Tiling Floors: Direct Bedding and Timber Floors

Direct Bedding

On solid floors, tiles can be fixed by the direct-bedding method. This is suitable for use over stone, concrete or old quarry tiles. A clean level surface is required.

Lay a level mix of three parts sharp clean sand to one part of Portland cement. Mix a slurry of a cement-based floor adhesive, coat the back of the tiles to a depth of 3mm, position on the bedding layer, and tamp down level.

Gaps of 3mm should be left between the tile joints. Allow a drying period of 12 hours, and grout with a paste mix or 1:1 Portland cement fine-sand mix.

Another semi-dry method is to use a bedding layer of 1:4 Portland cement/coarse, dry sand mix. Add just enough water to give a crumbly mix. Spread the mix in ruled screeding bays laid on fine screed and levelled up with a spirit level, and compact down using a timber tamper. Finally, level the mix, using a straight edge drawn across the screed rules.

Mix a 1:1 Portland cement/sand slurry and, working over an area of lm at a time, spread a 3mm layer. Lay the floor tiles ‘dry’. Once the base mix has dried, use a dry mix, of the same proportions as the slurry to brush over the floor to fill the joints. Pour water over the area and compact the tile surface carefully with a tamper.

Speedy tile adjustment is necessary as the slurry sets quickly. The slurry partly fills the joints and grouting can be completed then or later. If the grouting is to be delayed, clean the floor surface.

Timber floors

It is possible to lay tiles on timber floors but the floor must be stable and strong enough to bear the extra load. As ceramic tiling will create an impervious surface, adequate ventilation of the under-floor area must be ensured.

When tiling an upstairs bathroom or shower area, it may be necessary to lay a waterproof membrane, such as 500-gauge polythene, before tiling, to protect the rooms below. In most domestic situations the floor will not need reinforcing.

Timber floors can be braced by laying sheets of tempered hardboard, spaced at 300mm centres and screwed down with rough side uppermost.

Before laying the sheets, make sure that the floor boards are free from any projecting nails. Once laid the boards should have no movement or ‘whip’, as this may cause the tiles to become unseated.

10. November 2011 by admin
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