Ceramic Tile & Grout Tips
Tile & Grout Tips From a Tile Pro!
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Which Type of Tile Underlayment Should I Use?

Tile underlayments come in all shapes in sizes. Let's sort through the most common and put them in groups. Keep in mind that the floor that will be supporting the underlayment and tile need to be structurally sound and able to support these loads in a successful tile installation. We don't want to have any excessive movement which will greatly decrease the performance of any type of tile underlayment product.

Hardie Backer is probably the one that is most common. Usually a 1/4" thick board that is 3 foot wide by 5 foot long or 15 square foot total. This is a great product for wet areas like bathroom floors or even shower walls (1/2" thick recommended for walls). Able to withstand water and moisture is critical and Hardie Backer passes the test and performs great. Hardie Backer does have a detailed instructional list that needs to be followed in order to qualify for any type of warranty issues. Ceramictilepro.com advises that you get a solid understanding on exactly how they want you to install their product. Here is a link to Hardie Backer's Installation Guide. Download Installation Instructions. It is fairly simple to do but never ceases to amaze me how someone tries to use a different method in thinking that they are smarter and that their idea is better. It may be better but... if you have any issues later down the road, Hardie Backer will not stand behind their product because it was not installed per their requirements.

Schluter Ditra Mat is an alternative to backer board. An orangish plastic material that is simple to install without the need for mechanical fasteners such as screws or nails and cuts easily with a utility knife. This product has become and will continue to be more popular in the tile industry among professionals and do-it yourselfers. A really great product for tile and stone. You may have seen this in HGTV's Holmes on Homes! Mostly used for tiling over wood subfloors where an underlayment is necessary, it can also be a great waterproof substrate for floors such as laundry and bathrooms that are upstairs where additional protection helps prevent costly damages due to plumbing leaks. This product comes highly recommended and is used everyday with great results.

I have made three videos using these products so far.

1.) How To Tile A Floor Video
2.) How To Install Tile Backer Board Video
3.) How To Tile Stairs Video

Both projects used a 12x12 porcelain tile with 3/16" grout joints. More info can be found at Schluter Ditra Mat including installation instructions,specifications and foundation requirements that qualify for a warranty!

These three noted products are used in about 90% of all my tile jobs on a daily basis. If you want to find where these products are sold, visit the Products page for contact information.

Black and White

18x18 Polished Travertine

Water Damage Shower Repair

16x24 Chiseled Edge Travertine

12x12 Tumbled Travertine

12x12 Porcelain Tile with Metal 2x2 Dots

18x18 Porcelain tile with Granite Accent and Decorative Inlay Tile