Using Tile Underlayment Membrane to Tile a Floor

One of the most popular ways to install tile today includes setting tile over a plywood underlayment with thin set or a concrete backerboard. However, there are potential problems with this method. For one, if the floor system shifts in any direction, that means trouble. This is why installing a tile underlayment membrane is so beneficial. At Tile This, we are your source for various underlayment options that can ensure your tiles are installed and set in a secure manner.

Tile underlayment may be installed between the subfloor and the tile. Its purpose is to absorb subfloor movement before that movement can transfer to the tiles above. This prevents the tiles from cracking or loosening. Since underlayment membranes and mats are lighter and easier to handle that backerboard, they are also easier to install. In addition, they are less expensive.

Below are some simple steps for installing tile underlayment membrane:

1. Prep the Subfloor

Prior to the tile underlayment installation, it is essential to prep the subfloor, making sure it is level and clean, and able to support the tile weight.

2. Apply the Correct Mortar

The mortar should be chosen based on the type of subfloor material used, and ideally according to the recommendation of the Tile Council of North America. On the loose side, mix the mortar a little bit while ensuring it is able to hold a notch. Then, use a thin-bed method to apply the thin set with a trowel, while also keying the mortar into the substrate. Only apply and spread enough mortar that the membrane may cover during the established open time of the mortar.

Insert the tile underlayment membrane into the mortar fabric side down, using sufficient pressure to produce the required bedding. When reach an object, such as a wall, cut the membranes to the necessary lengths and leave about 1/4 inch of space between the wall (or other object) and the edge of the membrane.

3. Install the Tile

After the membrane installation is complete, start laying the tile immediately. Place a layer of thin set over the membrane and perform the tile installation as normal. Apply the grout after the thin set has cured sufficiently to withstand foot traffic.

To learn about the tile underlayment options we offer at Tile This, call us today at 952.882.0436 or send us a message through our contact form.