Major renovations and custom built homes are among some of the largest investments a homeowner may make. For this reason, it is important that you know the value and quality you are receiving. Contracts, trust, workmanship and warranties are significant assets to look for when choosing a contractor but it is important to ensure that your contractor is also able to provide you with quality products.
Flooring is a major area of many renovations or custom builds that requires careful consideration. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, there have been many products and/or procedures that have changed over the years; the way in which tile flooring is installed is just one example of these changes.
There are many factors that can affect the well being of flooring, humidity being one of them. The changing humidity levels in your home can cause wood in the home to shift. As wood dries out in the winter months, it often shrinks and expands in the summer months when there is more humidity in the air.
Years ago tile setters would lay tiles on a ¾”-1” thick layer of dry-pack cement (a mix of sand and cement, slightly dampened). Soon after, tile setters used a process that involved stapling wire mesh to the subfloor. A thin layer of thin set was used to cover the mesh which then tiles were laid on top to hold the flooring in place. These methods do not lend themselves to the natural shifting of any home or the effects that result from humidity in the home. Due to this, often times homeowners experienced cracked tiles over time.
Some contractors have adopted new and improved methods since then. Schluter®-DITRA is a polyethylene membrane that was designed for ceramic and dimension stone installations. It offers in-plane movement that neutralizes the movement between the substrate and the tile – thereby preventing the main cause of cracked tiles.
Most substrates are moisture sensitive, which means that water can penetrate through them over time. Schluter®-DITRA is waterproof making it the perfect solution for protecting the subfloor. There are also channels underneath the matting to provide a route for excess moisture and vapour to escape from the substrate. By managing the moisture below the tile, any potential damage to the tile layer is eliminated.
The membrane also provides structural rigidity to transfer the weight of anything on top of the tile floor, such as granite counter tops.
The method of installation and type of product chosen for your tile flooring needs can make a difference in the value and quality you receive from your project.
There are many products and processes available – ensure that the contractor you hire is able to provide you with the best solution for your home.
What products have you had to choose as part of your renovation or custom build? How did you ensure they were the best solution for your home?