Tile is easy, right? It seems pretty straightforward, anyway. It’s placing squares on the ground or the walls. How hard can it be?
Tile installation can be easy to do yourself. However, flooring and wall tiling are a major project and no matter how easy they may seem, there are dozens of steps that you may be overlooking. When it comes to tile, there are vital steps to take before laying the tile itself. This is called prep work.
Prep work for tile installation is important for a few reasons, each step holding its own independent value. For example, after you tear up the old flooring and are going to later place down a tile floor, it’s wise to sand and level the subflooring so that you get an even tile placement with no protrusions. Some would say that’s pretty important, no? But beyond that, the most important step in tile preparation is waterproofing. Waterproofing is vital for a number of reasons. Here are a few:
Despite these important and beneficial reasons to waterproof, some people still frequently ask, “is it necessary?”. Technically, no. But neither is paint on your walls or furniture in your home. Are those things important? Yes. Often times, it’s even a requirement per law – and for good reason.
Moisture can destroy homes. It’s part of what makes hurricanes so devastating. The water itself is only part of the problem. What it leaves behind in its tracks is often what results in the destruction of homes, vehicles, and buildings. Moisture is a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria, as well as promotes rot, rust, and breakage. Porous materials like stone and wood absorb water which causes deformities in floors, foundations, structures, and more. When the water eventually evaporates, it leaves behind a slew of problems like cracks, voids, and crumbling structures. But – you don’t need a hurricane for these horrors to become a reality.
Waterproofing is an obvious and easy way to prevent these problems completely. While waterproofing won’t save your home in a hurricane, it’ll stop your house from looking like it went through one after a small leak becomes a massive structural problem because you or an underqualified handyman decided to skip the waterproofing step.
So, how do you actually prevent these problems and make a floor or wall waterproof when you’re going to tile it? The solution is simple. There are a few different ways, but the best way by far is to use a waterproof membrane such as RedGard or Hydro Ban. It’s important to choose a membrane that is rated for the area that you intend to use it on. Areas that frequently experience a large amount of water on their surface, such as a shower area, will require a different membrane than that of an area that typically stays pretty dry. In most places, building codes will require waterproofing wherever there’s a shower. This is an obvious necessity. Furthermore, some materials in a certain waterproofing membrane may not be suitable for your specific needs. For example, frequently using heavy duty cleaners and disinfectants may not be compatible with some membranes, as the chemical compounds can react and leave holes for water to seep through.
Waterproofing isn’t expensive. However, it can save you massive amounts of money – even in the short-run. The costs for repairs of a leak or mold problem are exponentially higher than what it costs to grab a tub of waterproofing membrane, and it doesn’t take much time to add a layer of it under where you intend to lay tile. In this case, taking the extra step is wise. Your kitchen, bathroom, foyer, walls, floors, and whatever else you decide to tile will be thankful for it – and so will your property value.
3x6 Marble Carrara provided by The Builder Depot
Tile Installer, guitar player, universe explorer.