Cracked floor tiles stink…REALLY BAD
There’s a simple solution: Schluter DITRA
It goes down on top of wood or concrete subfloors.
Your tile then goes on the DITRA.
Today we’ll show you how to install DITRA on a wood subfloor.
PLUS you get to see a pro tile installer do it.
This tutorials is gonna make your tile installation way faster!!
Tile floors…there’s no doubt they make homes look nicer.
But what’s not so awesome are broken tiles.
This is a HUGE issue if your home settles over time.
all homes settle!!!!!!!
DITRA solves this problem?
The best part is anyone can install it.
The Benefits of DITRA
DITRA is way easier to install than cement board.
First, it’s light.
Second, it stops tile and grout from cracking.
Third, it can waterproof the wood subfloor.
If you’re afraid of mold in the bathroom DITRA will help.
Steve and I will show you how to install DITRA today and make it 100% waterproof.
Here are the supplies you need
- Schluter DITRA ($85 for 54 sq feet)
- Trowel for Schluter DITRA ($27)
- Schluter KERDI-BAND ($33)
- KERDI-FIX ($28 for 9.8 oz)
- Caulking Gun ($9)
- Utility Knife ($13)
- 1/2″ Drill ($99)
- QEP Super Grout Mixer ($13)
- Rubber Grout Float ($12)
- Five Gallon Bucket ($3)
- Nitrile Gloves ($3)
- Modified Thin-set (Ardex X5 or Mapei Kerabond/Keralastic)
- Unmodified Thin-set (Mapei Kerabond)
- These affiliate links help support HRT, so thank you 🙂
So what’s the first step when installing DITRA on a wood subfloor?
Know the Framing of Your Home
Schluter DITRA has the best technical support…
I’ve called them in New York like 2,989.384 times.
They answer the phone every time!!
Schluter also has the best installation directions.
Hey, they’re German and you know what that means…DETAILS my friend.
Know the joist spacing of your home before installing DITRA.
Here’s the basic rundown of how to use DITRA for ceramic or porcelain tile
- 16 inch on-center joist spacing with single layer OSB or plywood subfloors
- 19.2 inch on-center joist spacing with single layer OSB or plywood subfloors
- 24 inch on-center joist spacing with double layer OSB or plywood subfloors
- 24 inch on-center joist spacing with single layer OSB or plywood subfloors
Each configuration has specific guidance for
- subfloor requirements
- substrate preparation
- movement joints
- thin-set, grout, and more.
Basically you can install DITRA over
- existing vinyl floors
- structural plank subfloors
- and heated floors.
BUT again, this tutorial is just for wood subfloors.
All the specifics for DITRA installation are in the handbook or on Schluter’s site.
ensure subfloor panels are level and properly fastened to the joists.
Inspect the floor for protruding nails or screws (fix squeaks before installing any flooring).
AND if your subfloor is tented or butted together super tight,
you’ll want to take care of this issue.
The big problem with tight subfloor seams is they don’t allow for expansion and contraction.
Hence the need for 1/8″ gaps between seams.
Let’s dive into the installation process.
Install Schluter DITRA Over Wood Subfloors
Once your subfloor is good to go it’s time to install the DITRA.
Mix up modified thin-set.
Thin-set should be mixed to a fairly fluid consistency.
BUT should still hold a notch.
How do you know you have the right modified thin-set?
Look on the bag for ANSI A118.1.
Again, modified thin-set is what you want between DITRA and the wood subfloor.
Measure the floor dimensions and cut your DITRA.
You can cut DITRA with a utility knife.
Dry fit the DITRA
Clean and dampen the wood subfloor.
This creates a solid bond between the thin-set and DITRA.
What trowel should you use to apply thin-set to the wood subfloor?
Check it out, we’ve got you covered
- 1/4″ x 3/16″ V-notched or
- 5/16″ x 5/16″ V-notched trowel or
- DITRA trowel which features a 11/64″ x 11/64″ square-notched design
How’s that for detail!!
Apply the thin-set to the wood subfloor.
Notches should all run in the same direction.
Embed the fleece side of the DITRA in the thin-set.
Leave a 1/4″ gap between walls and the bathtub.
Use a rubber grout float to push the DITRA into the thin-set
Lift up a corner of the DITRA to check for thin-set coverage.
Your goal should be 100% coverage…we had a few bare spots here and fixed that issue!!
You can abut end and side sections of adjacent DITRA sheets.
Watch our step-by-step video for all the juicy details 🙂
The beginning shows you why I like DITRA versus cement board
Now for the waterproofing step!!
Make Schluter DITRA 100% Waterproof
First of all,
isn’t DITRA way better than cement board?
I’ve put my back out many of times lugging cement board.
No more of that.
Not to mention that you have to attach cement board panels using screws.
Each screw represents a leak point for water.
So how easy is it to waterproof DITRA?
At the joints, fill the cavities with unmodified thin-set mortar.
Make about an 8 inch band of thin-set centered over DITRA joints.
Comb additional thin-set over the joint using an approved trowel.
Center the 5 inch wide KERDI-BAND over the joint.
With the flat side of the trowel, firmly press the KERDI-BAND into the mortar.
Make sure to fully embed the KERDI-BAND and remove any excess mortar and air pockets.
You can use this same method where DITRA meets drywall.
We used a 5 inch wide KERDI-BAND because if it’s centered, your base molding will hide it.
Check out the video for those details.
One of the worst spots for water damage is where your tub meets the tile floor.
Fill the 1/4 inch gap between the DITRA and tub with KERDI-FIX.
Fill in the cavities with unmodified thin-set and embed the 5 inch wide KERDI-BAND
Steve shows you the exact method in our video,
you’ll be a whiz at DITRA installation after today!
DITRA is the easiest way to waterproof your floor and prevent tile & grout from cracking.
Hopefully this tutorial on DITRA was helpful.
If you’re remodeling a bathroom our free ‘Guide to a Bathroom Makeover in 10-Days’ has a ton of great tips
Thanks for reading, watching and learning with us.
Our community is phenomenal and I appreciate you being part of it,
P.S. If you didn’t know, we have online classes for homeowners doing a DIY bathroom remodel.
They’re affordable, step-by-step and awesome for newbies.