Tiling Question

Tiling help please

I have a bathroom floor which I need tiled. The floor is chipboard & has been tiled before. Where the old tiles have been removed, there is a large a,mount of fix / grout remaining.
I have been told that the chipboard isnt a good base for the tiles & that the fix / grout will need to be removed & a 9mm ply laid first. Another tiler has said that I dont need ply but I could fit ditra matting instead.
Its not that I dont trust either & its probable that both options would work but I am clueless about this & would appreciate some other views before I decide who to employ. I enclose a link below with a pic.


12 Answers

Best Answer

If you decide to go with keeping the chipboard then i would suggest screeding the floor first with self leveller before applying the dittra matting. Dittra matting is a very expensive option and there are cheaper alternatives such as dural ci matting available at a fraction of the price from www.tiletown.co.uk and you would not be comprimising on quality.
You can use plywood which again has its own qualities when tiling onto but remember to buy either marine ply or exterior ply at a thickness of 18mm according to british standards. Prime both sides of the boards aswell as the edges of the plywood with either a latex or an acrylic primer and lay the boards in brick fashion. The primer is water resistent and will enable better adhesion when tiling onto the boards. Flexible adhesive and grout MUST be used when tiling onto wood due to the expansion and contraction in different temperatures.
You could also use a tile board instead of either of the first choices. Tile boards such as aqua panel, hardie backer board and no more ply are all good quality alternatives to plywood and are all waterproof, mould proof and therefore will not rot. All boards wether it be ply, chipboard or tile board must be screwed at no less then 300mm apart leaving a 5mm expansion gap around the perimetre of the entire floor. This can then be filled with silicone. So the key points when tiling onto a boarded substrate are:

1. prime all surfaces of the boards
2. screw at no less than 300mm intervals
3. use flexible adhesive and grout suitable for wooden substrates

I think you have enough information to go on with your project but if you need any more info then please don't hesitate to ask. All the best and goodluck
Adam Summers - Adsumm Tiles

Answered 27th Apr 2011

Adsumm Tiles

Member since 12 Nov 2010

i would remove the chip board completly and fitt 18mm ply and ditchramatting ,remember wood breaths with cold and hot conditions !!

Answered 27th Apr 2011

force blue plumbing and heating

Member since 26 Apr 2011

wood below tiling is not a good choice. Cement board is excellent but will add 12-15mm in height but is very sound. The ditra or any plastic matting is a new and good way of providing a watertight and non moving base for floor tiles.

Answered 27th Apr 2011


Member since 3 Dec 2010

Hi paul,

First of all chipboard isnt a good base for tiling.
Second, in my opinion the schluter DITRA matting is the better product as it gives a better fixing base for your tiles and is a lot thinner, as well as numerous other advantages over plywood but there is one draw back and that is, the state of the floor after removal of the old adhesive.
Schluter DITRA must have an even surface to be fixed to and must be stuck down over 100% of the area to provide a suitable mechanical bond. Now, removing the old adhesive will probably take chunks out of the chipboard floor leaving an uneven and unsuitable base for the schluter DITRA matting. In this case replacing the floor would be the only option.

In the case of plywood it is cheaper and only requires screwing down at 300mm centres and any bits of damage to the existing floor can normally just be covered, (As long as the damage isnt too extensive.) but the thickness may mean there will be a slight step into the bathroom after that is down with the tiles on top.

It all depends on your budget really and what state the floor is in when the old adhesive as been removed.

I hope I have managed to answer your question.

Kind regards


Answered 27th Apr 2011

Accurate tiling and plastering

Member since 30 Jan 2009

Hi Paul
you can remove tile adhesive and grout from the chipboard floor by either using a chisel , hammer and hard work. Or use a wall paper steam stripper, heat it up to working temp hold it on adhesive until it goes soft then scrapper to remove.
You can use ditra matting on the old floor but you have to bed it down to the floor first before you lay your tiles, Also it is quite expensive to buy.
I have tiled many floors and walls and i always use plywood fixed with screws at about 200 mm centres, and then you need to use a flexi adhesive for laying the tiles. And a flexi grout between the joints, if you follow this procedure you will have no problem at all (make sure you use exterior grade plywood)

Hope this helps
Andover Interiors
Kitchens,Bathrooms & Carpentry.

Answered 27th Apr 2011

Andover Interiors

Member since 17 Feb 2011

Scrape of the old adhesive, and thoroughly sweep out the floor. use Kerakwik and latex plus from mapei to fix some Ditra matt and then the same again to Fix the tiles, use Ultracolour grout from mapei, Ditra matts not really expensive, its £9 m2 by me and its a lot easier than ripping up the wood. providing your floors stable, im sure you ll be ok, if its good enough to drive a car on etc.

Answered 9th Jun 2011

Phil The Tiler

Member since 14 Jun 2011

You can remove the chipboard from the area you need tiled and replaced with marine play and you will have a good base for your tiles. If your bath tub is sealed properly it should not be any problem. The cost should not be to much extra for this as it will be only one day extra of labour and the cost of the play. If you buy 9mm play or ditra matting it will make it easy for the tiler to do a quick job but you will increase the thickness of your floor but you will still have chipboard under and if water gets to it will affect the new area as well and the cost will go more up on the long run.
Better is to spend a little extra now and no more problems as you will suffer not the builder.

Answered 27th Apr 2011

iulian stefan

Member since 16 Jul 2010

Hi Paul
Yes both will work although the ditra matting is more commanly used in wet rooms & a lot more expensive, over the years I have found that marine ply sealed is a very good base to work with.
Good luck

Answered 27th Apr 2011


Member since 16 Nov 2008

Both the suggestions by the tilers are correct.
If using ply make sure its screwed down well, either option you will then have a good sound base for tiling.

Answered 27th Apr 2011


Member since 29 Oct 2008

Anything less than 25 mm ply requires ditra mat.
To do with movement of materials and potential cracking of grout or tiles.


Answered 27th Apr 2011

Michael Murphy Builder

Member since 26 Nov 2009

reboard with 9mm ply will be fine : )

Answered 27th Apr 2011

TopJob Home Improvements

Member since 18 Nov 2010

Hi, you can't go wrong with tiling on 9mm ply. Personly I'd go for that option and you got yourself a good solid base to tile on,
Hope this is helpful to you
Whibhard builders

Answered 27th Apr 2011

Whibhard Builders

Member since 17 Aug 2010

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