So, I've decided to take on this big project. I have a 1/2" plywood subfloor with 3/4" MDF on top. Should I rip out my entire subfloor add a 3/4" t&g plywood then lay 1/2" plywood on top or am I able to just lay the 3/4" t&g on top of the 1/2" plywood? If I can add the 3/4" plywood on top should I screw to the joists or glue and screw off the joists?

2 Answers 2


Two issues:

First, you need to make sure that your floor is rigid enough and planar enough for the tile to be successful. There are deflection tests to determine rigidity, and different ways of checking for planar. The bigger the tiles are, the more important these are.

1/2" plywood is unlikely to be sufficient. 3/4" plywood glued and screwed with backer board on top of it may be sufficient. An isolation membrane (I like Ditra) can help as well, as it lets the floor flex a little without popping tiles or breaking grout lines.

The second issue is floor thickness. If you go 1/4": backer board + ditra + a porcelain tile, that's about 3/4" thick. You need to set things up so the transitions to other rooms are safe; ideally they will be flush, but if not, you'll need a safe transition piece to handled the difference in level.

The installation manual for Ditra is a pretty good reference.


You should just lay some backer board on top of your current subfloor and go from there.

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