Basic subfloor preparation instructions for installing ceramic tile
Ceramic tile are among the most rigid materials for flooring. They require a
subfloor that is
designed to account for this, without any fluctuation and movement. Here are
instructions about subfloor preparation for tile installation.
1. Installing Ceramic Tile Over a Concrete Slab
2. Installing Ceramic Tile Over a Plywood Sub Floor
Repair all cracks and uneven patches in the concrete subfloor prior to the
the tile is being directly bonded to the concrete.
In case of sub floors with large cracks, consider the possibility of removing a
section of concrete slab and replacing it with a new one instead of patching
all the cracks.
For bad cracks in the concrete slab, smooth it with concrete filler, or similar
Cleanliness is paramount. Besides any surface materials, be sure to remove any
stains, or other substances that have stained the slab as best you can.
Cement backer board can provide a solid, flat surface to install tiles on if
you have a
3. Installing Ceramic Tile Over Vinyl Flooring
A plywood subfloor must be structurally sound and able to support the
floors are heavy and tile is a hard material. It will break or dislodge if the
under the load.
Remember that you need a very flat surface to work on. If needed, sand the
down to level the subfloor.
Plywood must be installed over an adequate subfloor and must be at least 1 1/8"
when combined with the subfloor. Interior-grade plywood and particleboard are
considered a strong enough for a tile installation.
4. Installing Ceramic Tile Over An Existing Ceramic Tile floor
Remove the vinyl floor and any remnant adhesive used for the vinyl
In some cases, you will be able to remove the vinyl itself, but not the
adhesive. Use the
type of thin set that is recommended by the backer board manufacturer.
If it seems difficult, you might want to lay down a backer board with thinset.
You can either leave the tile floor in place and apply thinset directly over
it, or remove
the tile with a hammer, depending on how high the floor will need to sit
relative to doors
and other interior elements.
If the existing tile floor is set over a mortar bed it may be hard to remove
the tiles without
removing a lot of the mortar bed.
If you are doing installation directly over the old tile flooring, rough up the
with sand paper. Clean with degreaser and test a small area overnight for
Also, check the height of the floor with the height of doors and cabinets. Any
thinset can be used to install your new floor.
For installations over vinyl or wooden substrates, you will need a high quality
thin set mortar.