David Bettridge will now catch us up on the downstairs bathroom as he preps for tile. Try to contain your excitement, okay?
The majority of the downstairs floor is insulated and ready for flooring but the bathroom is its own special case. Way back in March, I removed the old tiles from the floor…
More recently, I removed the last of the thinset (tile ‘glue’, a kind of flexible mortar). A wide chisel bit in my trusty Bosch Bulldog made short work of it…
The Bulldog is a light-duty rotary hammer that has settings for drill+hammer, just drill or just hammer. Hammer drills on the other hand only have settings for just drill or drill + hammer. The Bulldog drills into 40-year old concrete like a hot knife through butter.
Once the slab was clean and smoothish, I layed down 1” tongue and groove high-density foam insulation…
It will act as a thermal and moisture break between the new tile floor and the slab (and planet earth) underneath. This will hopefully keep the bathroom floor more comfortable underfoot and keep the basement dry. And it will help the bathroom be more energy efficient as well.
I layed 1/2” cement board over the foam and screwed it down to the slab underneath, using Tapcon screws…
Due to their special threads and lubricated coating, they actually cut into the concrete when installed into a pre-drilled hole. Technology, gotta love it. I used a lot of screws so there would be no movement under the floor tile, and therefore no cracking.
Some lucky tile installer will trowel thinset onto the cement board, lay Schluter Ditra tile membrane down before troweling on more thin set, then setting and grouting the floor tiles. The membrane acts as another moisture barrier but more importantly it separates the tile from the floor which lets things move a little bit before any cracking takes place. Again, technology at work.
Schluter will also be providing all the metal bits and pieces that allow tile to be installed up against other materials like cork flooring, wood cabinets, mirror, etc. A small prep detail but an important one. Like they say, do it right the first time.