How To Lay Backer Board For Kitchen Tile

Before jumping in head first and laying out all that new kitchen tile, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to install some backer board first over your subfloor. Now, not all subfloors will need to have this, but some will. It will be up to you to decide knowing the condition of your subfloor to decide as to whether or not you would need this. If you are going directly over a concrete slab then you may decide against this and that should be totally fine as long as it’s level. If it’s a wooden subfloor, then you should consider installing a cement backer board.

Why Do You Need It?

Bottom line is this, if you are planning to install ceramic tile on anything other than concrete, you need to first properly install some form of cement backer board or you will likely have problems later. This layer is going to add the stability and support needed to carry the load of the tile throughout it’s lifespan in your kitchen. Not only that, but it will also protect any underlying wooden floor joist from moisture that may seep through from up above. This board can be picked up at almost any local hardware store. Typically found in 3’x5′ or 4’x8′ sheets, they can be cut fairly easy even for the trickiest of corners.

Quick Steps For Installing Backer Board From The Video

  1. Mix up your thin set mortar, should look like peanut butter when your done.
  2. Using a trowel, spread enough thin set to work with one board at a time on the subfloor.
  3. Lay the board in place on the bed of mortar. Leave a 1/8″ gap between boards (you can use a 16 penny nail between boards).
  4. Repeat steps one through three above until the floor is covered. Just make sure that you overlap the seams of the boards so they don’t line up with each other.
  5. After the boards are set, screw them down making sure to use a counter-sinking screw so the heads are flush on the board.
  6. Tape and mortar the seams.

Additional Tips and Safety Information

At one point or another, you are going to need to make a few cuts to the boards. While they aren’t the easiest things to cut, they certainly aren’t the hardest if you got the right equipment. You really don’t need anything more than a carbide tipped knife and a straight edge. Simply score the board really well and then just snap it along the score line. That’s about it.

One thing to note though along the lines of safety. You really don’t want to be breathing all that stuff in when you snap the cuts. It does have a powdery cement mixture in it and you want to do your best at keeping the dust out of your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Use protection when making the cuts especially if you are using a saw.

The great thing about this little project is that if you’ve never really tiled something before, you will get to have a little practice with laying cement board first and that should get you into a good flow and what to expect out of having to put the tile down.

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