
4. Do we tile all over the floor and install the base cabinet over ceramic
or install the base cabinet first and tile around them?
Thanks in advance.
We used 3/8" ply glued and stapled to the subfloor
Yes, why waste $$ tiling under cabinets where it will never be seen. If
installing a D/W and/or a fridge, DO run the tile in there though for ease
of rolling in&out. Watch for D/W height clearance, tile to underside of
Wood expands and contracts with conditions. Movement is a big no-no for
ceramic tile. Use an underlayment like wonderboard or hardie. First question
you should be asking though is can the floor support ceramic tile. You
should not install if the deflection is greater than 1/360. Find out the
size of the floor joists and the length of unsupported span and we can
figure that out. If the floor supports tile, another option for underlayment
could be Schlutter ditra mat. It's much easier to install and only raises
the floor height 1/8th inch.
Schlutter mat is so expensive (when you can find it in DIY
quanitties), it's often cheaper to buff up the joists under that
floor, IMHO. There are other reasons to use it, so check. But it's a
VERY expensive way to go.
I must be spoiled, I can get it for $1 sf. Backerboard goes for about $.70
plus nails or screws plus all the mess involved with installing it. Time is
money in my book, I'll have a Schlutter kitchen installed by the time you
get your backerboard off the truck... :-)
Here's a link to all the info you would need
I'm in the indusrty so I get it at a better price. Like I said, I'm spoiled.
:-) I've seen it at home depot recently. I believe it was at about $1.40sf
You need a stable flat surface which means something like Wonderboard. I
would tile the whole floor and then put the cabinets over it. My reason is
if you get any kind of water spill that can leak under the cabinet where
will it go if you don't have tile on the floor. As far as cost, might not
be that much of a factor and it might even be an easier install as less time
might be involved (cutting/fitting etc.)
Not an expert by any means but have been around the track once or twice.
I doubt you need to remove that tar. Just nail your next layer of plywood
and backer board over it.
You need 1 1/8" of sound wood floor under whichever backer board you use. I
prefer the 1/4" Hardiebacker as it is lighter to tote, cleaner to cut and
the gridlines make it easy to keep the proper alignment for the nail
spacing. The clean edges make it easier to keep in alignment when laying.
Honestly I think it costs a little more but it is a price I am willing to
play. Never lay up tile on a plywood substrate. No one recommends this.
I always tile under the cabinets because the cost is minimal and:
There could be spills or leaks that run under them and destroy the subfloor.
It reduces the cutting and fitting.
It eliminates all height problems and similar considerations.
It allows for future cabinet changes or relocations without ripping out the
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