(BPT) – Apparently, Texas isn’t the only place where things are bigger when it comes to tile. During the past decade, homeowners across the country have installed larger and larger tile onto floors throughout their homes. In fact, the majority of tile installed today is considered large format, which is defined as tile with at least one side 15 inches or longer. This popular contemporary design trend is pushing the boundaries of tile installation with increased importance on crack prevention. The beauty and elegance of a wood plank tile or the very popular 12-inch by 24-inch floor tile can easily become a disappointing disaster in short order if the subfloor is not prepared correctly during the installation process.
Homeowners can avoid the headache and expense of repairing or replacing damaged tile by making sure the proper steps to surface preparation are taken. While it’s impossible to completely avoid cracks in every situation, in the majority of situations they can be controlled by applying products that mitigate the effects of movement and other stressful factors. Custom Building Products, the leading provider of flooring preparation products and tile and stone installation systems, recommends the following for surface preparation before installing tile on any project. Homeowners working with an installation contractor for their tile should always discuss crack prevention with their tile pro during the bidding phase.
* Tiling over a wood subfloor: The two most common solutions are the use of cementitious backerboards or a lighter weight alternative such as RedGard Uncoupling Mat. A combination crack isolation, waterproofing and vapor management membrane, RedGard Uncoupling Mat bonds with the surface while allowing the tile assembly to safely adjust and shift in response to movement. In addition, tile isn’t designed to flex so any “bounciness” in the floor should be fixed prior to tile installation.
* Tiling over concrete on grade: Use a liquid-applied membrane like RedGard Crack Prevention and Waterproofing Membrane to mitigate small cracks in the subfloor. Installed using a paint roller or trowel, RedGard Crack Prevention and Waterproofing Membrane is a seamless heavy-duty material designed for interior and exterior areas.
* Protect corners, expansion joints, changes in plane and other areas in tile installations susceptible to cracking by applying Commercial 100% Silicone Sealant. A permanently flexible material ideal for floors where they meet walls and doors as well as for tubs, showers, sinks, pools, and other wet or submerged applications, Commercial 100% Silicone Sealant is offered in 40 colors to coordinate with tile and grout.