Preparing Cement for Floor Tile
A clean surface helps you see smaller cracks that might need repair. It also increases the chances that you will get a better bond between the concrete and the next layer of your subfloor.
Cement’s biggest issue is keeping moisture under control. Getting it as dry as possible before applying a sealer is very important.
A sound surface is necessary when preparing concrete floor for tile installation. Cracks and depressions may create weak spots that cause tile to crack in the future.
Patch little cracks or holes with a cement patching compound. Use a trowel to apply and use the edge to ensure the patch has edges level with the surrounding concrete.
If you have large cracks or displaced concrete, this might be a sign of deeper problems. Consult with a professional. If repairs are needed, hire a professional to avoid bigger problems later.
After ensuring your concrete surface is level (the next step) apply a concrete sealer. Cement is porous and draws moisture from the ground up through the slab. Sealer is a barrier between the cement and the mortar that will keep moisture build-up away. This increases the bond between the cement and the mortar, as well as decreasing mold growth.
You can cover the floor with leveling compound to ensure you have a flat surface rather than only applying to areas you believe needs it. The pros make quick work of this process, using a specialized hose to put the leveler right where it is needed without making a mess.
Uneven cement is death to tile. It makes breakage much more likely than if the tile has a fully supportive surface. Get the full life out of your tile with a level subfloor.
Once your cement surface is clean, dry, sound, and level, you are ready to move on to the next step. Depending on your situation, you might need to consider things like installing a membrane, putting in floor heating, placing backer board, etc. It’s best to check with a pro to ensure you have the right subfloor in place before you spread mortar and lay tile.