Experience has shown us that tile is no more than a decorative covering on a properly prepared surface. At McHugh Tile & Stone, we follow the guidelines set forth by The Tile Council of North America to ensure a lasting and beautiful tile job. Without proper substrate (surface) preparation, a tile job is destined to fail. When talking of specialty installations such as radiant heated floors, steam showers and glass tile installation, special material and preparations need to be followed and will be addressed on a job by job basis.
We incorporate proper preparation techniques on all floors and a concrete slab is no exception. Your slab will be scarified to remove all foreign material and eliminate all “bond breakers”. We also offer levelling for concrete slabs by grinding down the high spots and filling in the low spots to eliminate uneven tiles or “lippage”. All cracks are treated with a crack isolation membrane, and we also install anti-fracture membranes for concrete slabs to keep any movement in the slab from transferring through the tile surface.
First things first… We will determine the floor deflection rating (how much flex is in your floor) on your floor before we begin. There are different requirements for floor stiffness and subfloor thickness for ceramic tile than for stone tile. In fact, industry standard states that a stone floor must have twice the deflection rating (stiffness) than a ceramic/porcelain tile floor. We understand these requirements and will not install a floor in an area that is destined to fail. Once the subfloor is up to par, then we move on to preparing the floor for tile. The two systems we use most frequently are Backerboard and Schluter Ditra.
- Backerboard- This is a system where cement board is fastened to the subfloor and tile is applied directly to the backerboard. This is always installed with thin-set underneath to fill all voids and provide a solid footprint. Seams are always taped with alkali-resistant mesh tape. This is a solid system that meets industry standards.
- Schluter Ditra- This is an uncoupling membrane that “uncouples” the tile from the subfloor. This is the superior system, as it allows the tile to move independently from the wood subfloor. For a look at how Schluter Ditra works, take a look at www.schluter.com.
Although these are only a few of the floor techniques we offer, we would encourage you to do a bit of your own research to see what you think will work best for you.