January 27, 2010

1810 Bathroom Part 5 - Tiling the Floor

Now that the drywalling is done things are cruising along. Monday night I laid out the tiles and marked all the cuts but by the time I was ready to fire up the saw it was getting a bit late. I decided to take it easy on the neighbors and call it a night. Tuesday I set up the tile saw in the basement and made all the cuts. Wednesday night I was finally ready to lay down the Ditra and set the tile. As always here are the pictures...

The picture above shows the tile laid out test fitting all the cut pieces. With the exception of the toilet flange area all the cuts were pretty simple. To fit a tile around the toilet flange I had to cut out a U shaped section by making many straight cuts and then chipping out the pieces with a pliers. I then fit a small straight piece at the top of the U to fill in the gap. This is all hidden under the toilet so it didn't need to look pretty.

After one last round of scraping mastic off the floor and sweeping I mixed up a batch of modified thinset (slightly on the wet side) and laid the Ditra with a 5/16 V notch trowel. Mixing the thinset a bit wetter than normal makes it a lot easier to get the mud to fill into the mesh backing on the Ditra. Modified thinset is "stickier" than standard mud and creates a stronger bond between the Ditra and the plywood...we want this part to stick.

Once the Ditra was down I cleaned out my bucket and mixed up a batch of unmodified thinset and started setting the tile with a 1/4" x 3/8" square notch trowel which works well for these 13x13 porcelain tiles. When setting tile on Ditra Schluter recommends unmodified thinset which seems counter intuitive because it basically won't stick to plastic. When the unmodified thinset cures it forms a mechanical connection with the dovetailed waffle pattern on the Ditra which provides a tiny bit of decoupling between the flexible wood floor and the rigid tile field. More important to me is the fact that it's very thin and in my opinion the easiest underlayment to install. Have I mentioned that I like this stuff?

My knees hurt and my back is sore but the tile is finally set. All in all this went very smoothly after all the practice tiling the kitchen and dining room in 1808.

I'm hoping to get the floor grouted Friday so that I can put in the vanity and toilet this weekend. Hopefully this is all wrapped up by mid February.


  1. Looks really good. Did you have any issues laying the tile right after you laid the Ditra?

  2. Awesome pictures, its great to get ones mid progress where its clear you had to stop what you were doing to take the shot. Helps the rest of us ;)

  3. Setting the tile right after laying the Ditra went fine. The Ditra sticks really well and I didn't notice it move at all while setting the tile. The MFR actually says that this is fine as long as you let it all cure properly once you are done.