How to get a wooden floor ready for tiling ☝️
When renovating properties or converting sheds to outdoor offices, many people often wonder how to tile a wooden floor.
There are two problems with wood and timber floors when it comes to tiling – and two things you need to take care of before tiling can commence.
- Firstly, you need to remove the bounce. Timber beams and wooden floorboards may feel solid, but will have an element of bounce in them between joists and supports.
- Secondly – solid wood flooring moves – a lot. You’d be surprised how much it expands and contracts with temperature changes. So you need a layer between your moving wooden floor and your tiles.
Luckily, there is an all in one solution in the form of tile backer boards! If you haven’t heard of these before, they are essentially cement boards that you can tile directly onto. They act as a decoupling layer – which gets rid of the lateral movement, and in thicknesses of 12mm and higher actively remove the bounce from wooden floors too!
Watch the video above for a handy step by step guide that shows you how to measure, cut, and secure your boards in place – the easy way!
You can also follow the in depth guide below for more details, tips, and tricks to getting the job done. We’ve also put the relevant parts of the videos into the steps below incase you don’t need to watch the whole thing!
Step One ☝️ 🔨
To get started you’re going to need to work out the size of your room and the amount of wooden subfloor you need to cover. Here’s a handy calculator to help your work out the square meterage or square footage of your space.
Step Two ☝️🔨
Now it’s time to gatherer the materials you’re going to need. We love using Orbry Tile Backer Boards as they are water resistant, easy to cut and work with, and have great insulating properties at thicker thicknesses – this makes them perfect to use with underfloor heating. You’re also going to need a flexible tile adhesive, an electric mixer, mixing buckets, screws and washers (we used the Orbry ones) a notched trowel, and self-adhesive scrim tape for the joints. If you’re working in a wet room or bathroom make sure to use waterproofing scrim tape like one Marmox makes.
Step Three ☝️🔨
Now you’ve got all that – let’s get to work! Lay your boards out onto the floor and cut them to size using a standard working knife. Orbry boards cut easy, other brands may take a little more work but should still be a simple job. You should always lay them in a broken bond pattern (like bricks) and always lay them perpendicular to floorboards. Laying your boards out on the floor to start with ensures that your measurements and cuts are accurate.
Step Four ☝️🔨
Once they’re all laid out and you’re happy with your board arrangement, it’s time to get messy! Mix up your tile adhesive using the manufacturer’s instructions using your electric mixer and buckets. We used BAL Flex One Tile Adhesive in the video as we love working with it. Lift the first board up, and slop a good amount directly onto the wooden floor. Smooth it over with the smooth side of your notched trowel, then score lines into it with the notched side. Put enough on to cover the entire space the first board will take – don’t dot and dab it.
Step Five ☝️🔨
Lower the first board onto the area you have just applied the adhesive too, press down and move it around slightly to ensure the board is properly bedded into the adhesive. First one done! Easy right? Now repeat this process until you’ve covered the entire floor, but remember to keep back some of your flexible adhesive for later! Once this is complete, walk around on the boards and apply pressure to them to make sure they adhere as well as they can.
Step Six ☝️ 🔨
Now your boards are stuck down we can secure them further using our screws and washers! Use plastic washers for non-wet areas, and stainless steel washers for areas like wet rooms and bathrooms. You should always use stainless steel screws no matter where the installation is. Screw your washers into place between the joins and the centres of the orbry boards about 300mm apart. The washers ensure that the cement boards don’t pit when screwed in.
Step Seven ☝️ 🔨
Once the boards are secured with your tile adhesive and mechanically with screws and washers, they’re not going anywhere! Next, cover the joints in the boards with your self adhesive scrim tape. Tape over the washers and screws along the joints. Now, using your remaining tile adhesive, smooth a layer over the scrim tape to ensure that the joins are secure and waterproof.
Guess what? You’re done! Allow the adhesive to set using the setting time from the manufacturer’s instructions, and you’re ready for tile installation. Laying tiles directly onto tile backer board couldn’t be any simpler, and you can even use them on walls too. Plus, you don’t need an additional decoupling membrane – saving you time and money. If do choose to install an extra decoupling membrane or uncoupling layer like Schluter Ditra Matting, you can install it right on top of the tile backer board itself using a matting adhesive like Ardex AF200.