Not All Tile Installations Are The Same Even Though it May Appear That Way

This is true of most things in construction or in product, that what appears to be is the same.

Tile floors are no exception to this misconception when it comes to the actual final outcome.

Not all suppliers and trades go the distance for a host of reasons, to produce the best result.

Budget constraints, want of the sale, pure lack of knowledge or the notion that just because something has been done a certain way for years, it is all that is needed.

Failure of trades workmanship is not always known, as properties are fixed and sold, or the client just doesn’t know any better, that a short lived fix or renovation is not the way it should be, due to seeing and accepting the fact that short lived outcomes proliferate the renovation and building industry in general.

The idea may be, that a buck has to be made, so make it so it gets past five years looking reasonably good and the next person can deal with it then.

Therefore, if it is up to the next person to make it right, what might be considered?

Here we have Schluter- Ditra as a great option for tile installations that will stand the test of time. Of course, one has to consider the trade being used as well for the best result. If the trade is lacking understanding, even the best of product will not perform.

Here is information direct from the Schluter site.

Ceramic and stone tiles are durable, easy to maintain, and hygienic, representing the ideal surface coverings. However, today’s lightweight construction methods can make the installation of hard surface coverings particularly challenging. In order to protect the integrity of the tile assembly, an underlayment that performs multiple functions is required.

Schluter-DITRA is a polyethylene membrane with a grid structure of square cavities, each cut back in a dovetail configuration, and an anchoring fleece laminated to its underside. Schluter-DITRA is bonded to the substrate using thin-set mortar. The anchoring fleece on the underside of Schluter-DITRA is fully engaged in the mortar to provide a mechanical bond to the substrate. Tile is installed over Schluter-DITRA using the thin-bed method in such a way that the mortar becomes mechanically anchored in the square, cutback cavities of the Schluter-DITRA matting.

Designed specifically for ceramic tile and dimension stone installations, Schluter-DITRA serves as an uncoupling layer, waterproofing membrane, and vapor management layer that accommodates moisture from beneath the tile covering. Further, DITRA performs all these functions while still providing adequate support/load distribution for the tile covering.


a) Uncoupling
Tile has been successfully installed for thousands of years by incorporating an uncoupling layer, or forgiving shear interface, within the tile assembly. Schluter-DITRA provides uncoupling through its open rib structure, which allows for in-plane movement that effectively neutralizes the differential movement stresses between the substrate and the tile, thus eliminating the major cause of cracking and delaminating of the tiled surface.


b) Waterproofing
Schluter-DITRA provides reliable waterproofing in interior and exterior applications. Its polyethylene composition protects the substrate from moisture penetration, which is particularly important in today’s building environment where most substrates are moisture sensitive.


c) Vapor management
The distinguishing feature of Schluter-DITRA is the existence of free space created by the configured channels on the underside of the matting. The free space provides a route for excess moisture and vapor to escape from the substrate that could otherwise cause damage to the tile layer above. Thus, DITRA effectively manages moisture beneath the tile covering.


d) Support/load distribution
When placed on a solid foundation, columns or pillars can support tremendous loads. The same physical principle applies to Schluter-DITRA installations. Column like mortar structures are formed in the cutback cavities of the matting. Loads are transferred from the tile covering through these column-like mortar structures to the substrate. Since DITRA is virtually incompressible within the tile assembly, the advantages of uncoupling are achieved without sacrificing point load distribution capabilities. The ability of DITRA installations to support and distribute heavy loads while preserving the integrity of the tiled surface has been verified through extensive laboratory and field testing, including applications exposed to vehicular traffic.

There you have it!

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