Guest Blogger #883, Entry #2077, March 6, 2013
There’s a right way and a wrong way to install flooring substrates. Sometimes mistakes don’t cost you anything at all and other times they can cost you several hours and potentially several hundred dollars. This has never been more readily apparent than when you’re remodeling your home. The old adage of “measure twice, cut once” isn’t popular with construction projects without a good reason. Even DIY projects that should be simple have a way of getting out of hand if you aren’t careful. Schluter Ditra is a waterproofing membrane used under your tile or stone flooring that can have you tearing it up and out in frustration if you install it incorrectly.
Image via: Tile of Spain USA
What Could Go Wrong?
If you’ve noticed that your tile or grout is cracking, the fault may be with the way that your substrate was installed. Even though Ditra is one of the most commonly used membranes for floor tile installations, you have to make sure that you install it correctly or else you’ll have a host of problems to contend with later. Two things you’ll want to make sure that you do with Ditra are pay careful attention that you fill in the cavities/waffles properly and make sure that you install it over an approved substrate. While there is much more to correctly installing Schluter systems, those two are the most important to make sure that your remodeling project is a success.
If you don’t fill in waffles the right way, the tile won’t be properly supported and the Ditra tile won’t lock properly, which in turn causes you to lose the bonding properties of Ditra. You should also make sure that you use the flat side of the trowel and spread thinset in each direction over the Ditra, which will make sure that all of the waffles are filled in.
Image via: Italy Tile
The Importance Of Improved Substrates
You’ll find that as long as you use the right substrate applying Ditra will be much easier. Most of the bare substrates you can find in a house are approved substrates, including plywood. Bear in mind that linoleum is not included on the list of approved substrates.
There are a number of resources that you can use to help you with your Ditra installation, including an instruction book and a flash video. With so many tutorials and easily accessible instructions, there’s really no way that you can install Ditra incorrectly unless you’re making a conscious effort to. The most important instructions to bear in mind are to use an approved substrate, use an unmodified thinset mortar, fill in the waffles the right way, buy the correct trowel to use and get the right coverage.
If you decide to have a professional install your Ditra for you, make sure that you do your homework before hiring them. Get in touch with their former clients to see how they liked their services and ask if they would recommend them. If not, you may find yourself having to go back and set the tile yourself after finding that the contractor didn’t do a good job. Even if you decide to do the job yourself you should still take your time and make sure that you know what you’re doing.
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