Could someone explain to me the layers that go into tiling a kitchen
We have linoleum in the kitchen right now, under that is hardwood, and
under that is the subfloor. We are going to be taking up the
hardwood, planing it, and then using it in other areas of the house
where we are going to be planing, sanding, and staining hardwood.
I was told by a gentleman at Home Depot about two months ago and with
all the remodeling we're doing in the house I have completely
forgot... I have all of the supplies though.
Is it subfloor, then 1-1/4" ply, then flex-thinset, then hardiboard/
backboard, then more thinset and then tile?
Any recommendations within these steps regarding how to properly lay
it down would be very helpful too. Thanks!
I'd suggest you leave this to a pro, but they're so few and far
between these days, judging by the crap layouts I see everywhere, you
can probably do as good a job if you take your time. I can't make you
a journeyman, but here's some tips.
You -can- just screw the cement backer board to the subfloor and fill
and smooth the seams with thinset as you lay the floor, if your floor
is flat enough.
The floor must be absolutely as flat as you can get it, and clean
enough to eat off. You may have to fill low spots with thinset. Wet
the subfloor to prevent it from sucking all the water out of the
thinset and preventing it from adhering.
Don't start in the center of the room as most if not all guides will
suggest. You'll probably end up with cuts at every wall that way, and
not only does that look like crap, it wastes a lot of tile. Ideally,
you want as few cuts as possible/practical.
Layout your tiles, dry, in a + pattern, beginning at the most
prominent wall, usually, that's the entrance wall, and see where your
cuts are going to fall. You want whole tiles where they're most
visible and cut tiles where they're most hidden.
Depending on the size of the room, don't end up needing to cut a 1"
piece, adjust the spacing across the room to fall to a whole tile.
Figure this out before you put down the backerboard, and check it
again once you lay the backerboard. That way you're not stomping all
over the board and maybe cracking the corners and/or edges.
Once you decide on your layout, snap some lines.
Use a 3/8" notched trowel, nothing bigger, nothing smaller.
I used to keep the tile in a bucket of water, you can just wet the
back with a sponge.
Set the tile into the thinset. I used to give them a few slaps with a
piece of 2x4 18-24" long. Keep one end on the floor and slap with the
other, not too hard. You -can- gently lay some plywood down if you
need to walk on it but it's best not to. Let it set for 24 hours,
Don't grout dry tile. Wet the joints (and the whole tile, that
doesn't matter) with a sponge. Make sure the joints are filled, go
over them a few times from different directions.
When you remove the excess grout leave the joint as close to the
surface of the tile as possible. A slight depression is ok but if you
wipe out too much you'll have a hard time cleaning it for a long, long
If you're using rough surface tile, keep wiping the grout off the face
until it's gone. Change the water often, and keep wiping, gently,
making sure to not wipe grout out of the joints.
Let dry 24 hours, minimum. Do not walk on it. Final clean with a dry
Thanks for the replies, I appreciate it.
We are doing a lot of remodeling (redoing floors, walls, cabinets,
We took up all the carpets upstairs and downstairs and we will be
taking up all the hardwood, planing it, sanding it, using Bona Dri-
Fast stain and then some Traffic on top. We decided against hardwood
in the kitchen and this will work well since we will have loss after
we plane the wood and then knock off the end of each plank to butt
them up against eachother smoothly. We bought some PEI 5 tile for the
My brother-in-law will be helping us (aka doing most of the work) as
he just finished completely remodeling his house (moving stairs,
refinishing hardwood floors, laying tile...).
I can assure you the subfloor is NOT flat as there is at least an 1"
to 1-1/2" decline within the kitchen alone.
I'm not as worried about HOW to tile but what exactly are the
different layers... can I put plywood over the existing subfloor, then
use thinset on top of that and then hardiback over that to basically
make the floor level?
Slope is fine, level isn't important, as long as the floor is flat.
Nope. You can add as many layer as will fit, and the joists will
support, but the floor isn't going to become more level, and you can't
shim it. You''ll need some sort of leveling compound, and a lot of
it, and skills you probably don't have. The floor can fall 5 feet in
20 out of level, it won't make any difference to the tile, as long as
If you want to rip up the sub and shim the joists, you could do that,
but I'd think the entire house was similarly out of level, and
consider jacking that to level and working from there, which sounds
beyond your (and mine) level of expertise (pardon).
Joisting the house is definitely out of question.
I'm seriously considering taking out the old subfloor and putting down
some exterior ply instead. This way we can shim the joists; what is
the best way to shim the joists? I've read that using roofing tile
works very well when trying to level a room for hardwood... does that
Still, if someone could let me know what the proper levels would be
that would be great:
My take: I take up subfloor. I shim the subfloor and put down
exterior grade ply. Then I apply thinset and then put down
hardibacker boards. I thin apply thinset and then tile. Obviously
there is more details in each step but macro-wise are these the layers?
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