Planning on Laying Tile? A System That Will Start You off Right - February 4th 2009


Planning on Laying Tile? A System That Will Start You off Right


In the midst of our current global recession, there are so many reasons to renovate. First off, for those looking to sell their houses in an eventual market upswing, renovating now can increase your homes value down the road. If your home has an unused basement, you can gain some extra income by converting the unused space into a secondary suite, or perhaps you're just looking to give the bathroom or kitchen a facelift. It's been proven that simple upgrades in your kitchen or bathroom can dramatically improve your homes resale value.

A great way to reinvent the look of your bathroom or kitchen is by replacing your tired looking vinyl flooring, Shower or tub enclosure, and even your walls with tile, or natural stone.

Tile is beautiful, durable, easy to clean and can effectively turn the average room into a one of a kind showpiece. But as with all things, the job should be done correctly and with the right process. One of the most common tile concerns that Shell Busey hears on his home discovery show, is when a homeowner will install tile in their home, only to have it crack and chip soon after installation. What many overlook or simply don't realize is that your homes sub floor will flex and move as your house shifts due to seasonal temperature change among other factors, setting your tiles up for failure from the beginning. The solution to preventing chipped or cracking tiles is to lay down a "non fracture membrane" on top of your sub floor, before laying your tile on top.

The Schluter Company has developed a membrane system called DITRA, which is specifically designed to prevent cracking, and other problems that can arise from laying natural stone or tile. Today's lightweight construction methods can make the installation of hard surface coverings particularly challenging. In order to protect the integrity of the tile assembly, an underlayment that performs multiple functions is required.

Schluter DITRA is a polyethylene membrane with a grid structure of square cavities, and an anchoring fleece laminated to its underside. The anchoring fleece is fully bonded to the sub floor using thin set mortar. Tile is then installed on top of the DITRA membrane using another thin bed of mortar to anchor the tile in place over the square, cutback cavities of the membrane's matting.

The membrane serves as an uncoupling layer, waterproofing membrane, and vapor management layer that accommodates moisture from beneath the tile covering. Further, it provides adequate load distribution for the tile covering. The uncoupling layer allows for in-plane movement that effectively neutralizes the stress between the substrate and the tile, thus eliminating the major cause of cracking and delaminating of the tiled surface.

This membrane also provides reliable waterproofing in both interior and exterior applications. Its polyethylene composition protects the substrate from moisture penetration, which is particularly important in today's building environment where most substrates are moisture sensitive.

The Schluter DITRA system is just one of the many products available for renovating with tile or natural stone. As always when thinking about any renovation, contact the professionals first.

It's Just That Easy!