Installers of tile add underlayment beneath flooring systems to address one or more potential problems with a tile installation. Tile underlayment gives the entire tile installation system greater rigidity. The underlayment can also provide soundproofing, prevent moisture seepage into the subfloor, and protect the installed tiles from cracking due to cracks extended from any cracking in the subfloor. At Tile This, we offer multiple underlayment options for tile floors to help you achieve a successful tile installation.
The best underlayment for a tile floor will depend on the project and various factors. Some of the best modern tile underlayment membrane options include:
1. Plastic Uncoupling Membrane
This type of membrane features layers with mesh patterns on top that keep the tiles in place. It reduces the possibility of moisture and vapor pressure. It keeps the top layer of tile and the base separated. This uncoupling membrane is designed to keep tiles from cracking by absorbing almost undetectable shifts in the substrate. Thus, it includes the term “uncoupling.” The tiles on the surface are uncoupled from any substrate movement.
2. Cement or Cement Board
Cement is a popular and affordable tile underlayment membrane option. You can mix cement easily and it provides a support base for tiles that is strong and durable. You can pour cement (or thin set) directly onto the base. Alternatively, you can opt for cement board. It is easy and fast to install, consisting of cement formed into a board with a stabilizing mesh on top.
3. Liquid Underlayment Membrane
It is easy to apply liquid tile underlayment. As a lighter membrane that poured cement, it offers an efficient and effective support and sealant for tiles. Prior to the tile installation, self-leveling, pourable products can serve to level a concrete slab or wood subfloor. These products consist of water mixed with the dry product to a liquid consistency that may be poured and spread evenly on to the surface with rollers or a large trowel. As a liquid, the material automatically finds its own level setting in low areas and evens out the floor surface.
Tile underlayment membrane in the form of concrete in flat, strong, and ideal for the installation of large or small tiles.
5. Exterior-grade plywood
When moisture or extreme weather and temperatures are an issue, exterior-grade plywood works well. Plywood designed specifically as underlayment may have multiple marks shaped like a cross that makes it easy to hammer nails or drive screws into a grid pattern.