Often during our inspections, we see cracked or loose ceramic floor tiles. By the way of background, there are two types of “beds” in tile floor installations. One type is called Thinset, and the other type is called Mortar Bed or more commonly know as a “Mud Bed.”
Thinset consists of a thin layer of bonding cement intended to adhere the tile to the subfloor. Usually, it’s only about 3/8 of an inch thick. It is cheaper to install than a Mud Bed, but it does not allow for movement of the subfloor. Most subfloors move as time goes on, which can result in cracked and loose tiles associated with Thinset installations.
Mud Bed installations are typically considered superior to Thinset applications because:
- Mud Beds are usually at least 1 ¼ inches thick offering much more stability
- Mud Beds can level out uneven subfloors
- Create an ideal surface to which the tile can be bonded
- Can incorporate a slope in the tile layer if needed (e.g., slope to a drain)
- Reinforces the subfloor (usually relevant in wood framing applications)
- Allow radiant hydronic tubing to be installed.
So, if you have the option, we suggest going with a Med Bed rather than a Thinset if possible.
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