Tile Installation: >> Required Preparation (Surface Prep)
After the specific method of installation is chosen, there are preparations to be considered. These may be simple or laborious. The main idea here is that the surfaces are prepared for the method chosen. In all cases, we recommend that the work area be thoroughly cleaned and organized. This makes a pleasant and safe environment in which to work.
A note concerning the two basic tiling methods would be helpful here. There is "thin set" or "thick set" methods. This set refers to tile bonded directly to a prepared surface. The surface can be concrete, backer board, drywall, masonry, tile, vinyl, or plywood. "Thick set" refers to mortar bed installations.
Remember that when using the "thin set" method, you are depending on the surface to be level, plumb, flat, sound, and able to support the installation. This means that if the method chosen is backer board, you will depend on the framing members, onto which the backer board is installed, to be straight and true. The same is true of plywood and drywall.
With a mortar bed, the mortar leveling process can eliminate small variances in framing members or existing surfaces. This is something to consider when choosing the method of installation.
In the case of new construction, An architect or owner can specify that the framing, concrete, and masonry surfaces are ready for the installation method. In the case of existing construction, surfaces may need to be prepared. The framing for example, should be free of nails, protrusions, damage, and other things that will hamper the construction effort.
Concrete or masonry should be cleaned or scarified to remove any contaminants especially if the method is a direct bond. Remember that leveling compounds require the same preparation as if they were the bonding element under the tile. Preparations to receive tile are discussed in more detail in the specific sections of The Tile Doctor.