Tile Floor Installation Prep: What You Need To Know

Installing tile flooring can make any room look beautiful. What many do-it-yourself homeowners may not know is that the preparation of the tile installation is just as important, if not more important, than the installation itself. Before you begin your new tiling project, here is what you need to know and do to ensure that the process goes smoothly.

Existing Floor

It is never a good idea to install tile over an existing floor. Instead, you will need to remove your current flooring. If you have laminate floors, all of the glue must also be removed from the subflooring. If there is already tile there, it will need to be broken up and taken off, and all grout must be chipped away. There should be no leftover material left on the floor since you will need a dry, smooth, and level surface to place the new tile onto.

New Subfloor

Most homes have a wooden "subfloor," which is the floor underneath the surface flooring. You will need to lay down backer board onto the wooden subflooring before you place your tile. This special backer board is designed to allow tile to stick to it and provides an extra barrier of protection. The backer board must be drilled into the floor using special screws. Be sure you choose the correct type of backer board and screws depending on what kind of tile you will install. You'll also need to apply a special mastic underneath the backer board before you drill it down.

Level Floors are a Must

Tile flooring should always be installed on a completely level floor. Take a large level and check several parts of the floor to see if they're level. If you find out that there are areas of the floor that are not level, you can buy a self-leveling compound. This compound starts off as a liquid, and when poured into the middle of the floor, finds its way into the non-level parts of the room, filling in the gaps. Tile installed on floors that are not level are prone to crack, break, and cause cracking in the grout.

Choose the Right Mastic

Mastic is a dry compound that turns into a paste like consistency when mixed with water. This compound helps the tiles stick to the backer board and serves as a glue to keep them in place. The type of mastic you use will depend on what type of tile you want to install. If you have ceramic tile, porcelain tile, or glass tile, there are usually different mastic types for each material. Read the packaging carefully so you ensure you choose the right type before you begin the installation. If you follow these preparation tips, the outcome of your new tile project should be a beautiful new floor you'll enjoy for years to come.