If you have just started working to remodel your home, then adding a tile floor to your bathroom may be on your list of projects to tackle. However, you cannot simply start gluing tiles into place across the wood subfloor. You will need to prepare the surface first. Keep reading to learn about a few vital tasks that you should complete.
Level The Floor
While the wooden subfloor across your bathroom may appear level, it probably is not completely flat. If you secure tiles to an uneven floor, Some of the tiles will sit higher than others. This will create an obviously flawed floor that will need to be reinstalled. To prevent this sort of frustration, you should spread a self-leveling underlayment compound across the floor.
You should first check the floor to see how deep or high the unlevel surfaces are. Purchase a five- to six-foot long piece of lumber. You should buy lumber that is as free of defects, like bows, as possible. Lumber that is labeled as a select board is ideal. Set the board flat on the floor and slide it across the length and width of the floor. You will see uneven surfaces where the board sits higher on the floor as you move it. Use a piece of chalk to mark these spots and purchase a bucket of self-leveling underlayment. Use your marks as well as your observations to determine the size of the bucket you need. Also, if you want your project to move along quickly, then purchase a quick-setting product. This type of compound will usually set within a few hours instead of a day or more.
Use a roller to cover the floor with a latex primer to prepare it for the leveling compound. Open the bucket of self-leveling material afterwards, mix it with a paint stirrer and pour the material onto the areas marked with chalk. You will see the material spreading out until it creates a level surface with the rest of the floor. Allow the material to dry afterwards.
Now that the bathroom floor is level, you will need to create a hard and solid surface that the tiles can adhere to. This is ideal since the wood subfloor is flexible and will bend when pressure is placed on the tile. Over time, the constant pressure and movement will cause the tiles to either loosen or crack. To prevent this, a backerboard material will need to be added. Backerboard or backing board is made from a layer of concrete that is surrounded by a mesh made from fiberglass. Backerboard is often quite thin, so height is not added to the floor during installation. Thin-set mortar should also be used when the backing board is installed to minimize height.
Use a mortar trowel to add the mortar to the wood subfloor first and then set the cement board on top of the mortar. Press down firmly to set the boards into the mortar properly. You can also walk on each board gently as it is set into place. To secure the boards as strongly as possible to the subfloor underneath, make sure to drive long screws through each board. Screws that are spaced out about every six to eight inches across the board are best for a secure floor.
Once all the boards are in place, you should cover each seam with a piece of glass fiber tape. This tape is specifically made for cement backing board, so look for it in the same place where you buy the boards and the mortar. Nonadhesive tapes can be purchased as well to secure the seams. Spread a thin layer of mortar along each seam before placing this type of tape.