I am looking at replacing my ceramic tiles with 18X18 granite tiles. I have a plywood subfloor with 2X8 joices. What is the best way to do this? Remove existing flooring inclusive of wire meshing and use ditra? or build a new mesh base?
Please advise.. Mike
Hi Mike – because you’ll be putting down fairly large and heavy stone tiles, you’ll also want to check the deflection in your floor, or the amount your floor ‘bends’ in the middle when you walk across it. The greater the span, the greater the deflection – if there’s a lot of movement you may want to consider stiffening up the floor with additional joists or blocking before proceeding with the stone. For 18 x 18 granite tiles, you definitely want a perfectly flat surface with very little deflection prior to installation.
Assuming your floor is in good shape, both methods will work. Ditra is very quick and easy to install, and you can begin tiling immediately after installation which is a bonus – the higher cost of materials is offset by the reduced labour required (whether it’s yours or someone else’s). However, if your floor has high or low spots, these can either be dealt with before installing an underlayment, or can be corrected with a scratch coat of mesh and mortar (a method that’s been working for thousands of years). While the mesh and scratch coat materials are less expensive, it’s much more labour intensive – not to mention it takes a lot of skill to create a perfectly flat and level scratch coat.
So the answer is – it depends on how much you want to spend, the time you have available to do the job, and your skill level – both will work!
Have fun, and good luck!