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Many home owners are becoming more like handymen every day so this article, like my site is intended to for them to use as a learning tool or a starting point on repairing and renovating various parts of the home. This article is on ceramic tiling for bathroom floors.
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This article and others that follow will be devoted to home repair and improvement dealing with different areas from roof to basement.
If you are going to re-do the bathroom floor – this means taking up your tile, sheet vinyl, or ceramic tile and underlayments you should make sure there are no signs of water damage to the subflooring and check to see if it is solid throughout. When laying down a new floor the main question is always can I lay tile over the existing floor or do I have to pick up the old one first? If the floor is level and sound you can usually just tile right over it with plastic or vinyl flooring, but keep in mind how much room you have for the bathroom door, door frame and wall molding (if any) you may have to open or close the door from time to time!
If the underlayment is solid but not quit level you can use leveling embossers (like mortar) to fill-in low spots to make a level surface, otherwise place a new underlayment over it, if you can. I have seen home owners doctor it up with thin plain wood strips dont do it! All materials must be water and moisture resistant as possible. Always use at least a 3ft level to insure surface is not slanted in any way.
For a typical ground level home like a ranch with no basement, floor foundations are ‘framed’, meaning the floor sits on joists with 2-by’s (stills) running perpendicular to the joists along the foundation. ‘Girders’, (metal rods) at or near the center of the joists help in support. Above the framing lays the subfloor, typically a 3/4″ tongue and groove particle board, plywood or similar material. Above that there is a1/4″ plywood or cement board (moisture resistant) thats called the underlayment and may also have a sheet of roofing felt or similar material for added cushioning. Take extra caution when laying underlayment over the subflooring because the floor may crack if the seems match up so it’s best to stagger the seams.
Ceramic Tiles: Because this type of tiling has become popular in kitchens, bathrooms, halls and even living rooms for its durability and style, I want to devote this section on the subject.
Installing ceramic tiles in the bathroom will alter the height of fixtures like toilets, vanity sinks and cabinets as well as the door and adjoining room it is best to remove everything and start from scratch. This means removing the old underlayment as well. You have to create a level surface or the tiles will crack or break. Most ceramic floor tile is