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I can home from work last night to find that the contractor began tiling in the master bathroom and is applying the ceramic tiles directly to the existing subfloor. My knowledge isn’t vast, but I would see this as a huge problem. They’re supposed to continue tomorrow. Is this acceptable practice? Shouldn’t there be a backer board of some sort?

  • What exactly is that subfloor? Concrete slab, or wood ofer a basement/crawlspace?
    – brhans
    Feb 10, 2019 at 15:29
  • It’s wood over a crawl space. It’s an inch thick. I don’t know much else about specifics. There was vinyl before, they took that out along with the wood it was attached to, and this is what was underneath.
    – EJstone33
    Feb 10, 2019 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


Tile should never be placed directly onto wood, especially in a wet area like a bathroom. The wood expands and contracts. You will have some nasty cracks in the grout and the tile will probably come loose. Make them rip that back out and do it right.

  • That’s what I thought. This our first home renovation and my first time working with a contractor. I should contact him with my concerns and ask them to redo it, right?
    – EJstone33
    Feb 10, 2019 at 16:22
  • Watch this video and you will see how it should be done. Maybe have the "contractor" watch it? google.com/… Feb 10, 2019 at 16:24
  • Now I’m concerned about what’s going on under the newly installed shower pan. Sigh. I thought I chose the right company.
    – EJstone33
    Feb 10, 2019 at 16:35
  • The substrate must stronger than the brittle thin tile or it will crack. Polyurethane can provide some strong plastic flex Feb 10, 2019 at 20:44

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