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Tiling a Bathroom Floor

posted Feb 3, 2012, 9:04 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Mar 16, 2012, 6:15 AM ]
Dry-fitting the floor membrane
My next task was to tile the bathroom floor. For this, I wanted to use the uncoupling membrane called Ditra by Schluter. I started by doing a thorough cleaning in the room, then rolling out the membrane and cutting it to length. The second length of the sheet needed some fancy shaping around the tub and plumbing-wall, however that was relatively easy to tackle with a fresh blade in the utility knife. Just remember to install the product mesh-side down :)

Install the floor membrane and starting the tiling
The directions ask for a modified mortar under the membrane and the normal mortar on top of the membrane, so make sure you know which bag is which! Once you mix up the mortar, apply it only where the roll will be, because if you trowel on the mortar in too wide of a path, you will have trouble reaching the far side of the Ditra product (they are 3 feet wide). I used a 3-foot section of 2x4 to help evenly press the membrane into the mortar bed, and avoided stepping directly on the membrane. The instructions state that you can start tiling immediately (no need to let it dry), however I had to stop for the day. The only lesson I can give is to make sure the membrane is level, flat, and that the corners stay down. The product is sold in a roll, and the ends may tend to curl, even with the mortar pulling it down. I simply let it cure with the 2x4 resting on the edge.

Tiling the floor begins at the back of the room
Then I simply started to tile the floor, being careful to remember to have a cutout for my toilet flange. An angle-grinder with a diamond blade is perfect for this kind of complex curve. Cuts through the tile like butter. I worked my way along the floor in 3-foot chunks until I got to the end.
Tiling is finished at the door


Looking over the finished tiling near the door

Once I was finished with the tiling, I let it cure for a couple days then came back for the grout work. This was not that complicated, however the biggest warning I can give is to make sure you remove as much grout from the face of your tiles with your float before it dries. On my vertical surfaces in the shower, I did not do such a great job of this, and had to spend hours removing the cured residue over the following weeks... But otherwise it is a very simple task. Also do not use too much water when wiping off the tiles, as it tends to suck the colour out of the mortar.

Next steps: Finishing touches on the tile work...
Adding the tile grout