Ceramic tile can be laid directly over a concrete slab using thin-set adhesive. The only prep work needed is to remove any old adhesive or paint and clean the concrete first.
Before laying tile over a plywood subfloor, cement backer board needs to be nailed or screwed to the floor. Next, apply fiberglass tape embedded in thin-set adhesive over the seams in the backerboard.
After the seams have dried, apply thin-set with a notched trowel to secure the tile. Watch this video to find out more.
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Danny Lipford: When people remodel bathrooms, they often ask if they have to prepare the floor at all before laying ceramic tile. The answer depends on what is beneath the finished flooring or the subfloor.
If the subfloor is a concrete slab, there’s very little preparation necessary. You simply scrape off any old adhesive or paint residue, and clean the surface before applying the thin-set adhesive that will secure the new ceramic tiles.
If the subfloor is wood, it will need to be covered with cement backerboard first. Wood and masonry materials expand and contract at different rates, so the backerboard creates a continuous surface that will move with the tile.
After it is nailed or screwed to the subfloor, the seams are covered with fiberglass tape. Then those seams are covered with thin-set adhesive.
Once all of this is dry, you’re ready to apply more thin-set for laying the tiles, just as you would have on a concrete slab.