How to Install a Floor Tile Underlayment How to Install a Floor Tile Underlayment

What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Electric drill
Screw bit
Wood screws
Wood putty
Putty knife
Electric sander
Sandpaper
1/4-inch or 1/2-inch plywood
Saw
Push broom
Tack cloth

When you install floor tile, an underlayment is needed in order for you to affix the tile. This also includes carpet, wood or laminate. Installing floor tile with underlayment will make placing the floor tiles much easier. This is particularly important when you plan to use ceramic tiles or the kind with a self-sticking backing. The underlayment provides a smooth and level surface for the installation. The following article will show you how to install a floor tile underlayment.

Step 1 - Floor Measurement

When laying floor tiles the underlayment has to be correctly sized. Measure the floor's dimensions. Even though most rooms are squared-off it's still a good idea to take the measurements of each side. Keep in mind that most sheets are 4x8 and you may need to trim it yourself with the saw.

Step 2 - Choose the Right Underlayment

Determine the right underlayment by the purpose of the room. If you're installing floor tile in a bathroom or kitchen then a waterproofed underlayment is in order. Using natural wood in these rooms can cause issues if they should ever become wet. If you're installing in a heavily traveled area a thicker underlayment will be a better decision. Always ask for help if the choices are too confusing.

Step 3 - Install the Underlayment

Before the underlayment can be attached to the subfloor you need to make sure that the subfloor is free of all moisture and dirt. Wipe the subfloor down with a lint-free towel to make sure the subfloor is free of moisture. Follow up with using the tack cloth to remove any dust particles that may have been left behind.

Step 4 - Lay the Underlayment

You can use nails for this step but it is highly recommended to use wood screws. Screws work better to install a floor tile underlayment as they grip to the wood. Nails will have a tendency, over time, to pop up out of the floor. Place the first piece of underlayment on top of the subfloor and push it flush against the wall. Place the other pieces of underlayment over the subfloor making sure all of the edges are butting against each other.

Step 4 - Fasten the Underlayment

Start at one of the corners and place a nail 1/2-inch from the edge of the underlayment. Place a screw at each corner of each section. This will secure the pieces so they won't slip while installing the remaining screws. At every six inches place screws around the perimeter of the underlayment. When placing the screws make sure the heads are below the surface of the underlayment. This is so the floor tile doesn't get damaged.

Step 5 - Finishing Up

To further seal the underlayment place wood putty over each screw and over the seams. Any raised putty can cause issues when installing the floor tiles over the underlayment. Use the sander to smooth over the wood putty. Wipe the underlayment down with tack cloth.

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