flexiblefullpage - default
Currently Reading

How Uncoupling Membranes for Tile Floors Work

Advertisement
billboard - default
Sponsored Content Moisture Management

How Uncoupling Membranes for Tile Floors Work

Membranes for Tile Series: Uncoupling membranes designed for ceramic and stone tile installations provide waterproofing and help prevent cracking


By Schluter Systems June 11, 2018
man installs Schluter DITRA membrane for tile floor

Uncoupling membranes in the tile assembly are fast becoming an essential and affordable part of the tile installation process. Uncoupling is a method that can be used with all of the most common joist spans used in residential construction.

Tiles and substrates expand and contract at different rates when changes occur in temperature and moisture levels so there needs to be a mechanism for releasing these stresses.  The uncoupling layer, or forgiving shear interface, provides cavities of open space that allow for in-plane movement, which neutralizes the movement stresses between the building’s substrate and the tiled surface. Uncoupling membranes absorb any substrate movement, and eliminate the transfer of that stress to the tile layer, which helps to prevent loose or cracked tiles.

It is still common practice today to install ceramic and stone tiles by direct bonding to the substrate with backer boards. These direct-bond systems can lead to tiles eventually cracking, splitting or becoming debonded from the substrate because there is no release mechanism for the natural stresses that build up.

Schluter®-DITRA membranes from Schluter Systems are designed specifically for ceramic and stone tile installations. In addition to providing uncoupling, they can also serve as a waterproofing layer that protects moisture-sensitive substrates, such as plywood or OSB (oriented strand board), as well as provide heavy load distribution to ensure tile installations remain durable. The square cavities on its grid structure are each cut back in a dovetail configuration to create an anchoring mechanism for the thin-set mortar.  An anchoring fleece laminated to the underside of the membrane is embedded in thin-set mortar to bond to the building’s substrate.

 

DITRA%20close-up%20plywood.jpg
A close-up of a DITRA installation on plywood.

 

With a nominal 1/8-inch thickness, DITRA minimizes tile assembly thickness and provides more even transitions to lower surface coverings. It can also be installed on top of concrete, plywood, OSB, gypsum, existing vinyl floors, structural planks, sub-floors, and radiant heated floors. The waterproofing capabilities make it ideal for bathroom floors, in contrast to tile backers that are water resistant rather than waterproof.

With DITRA, the nature of its lightweight characteristics allow for speed of installation, saving time for installation crews. One roll of DITRA (at 39” by 95.5’, covering 323 square feet) weighs only 39 lbs in comparison to 495 lbs (22 sheets) of backer board (covering the same amount of square footage), meaning installers can load the tile, underlayment and thinset more efficiently and at a quicker speed. The use of DITRA uncoupling membranes also produces little to no waste, allowing for greater inventory control for builders and the tightest possible project bids. Storage requirements are also minimized when compared to pallets of traditional backerboard.

 

Advertisement
leaderboard2 - default

Related Stories

Quality Matters

Don't Underestimate the Importance of Roofing Underlayment

Regardless of which product you choose to use, installing a roofing underlayment will help ensure the roof system withstands the elements and the home stays dry

Quality Matters

Getting Rainscreens Right to Help Ensure Walls Stay Dry

To rainscreen or not to rainscreen, that is the question … but it shouldn’t be

Quality Matters

Construction Details for Trouble-Free Stucco Overhangs

Transitions where horizontal and vertical stucco surfaces intersect are prone to moisture problems. Attention to proper detailing will help you avoid issues with water intrusion

Advertisement
boombox1 -
Advertisement
native1 - default
halfpage2 -

More in Category

Home builders can maximize efficiencies gained through simplification and standardization by automating both on-site and back-office operations 

Delaware-based Schell Brothers, our 2023 Builder of the Year, brings a refreshing approach to delivering homes and measuring success with an overriding mission of happiness

NAHB Chairman's Message: In a challenging business environment for home builders, and with higher housing costs for families, the National Association of Home Builders is working to help home builders better meet the nation's housing needs

Advertisement
native2 - default
Advertisement
halfpage1 -

Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.


Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Subscribe
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.