Home Improvement

All About Porcelain Tile Underlayment

Porcelain tiles are a durable, easy-to-clean, and gorgeous flooring option for any home. Adding “DIY friendly” to the list seals the deal – porcelain tile flooring is the way you’re going to go.

Do you know enough about tiling to make sure it’s done properly?

If you’re about to begin your DIY tile flooring project, don’t let yourself make rookie mistakes. Read on to learn all about the importance of porcelain tile underlayment when installing your own flooring.

The Importance of Porcelain Tile Underlayment

All tile floors have three layers: i) the subfloor, ii) the underlayment, and iii) the surface tile. If you want your tiling job to withstand everyday use, you need to ensure all three layers are up to standard.

The main purpose of the underlayment is to level out any uneven spots found in the subfloor. This smooth layer is completely unbendable, which keeps grout lines from cracking under the slightest pressure or movement.

If you’re working on a concrete subfloor, an underlayment prevents the transfer of cracks from the subfloor to your tiles.

Underlayment also plays an essential role in creating a waterproof barrier between the porcelain tiles and the subfloor.

Some types of underlayment are also used to provide soundproofing.

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Types Of Underlayment

Different underlayment materials better suit certain scenarios than others. You get three main types of underlayment options:

  1. Sheet-type underlayment (also called backer board or cement board)
  2. Liquid/semi-liquid underlayment
  3. Membrane underlayments

Porcelain tiles are most often installed with sheet-type underlayments. Because they have the lowest chance of bending, your tiles and grout lines are unlikely to break or crack.

The Porcelain Tiling Process From Start to Finish

To begin the tiling process, use a layer of thin-set (a strong adhesive) to attach the backer board to the subfloor. This is known as bedding. If you need to trim your backer board, make sure to use a concrete blade in your circular saw.

Next, use screws to firmly secure the backer board to the subfloor. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when figuring out the placement of your screws.

Using another layer of thin-set, you set the tiles on the backer board. Use tile spacers to create a professional, evenly spaced tile job.

Your final step is to grout the tiles. Porcelain is a unique material in that it has micro-pores. If you don’t prepare your tiles before the grouting process, the grout can stain the tiles. Use a porcelain tile sealer before and after grouting to keep your tiles stain-free and easy to maintain.

Enjoy Your Porcelain Tiled Flooring

For a professional-quality DIY tiling job, there is no avoiding the importance of porcelain tile underlayment. Now that you know everything you need to about the tiling process, all that’s left for you to do is decide on your tiling pattern!

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