Let’s talk tile today, and in more detail, how to put down tile over sub floors. So, let me start by telling that this was the biggest project we did in our house so far. It was also the most challenging one in so many different ways. First, of all did we totally underestimate how long it would all take. And secondly, we did it during a really inconvenient time.
So we started the project back in August last year. I was leaving for a two week trip to Germany a few days after we started. Hubby was about to leave for a two week Air Force training almost during the same time. To top it off I was supposed to start a new job right after I returned from Germany as well. Looking back, our timing could not have sucked more! But we just sucked it up and got through it. As I said before, we totally underestimated how long this project would take. We actually thought it would take us less than a month to do it. Oh boy, were we wrong. In fact the entire project took us THREE months in total from putting down HardieBacker to finishing the baseboards. It was a major project and we were both so exhausted and happy once we were done.
In the course of the project we had to move out of the house and into our neighbor’s garage apartment. He generously rented out to us. Luckily we had amazing help during the project not just from our neighbor. My brother in-law and father in-law both came out and helped us. We could not have done it without each of them and we are so grateful for their support. So I guess this is my recap, let me now share with you the step-by-step guide on how to put down tile on sub-flooring. Hubby wrote this all up himself before we started the project and we split the entire process into three posts, one for each phase of the projects. So let’s start with phase 1—the HardieBacker.
Put down Tile over sub floors – HardieBacker (HB):
- Screw down any springy plywood.
- Use two pieces of cardboard, a piece of HB and a piece of tile as a spacer to cut door jams.
- A 3rd piece of cardboard can be added to create an extra 1/16” for ease of installation.
- Fill any wooden sub floor gaps with caulk.
- Check if sub-floor is level with a 6-8’ level or straight edge.
- Roll paint “latex primer sealer” in areas requiring self-leveler.
- Mix lever.
- Spread leveler with flat edge of trowel.
- Use “polymer-modified” thin-set over sub-floor.
- Mix to consistency of creamy peanut butter. Let thin-set stand for 10 minutes prior to use.
- Notches in trowel should be square 1/4” thick for HB.
- Lay “scratch-coat” with flat edge of trowel. Notch at 45° in arcs. Firmly notch “straight pass” parallel to direction of HardieBacker.
- Lay 1/4” HardieBacker perpendicular to sub-floor’s plywood direction.
- Pick up 1st HB to ensure good coverage of thin-set. Half should be on the floor, and half on the HB. If most of the thin-set is still on the floor, you need to thin your thin-set a little more.
- Use 16d common nails as spacers between HB to keep an 1/8” gap at all ends.
- No four corners should ever meet.
- Walk on the center of the HB to firmly secure to floor.
- Secure with epoxy-coated screws 3/8” from edges and 2” from corners, & in the field (center) as required. (HardieBacker suggests 52 screws in each 5’x3′ sheet).
- Remove 16d common nails.
- Use high-strength alkali-resistant glass fiber tape.
- If tape is self-adhesive—tape, then cover with leveled thin-set.
- If tape is not self-adhesive—thin-set joint, tape, cover with leveled thin-set.
- Let cure for 24 hours before allowing foot traffic.
So these are Hubby’s step by step instructions. Below are some pictures of our floors after we put down the HardieBacker.
So, that wraps up our post for today. Watch out for part II of the series in which I will give you the step-by-step by guide on how to put down the tile. Let me know in comments below if you have put down tile yourselves and what your experiences was? How long it take you guys?
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As always, thanks so much for stopping by.