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Ceramic TIle on Bathroom Floor

Hi,  We recently bought a home and the 1/2 bath had this horrible smell from the previous elderly owner so we decided to rip up the sub floor and re do the floor to eliminate that nasty smell.   We have the toilet and sink removed and the subfloor is completely out.  Now we are just left with the boards that run diagonally across the beams (not sure what the technical term is).    I would like to put down 12 by 12" ceramic tile but I have never done any tiling before and want to know what I need before I get started.  The room is small 4'5" by 4'11" and is rectangular with no odd areas.  I'm a little confused.  Do I need to put down the plywood subfloor and then the cement board?  Which is what I think I need to do but want to make sure.   What do I need to buy and what do I need to do.  Any one have any suggestions?  I'm no stranger to home improvements but this kind of scares me a little.  Thanks for any help and suggestions. 

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Posted 2011-03-18T05:45:32+0000  by Domesticwannabe Domesticwannabe

Greetings Domesticwannabe, Welcome to the How-To-Community.


My name is Mike and I work with The Home Depot in Chicago and I can help you get this figured out.  Congratulations on the new home and now the fun part begins.  To help with this subfloor you will have to put down plywood and cement board. 


5/8 plywood will work just fine for this. Since it’s a rectangle this won’t be too bad to do. You’re going to want to lay they plywood over the joist length wise and use a gold wood screw about a 1 ½ .  Once you get your dimensions layed out, any local Home Depot can cut the plywood for you to make this job easier. 


You’re going to want to put a cement board such as Hardie Backer over the plywood. This will help protect the floor in case of a flood and will also be the best thing for the tile to adhere to.  You’re going to want to tape the joints in the cement board with alkaline resistant tape. The advantage about Hardie Backer boards is that it is completely waterproof.  It’s also very easy to cut and work with.  It also has marks for where the screws go.  When working with this type of material they make special screws that set in the board tight to help keep moisture from getting in.

After you get the cement board down you will be able to tile.  The choices in 12x12 tiles are endless.


I found a couple project guides that may be of some help.  This will help with the tiling portion of the job.  . This will help with the Cement Board install.


If you have any questions or run into any problems feel free to post back and will get you taken care of.

Posted 2011-03-18T17:15:43+0000  by FlyingHDsod

Thanks for the reply Mike.  Do I really need to put down the plywood floor before the cementboard?  I was in my local Home depot the other day and finally got to ask them and  a couple of guys who were shopping the tile/ cementboard area.  The floor in our bathroom still has the boards that were laid across the joist's in place.  ( the boards that if you go down to the basement and look up you can see them).  Originally there was rolled tile glued down to a plywood subfloor that was nailed on to the boards that run diagonally over the floor joist.   The general thought at the Home depot i was in is that since those boards are still down and in good shape that we should be able to lay the cement board down over them and screw directly in to that.  What do you think about that?  Thanks a lot for all your help!







Posted 2011-03-22T04:01:16+0000  by Domesticwannabe

Hi Domesticwannabe.  Mike is not in today but I think I can help.


The issue at hand is about how solid the subfloor needs to be so the new tile stays put.  Normally you need between 1-1/8 and 1-1/4 of wood subfloor.  It sounds like a lot, but the floor can't be allowed to bend and flex.  If it does, then the tiles can pop out.  To avoid excessive deflection, I recommend that you add a layer of plywood as Mike suggested.


I hope this helps,


Posted 2011-03-22T14:21:57+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

you can find information about ceramics in here:

Posted 2011-11-16T07:38:21+0000  by barvaz

you can find information about ceramics in here:


Posted 2011-12-08T13:22:23+0000  by tiron
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