Project House: High-Traffic Tile Floor
A forgiving underlayment and epoxy grout ensure that this tiled entry will stand up to heavy use
Tilesetter Tom Meehan gives detailed instructions on how to install a “High-Traffic Tile Floor.” A forgiving underlayment and epoxy grout ensure that a tiled entry will stand up to heavy use. Too many tile floors are doomed from the start because of poorly prepped subfloors. Antifracture membranes, sometimes called crack-isolation membranes or uncoupling membranes, are sheet coverings that are applied on top of the subfloor or slab before the tile is installed. The main purpose of these membranes is to prevent any expansion, contraction, or flexing in the structure from leading to failed grout joints or loose and cracked tiles. If done well, you should never even notice the layout; it should just “go away.” To achieve that, plan the layout around focal points while also hiding cuts and out-of-square walls as much as possible. Having taken the time to fully prepare the subfloor, it is important to not get lazy with the thinset. There are different kinds of adhesives for different applications; a latex-modified thinset is ideal for bonding to Ditra mat. With the layout locked in, the rest of the job is just a matter of keeping an eye on the grout joints and filling in tiles as you work your way toward an interior exit from the room. The grouting process for epoxy is basically the same as with conventional grout—pack the joints firmly, but leave as little excess as possible—only the stakes are a bit higher. You need to work quickly and clean off excess grout thoroughly before it sets up, being mindful that setup time can vary based on temperature. Once the grout sets up, it sets up for good. Meehan offers numerous Pro Tips and clear representations of the process throughout.
Project House Video Series:Foyer Tile Installation