April 3, 2012

Prepping the Floors for Tile

When the walls and the ceiling were finally finished and dry, it was time to start working on that floor tile.  But first, (unfortunately), we had a little work to do to prep the floors.  If you remember, we tore up the original gross tile floors, including the lath and concrete sub-floor, leaving us with just the plywood sub-floor underneath.  

That plywood wasn't in such great shape, especially after my beast-with-a-sledgehammer husband was done with it.  So not only was the existing floor a little battered, but we needed to lay down a surface that the tile could adhere to.  Cue the HardieBacker.  HardieBacker is a cement board, a lot like Durock (which we used on the walls of the shower and backsplash,) but we chose Hardie in this instance because it is a little more sturdy and we're looking for extra strength on those floors.  It also comes in two thicknesses, 1/4" and 1/2", so we could buy the 1/4" version and not have the flooring rise up so high that it didn't meet with the carpet in the hallway. 

We purchased our HardieBacker back when we got all our drywall and Durock, but we didn't put it in right away because we knew all the mud from the drywall would make a hot mess on our floors.  We were right.

Sorry for exposing you to that gross toilet hole.  It's like I'm trying to make you all stop reading.
 I worked on this project by myself one evening while the Hubs was working and Captain Chaos was sleeping, so unfortunately I don't have a lot of photos.  Think of it like a giant puzzle though, you cut pieces of your 3'x5' HardieBacker to cover the floor.  Just like drywall, you want to make sure your edges are right on the studs for firm support.  To make things just a bit trickier you want to make sure you're not just placing your new board directly on top of the plywood below in the same shapes.  You'll get more strength if you overlap your seams.  After a few hours, I had this.

I love the grid pattern already printed on Hardie which makes laying your tile floors so much easier.  Genius.

 Unfortunately, I wasn't quite done, because even after my fantastic (ifIdosaysomyself) sub-floor installation, we still had a low point on the floor by the tub.  In order to avoid my tile being uneven or worse- cracking in this space, I pulled out the old faithful self leveler to even everything out.

 All we need to do is wait for that patch to dry, and it is tile time!  I mean it this time! What do you guys think- has anyone else used Hardie Backer before?  Or do you prefer to tile on a different surface?  Or prefer to have the pros tile for you... there's no shame in that.  Somedays I wish we had the dough to just source all these projects out.  Where's the fun in that though?

If you're just joining us, here's a look back at the Main Bath project so far:

1 comment:

  1. Just to say this is one of the best DIY flooring site. Illustrated and well written.